The Lung Love Run/Walk is Just Around the Corner

Friends and Family,

It’s almost that time! Help fight lung cancer by joining Genevieve and me and our team, Live Lung and Prosper, at the Lung Love Run/Walk on Saturday, June 22nd in Laurelhurst Park. The event is 5K, and as the name implies, you can run or walk. (A few people have been known to stop after two of the three laps around the park, so anything goes.)

 You also have the option of donating. We are 1/3 the way toward our team goal of raising $2,000. Every dollar makes a difference for lung cancer research, advocacy, and support of our growing ranks of survivors!

 Here’s the page to join:

 Here’s the page to donate:

 Hoping you’ll participate, one way or another!



Not That I'm Trying to Milk This Topic, But My Scan Results are In

Friends and Family,

It’s another beautiful day to be alive!

Genevieve and I went to San Diego yesterday to meet with my oncologist, and get the latest CT scan results. I had new, contradictory reasons to both excitedly hope for some shrinkage of the cancer, and to fear that it would start growing again.

After announcing two weeks ago that I had eliminated dairy from my diet, based on cancer research, a friend (Laura Greco, whom I wrote about HERE) sent me a link to a research article that shows that casein, the major protein in milk, suppresses lung cancer tumor growth. This left me completely confused. Now I had contradictory evidence that drinking milk would either stop any tumors from growing – or maybe even shrink them – or it could be feeding the cancer.  

I immediately emailed my oncologist, who emailed back that “it’s probably fine to continue drinking milk.”

WHAT? I’m betting my life on this decision, and I get a weak answer like this? It sounded like he didn’t want to bother looking at the article. What do you do with THAT response, when your life may depend on it?

Without any real answers, I decided that I should start drinking milk again, since what I have been doing has been working for me for the past twelve years (YEAH!). Of course, THEN I worried that maybe the cancer might have started growing again, since I had been off milk for a month.

At the same time, I was excited to see if being off milk for a month might have caused the cancer to SHRINK.

Finally, our San Diego day came, and we got the big results. Drumroll please……


No change! The cancer is still not growing!

Now that I had my oncologist in person, I pressed him much harder. He said that he had just been in meetings with other oncologists about this very topic, and the consensus was… that there is no consensus. “There is a lot of information out there, but a lot of it doesn’t rise to a scientific standard. The “signal to noise ratio’ is out of whack.”

In short, there’s too much wheat, and not enough chaff, to know what’s scientifically true. I don’t know if that’s true, but that’s what he believes. So what do I do now???

I can’t draw any conclusions from my own one-month experiment, so until I get a more definitive answer, I’m not going to change what is working. Hello, mochas and ice cream! It’s great to see you again!

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I’m going to put this question out to my online lung cancer groups, and see if anyone else has a more solid base for decision-making. Passions run deep on this issue, so my suspicion is that it will be a hot debate, which will produce a lot of heat, but very little light. 

I’ll keep you posted. Meanwhile, I hope you are making the most of every moment you have on this earth. It’s a gift worth treasuring.



NOTE: It's not too late to join the Lung Love Run/Walk! It's coming up this Saturday, June 23rd at Laurelhurst Park in Portland. We are raising awareness, and funding for lung cancer research.

Click here to join my team, Live Lung and Prosper.

I See Grief Counseling in my Future

Friends and Family,

One advantage to being a long-term survivor besides the obvious – I’m alive – is that it gives me more time to find new ways to help me stay alive even longer. I stumbled on this one when I was getting ready to start writing my next book. The plan was to talk with as many long-term survivors as I could find, and see if there were common factors in what they were doing to stay alive. I thought that if I coupled that with all the research I could find on the subject, it would be something that every survivor would want to read.

It turns out the book is already written! It’s called Radical Remission. It covers the nine factors that almost every long term survivor has in common. The first chapter is about diet. I have already made some pretty radical changes to my diet by going vegetarian even before I had cancer, reducing sugar and processed foods, and increasing fruits, vegetables and whole grains. But there was one more piece of my diet I wasn’t prepared to give up. What could possibly convince me to give up dairy?

It turns out that there is some older research that shows that in both a petri dish and in lab rats, feeding them a specific protein in milk can make cancer cells grow. In fact, in the rats, they could turn a rat’s cancer on or off by either feeding it this protein, or denying it the protein.

That got my attention. Sitting at an outdoor café table at a Starbucks and drinking my mocha, I started squirming in my seat. I was thinking about giving up anything that has this protein, called casein, in it. I started wondering what I was going to do for breakfast. Would I have to give up my morning bowl of cereal, and my protein shake?

No Milk.jpeg

I’m reading about the potential cancer-feeding ingredient in milk… while drinking a mocha. It wasn’t going down so smoothly any more.

