I used to not hate people.  But now I hate people.  Can you guess who I hate the most?

It isn’t the grandmother who has the privilege of taking her grandson to violin lesson, the one I always see when I come out of Mia’s lesson. No doubt, it is a privilege she doesn’t even fully appreciate.

It isn’t even the old lady with a cane who criticized me for taking a seat at the front of the bus reserved for the disabled and therefore depriving a man hobbling down the aisle forced to take another seat a few feet away – I shut her up when I screamed at her that I have Stage IV cancer and yanked at the neck of my t-shirt to show her and everyone else on the bus the unmistakable bump on my chest under which lies my mediport.  I wanted to scream something more about my legal blindness, making me disabled on yet another level and entirely entitled to that seat in ways she could not possibly understand and that she should go fuck herself.  But the presence of my older daughter beside me stopped me.  (My poor children.  They have been so traumatized by me and no doubt will carry with them confusing and humiliating memories of their angry mother acting like a stark raving lunatic on this and many other occasions.  I hope they will understand that the rage was rooted in a deep love for them.) 

Then there was the tall, well-dressed woman who made some snide comment at me when Chipper got away on his leash and therefore interfered with her self-absorbed rush down the broad sidewalk outside my building. I wanted to chase her down and punch her again and again and again, until all the rage inside me found an escape.  I wanted to claw her eyes out.  I wanted to strangle her to death.  I still do.  Criminal charges, imprisonment, life sentences, none of it matters in those moment of fury.  But my children were with me, so I just let the incident pass and did nothing.  Even though I wanted to kill that woman, I don’t hate her the most either.

Nor is it all the other mothers I know and don’t know who get to attend Back-To-School Nights and listen to the new teachers talk about homework routines , all without worrying about who exactly is going to make sure their children do homework after they die, and more broadly, about how the hell their children are not going to become totally fucked up in light of their mother’s death.

It isn’t even mothers who have been cured of Stage I or II or III cancer.

Don’t get me wrong – I hate all of these people to some degree, at least in the abstract if not directly. But the people who I hate above all others are the mothers who were diagnosed with Stage IV cancer and who somehow were cured, who for some unknown reason escaped the death sentence.  I find myself asking a God that never answers my questions why?  Why them and not me?  But that question seems inconsequential when I think of my children.  I would sacrifice myself for my children a million times over.  Are those women’s children somehow more deserving of a mother than mine?  Are those children more worthy human beings than mine?  My children are incredible little people.  Mia is so smart and inquisitive and musically gifted.  Isabelle is so compassionate and funny and graceful.  If those mothers ever deigned to believe that their lives are more valuable than mine or that their children are more deserving of a mother than mine, I would indeed kill them in cold blood.

Anyone who is a parent and even anyone who is not can imagine how a mother will go to great lengths to protect her children, to defend them from harm, to attack anything and anyone that would threaten their children, to seek vengeance. My children will be hurt in untold ways by my death, shattered by cancer, the cruel twist of fate, by God’s will.  How do I protect, defend, counterattack and take revenge against an unfathomable force far mightier than myself?  I cannot.  So all I am left with is my rage and hate, ineffective tools to shield my girls from this greatest of pain.  And yet, these emotions often are my sole companions in my lonely journey toward a premature death.

What I have written above is perhaps the darkest of anything I have ever written for I am writing about rage, hatred and violence. I truly believe that such feelings are a universal part of our human experience, brought on by such mundane states as motherhood or residency in a place like New York City, the negative byproducts of our social interactions and innate tendencies that are heightened and exacerbated by high stress conditions like cancer.  But such negativity is often unacknowledged and unaddressed because no one wants to talk about something so ugly and unflattering; no one wants to be uncomfortable, embarrassed, ashamed.

