Author’s Note:The post has been edited to more accurately reflect the full team that has committed to my case. Edits in Red.
There were moments in the summer of 2017 that seemed, to me at least, as indicators of my destiny. My inability to climb Highway 20 from Republic, WA to Sherman Pass, my wimpy and sore knee in Apgar Campground at the base of Going To The Sun Road in Glacier NP. In both those instances, help arrived to lift me up to the respective passes I needed to clear. Jesse from the Wild West Farm & Feed, or Larry, a retired railroad engineer from Kalispell. But it wasn’t until later in Montana that the clarity of my destiny occurred to me.
It came to be a certainty in my mind that my demise would come about via an oil field service truck on US Hwy 2, in eastern Montana, somewhere near Glasgow, running over me and my stalwart Surly Ogre, ‘Frank’, causing a huge grease spot on the asphalt, forcing the accident investigators to scrape up what remained of me with a spatula. This, in its own ignominious way, comforted me. My destiny was known, it was certain, I was willing to accept it, my loved ones would be assuaged by the fact I died doing that which I loved,…and could still do.
Now, however, I am tasked with writing a blog entry with a different destiny laid out in front of Peggy & myself. The ‘undifferentiated sarcoma’ growing next to my bladder is clamoring for the top spot on the “Oh Shit” list of destinies. There are 2 really large tumors in my abdomen, and 2 spots, or nodules in the lower lobes of my lungs…hence the “OH SHIT!!”
Enter the frame of reference, a highly skilled Oncologist from Johns Hopkins Medicine, Dr. B.. He and the Multidisciplinary Sarcoma Tumor Board conference at Johns Hopkins have come to lift me up to what might be the highest metaphorical mountain pass I have ever attempted to crest. Chemotherapy will begin this Thursday, there will be 5 weeks of a witches brew of chemicals flowing thru the ‘port-a-cath’ being inserted into my superior vena cava. The lung nodules will be biopsied. Nausea drugs will be mixed in the brew…but me thinks, inevitably, puke will be spewed. Wayne & Garth will be in awe.
After 5 weeks, all the scans will be repeated, the success of the chemo will be studied, then the chemo will repeat with perhaps different poisons in the various cocktails. Even, perhaps, DNA sequencing will be plotted, with immunotherapy as a viable alternative. One thing that seems to be a likely outcome, this sarcoma will not be cured. It will kill me, not now, not in 5 weeks, maybe not in 5 years, but kill me it will. Strangely I’m not upset about that, I have again seen my destiny, and this time my loved ones will be pedaling right along side. Hence, it is a good thing it’s not on US Hwy 2, there are no shoulders.