Which Guinness Will it Be?

Friends and Family,

Every time. I am stunned every single time this happens. Forty-one months after starting Tagrisso, Genevieve and I just got my latest CT scan results. No Growth! Is there a Guinness Book of Records I can check? I’ve already been on this med four times as long as the average. But averages are averages, and I am an individual. I hope every survivor who reads this keeps this in mind: SOMEBODY has to be the outlier. Why not you?

And yes, we are excited! I am still grateful every day.

This latest news makes for a tough choice:

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                                               -      OR     -

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It gets even better. With the help of twenty much-appreciated volunteer proofreaders, the final draft of my book, Second Wind: Thriving With Cancer is finalized and ready for publication. Release date is almost here! I can’t wait to share it with you! For this one, I’m only thinking about one choice:

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I have one more thing to share with you today. The Portland Lung Love Run/Walk (LLRW) is coming up, on Saturday, June 23rd at 8:30 AM. Please join our team, Live Lung and Prosper, or start your own team, or consider donating. There is a $5 registration discount if you sign up by March 30th. Discount code: lunglove5

Here is the link to join Live Lung and Prosper or donate:  http://engage.lungcanceralliance.org/site/TR/WalkMap/General?team_id=2030&pg=team&fr_id=1250 

Here is the link to start your own team: http://engage.lungcanceralliance.org/site/TR?fr_id=1250&pg=entry

Since the LLRW benefits the Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA), I am passionate about supporting them. In fact, Genevieve and I will be going to Washington, DC in July with LCA to lobby Congress. Last time, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into, so I went to DC without her. It was such an empowering experience that Genevieve decided to join me this year. Given the challenging political environment in Washington, and all of the efforts to cut health care spending, support for lung cancer initiatives is even more critical.

Hoping you can find the good news that is going on in your own life right now. It’s there if you look for it.

Cheers!

Love,

Dann

The Party is Over

Friends and Family,

Thank you to everyone for the great support while I have been waiting to find out what is happening with my cancer. You have helped make the wait for some understanding of what is going on much more bearable. And now, the wait is over.

I got an email from my doctor’s office this afternoon. It’s everything I hoped to hear! The gastroenterologist said that this mushy-ness in my pancreas has only a small chance of ever turning into cancer, or of being life-limiting. YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!

The funny thing is, over the past two or three days, I was already starting to feel less worried about it. This seems to happen every time there is bad news, or even the threat of bad news. My first response is to dive head-first into panic, gloom and doom. Give it some time, and I remember that I know how to do this. After all, I have enough experience by now. :-)  

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So, what’s in that toolbox of coping skills? Here are a few that I used this time:

*         Taking in all the love and support, from you, and from Genevieve. It makes all the difference in the world.

*        Acceptance: If it happens, it happens. This was the hardest tool to develop when I first started on this journey, but it keeps getting easier with practice.

*         Perspective: We’re all going to die, so all we are talking about is when. Of course later would be better, but I can’t control that. I have to let go.

*         Gratitude: I have been extremely fortunate to live more than eleven years (!) since I was first diagnosed, and more than six years since I was re-diagnosed. This is extraordinary, and one of the reasons that I feel blessed every day.

*         More Gratitude: The love you have shared has not only been one of the main reasons that I am still alive, it has also been life-changing.  Thank you for this incredible gift!

*         Logic: When we are in panic mode, every random thought takes us into a new and even more scary direction. Once I got past that, I started thinking about a few things: 1) The pancreas is not a place that lung cancer usually spreads to, at least not first. 2) When the cancer starts to spread, it seems to always spread more in the lungs before looking for new territory. 3) It makes no sense at all that I would randomly get pancreatic cancer that didn’t spread from my lungs, since my chances are no higher than the general public. The odds against it are great.

Thanks again for being there. It makes a world of difference.

Love,

Dann

Feelin' Groovy

Friends and Family,

Sometimes, everything goes well. Or maybe it just feels that way. Life is a little more relaxing, and little things that might bother you a little bit seem like, well, little things.

Do you have any favorite old songs that pop into your brain under just the right circumstances? Beautiful sunrises sometimes bring “Here Comes the Sun” (Beatles) into my consciousness. But the one that keeps going around in my head lately, is Simon & Garfunkel’s 59th Street Bridge Song. If you want to feel what I’m going through right now, try listening to this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWBvcJAXwu4. (Disclaimer: You may have to be of a certain age for this to mean anything for you.)

I could be feelin’ groovy because a couple of months ago, Genevieve and I started meditating every day. I visualize being cancer-free, and try to take that experience and feel it as if it is happening in the present. According to Joe Dispenza, whose workshop we attended, this will help you create your own reality. Quantum fields are involved. I don’t know about that, but I do know it feels pretty great anyway. I’m going to keep it up.

My mood could also be this good because we’re in Hawaii right now. Yesterday, Genevieve pointed out to me that I always look more relaxed while we’re out here, even if I am working at commercial real estate 3-5 hours a day. Five mile beach walks with very few people around definitely help. Sitting on the bluff at sunset taking pictures – counting this trip, about 842 million of the same scene so far – puts me in a relaxing mood. It’s just so beautiful and peaceful. Maybe the glass of wine helps, too. :-)

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There is one other thing going well. It’s my marriage, which began exactly 21 years ago today. I’m calling this our champagne anniversary, and not (just) because champagne is cheaper than diamonds or silver. Our marriage is now old enough to drink! This relationship brings me a level of happiness that is far beyond what I imagined possible, right up until I was in it. Genevieve is simply wonderful, and we are both better people together than we were without each other. Life is so much richer with Genevieve in it.

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The only thing causing me a little impatience right now is getting my book published. I could launch it myself within a week, but my brother Mike convinced me that, if I want this to be a success, I really need to have a book marketing firm involved. I have three names to contact and interview. After that, a book launch plan could take many months to do well. Since the goal is to get the word out to as many people as possible, I will have to at least ACT with patience. I will confess that there are times when I have wanted to get the book out ASAP, since I never know how long my health will remain stable. However, since I keep defying the odds and staying healthy, I’m willing to risk it.

The last thing to tell you is that I don’t have any scan results yet. That comes in two weeks. While my body goes into occasional panic mode, my brain reminds me that I have no symptoms, and I’m already the exception to how long this treatment usually lasts.

Hope that you’re feelin’ groovy, too.

Love,

Dann