But I seem to have lost whatever social mores that would have told me to be uncomfortable, embarrassed or ashamed. I don’t care anymore because I am dying.  My oncologist pretty much told me so after the last scans in mid-September.  The radiation/immunotherapy combination was a colossal failure.  Growth everywhere – in the lungs, in the abdomen, in the pelvis.  The worst scans I’ve ever had.  He kept describing new and bigger tumors.  It was so awful I couldn’t even bring myself to read the scan reports, I who like to think I’m so smart and should read everything.   Dr. AC said I have a year without treatment.  Given that I’ve exhausted the first, second and third lines of treatment, whatever treatment options remaining are not going to extend my life much beyond that. And there’s always the possibility that treatment, mostly experimental at this point, could make me so sick that it would in fact shorten my life.

Please spare me the platitudes like, “Only God knows your expiration date” and “Doctors don’t know.” Doctors certainly can take a better educated guess than I based on their professional experience.  And I also don’t want to hear the trite, “We are all dying.”

For a week I moved in a depressed and shocked daze. How could I possibly still be shocked by anything anymore after three years of this shit, I wondered.  The daze was worsened by sleep deprivation and intense abdominal and pelvic pain that was most certainly the ever growing tumors making themselves felt.  And yet, I still moved, even though my movements were clumsy and punctuated by frequent tearful outbursts.  How was that even possible?  How did I still manage to walk the dog and get the kids ready for school and sit there and oversee Mia’s violin practice?  How did I go to a barbeque at Josh’s boss’s house and smile and act normal?  How did I take my children to birthday parties and make Costco runs?  How did I move us back into the half of our apartment as we finished our months-long apartment combination project?  How could I do any of this even as I felt myself slipping ever closer to death?

Instinct, I suppose. Muscle memory.  A powerful sense of obligation.  An immensely practical nature, most of all.  After I left Dr. AC’s office, I called my sister to tell her the news.  Without tears, I told her that as much as she had not wanted to talk about this, that we had to now start talking about “it”, that she needed to prepare to become my children’s surrogate mother, that I would rather she be their surrogate mother over any random woman Josh married.  She would need to be the one to make sure the kids did their homework and practice their instruments; she would need to collect and present to Josh extracurricular activity and summer camp options; she would need to supervise the running of the household (as I know Josh would hate dealing with such mundane details).  Unspoken was the understanding that she would provide that female emotional support my children will desperately need.  I told her that I had already determined a short list of friends (and mothers) who would support and help her (since she doesn’t have children of her own), women who would advise her as she neecessary.  I told her that perhaps this was all meant to be, that her younger, only sister dying and her never having married or having children will now afford her the opportunity to experience a unique brand of motherhood.  As much as hadn’t wanted to discuss any of this because she didn’t want me to die, she agreed.  We talked about how she could move closer (Queens seems too far), how she and my brother would divide the responsibility of caring for our aging parents, how she might possibly move into my apartment temporarily to ease the transition.  If there is one thing about my family I am so incredibly proud of, the family into which I was born, it is that we are incredibly practical people.  No matter how horrible and tragic something is, we always take care of what needs to be taken care of.  There is no emotional withering, no debilitating depression.  Our impoverished immigrant roots taught us survival skills that are fundamental to our very being.  This is an attitude, an approach, a world view that I hope the girls, despite their comparatively privileged upbringing, will have somehow inherited from me.

Josh was devastated. Again, I wondered how is it possible to still feel devastated after three years of this, after receiving bad news time and time again? We comforted each other in the wee hours of the morning, waking from our brief exhausted slumber.  I forced him to tell me his fears.  How would he manage to be a single parent while also maintaining the career that means so much to him?  Who could possibly run the household like I?  When should he stop working to be with me?  I did my best to address all his fears.  I’ve spent three years planning for my death.  I have many contingency plans.  Many lists in my head.  Many things to write down.  Many instructions to issue.  If I could, I would handpick Josh’s second wife, but unfortunately, I haven’t gotten around to establishing that contingency plan yet.

