Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Hey everyone! Its me, mike, for a change. Dan has the evening off, but will be back on the air next week at his regularly scheduled time. I'm not sure who half of these email addresses represent anymore, but I really appreciate your continued interest in my treatment and support for Dan and me through this process. I've been done with chemotherapy and the radiation treatments for about a week now, and I feel like a dark cloud is clearing and I'm starting to wake up. I'm feeling better each day. Of course, with clarity comes the realization that I've done almost nothing the last three months and my life is a mess, but my favorite saying these days is 'I'll worry about that tomorrow'. (that's my way of slipping in an excuse/apology for not sending out xmas cards, thank you cards or any other type of paper product, but I think of you all often) Unfortunately, the day after tomorrow, Thursday, the chemotherapy starts up again at twice the dosage I was taking before so I may just slip back into my previous tired, oblivious state. Fortunately, this time I will only be taking it five days in a row and then have the rest of each month off. Apparently this process is supposed to continue the rest of my life. What????!! I didn't realize before that chemotherapy could be a life long process. Of course, "life long" has taken on a new meaning for me.

That was today's big question. Dan and I started with a 9am MRI in Redwood City, followed by a 10:30am appointment with my oncologist. This was the first MRI since the chemo, radiation and avastin treatments started so we've been very anxious to get the results. The doc. said the results looked very good. I responded well to the treatments, the tumor seems to have been reduced in spots, and there didn't seem to be any new growth. Its was the first time since the initial diagnosis that I think both Dan and I have felt optimistic. I think we can now move from planning for the next three months to looking at treatment plans for the next three years. Unfortunately, my doc. was quick to point out that with this diagnosis we're not talking about a cure, we're just looking at the possibility of living longer with the tumor if I continue to respond so well to the drugs and not show any signs of neurological damage (he's such a kill joy). But, to cheer us back up he did add that perhaps a cure could be found in the next couple years which would change treatment options. So, my new goal is to live long enough for some brilliant mind out there to find a cure. Now, I know many of you on this list have brilliant minds, so please get to work!

Dan and I will be celebrating the latest MRI results with a little champagne and I hope everyone will join us in a toast to a hopeful and healthy 2008. All the best to everyone and much love from Dan and mike.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

This update comes a bit late, and all I can do is blame it on the chaotic times also known as the "holidays." With all the complaining we all do about the preparations for the holidays, when it's all said and done, I must say it was well worth the effort.

Our family spent the weekend before Christmas with Mike's mother, his brother, and all of his brother's family. Mike, my son Remy, and I arrived on Friday early evening with our new puppy in tow. We helped Barbara get the fireplace going, then spent a cozy time eating and relaxing. Of course this is all under the backdrop of Remy and Tessa running around the house with high energy and loud voices. Billie was being the typical pre-teen, with the phone glued to her ear, and her fingers typing away on the computer. She did briefly grace us with her presence during the meal, then was off again. This is what I consider a typical family gathering.

On Sunday Robert and the rest of his family arrived so that we could all be present for a delicious Christmas dinner prepared by Barbara. Gifts were exchanged, and Michael was presented with the gift of a star being named after him. I'm not talking about a rock-star, I'm talking galaxies away, big bright rock in the sky kind of star. This unique gift came from him big brother Robert. This tough guy continues to amaze me with showing his sensitive side by reaching out to Michael throughout this.

On Christmas Eve we were back in San Francisco, as Mike had a radiation appointment first thing that morning. From there we were off to San Rafael to pick up my son Dante so that he could spend a few days celebrating Christmas with us. That afternoon we waited for my daughter, Arianne to arrive home from work, then had our Mexican Christmas Eve tradition of hot chicken tamales. These were not store bought tamales, they were the authentic thing, made by the loving hands of my mother Flavia, who lives in So. California. To our great surprise she had four dozen tamales Fed Exd overnight to our home. Before eating we lifted a glass to Grandma Cano for our wonderful meal. The rest of the evening was spent eating far too much sweets, drinking hot cocoa with way to many marshmallows, and watching both It's a Wonderful Life and Meet Me In St. Louis. All of this while Mike and I quietly wrapped gifts once the kids had nodded off.

The next morning we quickly got off to church, where our non-traditional family was asked to bring up the gift of bread and wine for communion during the mass.

After Christmas was over, Mike had only two radiation appoints left, so on December 27th he finally completed the six week combined treatment of Radiation and Chemotherapy.

In all I must say that Mike came through all of this in very good shape. Not to downplay the difficult periods, as he certainly suffered side effects and symptoms related to the three treatment modes he is enrolled with. I would say the most difficult concern would be that of increasing fatigue. It often dictated what kind of outings Mike might try to undertake, and sometimes, the consequences of trying to over do things. I Hope that as things now start slowing down, both Mike and I will be able to put some of these worries aside, and plan some of the fun things we enjoyed prior to being invaded by this unwanted tumor.

Today is the beginning of the new year, and very few of us can see what's truly ahead for us. This is why we consistently find ourselves pondering over prior failed new years resolutions. Lets try to have a global resolution that we can each personally participate in. Let us tell each other how much we value each other, and do this while taking very good care of ourselves. If you care for yourself, then you are better able to care for others. I have been taking good care of my Michael, but not of myself. Starting tomorrow morning, I will get the kids off to school, then get my tired old self down to the gym. I will also do my best to drag Michael down there with me.

Next Steps..............On Tuesday, January 8, 2008, Michael will have his follow-up MRI at Kaiser Redwood City. We will immediately meet with his oncologist, Dr. Peak. At that time we will know how much success they had in shrinking or killing off the cancer cells, or minimally, slowing down the tumor's growth. The outcome of these findings will of course dictate the next course of action, which I promise to relay to everyone as quickly as possible.

In closing let me say that I am truly in love with this man, his smile both sets me at ease and fills me with childish laughter. Remember that winning smile before you settle down tonight. Feel his smile radiate over you, and send him your well wishes. Because believe me, if he starts holding back on those smiles over here, you may one day find Little Mr. Lowrie giving those tamales a run for their money, by being FedExed over night to one of your unsuspecting home....!!

It's late at night, and I fear that my writing style may be a bit testy. I can always blame it on the sleeping pill that didn't do its job tonight.

Love to all of you. And a wish for a very loving and joyful New Year.