Well, shit.

It was an amazing thanksgiving.  We had a wonderful mix of people joining us, and we ate good food.

So very much to be thankful for.

But, I spoke to Alberto this afternoon and there has been a hiccup.  When the surgeon looked at the pathology slides (which he was going to do that following monday..  I never heard from him and assumed all was well), he found what they’re calling “viable” cancer cells.  While the margins around the tumor were clean, he doesn’t feel convinced that he got everything.  Because of the random scattering of the cells in the tumor, he can’t rule out individual cells OUTSIDE the section they removed..  feels it’s possible that the margins are clean just because they didn’t happen to hit anything.

Why didn’t they call me right away?  It’s a good question..  They didn’t want to ruin my thanksgiving, and felt that it wouldn’t change anything anyway.

The discomfort from the surgery is really hanging on.  Naturally it is quite painful to take a shit, but it also seems to be messing with my general digestive happiness.  Opiates help, but I don’t like taking them because it makes it hard to work (vicodin and milling machines are maybe not a smart combination). The discomfort has felt worth it in the context of things.  Now it’s just pissing me off.

What’s next.  The surgeon’s immediate opinion was that we need to amputate.  Alberto wants to avoid this at all costs.  He is recommending that we go somewhat experimental.  Avastin is a pretty new drug that has proven effective at slowing the demise in people with metastatic cancer.  It stops your body from being able to generate capillaries and, in doing so, starves the cancer.. (pedestrian understanding..  those docs out there reading this, forgive me).  It hasn’t been tested in cancer in the early stages, but he feels that it might be effective.  So..  add a drug to the regimen for the next four months or so, and resign myself to CONSTANT checkups.  Forever.  Or a shit bag (and the shit bag doesn’t seem to be any sort of guarantee that there isn’t cancer elsewhere..)

I’m frustrated.  I had been getting pretty charged up about the next few months.  Planning to go to NAHBS.  Planning what bikes I’d be taking.  Planning on having good long work weeks..  and most of all, planning to be healthy, and stop being poked and prodded.  One phone call, and it’s a new reality.

Oh well.

0 Replies to “Well, shit.”

  1. Sorry to hear that – but you know surgeons do surgery, so that is what they are going to propose (a guy with a hammer thinks it is the solution to all problems). I kinda like Alberto’s approach – the only question I would have is will taking that approach increase or decrease my chances for survival if it doesn’t work, ie can you opt for the amputation at a later date if Alberto’s approach doesn’t yield positive results. An asshole lost is gone forever, so if I could hang on to it for a while without increasing my odds for more drastic consequences, then I would at least consider going that route. You probably didn’t want all these opinions from me but for what they are worth (layman) maybe they will help you to decide. Anyway, hang in there – tough luck, but I hope that in the end you will prevail.

  2. well fucking hell. you’re the coolest person I never met, I wish this wasn’t happening to you. If only I could be Samantha from Bewitched and fix all the troubles ailing the people I like. cancer be damned.

  3. oh ezra. shoot. i have your back. i’m helping push you up this hill. along with everyone else here. dang it. but let’s just soldier on. a huge big hug.

  4. You’ve come so far and have soldiered through with a disposition that has been next to amazing.

    Hang in there and keep your chin up. Everything will work out in the end.

  5. Ez,

    That is a raw deal! You are one of the best persons I have never met. Vicodin is nasty shit. It made me feel more sick than it did killing the pain. Any opiate is rough on the digestive system for sure.

    Don’t let this throw you. You have been tough till now. The Doc’s did the right thing by not screwing up your Thanksgiving. If you can’t cut the cancer out, then starve the little bastard.

  6. I can’t tell you how surprised I am by this news, I was convinced from the start that you’d be cancer free hands down. Shows you why I’m not a Dr I guess. Wishing you continued luck, and hoping everything works out ok, Ez.

  7. um, cancer fucking sucks. so sorry. shitbag sounds like a major bummer, but then i don’t know how bad it is really after the initial adjustment is over. does it beat living in semi-fear and constant hassle of checkups? no easy answers.