I told Josh that I want to be cremated, for my ashes to be spread in the Pacific Ocean. I decided on the Pacific Ocean while I stayed at my brother’s house this past summer, as I sat in his backyard staring down into the ocean that lies between the land mass where I was born and the one where I lived all my potential.  I told him I want my memorial service to be held at the church we’ve been going to since Mia demanded we start going over a year ago.  I told him I want it to be held three months after I die; three months is enough time for people to make travel arrangements and soon enough to allow Josh and my family to grieve and then I want them to move on afterwards.  I want him to ask Mia’s violin teacher to perform at the service.  I told him who to ask to help with the planning of the memorial service and showed him where old pictures of me can be found.  He spent a weekend crying over those faded photographs, bemoaning the unfairness of it all.

I spent the weekend rearranging our chaotic stuff into our new expanded closets, replacing our old dinnerware with the new ones I just bought, reorganizing spices, cleaning, planning, thinking and planning some more.

And in between all this, I cried, screamed, moaned – you know the drill. Same emotions.  Same sorrow.  Same anger.  Bur this time, with the help of a friend’s sage observation, I realized that while I may grieve the loss of my own life, one day soon I will die and my pain will end.  My children, however, will carry the pain of losing their mother their entire lives, a pain at which I can only guess.  While I cannot protect and defend them from that pain, I can teach them by example how to weather life’s inevitable storms, how to stand up and instead of running from the fires that are far more powerful than any human being, to confront and walk through them, to emerge on the other side no matter how intense those flames with a spirit that is intact, whole and stronger than it has ever been.

When Dr. AC gave me that dim prognosis, I knew I wanted more than a year. I needed more time to plan, to live, to mother.  My children need me for as many days as I can give them.  Weeks of no chemotherapy had left me feeling pretty good so I knew I could withstand more treatment.

And so, I asked a friend to help me schedule an appointment for that coming week with a prominent GI oncologist in Washington, DC (Dr. M), someone who had helped me with a fundraiser a couple years ago, but whom I had never seen as a patient. If I had gone through regular channels, I would have had to wait six weeks.  I got an appointment for the coming Thursday.  I called Memorial Sloan Kettering for an appointment with an oncologist (Dr. V) I had seen a couple times before for second opinions.  She is young and therefore not one of the big names at MSK but I have always liked her and wanted above all else access to MSK’s clinical trials.  I had already decided that whatever clinical trials I would do, I would not travel, not unless it was an amazingly promising trial.  I wasn’t going to waste whatever valuable time I had left with my family traveling constantly for something that is highly unlikely to work.  MSK is the leading cancer center in the country and fortunately for me, it is only a 35 minute subway ride away.  Dr. V had a last minute cancelation on Wednesday, hours before I was to board a train for DC.  I took it.

Instinctively, I felt the need to obtain other opinions. Dr. AC was offering me Lonsurf and Stilvarga, the last two drugs approved for colorectal cancer.  My impression is that Lonsurf is generally ineffective and Stilvarga, while effective, carries significant side effects.  Stilvarga’s frightening reputation had led me to previously proclaim that I would never take Stilvarga.  Funny how when faced with death, one’s tune often changes.  Dr. AC couldn’t answer my questions about the effectiveness rate of these two drugs nor did he know anything about good clinical trials or the benefits of  recycling prior treatments.  I needed to see oncologists that treated nearly exclusively colorectal cancer.  Dr. AC does not see enough colorectal cancer to know the answers to these very specific questions. He was also offering me Pazopanib, a kidney cancer drug that was effective at slowing tumor growth in the mice that had been implanted with my tumor (the only drug of four that I had had tested that showed any real promise).  That seemed like a crazy option with which I was not at all comfortable.

Dr. V identified the standard of care options that I already knew about (i.e., Lonsurf and Stilvarga), but she also offered me a spot in a clinical trial. It is a Phase 2 trial (meaning that the experimental drug has been tested for safety) involving a chemotherapy agent called SGI-110 that is administered in combination with irinotecan, a chemotherapy drug I’ve had lots of.  Patients are randomized into two arms, one involving SGI-110 and irinotecan and one involving one of Lonsurf or Stilvarga (patient’s choice).  Even if the patient is randomized into the latter arm, once Lonsurf or Stilvarga fails, he is assigned into the other arm, so the patient receives the experimental drug sooner or later.