As I packed up and headed to my car with the cup still in my hand, I started thinking about the cup of ice cream that I eat most nights before bed. NOW we’re talking about a serious loss. I may need grief counseling after this.


By the time I got back to my house, I was ruminating about that tasty cheese still sitting in the refrigerator. As I threw away my mocha cup under the kitchen sink, I was brooding about the gaping hole this was going to create in my diet.


This all started about three weeks ago. There have been a few bumps along the way, like when I forgot that quiche is made mostly of milk and cheese, until I was halfway through eating it. (Yes, I finished it!) Then I tried my favorite salad bar near my office, only this time with just  a little cheese and something other than blue cheese dressing. By the next time I came back, I was off cheese altogether.

I had to keep reminding myself of how much this could mean to me. Could this change reverse my cancer? At the very least, could it mean that I could stay on the same treatment for even longer than I would otherwise, without any cancer growth? Maybe I would feel the loss, but I would need to find enough advantages to avoid needing grief counseling.

Three weeks out, I may be imagining it, but it feels like I’m breathing a little easier. I may also be imagining that I have a little more energy in the evenings. I’m kind-of-almost-eager to get my next CT scan to see if there is any shrinkage of the cancer, while also checking to see if my cholesterol is going down.

I have always thought that vegans may be healthy, but they would probably die of boredom. This is a challenge for me, since I have zero creativity with food. Fortunately for me, Genevieve didn’t skip a beat.

What an amazing woman! I don’t know if there has ever been another cancer survivor who has had the kind of support that I have had from Genevieve. Not a word of complaint. She just cooked up something that didn’t have any dairy in it. I bought almond milk to put in my cereal and protein shakes (the protein powder has whey protein, but no casein), and we moved on. We had a few meal-planning discussions, and within a few days we made a trip to Powell’s Books to get a few vegan cookbooks.

I can’t say that this is going to be easy, and I’m not going to be perfect. For instance, I’m not going to give up baked goods because there is some butter or milk in them. But that will be a trace amount of dairy compared to a gallon of milk and at least a half-gallon of ice cream every week, which add up to 52 gallons of milk and 26 gallons of ice cream a year. Now, if my CT scan shows that the cancer is shrinking, I would be willing to get that radical.

In the meantime, if you see me walking around looking lustfully at somebody’s hot mocha or Frappuccino, try to cut me a little slack. I’m still in mourning.

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NOTE: The Lung Love Run/Walk coming up on Saturday, June 23rd at Laurelhurst Park in Portland. We are raising awareness, and funding for lung cancer research.

Click here to join my team, Live Lung and Prosper.

If you would like to donate, click here.

And, even better, if you would like to form your own team, click here. 

Get My Book FREE this Sunday!

Friends and Family,

This Sunday, June 3rd, is National Cancer Survivor Day! In honor of all cancer survivors, the eBook version of my book will be FREE on Sunday through Amazon! You can also get a free Kindle reader through Amazon, so you can read it on any device.

Feedback on the book has been overwhelming. I received this text from my friend Ginny this morning:

“I just spoke with a newly diagnosed LC buddy in Florida. We talked for 1:40 minutes and I read him excerpts from your book. He plans to buy it today and he said our talk and your book lifted his spirits  and he felt more hope than he has since being diagnosed three weeks ago!!”

This melts my heart, and makes the whole process of writing the book worth it. Please tell anyone you know with cancer about this book. Here’s the link:

I also want to remind you about the Lung Love Run/Walk coming up on Saturday, June 23rd at Laurelhurst Park in Portland. We are raising awareness, and funding for lung cancer research. Lung cancer kills almost twice as many women as breast cancer, yet breast cancer receives over seven times as much funding per life lost. Lung cancer receives the lowest funding of any of the major cancers, yet kills more people than the next three leading cancers combined. We don’t want to take funding away from the other cancers. We just want funding parity for the leading cause of cancer death. (Source:

If you would like to join us on a beautiful June morning, under the shade of the trees in gorgeous Laurelhurst park, click here, and join team Live Lung and Prosper.

If you would like to donate, click here.

And, even better, if you would like to form your own team, click here. The best way to grow an event like this is to grow the number of teams.




From Wounded to Warrior

Friends and Family,

Genevieve and I just got back from a two-for one trip to Washington, DC. The second part of the trip, the LUNGevity HOPE Summit, is a lung cancer conference. What gives me the biggest buzz at this conference are the people I meet.

I met one woman three years ago, just  months after she was diagnosed. Laura looked so terrified and vulnerable that I just wanted to put my arm around her and tell her everything would be alright. But that would not have been real. The best I could do was tell her my story, and to let her see by example that at least some people are still alive nine years later.