  8. Hrmmmf. I’m sorry Ezra, and I second everything Megan said. I guess this is where having multiple informed opinions can be both frustrating and a blessing. Here’s hoping that there aren’t any bad cells outside that margin! We want you happy and healthy and continuing to make beautiful things.

  9. Oh shit. Ezra, we’re all so sad to hear this. I agree with Charles Boyd- check out all the options. And know that all your virtual friends are out here saying magic spells and all for you.

  10. Shit, I’ve only just left a comment on your “cured” Flickr photo.

    Sorry to hear there’s more “treatment” on the horizon for you.
    You’ll still be able to make NAHBSs won’t you? Just work at a normal person’s pace instead of the manic Ezra whirlwind we all love and admire.

    Regards Antoine

  11. Ezra, back in the ring again, man, knock it out and rise above! Believe in yourself and get through this.

    On a related note, watch mixing alcohol with Vicodin…not for the obvious reason (opiates + alcohol = depressed CNS), but because all Vicodin sold in the US has a 100-fold component of acetaminophen (e.g., 7.5 mg hyrocodone is ixed with 750 mg of acetaminophen) Acetaminophen (aka APAP, which may be how it’s listed on the bottle) by itself is a fairly strong hepatoxin, meaning it’ll kill your liver. When combined with alcohol, it’s particularly harmful. Just a heads up, if you don’t already know. The acetaminophen is included, in part, to discourage abuse of the drug.

  12. Shit! Cannot believe this! Well, it’s like these nice folks have said, it’s gonna take a little bit longer than what you expected. Alls I can say is keep thinking about all the cool projects you will be getting back to once all this nastiness is over and for God’s sake, rest up! Leave the soldering for when the Vicodin haze lifts, please. I am sending more restorative health vibes now….

  13. Wow. Setbacks like this can be really hard to take. I sympathize. I’d try the treatment if it didn’t increase my chances of dying if the treatment doesn’t work. Amputation doesn’t ensure that the cancer is all gone either. Wish I could help you to get to Indy.

    Jeremy

  14. Well, shit. I’m so sorry to hear this. I’m sending you my love, and you’re in our thoughts.

    Keep kicking cancer’s ass, you’re not done showing it who’s boss.

  15. oh man, i’m so sorry. this royally sucks and i wish i could give you better advice. all i can do is to send a virtual hug and let you know that we (and i mean WE as in all of us following your progress) are there for you when you need us.

    {{{hugs}}}

  16. shit, ezra. still rooting for you and sending all the healthy vibes i can your way. i hope things turn out the best way possible. clearly, you are a dude that deserves it. xoxo

  17. Ugh. My first thought began with an f-word and ended with the c-word (cancer that is). The setback is what it is — you’ll sort it out Ezra. Much love to you and yours.

  18. Ugh, I’m so pissed to hear this!! You must be crestfallen. Don’t give up! Sounds like alot of people are pulling for you! :~)
    My uncle has had continued success in keeping his melanoma in check by drinking lots of green tea…

  19. Well sh*t, f*ck! Hang in there and then stand up, kick it. Really sorry to hear this. Don’t give up and get stuck in. You’re in my thoughts. Allez!

  20. All I wanted to say as I read on was WTF (I’m scraming it out loud, too)!

    Ugh this is seriously annoying and I can’t imagine how you’re feeling right now. If you need a venting session, don’t be shy, I’m serious, you’ve heard plenty from us the past 11 months. Ezra, you can beat this, I know it. Both thinking of you…

  21. Your ability to stay positive up until this point is beyond me. It is probably more important now, and going forward, to say “Fuck Cancer I’m Ezra” than ever before. Go to Indy, build what you were planning and live as much as you can. This will no doubt continue to slow you down physically, but keep your head straight and LIVE through this. You are Ezra!

  22. whoa, ezra. whoa. that’s not good. but i know you haven’t used up all your good karma. we’re thinkin’ good stuff for you here in boston, man. for you and your girl.