The next morning I saw Dr. M. Despite the unfamiliar environment, it was a relief to see him.  He is such a kind man with a wonderful bedside manner but he also know what he’s talking about.  He reassured me.  First, he asked me how I was doing emotionally; he knew how I was inside by looking at the scans but he wanted to know how I was emotionally.  I told him that I was emotionally exhausted, that I was tired of making decisions, that I wanted someone I trusted to just tell me what to do.  In my arrogance I used to believe that given my intelligence if I did enough research, that if I read enough articles and spent enough time looking at clinical trials, I would find the right answer.  We are supposed to be our own advocates, right?  We are supposed to question.  We are supposed to have a collaborative relationship with our doctors.  How stupid, I was.  I now believe differently.  There’s a minimal amount of research one should do, but very quickly it becomes a case of diminishing marginal return.  One just needs to find an oncologist one can trust and then focus on living and all things non-cancer related.  Even with respect to clinical trials, what is the point of excessive research?  Once you determine that you are unwilling to travel and factor in availability, there are few to choose from, even in a big city like New York City.

Dr. M understood my exhaustion. He took out a piece of paper and started writing down exactly what I should do.  Caris genetic testing of my ovarian tumor from the surgery in April.  Updated testing has a 10%  chance of helping me determine future clinical trials.  He would take care of it for me if I took care of the paperwork since he can ask for additional testing beyond the standard course.  Lonsurf and Stilvarga have a 40% effectiveness rate for an average of six months with some patients experiencing quite a long tail.  They both offer stability, not shrinkage.  Stilvarga, despite what the blogosphere and the interenet says, is not so horrible, especially when dosed appropriately – he starts at 120 mg.  He administers Lonsurf with Avastin.  No Avastin with Stilvarga.  Choosing between the two is just a question of what side effects I’m willing to tolerate more – nausea and fatigue versus hand and foot syndrome.  He knows of the SGI-110 trial and thinks it’s a “reasonable” trial for me to do and I should allow the randomization gods to take one decision away from me.  He has never seen the personalized mouse experimentation work.  So he would not recommend the kidney cancer drug now.

As for how much time do I have, he doesn’t know.  I’m not in any immediate danger.  He asked me if I’ve ever seen my scans.  I told him I’ve always been afraid to look.  He walked me through my scans to illustrate the point that I don’t have that much disease.  We discussed where was my disease more dangerous, in the lungs or the peritoneum.  In other words, where will the disease actually kill me?  I have always been afraid of peritoneal disease because my impression is that it grows so quickly.  He said that if he had to choose, he would say peritoneal is more dangerous, not because of the rate of progression, but because of the implications for quality of life.  Peritoneal disease causes bowel blockages which have a tremendous impact on quality of life (i.e., pain and the inability to eat and drink).  However, at that point, artificial food administered through IV becomes an option.  The disease in my lungs is still small, a centimeter here, a centimeter there.  But once that disease grows large enough, my lungs will fail and I will die.  There is no artificial means to get around failing lungs.

My meeting with Dr. M was the best oncological appointment I have ever had. Speaking to him made me realize how I had been having misgivings about Dr. AC for awhile, how Dr. AC could never answer my questions or seemed to always defer my questions.  Dr. AC was the kind of doctor with whom I could have a collaborative relationship, the kind of doctor I could text and email any time of day.   But I don’t want or need that anymore.  His crazy proposals were reminiscent of a cowboy in the Wild Wild West.  Dr. M condemned him for allowing me to go on the radiation and immunotherapy combination.  He was furious because I have now burned a bridge to go on trials for other immunotherapy drugs involving similar agents.  I was well aware of this risk as was Dr. AC but he seemed to brush it off and so did I.  I have so much regret for going along with Dr. AC’s “crazy” idea and wish I hadn’t.  As a friend told me though, it’s impossible to go through this cancer journey without having regrets given the number of decisions we have to make at every turn.  I am no longer beating myself up too much now because I don’t think the detour will make much of a difference ultimately.  I’m still going to die.  At least this way, I got a couple months off of chemo and now I feel better than I have in a long time.