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Fast-forward three years, and Genevieve and I were planning to attend a rally on Capitol Hill and do some lobbying before this year’s HOPE Summit. Laura recently had to quit her full-time job, but still has enough in the tank to put her background as an attorney to organize rallies and lobbying (on Facebook: Life and Breath – LAB). On a training video conference call she led, Laura’s two bouncy little kids, maybe five and seven years old, kept running into the room, jumping up and down in front of the camera. Laura was passionately describing the best practices for lobbying, pausing every now and then to shoo her kids out of the room. I scrolled through the video screens of the 40 other participants, and they were all trying not to snicker, just like us. Laura would get a little further through the agenda, and then another kid would pop in and photobomb. While embarrassing for mom, it was hilarious for the rest of us.

Once we got to the rally, Laura stood in front of the 200+ protesters, whipping the crowd into a frenzy of moral outrage over how lung cancer kills more people than the next three leading cancers (yes, this includes breast cancer) combined, yet the National Institutes for Health give only 6% of their cancer research dollars to lung cancer research. She had us screaming so loud that the other groups in the area, a block or more away, all turned to see what the fuss was about. Way to go, Laura! In three years, you have gone from wounded bird to cancer warrior!

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But there’s more to the story. In the afternoon, we all scattered to lobby our respective elected representatives.  Genevieve, our friend Violet and I were just finishing our day of lobbying, when we ran into Laura on the street. She was fighting mad about the professional lung cancer advocacy organizations that they had coordinated with. “I told them that what they were pushing was really lame. They’re asking for one more ridiculous study that will be put on a shelf and never looked at again, and a few million dollars. That’s NOTHING to Congress. That’ not even a ROUNDING ERROR to them. I told them that’s not good enough. I’m going to be dead before my kids get out of elementary school, so your pace doesn’t work for me. It’s not about you. It’s about me!” 

I saw the tears in her eyes, along with the fire. I felt deeply for her, and for her husband standing next to us, and for those two cute little curtain-climbers that will have to learn the meaning of cancer way too soon. And I realized that, as much as I will fight it, the chances are good that what she is saying is true for me as well. If this is the pace of increase for research spending, it won’t be in time for Laura or for me.

And while Laura is right, that this funding request is completely dwarfed by the needs, it still brings crucial dollars to lung cancer research for those that follow. There have been seventeen new drugs approved for lung cancer treatment in the last three years alone. That is an explosion! There is reason for hope, which is why Genevieve and I will be back in DC in July, lobbying Congress again. That is why I am asking you to join my team for the Portland Lung Love Run/Walk on Saturday, June 23rd, or to donate to our team (Live Lung and Prosper), by following this link:

I thought about how Laura looked that first time I met her three years ago. And then I thought about the elected representatives Laura was about to meet. This time, I thought, it’s not going to be Laura that looks like a deer in the headlights.



What to Do on a Beautiful June Day

The Lung Love Run Walk Portland is coming up again, and I’m excited! Join us on Saturday, June 23rd, for the walk. Our goal this year is to have 30 team members, and to raise $2,500 for the Lung Cancer Alliance.

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As you are aware, I am passionate about this cause. I am still alive twelve years after I was first diagnosed with lung cancer, and that has only been possible because of lung cancer research. I have been on three treatments that didn’t even exist the first time I was diagnosed, something that is not possible without lung cancer research. But there are still huge holes in the options available. I have lost friends to this deadly disease, and the next treatment needed to keep me alive may not have been invented yet. We need the research funds now.

Next Thursday, Genevieve and I will be going to Washington, DC for a lung cancer rally on Capitol Hill to raise awareness of the 433 people a day who die of lung cancer. That afternoon, we will have private appointments with Senator Ron Wyden, Senator Jeff Merkley’s staff, and Representative Suzanne Bonamici, where we will be pressing for lung cancer research funding. I was stunned to learn that the National Institutes of Health only spend 6% of their research dollars on lung cancer. Since lung cancer kills more people than the next three cancers(breast, ovarian, and prostate) combined, that is unconscionable.

We borrowed our agenda from the Lung Cancer Alliance, and will return in July with that group for an organized lobbying trip to press the agenda again. I lobbied with this group two years ago, and it was an empowering experience, having influence on our government.  

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So if you would like to join us on a beautiful June morning, under the shade of the trees in gorgeous Laurelhurst park, click here, and join team Live Lung and Prosper.

If you would like to donate, click here.

And, even better, if you would like to form your own team, click here. The best way to grow an event like this is to grow the number of teams.

Thank you for your ongoing support in a million different ways.



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     -

Guinness Beer.jpg

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:


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: 

Here is the link to start your own team:

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.