  23. Oh, so sorry to hear this! But it sounds like you have a thinking & concerned doc, and I know you have the right people around you at home. I will be sending you good thoughts.

  24. Bad news…
    I have no refences to what goes on in your life. So I have not a lot of clever things to say.

    But your spirit so far have been amazing.

  25. Very sorry to hear that. I’ve never met you but my heart sunk with that news. Don’t stop fighting it Ezra. Look to your comments on flickr and your blog if you ever need more support. As previous posts have said, your journey has been very inspirational to others, including me. Hope all goes well.

    Fuck cancer!

  26. Goddammit, Ezra, that is infuriating. You’ve got to keep that positive state of mind that propelled you through the first phase. Positive thinking and a loving support network are so underrated in the healing process, so let those things work their magic for you. It really sucks to hear that this is not over, but also bear in mind…that it’s not OVER.

  27. Really bad news … really bad.
    I hope you will find the way to get the good approach as some time ago, I think it can really help.

    Be strong!

  28. Hang on — I thought you were scheduled for more follow-up chemo? Won’t that knock out any cancer cells that may still be around?

  29. First of all, I must say I am not a doctor.

    But, I did work at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine for 7 years. I worked in bioinformatics closely with researchers – many of them were practicing M.D.s in various fields and cancer research was a significant portion of work being done in my unit. We studied various things including patient outcomes and statistics.

    I recall one very interesting thing that an M.D. told me. He said that “surgeon’s solutions to problems are always to cut. That is what they do, that is how they address problems presented to them. If you ask them, they will always say cut, you can’t expect anyting else from them, they are surgeons. They are giving you THEIR best answer.”

    While it may be one legit approach to dealing with a problem, it may not be the only one. I’ve never dealt with anything of this nature and gravity, but despite a potentially convincing argument from a surgeon, I’d probably give equal weight to opinions from a variety of practices.

    I’m absolutely not qualified to give advice in this kind of situation, but I remembered that conversation I had several years ago and wanted to share.

    I’m sending you all of my extra good thoughts, even though I only know you through your flickr photos.

  30. Well that sucks, but if it is possible to see a bright side – better to be safe now than sorry later.

    I know it doesn’t help ease the pain, or the frustration – but it is all I have.

    Take care, and good luck!

  31. staypositivestaypositivestaypositivestaypositivestaypositivestaypositivestaypositivestaypositivestay
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  32. Well Damn it man. I guess we just going to have to keep sending ya love and healthy thoughts. Sounds like ya team is on it and this is the Iron Man Competition. Ya finished the swim, your strength is up, the bike ride. You got this.

  33. Oh my. I’m just so stunned for you. Please don’t give up! You are not done with this fight!! Think of it as big set-back but get up and keep fighting! I think it must be the hardest thing right now to try and feel positive but the way you think is so cloely related to results. Please try as hard as you possibly can to stay positive…one moment at a time. Occassional pity parties are ok…but pick yourself up as soon as you can when you are done and remain as positive as you can. We are all here cheering for you!

    Warm wishes of ass kicking cancer strength being sent to you…
    –Christine

  34. OH MY GOD!!, shit, shit, shit.. I was sure you was free of that bastard, I want to send you my energy, all my energy… fight, more, more, don’t give up, be strong, please!! many people are with you, I want you can have this bourbon to celebrate the finish of cancer yet!!, yes freally i want.

    if you can come to Spain, you have a house here to be with Hill ang Putney of course!!

  35. Shit Ezra. I’m so sorry to hear this. Stay positive. I’m reminded of a bike ride I took with a few other people a while ago. One of the rider’s wife and two kids had planted themselves somewhere along the route (unbeknown to us). As we rode by, the two kids were on the side of the road with their hands up shouting Go! Go! Go! We continued to ride for a few more miles. The kids were on the side of the road again in a different place shouting Go! Go! Go! We kept riding. A few miles later, a car drives by us with the kids shouting out the window Go! Go! Go! We are all rooting for you Ezra.
    Stamp this fucker out. GO! GO! GO!