But the radiation and immunotherapy combination failure made me realize that I want an oncologist who specialized in colorectal cancer to tell me what to do. I want to be at an institution that specializes exclusively in cancer and knows best how to help cancer patients deal with the last months of their lives.  For me, that is MSK.  The next day, last Friday, I went in to see Dr. V to sign the consent to enter the SGI-110 trial and to tell her that I would be switching my care to her and MSK, even after the trial.  I have always been put off by the institutional nature of MSK, the long waits, the lines to enter the elevator, the seeming impersonality of it all, but I don’t care anymore.  I want the institutional support of MSK.  Despite what Dr. M may say, I still believe that I’m looking at months rather than years and so I want an institution like MSK to be behind me now.

In order to start the trial, I had to complete a “wash out” period, a four-week period without any treatment of any kind. My wash out period ended on Thursday.  Yesterday, the randomization process began.  I will know soon into which arm I will be placed.  I expect to start treatment on Wednesday.

There is much more to write about, as there always is, but I will stop here for now. I’m feeling much better now that there is a plan and certain events of the last week and a half have given me a strange kind of peace and calm.  More about that later.  My abdominal pain is gone.  I went lap swimming for the first time in years on Thursday and even though I’ve struggled to learn how to breathe with the proper technique for years, I learned that day with the help of a friend and a stranger swimming in the neighboring lane.  The apartment is absolutely gorgeous.  I can’t wait to do a video and share the completed renovations with you all.  I’m okay.  Thanks to everyone who has wondered.  Despite what I wrote above, I don’t hate you.  I love you all.

22 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Janie Davis
    Oct 08, 2016 @ 11:26:29

    Thanks for sharing, Julie.
    You are entitled to your feelings and your actions.
    You are loved, big hug to you my friend!


  2. Becky, NP
    Oct 08, 2016 @ 11:31:43

    I’m blown away at your willingness to share your raw emotions. You say things that others can only think in the privacy of their own heads. This makes you a truly extraordinary person, in so many ways. Your words help everyone, both sick and well, to realize how lucky we are to be alive.


  3. Cindy
    Oct 08, 2016 @ 11:51:05

    I wish you were healed now just as I wish my brother would have been healed when he and I both faced the cancer demon at the same time. But it was not to be and he did die. I now deal with the guilt as to why I lived and he didn’t. Why he can’t be here today to see his son get married this very day. Why he can’t be here to meet his grand children. Why did I get to live? And at times I wish he had lived and I died. He was so much smarter and had so much more to offer than I feel I do. He now has grandchildren and I don’t. He gave back to the community by tutoring Chinese children in English, he loved doing that. Children and animals were mystically drawn to him with a comfort that he gave them that I wish I could give. I ask myself all the time why am I still here and with much guilt I have no answer.


  4. Valerie Barkus Kantner
    Oct 08, 2016 @ 12:01:22

    Julie, thanks for another great post. Your brutal honesty is opening a window for others who suffer from cancer and the caregivers. My husband passed away from colon cancer 27 months ago, and we weren’t able to be honest with each other. I know it was a terribly lonely journey for him, though I tried my best to help. You are one in a trillion!


  5. Barbara Gettelman
    Oct 08, 2016 @ 12:02:11

    Think of how many mothers have died since your diagnosis. Think of how many mothers are dying right now — with no support,, not the mental capacity to understand the complications, the web of choices, Not the incredible self awareness to confront and accept your very worst self. Not the fierce, protective energy and singleminded, iron will to embrace your family with every beat of your heart. Not the determination to continue to search, to explore scary options, to accept choose which pain would be mot tolerable to get you to the next challenge.

    You have given your girls a mother who will always be in their orbit. When life gets difficult your example will sustain them. Hopefully, you will have created in them a lifelong healthy perspective, a true understanding about what is precious and what is trivial. Your courage with inspire them. Your brutal honesty will empower them. They are experiencing all of this and they are absorbing what it means to be truly brave. You are TRULY brave.


