Julie Fruit Flies And Julie Mice

In addition to using this blog as a means to keep family and friend updated on my medical status, as well as for my emotional outlet and philosophical musings, I feel a strong sense of obligation to share medical and scientific information here, to meaningfully assist others who are living with colorectal and other cancers, as well as those who do not have cancer (but who may be current or future caregivers or future cancer sufferers).  And I’m not talking about simple things like, get a colonoscopy if you’re 50 or earlier if you have symptoms or family history.  My goal is to provide you with information that is not common knowledge, that represents the cutting edge of science, as I understand that information and as it applies to me (and possibly you).  The truth is that the standard of care for those with metastatic colorectal cancer generally sucks, to put it eloquently, and that I will die if I’m treated with the standard of care.  I’ve yet to meet anyone who has been cured (meaning no evidence of disease for five years or more post-treatment) of colorectal cancer that has metastasized to the lungs (which is where my mets are currently, as far as I know).  I’ve met a number of people who have been cured of colorectal cancer that has metastasized to the liver, but not the lungs.  For whatever they are worth, my impressions of colorectal cancer that has metastasized to the peritoneum, small intestines, ovaries, brain and bones is even more depressing.  Of course, science is constantly evolving so what I know to be true today about the prognoses of those with metastatic colorectal cancer may not be true in a year or two or three.  And if I’m to have a chance at long-term survival, I must find a way to be part of that evolving science.  And perhaps, with a little luck and possibly a nudge from the Hand of God, I and my doctors just might make the right choices.   More

Our Shared Humanity

Before I proceed with a medical update, here is Part 3 of the Medical Daily article about me and related philosophical musings.  This final part in the series focuses on my fundraising efforts to fund a cure for colorectal cancer:  A Shared Passion To Fund A Cure For Colon Cancer.

In my moments of self-involved fear, sadness and anger, when I know with a deep conviction that I will die from this cancer and sooner rather than later — unless I’m killed in a car accident or plane crash before then — I try to calm myself by remembering that I am but one person on a planet circling a star, along with billions of other people, in a universe that includes an untold number of planets and stars.  My one human life in its infinitesimal smallness and my experiences from that life seemingly matter little when juxtaposed against the lengthy history and hopefully lengthier future of my species and even less against the vastness of time and space,  Billions of people have come before me and billions will come after me (I hope); they too have known and will know the same joys and pains that I have known; we are linked together through the millennia by our common humanity, our shared understanding of the human experience.  Though technology may have evolved, there is something universal, fundamental and timeless in the feelings we experience as we look upon the innocence of a child or witness the agonizing death of another human being.  Yes, there is evil in this world, war and other despicable brutalities, greed, materialism, jealousy, arrogance, both past and present; such dark qualities are indelible parts of our human selves. And yet, I have faith in the overall goodness of humanity, as flawed and imperfect as we are, of our incredible potential, for we are capable of such ingenuity, intelligence, creativity, compassion, love and wisdom. Even as I fear that our darker qualities may lead us to our own self-destruction, whether through nuclear war or the erosion of our life-giving planet, I also hope fervently that we are the source of our own salvation, that somehow, together, we will find solutions to the greatest problems that plague our species.  (How ironic indeed that I can have such hope for humankind’s salvation but I cannot muster that same optimism for my own personal salvation from this disease.  I recognize my own inconsistency.)  More