  36. I read this post days ago but couldn’t seem to think of the “right” thing to say – after two days I still don’t know what to say –

    You know, sometimes in life words just aren’t enough.

    You can say – hang in there, all will be well, or you can do it but those words aren’t enough – I don’t even know you but my heart aching is aching for you and your loved ones.

    Know that you are still in my prayers –

    JS

  37. Damn ! i wish i could meet you in person and support. My wives uncle just got a letter last night, they’ve found a prostata cancer 🙁 I wish he could read english so i could give him this blog to see and learn how you fight this shit. but he’s not unfortunately… he knows only 2 languages – russian and a bad russian…

  38. What Cancer Cannot Do

    Cancer is so limited…
    It cannot cripple Love
    It cannot shatter Hope
    It cannot corrode Faith
    It cannot destroy Peace
    It cannot kill Friendship
    It cannot suppress Memories
    It cannot silence Courage
    It cannot invade the Soul
    It cannot steal Eternal Life
    It cannot conquer the Spirit.

    Ezra, I don’t know you and I don’t remember how I stumbled onto your site, but I just want to let you know that you are in my daily prayers. God bless!

  39. Hi Ezra,

    I have been following your story since the beginning. So sorry to hear that you are having this awful setback. I don’t know too much about human oncology but I do deal with it in my animal patients (I’m a vet). I think the sentiment that surgeons always want to cut is true, but of course that’s because that is always the best chance to cure cancer – to physically remove all of it with a margin of healthy tissue. Not an option if it’s spread, though. I guess the question is, what is your staging right now? If they can be fairly certain that you have no metastatic disease, then surgery is a safer option than drugs, IMHO.

    I believe the drug you described, an anti-angiogenesis drug (preventing the tumor from making new blood vessels to help it grow), is experimental in early stage disease because it is usually used as a last ditch effort when a patient has disease that cannot be surgically removed (invasive or metastatic) and has failed first line or even second/ third line chemo. In vet medicine we use those types of drugs in addition to regular chemo, and we use them for cancers that can’t be treated surgically. I guess what I’m saying is please make sure that you find out what the risk is if you delay surgery and try drugs. If the “viable” cancer cells spread while you are trying the drug, surgery may not be an option anymore.

    You are in my thoughts daily even though we’ve never met. You are so brave! You inspire us all. Please keep fighting and lick this thing once and for all, no matter what method you choose.

  40. ahhh fucker! it must be so hard to think you are done with all this and then– crash– you’re back in it. keep shooting and stay positive until this blip is over and you are declared totally cancer free. i really know it will be!

  41. Please, Ezra, take a look on this site http://www.healingcancernaturally.com/hamer.html
    or this http://www.newmedicine.ca/, or http://www.germannewmedicine.ca/documents/therapyintro.html,
    if you want to consider other methods… This can helps you.

    http://www.germannewmedicine.ca/documents/sbs-intestinalcancer.html

    After extensive research of thousands of patients, Dr. Hamer was finally able to conclude that disease is only brought about by a shock for which we are totally unprepared. This last point is very important. If we can in any way be prepared for the shocking event, we will not become ill. In fact, Dr. Hamer does not like to say ‘cancer’. Rather, it is a special biological response to an unusual situation, and when the ‘shock’ situation is resolved, the body sets about returning to normality.
    The German New Medicine is a set of findings and principles that solidly bases the nature of disease on universal biological principles and on the interaction between the three levels that make up the organism: the psyche, the brain and the organ. In German New Medicine, diseases have a biological meaning and are not mistakes of nature. In fact, we can now categorize most of the diseases known to medicine in pairs of events. These pairs are actually programs of nature relating psychological and biological events. The programs are designed by Nature to either help the individual to cope or as a selection mechanism to serve the group.

    http://www.newmedicine.ca/interview.php

  42. you the man dude.. keep those dreams of doing the bike thing and working full weeks close to you..

    keep the warrior spirit alive and never part with it dude…

    you are in my thoughts.. bless you and peace be with your soul man..

    tad