  6. Cirincione, Norma F.
    Oct 08, 2016 @ 13:28:57

    Julie, Edward joins me in sending you and Josh and your daughters our love, Norma

    — Norma F. Cirincione | Director of Alumni Relations and Associate Life Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP Assistant: rminott@cgsh.com One Liberty Plaza, New York NY 10006 T: +1 212 225 3150 | F: +1 212 225 3848 | M: +1 646 894 3019 ncirincione@cgsh.com | clearygottlieb.com


  7. Joanne LaGrega
    Oct 08, 2016 @ 15:05:15

    Julie, you continue to amaze me, I am sending lots of prayers, hugs and love.


  8. Kate
    Oct 08, 2016 @ 15:08:02

    Julie, you are the best mother I know. Love you, too.


  9. Mary King
    Oct 08, 2016 @ 17:08:49

    Julie, I am happy to see this post. As I subscribed to another stage IV victim’s (not always the right word, but after reading your post now I am sticking with it for today) WordPress blog just this week, it made me think of you. I am grateful for your willingness too share such raw emotions and in awe of your courage with the planning discussions that you have with your sister and husband. I pray that you will get a miracle through Dr M and that your girls will get more years learning from your tenacity. My husband has stage IV also and I just wanted to reach out to send some virtual hugs. God bless!


  10. Kelly
    Oct 08, 2016 @ 20:55:46

    SCCCCCCRREEEAAAAMMMMMM,, THANK YOU FOR HATING,, now let me get a kleenex, , I’m so sorry your going through this, that your kids & husband will be forever changed. More kleenex ( actually my cheeks are covered in tears,, nose plugged now & top lip slightly moistened with snot). I’m so sad for you. ..
    I don’t know you,, but you can give my Facebook info to your sister & I’ll answer questions to the best of my ability, share my kleenex, and demonstrate how loud my vocal cords can get incase she needs unwarranted permission / support. I’m serious about this offer..
    I’ll end my response with a topic of conversation I had with a friend today, the topic was the fact that we are both grateful that we live in Oregon, which is a die with dignity state. Something I’ve personally looked into.
    Thank you Julie for all of your words…


  11. Linda
    Oct 08, 2016 @ 22:55:09

    So wonderful to see you and Josh today. Meant a lot. Hope he had a good time. Thank you. Re the blog. Super powerful. I once again so relate to so much that you say. I feel the hate as I have told you in such strange places and ways; nursing homes, my mom’s residence, seeing grouchy old people I want to shake and tell them how lucky they are. As well as the feeling right down to the elevator description of MSK. And I am deeply sorry for your feelings of regret and any consequences AC treatment may bring. And so much more … But for tonite enough for me. I am super tired and grateful for my friends and being in good enough shape to have this birthday on a mild drug. Thank you again for coming. Linda

    Sent from my iPhone



  12. Kris Bruneau
    Oct 09, 2016 @ 10:50:46

    What awful news. You show such honesty and grace in sharing what this is all really like for you. I hate the pain you and your family are going through. Cancer is awful. But I am glad that you are feeling well now and have figured out a plan that makes sense for you.


  13. Barry Hawkey
    Oct 09, 2016 @ 15:16:26

    I have read good things about your clinical trial novel drug involving the Immunomodulatory action of SGI-110, a hypomethylating agent, in acute myeloid leukemia. Hopefully this will also be the case with CRC.


  14. Sean Deese
    Oct 09, 2016 @ 20:35:00

    Thank you for sharing this insane emotional roller coaster. It has enlightened me as I have been quite shielded from cancer in my family. I hate that you must go through this and am amazed that you are able to maintain the grace needed to rationally explain what you feel and what is happening. I truly wish you all the best, and will pray for you and your family.


  15. Laura
    Oct 09, 2016 @ 20:55:09

    I understand the rage and hate, Julie. Thank you for writing about it.
    All the best for the trial. big hug.


  16. Stephanie Hoaglund
    Oct 10, 2016 @ 09:42:59

    Thank you for sharing your intimate thoughts and feelings. It’s important for others who are experiencing or have experienced similar to know they are ‘normal’ and it’s ok. I hope you know you are helping a lot of people whether you like them or it or not. Not a consolation but maybe it does offer you some comfort — or maybe not.


