Thursday, August 27, 2015

another step in our journey.

So yesterday we began another step on our journey fighting this cancer.

For many reasons, we need to shrink the size of this tumor.  For one, it's not good having it press upon my brain so much.  Also, for us to continue in Houston, the tumor needs to be reduced in size.

My doctors in Houston, Dr. Gottschalk and Dr. Wang, have been so kind to us.  They are such caring kind people.  I am grateful to both of them.  They are scientists, of course, but they are also really kind health care providers.  In such a challenging time in my life I am so grateful for their kindness to me.

In our discussion they had mentioned to me the possibility of maybe adding a drug called PD1 to my treatment.  It is interesting that, independently, this had also been suggested to me by my oncologist here, my brother-in-law, a super smart physician back east, and of course it is all of the sudden very much in the news since President Jimmy Carter is being given this drug.

PD1 is a drug that helps your body's immune system to find a cancer and attack it.  Many cancers have developed the ability to hide from our own immune system.  PD1 takes away the cancer's ability to hide.  This is a very new drug but is already showing great promise.

So yesterday I had my first dose.  We asked our insurance to pay but they said no.  The drug is not yet approved for osteosarcoma, only for melanoma.  There is a nationwide study beginning this week actually, testing the drug against osteosarcoma but the study isn't done yet.  Because the insurance denied payment we asked for mercy from the drug company.  In the past they have been willing to give the drug for free sometimes when insurance says no.  We haven't been able to get them to agree to that yet but we are still trying.  We felt strongly that this was the course that God wanted us to take so we told our doctor that we would just pay for it ourselves if it would hurry things along.  It isn't cheap, $8000 per dose but my children tell me that I am worth it.  JoLynne seems to think so too.  So, yesterday it began.

I seemed to have a very quick response.  I know that I have cancer in my right sinus and around my eye and brain of course.  Within an hour of the infusion I began having significant swelling in all of those areas.  The swelling around my brain gave be a really bad headache.  We came home from the doctor and I was so grateful to have all of my sons, minus Spencer, and my son in law, gather around me and give me a priesthood blessing.  Within 30 minutes of that blessing my pain was nearly gone.  I am so grateful for the power of God shared with men by means of the priesthood.  That power is very real to me.

As I was preparing to get the PD1 I was saying a prayer of course, asking God to please bless this treatment to be effective in fighting my cancer.  I had the most distinct impression come over my mind.  It basically said, "Eric, open your scriptures to the story of Moses and the red sea.  The words that you will find there are my answer to your prayer.  So I opened my scriptures to Genesis 14:13-14 and here is what it said.

 13 ¶And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.
 14 The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.
What a sweet and wonderful answer this was for me at this time.  I am so grateful that God would direct me to those words.
Last night, when the pain had finally gone down, we were all sitting around in our living room.  All of our family.  We were talking about fun memories.  JoLynne and I have been blessed to  travel much in our lives together.  We have been all over the world doing humanitarian work but we have also traveled much, just the two of us, just for the joy of being together.  My head is just full of happy memories that we have together.  Last night I found myself thinking, "Eric, there is still room in your head for more happy memories and you are going to get better and make those memories together with your sweetheart JoLynne and others."  Not only was I thinking that, I found myself really believing it.  It was such a wonderful feeling of hope.  I was so grateful for how I felt.
So grateful for God's blessing to me.  I have been so so blessed.  I am so grateful.


  1. We are praying for you every step of the way.

    1. Thank you Weldon, My heart is full of hope. Thank you for your prayers

  2. Every time you have to battle cancer anew I just think, "How can he still have so much faith and so much optimism!" But you do, and the Lord always comes through. I am so sorry you have to go through this, but it is a privilege to witness your faith and the workings of God. I also really love that Moses scripture.

    1. Thank you Erin, I love you and appreciate your kind words

  3. Wow. Just WOW! Prayers and blessings upon you and your family my friend. What an amazing journey you are having--so grateful for the blessings you are receiving. Nancy Dyer

    1. Thank you Nancy. I really appreciate your words of encouragement. You are so kind.

  4. Thank you for your incredible faith! As I read this I was thinking about the answer you received about the purpose of this trial. You truly have learned to know God in a very personal way and I can only imagine how much love and understanding you have and will have for others who suffer. once when I was really sad I had a stranger look into my eyes and smile slightly. In that moment I knew she knew my pain and somehow it made it more bearable. You will be that person for so many.
    You journey isn't done! You have many many happy memories ahead!
    We love and pray for you each day!

    1. I want to be that person who can help to lessen another persons pain. The best way I know how to show God how much I love Him is to help His children here on earth. That is what I want to do.

  5. Thank you for sharing this experience as well as the profound perspective it has given you. I am inspired by your powerful example of faith and trust in the Lord. My prayers go out to you.


    P.S. Something I wonder if you've looked into. Not long ago I was doing some research into the SV40 virus and its link with various cancers. If you test to see if SV40 is present in your cancer, I wonder if it might provide your doctors with insight into treatment ideas related to fighting the virus.

    I don't know if any are available yet, but it appears that researchers are starting to consider specific treatments for SV40-linked cancers: "The data from the current study indicate an association between OS and SV40. These data could be transferred to clinical applications for innovative therapies to address SV40-positive OS. Cancer 2015;121:708–715."

    Some background on the topic:

    The authors subsequently published a book expanding on the article: (I have purchased the book but have not finished reading it. It can also be found in html format here:

    The family whose son was the original subject of the book started a foundation to support research into the area:;

    A brief review of the more recent SV40 literature shows that Janet Butel, the chairman of the molecular virology and microbiology department at Baylor and referenced in the Atlantic article as one of the most respected authorities on the topic is still conducting research into SV40.[Author]&cauthor=true&cauthor_uid=25335106