Thursday, August 15, 2013

A piece of good news

Well today we just returned home from a family vacation at Bear Lake.  It was wonderful.  More about that in a minute.  Just as we were leaving the beach this morning I received a call on my cell phone.  It's amazing how you really can't get away from things very well anymore.  Anyway, in this case, it was a phone call I was glad to receive.  It was Dr. Robinson, my oncologist from Mayo, calling to give me information on the genetic analysis of my tumor.  As you may remember, we sent off samples of my tumor to a group called "Foundation" several weeks ago to have a genetic analysis done looking for weaknesses or characteristics that could potentially be attacked.  The results were in today.

It turns out that they did find a weakness in my cancer.  He told me the name of the gene but I can't remember it.  All I know is that it had a bunch of letters and numbers in the name.  This particular gene has a drug that has recently been discovered that can attack that specific gene.  The information is early still but it has come far enough that there are phase one clinical trials being done in at least six locations throughout the country and additional trials in France.  As I understand it, phase one clinical trials mean that it hasn't yet been proven to be effective but there is enough favorable evidence in animal models to justify and allow trials on humans.

These new "genetically targeted drugs" are probably the future of cancer treatment.  Most oncologists agree on this point.  At some point these will replace chemotherapy and other treatments since they can kill or suppress the cancer with very few side effects for the patient.  Right now there is a race to identify unique cancer genes and develop drugs to attack these unique genes.  The problem now is that the research is so new.

So, what does this all mean for me.  Basically we are hoping and praying that my cancer is gone.  However, if it were to come back it gives me more options.  That is good news for me.  To be honest it brought tears to my eyes when he told me.  This stupid cancer seemed to have superhuman powers.  It felt so good to hear somebody tell me that they had discovered that it had a weakness.

Overall I am improving slowly.  I had an infection earlier this week that really took the wind out of my sails, so to speak.  I have been on an antibiotic now for several days and I am feeling much better.  I think that it didn't hurt to have a few days off work when I could take a nap when I was tired.

It's still hard to eat but even that is improving.  Today I ate two pieces of pizza and some spaghetti.  Granted I have to take two tylenol, two Motrin and then rinse with dental topical anesthetic before eating but still, a week ago I was doing all that and there was no way I could have eaten those things.

We just returned home from Bear Lake on a family vacation.  It was wonderful!  Simple tender mercies.  We had rented a condo to stay in.  We are pretty careful with our money these days so we rented one of the less expensive places that we could find.  Just as we were leaving from my nephews wedding to go to Bear lake we had a call from the property manager saying that there had been a mix up and our condo was not available until the next day.  He was apologetic and offered to let us stay in a different property for one night until the condo became available.  We don't usually like to make waves so we said that would be fine.  We we arrived at Bear lake we were wondering what time we needed to move from one place to the other.  At that point they said, "Well, if you want you can just stay at the alternate place and not move.  Why don't you check it out and call us"  Well, the alternate place was just beautiful.  Much larger and nicer than the one we had rented.  Actually JoLynne had looked at that very property and passed it over because it was more than we could afford.  It's a simple thing but we were grateful.  It was so nice to spend time with family.
Adam and Elizabeth on the "Tube"

Spencer's first time on a wakeboard

Cute Vivian going for a stroll with Grandpa

The view from our rental home windows

Morning walks with JoLynne
A beautiful day on the beach


  1. Eric-- You have a beautiful family! My prayers are always with you!

    1. Dear Lorraine, You are so kind. Thank you for your prayers.

  2. Yay! Such good news Eric. Love you lots

    1. I love you Kelly. I'm so lucky to have a sister like you.

  3. Eric--so pleased to see the beautiful photos and hear your good news. I am praying that you won't need any more treatment. I just started a phase 1 clinical study at Huntsman this month, and am hoping for good results. Trying to find good clinical studies has been a bit of a challenge, and my bishop recommended a group called CureLauncher. They were very helpful with me. So glad to see you looking well in your pics, and starting to eat more. Love, Kim