Week #121: What Does a Long Cancer Journey Look Like? Well, It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint

This week I’m reminded of what my oncologist, Dr. Thomas Marsland, said to me at one of our very first consultation sessions back in November 2017: “You might think of your cancer like a chronic illness. It’s very possible, with today’s technology and treatment advances, that you’ll live for years while undergoing treatment of one type or another.

That was great advice then and it really holds up for me today, 2 years and 3 months later, as I get ready to resume my ‘maintenance chemo’ treatments. My CT scans at UCSF on Monday revealed some small, renewed activity in cancer spots we identified 6-8 months ago. My summer and fall treatments had knocked them down below detection level of December’s CT scan. It’s very good news that this activity is small and in known locations we were treating and watching. In the cancer business, they call this ‘a partial remission’.

So our next step is a schedule of 4-6 maintenance chemo infusions, now through the end of April. Just like millions of other cancer patients do these days, I’ll get these infusions in a 3-4 hour cancer center visit and then I’ll go back about my regular activities. Of course, I’ll need to be mindful of stress, fatigue, diet and regular exercise. But this is a walk in the park compared to where I’ve been over the past couple years. Also, you can not help but feel like the most fortunate person in the cancer center when you walk in and out under your own power. This week I saw a number of fellow UCSF patients that reinforced that feeling for me. My heart goes out to them and their families. I am grateful every day for all that I have.

This journey is a marathon, not a sprint.
Good thing I seem to be built for it! 😎👍🏻
Thanks for all your support!
Mady, Nat, and I are forever grateful.

Please heed our advice …
Get educated.
Get screened.
Support cancer research.
Keep rollin’!

P.S. Some images …
Yes, up above, that’s the famous Plan vs. Reality concept with a special spin for cancer patients. And, you might recognize the people on the bridges from the Benioff Children’s Hospital logo. They have certainly kept me off the rocks and out of the soup!

Here’s a shot of my CT Scan room from Monday — This fish tank is actually a 50-inch monitor placed on the ceiling above the CT scanner intended to help calm the kids; when you lay down on the scanner and look up, you can watch the fish swimming around. I can attest it works for adults too!

UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital – Radiology Center – CT Scanner Overhead Monitor

And last Friday nite, Nat and I participated in Cycle for Survival San Francisco – a fundraising benefit for the Sloan Kettering Memorial Cancer Center and research projects aimed at fighting rare cancers. Did you know half of all cancers are considered rare? Please support cancer causes like this. We ALL need the breakthroughs.

Published by Mark Crafts

I am a Stage IV cancer survivor with a very hopeful and amazing story. Surgery, chemo, radiation … I’ve have been through it all during 44+ months of treatment. Now, I am a UCSF clinical trial patient loaded with “Terminator” T-cells which may provide a major breakthrough for colorectal, colon, liver, lung, and head & neck cancers. Amazing things are always possible!

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