Diagnosis #5, Because Apparently #4 Wasn't Enough

by GregP_WN

What's that saying? "God will only give you what you're strong enough to carry"? Or something like that. Well, apparently he thinks I'm the son of Hulk, brother of Thor, with a little Superman in there, and a touch of Batman. I mean, again??? Seriously? Five Fricking Times?

Diagnosis #5

Have you ever thought that maybe your life is just you inside of someone else's video game, like that movie years ago? Maybe that would make sense? When it comes to the bad luck lottery I am the winner, shut it down, grand champion, right here. What's the worst thing that has ever happened to you? When it happened did you say, "why me"? How about if it happened five times? Give that some thought when you decide what the worst life event you have had is. Short of a death in the family, there's not much else that can match this, other than some other acute illnesses. We all have our share of troubles, but man, give me a break!!

Superman Carve

We got a little news about my latest diagnosis today, #5 in case you're keeping score. I was told that surgery would have to happen to take out the rest of my esophagus that was left after the last surgery. Dr. Rohde said this one would leave me only able to swallow liquids. But, I like milkshakes so it can't be all that bad.

Our appointment isn't for another week, so there's another week's worth of waiting to endure. At this appointment we are supposed to learn if/when/what kind/how bad for surgery. After that appointment, we have an appointment with oncology at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center to discuss immunotherapy with Keytruda. My tumor has been sent off for genetic testing and those results might affect the treatment plan.


If you watch much TV you have surely seen the advertisements for Keytruda. It's a new drug and Merck wants all of us cancer patients who are living on the edge to ask about it. The monthly cost for Keytruda is reported to be $13,500.00 a month. Our insurance really sucks so I don't plan on much help out of it to pay for the costs. How about that lottery thing? Maybe we should play a few numbers?

I can't have any more radiation, since I've already been fried with that for my lifetime. Traditional chemo doesn't work on this type of cancer unless it has radiation to help it. So, I'm running out of bullets. Immunotherapy is the newest form of cancer treatment to come out of research, so we are hoping that it likes me better than the cancer does.

You might remember Jimmy Carter had Stage IV melanoma that had metastasized to his lungs and brain in 2015. He was given immunotherapy (Keytruda) and he went about his life doing what he does, mostly working for habitat for humanity and teaching Sunday School classes. About six months later he went back for scans and he was clean. N.E.D. No Evidence of Disease. The phrase all cancer patients want to hear. I want to be like Jimmy.

I am hoping that me and Keytruda get along real well. The "numbers" on recurrences for head and neck cancer are not great, but I've always said that if the numbers say that only 30% survive, I plan on being part of that 30%. Why not? Like the lottery says, "somebody's gonna win, it might as well be you"! I agree, if I beat this, I will have won the lottery. 

Drunk Snail

And, as bad as things seem right now, I have always been a poster child for the positive attitude crowd. So I say, there's always, always, something to be thankful for. Right now, it's getting a little tougher to see them, but they are there. I have reached a point in life that I really don't have to work like a dog, like I have for 30 years. That's a good thing too, because I'm not able to do much now with a hole in my throat and a strap around my neck. My Sweetie is in relatively good health and is able to still take care of me. I am enjoying what retirement apparently will look like, working in my wood shop building things. We have a group of friends and family that are here for us, thank you for that! We have two dogs, three cats, one with only three legs, that think we are the world when we come home, that's good therapy!

Always Something To Be Thankful For

So, we wait again, like watching that drunken snail trying to make it to the other side of the road, just to turn around and go back the other way. That's how my life with cancer has been lately, I make it to the other side of the road, then cancer knocks me back to the other side. I just keep crawling back up and trying to make it across that stinking road of life. I would like to see what's on the other side.

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Finding Something Positive In a 4th Diagnosis

Learning to Live Life As a Laryngectomee

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