It’s been a really, really busy month and I’m happy to report everything continues along on very solid and good tracks for us. I must admit though all this activity has been crazy, hectic, and stressful for everyone on and around “Team Crafty”.
Celebrating Twenty Years:
Mady and I celebrated our 20th anniversary early in the month. Between my daily treatments over at UCSF, we were able to sneak away for a really special morning together down by the Golden Gate Bridge. We chose this spot because it’s just a stone’s throw from where we met. And, well, this picture says it all. I offer it as further proof that I am the luckiest damn guy you know!
Going 15 Rounds in The Radiation Ring:
For the last days of February and the first 2 weeks of March, I visited the UCSF Radiation Oncology Center for radiation treatments like a ball player showing up for daily games. It was 15 straight business days in all. And every day included a 45-minute ride on an incredible machine I dubbed “The Varian Beast”. (Check it out here – short video demo – 2 min) Across the U.S. and in other developed countries, most all cutting-edge cancer centers have machines like this and they are extending life for cancer patients worldwide. My UCSF team has educated me that this type of radiation oncology is advancing very quickly with increasingly positive outcomes for patients of all kinds. They are seeing more and more patients living longer as radiation technology improves. The cancer science behind this approach is simply amazing. Radiation is targeted specifically to tumor areas interrupting the cancer cells’ ability to multiply. In my case, we used ‘the beast’ to address some cancer “regrowth” in areas we’ve known about for some time. This is the second time we’ve used this approach in my 3+ years of cancer treatment. And our expectation is that we should not see cancer in these targeted areas for at least another 1.5 to 2 years ahead. From a patient POV, I can attest type of precision-targeted radiation treatment is a great advance over what radiation treatments used to be 5 to 10 years ago. There’s no doubt it was still a grind and a very difficult 3 weeks both physically and mentally. But, we keep rollin’ on!
Here’s a great shot from our final day of my treatment cycle with my UCSF radiation oncology healthcare superheroes. I’m forever grateful for their help, support, and expertise … and also how they let me blast my own music in the treatment room!
(Here’s our Spotify playlist of all 12 hours: “Team Crafty UCSF Radiation Sessions 2021 = 15 Rounds With The Varian TruBeam Champ“)
That Big College Decision:
Closing out March also meant making some very big college decisions for my daughter, Natalie. She has made her selection and is now sharing her news. All I can say is that Mady and I are over the moon thrilled for her. She’s pursuing her musical theater dreams and she’s already made so many great strides positioning herself for independence and success. Sometime in the not too distant future I know someone will ask us how this all came about. I know our answer will be … “It all started when she sang a love song, on stage, in public, on roller skates and wearing a yellow fish suit. The kid has had the theater bug from a very early age.”
Scheduling Vaccines … #GetTheShot!
I am really encouraged by the assurances of my UCSF doctors who are whole-heartedly behind getting any of the currently approved vaccines that are available to us/you. It’s worth a mention the Pfizer vaccination in particular has a fascinating backstory tied to the cancer community. In brief, there are 2 decades of cancer research behind what ultimately became the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccination. Ozlem Tureci, who co-founded the German company BioNTech with her husband, pivoted the company’s many years of cancer work to address Covid-19 upon learning of the virus and its pandemic threat. This is an amazing illustration of the type of breakthrough innovations and technology advances that are resulting in new, life-saving solutions in the medical community today. You can read the full BioNTech story here: “Scientist behind coronavirus shot says next target is cancer.” (Associated Press, 3/19/21)”
Waiting On Clinical Trial Green Lights
Next up in my treatment regimen is the long-awaited clinical trial with UCSF and PACT Pharma. However, much like the path of an Enterprise IT project, after 5 months of research and development, we are now down to a final “Go / No Go Decision“. This decision comes down to whether or not our solution developers can prove what they have built in the labs will trigger appropriately against my tumor. We expect to know where we stand on this by mid-April and will keep you posted. Please keep all those prayers, positive vibes, white lights and great mojo coming our way!
Closing Out March Madness With Strong Encouragement FOR YOU!
I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for you to stay on your own cancer screenings – even during the pandemic. Please read my story in the About section. I welcome you to share it far and wide. Encourage all of those around you to take some very simple steps to stay off cancer mountain. Trust me and my family when we tell you “It’s a brutal place that you should do all you can to avoid!”
Support cancer research.
Keep rollin’. – MC
Thanks to all who supported our March fundraising effort for Colon/Colorectal Awareness and the Conquer Cancer, The ASCO Foundation. We are forever grateful for your help and support.
Please remember to take a few minutes whenever you can to acknowledge your own healthcare heroes and the cancer fighters close to you. We’ve got a number of fun and supportive designs in the TC SWAG shop to help you bring some smiles and cheer to those you know. Trust me, they will really appreciate it! – MC
Team Crafty SWAG Shop