Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Once again -- Scans All Clear!

Had CAP-CT scans yesterday and got the word that all was [still] clear. Yeah! Next set of scans is scheduled for February 21, 2012.

Until then . . .

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Scans all clear!

Just a quick update to let you-all know that my 4-month scans (chest CT & thigh MRI) today were both all clear! Yeah! Next scans (CAP CT) will be on October 18. Talk to you then.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

2 Years, 2 Months, 3 Songs

Note: Some email clients block pictures/videos, so if no picture/video is present, you can click on the Bold Blue Title in the email and that will take you directly to this post at my blog site.

Well, it looks as though I missed an important blog update back on March 18, which was my 2-year NED (No Evidence of Disease) Anniversary.  Yes, it is a milestone and indeed I did celebrate, but nowadays I'm (publicly) just a bit more low-keyed about such anniversaries and my experience as a Sarcoma survivor (except perhaps when in the company of other survivors or patients).  With life and work back to "normal" (and with no pending surgeries and the like), I suppose this is a natural progression.

Things have certainly gone smoothly for me (as obviously the treatment worked and I've had virtually no known long-term complications from either the chemo or the radiation).  Almost too well . . . like a part of me is waiting and wondering when the next shoe will drop.  But I don't really worry about that (not actively at least).  Instead, my attitude (for the time being) is best described the by this song:

Lee Dewyze - Sweet Serendipity

My favorite lyrics from this song include:
And I’m doing just fine
I’m always landing on my feet
In the nic of time
And by the skin of my teeth
I ain’t gonna stress
Cause the worst ain’t happened yet
Somethings watching over me
Like Sweet Serendipity
Sweet Serendipity
I don’t ask for a lot
No nothing more than I need
Because I love what I got
Don’t need to play the lottery
I just want to be strong
At the end of the road
I don’t want to hold on
I want the strength to let go
Don’t look fate can only find you
You can’t choose for something to surprise you
Set sail without a destination
Just see where the wind will take you
You never know when you're gonna fall
But I'm not worried
No I'm not worried at all

Having said that, I'm well aware that others fighting cancer are not always as fortunate.  I was reminded of this fact just a few days ago when I found out that an old friend of mine died of ovarian cancer back on February 13, exactly two months ago today.  Her story is certainly a sad one and she went very quickly.  My sincere condolences to her husband and her family.  In her memory, and for her husband and family, I dedicate the following song:

Coldplay - Fix You

My favorite lyrics from this song include:
And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can't replace
When you love someone, but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?
Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you
Tears stream down on your face
When you lose something you cannot replace
Tears stream down on your face
And on your face I... 
Tears stream down on your face
I promise you I will learn from my mistakes
Tears stream down on your face
And on your face I...

Yes, I know that song's a real tear-jerker, but it seemed to be appropriate.  Even so, let me try to pull you out of that potential depression you might find yourself in after hearing "Fix You" with the following upbeat song that I just love:

Andy Grammer - Keep Your Head Up

My favorite lyrics here include:
But you gotta keep your head up, oh,
And you can let your hair down, eh.
You gotta keep your head up, oh,
And you can let your hair down, eh.
I know it's hard, know it's hard,
To remember sometimes,
But you gotta keep your head up, oh,
And you can let your hair down, eh.
I'm seeing all the angles,
Starts to get tangled
I start to compromise
My life and the purpose.
Is it all worth it,
Am I gonna turn out fine?
Oh, you'll turn out fine.
Fine, oh, you'll turn out fine.
Only rainbows after rain
The sun will always come again.
It's a circle, circling,
Around again, it comes around again.
I say only rainbows after rain
The sun will always come again.
It's a circle, circling,
Around again, it comes around

I hope that you've enjoyed these songs and find encouragement from them.

You'll hear from me again mid-June with my next set of scans.  Take care!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"I am a Survivor" (or at least that's what they tell me)

Hey Everyone --

I had my quarterly scans today (CAP CT-Scan only this time) and all was clear.  Yeah!  Perhaps even better yet is the fact that, now that I'm nearly 2 years NED*, my scan schedule will drop to every 4 months going forward.  To help mark this anniversary, my Orthopedic Oncologist presented me with this hard-earned T-shirt:

Yes, I "doctored" the photo  :)

More outrageous celebration to follow on March 18, which is my "official" 2-year anniversary.  Until then, enjoy the rest of your week and always be thankful for good health!

* NED = No Evidence of Disease

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Totally Free DNA Testing for Sarcoma Patients / Survivors, a DNA research company, is now offering FREE DNA testing for those who have been diagnosed with Sarcoma. Their goal is to find at least 1,000 qualified individuals who have or have had sarcoma and to collect information regarding their experiences, environments, and responses to different therapies. They then will combine this information with the genetic data to find patterns that will help them better understand the biology of sarcoma. See for the details.
According to one Sarcoma Oncologist that they quote: "There are clues that there are factors in our DNA that can contribute to the development of sarcomas of bone and soft tissues, but we still don't understand them very well. Now, through the novel 23andMe Sarcoma Community initiative, patients can take direct action to help make strides against their disease."
By all accounts this is a totally legit operation with a good reputation in the sarcoma community.  Thus far, over 500 sarcoma patients/survivors have already gotten involved with this initiative.  For that reason, I signed up for this the other day, a process which involved answering about a half dozen questions about my diagnosis, providing my contact information, and then going through an online confirmation process to order the DNA kit.  Since then, I've received an email response from 23andMe indicating that "you qualify to join the community and receive the 23andMe Personal Genome Service for free instead of the standard $199 plus a monthly subscription".
My correspondence with also pointed me to the following FAQs about research at 23andMe:

How does the research work? 
The kind of research 23andMe does requires both genetic and non-genetic information from participants. The genetic information comes from analysis of the DNA extracted from a saliva sample. The non-genetic information - which includes physical traits, health history, behaviors and environmental exposures - is collected through easy online surveys.
By collecting and analyzing vast amounts of data, we hope to make breakthrough discoveries that will fundamentally improve how we diagnose, treat and prevent sarcoma.
How long will the research take?
It's important to remember that research can be a long process, but by taking charge and participating you can help drive research forward. Every person with sarcoma who lends his or her data gives scientists the opportunity to better understand this disease - and a shot at significantly improving its outcome.
What results will I get back?
By participating in the Sarcoma Research Community you get free access to the 23andMe Personal Genome Service™. While very little is known about the genetics of sarcoma, you can see how your genes may influence your risk for over 140 other diseases and conditions.
How is my personal information protected?
23andMe respects your privacy. 23andMe will not release your individual information to any outside company without your explicit consent. To prevent unauthorized access or disclosure of your data, 23andMe uses a range of physical, technical, and administrative procedures to safeguard the information we collect.
Will it affect my health insurance?
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) was signed into law in 2008. While this law is new, it was enacted to protect individuals against discrimination based on their genetics by health insurance companies or employers. Various states also have enacted protections against genetic discrimination for health insurance. Life insurance or disability providers are not covered under GINA.
What if I need help understanding my information?
23andMe can help provide access to board-certified genetic counselors trained to provide assistance with our service, but who are not 23andMe employees.

Just wanted to pass this information along to my readers as I'd like to see other sarcoma patients/survivors get involved.  You can sign up for this by going to and clicking on the Get Involved button.  I think there's a lot of potential here.