Thanks for visiting my site. Your kind thoughts and prayers mean the world to me!
I was diagnosed with Stage IV colorectal cancer on January 18, 2008 after a colonoscopy revealed a mass in my lower intestinal tract. Click "read story" for more details.
On January 14, 2008, I had a colonoscopy after noticing some significant changes in my daily routine. The procedure revealed a mass in my lower colon. CT scans that followed revealed that the cancer had already spread to my liver (most likely some time ago) and that we were already at Stage IV.
For the last three weeks I have been preparing myself for the fight of a lifetime, and I have a team of doctors, caregivers, family, colleagues and friends ready to stand by my side in battle. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy will begin Wednesday, FEB 13th in an effort to fight back and shrink the cancer in my liver and at my primary tumor site. I'm currently soliciting the opinions of numerous Doctors in an effort to determine the most aggressive, curative approaches available to me in an order that we stem the tide of this disease and get me back on my feet as soon as possible.
Things that I've learned over the past month or so:
1. NEVER LOOK AT THE INTERNET. While the web is nice for looking up the newest research and innovations along with phone numbers of experts in the field, it is NOT the place to go looking for particularly accurate statistics. Many studies done on colorectal cancer and the percentages that come from them are compiled from "all comers", meaning that the study groups include the young, the old, people who got treated and those who chose not to. I believe that since cancer decided to grow inside of me that my youth and health makes me a better candidate for successful treatment than, say, a 78 year old person who may or may not choose the most aggressive methods of treatment. The only percentages you need to know are your personal ones. Treatment is successful or it isn't....surgery is complete or not. It doesn't matter if 3 people you know didn't succeed....you can if you have the will. That's my attiude.
2. YOUR SUPPORTERS WILL BE YOUR STRENGTH. In addition to my family, who have always been behind me no matter what, I have recieved HUNDREDS of calls, emails, meal offers, and cards from my friends, current and former students, their parents, my poker group and my FABULOUS colleagues at work. I am convinced that no one knows how to rally better than a school community, and The Episcopal Academy does this IN SPADES! Thank you to all of you!!!!
3. YOU HAVE TO LAUGH A LOT. Kacey, One of my dearest friends, told me that it is a must for your health to laugh at least one, full-out, full-volume belly laugh every day. Whether it's my friend Scott calling my chemo port my "blowhole" or someone else with a well-timed joke, you have to hand it to friends and family.....they bring this out easily.
4. WHEN YOU NEED A BRIGHT SIDE....LOOK TO KIDS. It doesn't matter when you're down, if you find a kid to watch...even for a second...you find something to make you happy again, believe again, or forget troubles again. Often it's my children (Christian, 4; or Lia and Olivia, 1); but it's even my students or my 32 year old brother :). Seeing people really happy, laughing and content really puts me at peace. My daughter Olivia has this habit of snoring as she falls asleep...I think I could listen to it for hours. My son's excitement when he succeds at something, the girls laughing hysterically, and the many other "childish" moments that reveal themselves in life can make you forget the rough stuff, which even for a moment is great.
Thanks for all of your continuing love and support. There will need to be another lifetime for me to properly thank everyone who already has given so much. I am one lucky (and greatful) guy.
Well, it seems that I haven't taken a breath since January. It's been non-stop BBQ and Livestrong. I knew Marc put a lot of time and effort into but I had no idea just how much it took!
So here it is . . . we've got about a day and a half before donations close on the team competition. Team M-Power is currently 130 members strong with a total of $96,400 raised and sitting in second place behind a team w/ $103,500. What's truly amazing is that just 5 days ago, we were somewhere around $75,000. This team has been doing yeomans work on the fundraising trail, doing everything in their power to raise the money so that researchers can take the next step towards making this disease a near forgotten memory like polio. This team is reaching out so that those currently affected by cancer have all the resources available to them. This team has been busting their butts, and I want to see them rewarded! Don't get me wrong, if you've ever been to the Philly Livestrong event, coming through the chute in the last 1/2 mile, through that sea of yellow, to the cheers of hundreds and hundreds is reward enough for all the hard work! But like my brother, I'm a competitive SOB! I want to win this award for the second year in a row. I want to win it for all our teammates. I want to win this for our Captain!
Christian and I have just passed our closest incentive levels. If you can donate, I would ask that you consider making a donation to Megan's nephew, Jack Knudson. http://philly2011.livestrong.org/jackknudson Jack is one of the most courageous 8 year old's you will find. For those that do not know, Jack himself is a 3-year survivor, a 3-year thriver, of brain cancer. The above link will give you a little more insight into Jack's story and you can also make a donation to his efforts there. I would LOVE to get Jack to $1000 so that he can have a new Livestrong backpack like his cousin Christian!
If you have made a donation already, I thank you profusely! If you have been thinking about making a donation and putting it off, I would ask that you put it off no longer. The Team Champion award will be announced on Monday morning!
Please folks, anything you can give will help. $10, $20 . . . $10,000. ;)
Wherever he is, I know that Marc is on the edge of his seat watching these final days unfold. Help us win this one for Marc!