  17. Alexis
    Oct 10, 2016 @ 14:01:16

    I know you do not like people to tell you how incredible of a person you are. You are definitely one of the most intellectual people I know (virtually know), and I like to think I know a lot of smart individuals- considering I am in a doctorate program. I wish I knew the right words to say to you. I wish I could put my thoughts into writing as well as you do. I want to say things like… your daughters WILL know how amazing you are and they will NEVER forget. I can only imagine how much they have learned from you– I am sure more than I have from my mother. But I know words like these will probably make you roll your eyes. I must say though, that that is the reason I read and wait to read more. You are so real and I am more than privileged to have the opportunity to know you and your life as you have shared. For now I will just say thank you.


  18. Maria Hartoularos
    Oct 10, 2016 @ 16:08:13

    Julie, I’m sending you all my positive energy and lots of prayers, you are an amazing woman.


  19. Anne Marie
    Oct 10, 2016 @ 21:03:09

    Julie, thank you for your update. While I have to hope for good news for you, I am also exceedingly practical and understand your need/muscle memory to organize for the worst outcome potential. I send you and your family so much love and strength as you continue on your life path, wherever it leads.


  20. Giada W
    Oct 16, 2016 @ 17:36:41

    Not your intent, but your thought process is very helpful to my own medical nightmare. Get the very best specialist and trust the hell out of them. Second guessing is exhausting. Best wishes for luck, karma or whatever crap makes your outcome better.


  21. Emily Cooke
    Nov 14, 2016 @ 21:58:21

    Julie, you and I were at Cleary at the same time and Josh and I worked on a bunch of deals together. I just want you to know that I have followed your blog from the first CGSH fundraising email and you both and your family are in my heart.


  22. scott
    Nov 25, 2016 @ 11:15:29

    Julie, I have only today been aware of your blog. I found it while researching HIPEC surgery, which I will undergo in 4 days. My diagnosis is stage IV rectal cancer. In short I want to say that I am saddened by your current diagnosis, and can most certainly relate to your disdain for people so troubled by their temporal, minuscule life interruptions. They have yet to be blessed with the knowledge of what is truly meaningful in life. Which however, seems a double edged sword when facing the premature, yet inevitable departure we all will face.
    In July of this year I started the recommended treatments of chemotherapy. However, I was never convinced of it’s effectiveness. After further research I found my concerns to be legitimate as a positive outcome of chemo for this condition is highly rare – hence, I was most thankful for learning about HIPEC (through my own research), having never been informed by my oncologist. After a fourth treatment (not round) I decided I was through with the poisoning and directed my efforts to natural treatments. YouTube was tremendously helpful. A documentary called “truth about cancer; a global quest” was recommended by an acquaintance who’s own brother had successfully fought off lymphoma twice through natural remedies. After two months of taking various enzymes, herbs, complete elimination of sugars (as cancer cells have 11 insulin receptors), apricot seeds along with bromalein, 4 mg low dose naltrexone, and various vitamins, my surgical oncologist said he was astounded by the results and said, “whatever you’re doing, keep it up.” At this point Julie, it seems you have little to lose in considering alternative options. And I only offer this as I relate well to your tremendous concerns. I hope the best for you. Yes, God does hear our prayers, although at times it seems they go unanswered. But above all concerns we may have, the inevitable fate of death will eventually find us all. But it is not an end. As you have stated, you’re concerned that your children will be traumatized by the situations they’ve experienced. I can only say that I for anyone, I would hope they leave behind the legacy of faith and hope in an eternity with the God who forgives our sins. We all face eternity at some point, and regardless of the hand we’ve been dealt, we must face the fact that we are sinners and need to be forgiven. I don’t say this to be condemning, but rather just to face a fact, and offer hope. If all we gain through this life experience is a number of days and satisfaction of our soul, we have truly gained so little. This life is not about this life, but about the eternity we must prepare for.


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