Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep Josh’s family and friends updated in one place as he deals with the challenges of his cancer diagnosis.
FIRST, AN IMPORTANT NOTE: Please share the link to this site only via email or text to any of Josh’s friends who you think would be interested in staying updated or helping out, but per Josh’s request please DO NOT SHARE THIS SITE OR DISCUSS HIS STORY ON SOCIAL MEDIA (Face Book, Twitter)
THE BACK STORY:
For those of you who do not know me, I'm Pat Cadley, Josh's ex and mother of his son Jared. Josh's sister Alix Colow and I are acting as his primary support staff/medical researchers.
As most of you know Josh was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in July of this year when tests following a period of ill health and the discovery of a blood clot in his jugular vein revealed a tumor in his lungs along with cancerous lymph nodes and metastasis to his bone (left sacrum). He began his treatment on July 31 with chemotherapy. As you can imagine, the chemo treatments were tough going on top of the cancer symptoms. In addition to the normal very unpleasant side effects of the chemo, the middle of treatments Josh developed a mysterious fever that landed him in the hospital for 8 days. Happily he eventually recovered from that fever and was able to return home to continue his treatments.
Around this time he switched to a new oncologist that came highly recommended that we are all very happy with and we are confident that Josh is now getting the best care and medical advice. An added bonus is that the new oncologist is located in Rhinebeck, so Josh can get his infusions nearby at the new infusion center at Northern Dutchess Hospital.
About two weeks ago we received the good news that due to the high levels of a particular protein in his system Josh was an excellent candidate for an immunotherapy treatment called Keytruda that he could receive in place of chemotherapy. This was wonderful news since the immunotherapy has less debilitating side effects during treatment, but more importantly has a much more promising prognosis in terms of beating back the cancer.
For now, chemotherapy has been discontinued, and Josh has already received his first immunotherapy infusion. The treatment plan calls for an infusion once every 3 weeks for the next year or so.
Following that, this past week was a roller coaster of good and bad news.
The very good news is that a CT scan last week showed that his lung tumor has already started to shrink as the result of the treatments received so far. There is also a reduction in the lymph system, and Josh is already feeling relief in his breathing and chest pain. Given that the immunotherapy is hoped to be even more effective than the chemo, this gave Josh a great emotional boost.
The bad news is that an MRI of his brain showed a very tiny tumor in the left occipital lobe. This was his first brain MRI so it is possible that this one was there back in July and is also shrinking as opposed to a new metastasis… but needless say the news was a real gut punch.
We have met with a radiation oncologist and to discuss radiation surgery on the brain tumor, however he, our own oncologist, and another oncologist that we saw for a 2nd option, are all in agreement that we should consider holding off for a few weeks given the small size and the fact that it is not causing any symptoms to see how it responds to the new immunotherapy treatment. Another MRI will be done in a month or so and if it looks like the tumor is shrinking or gone then the surgery will not be necessary.
While this all sounds very scary, we are actually feeling very optimistic that the treatment that Josh is now getting has incredible potential to knock out this cancer. The immunotherapy he is getting is a game changer… it’s the newest cutting edge treatment against his type and stage of cancer and has had fantastic results in the survival rate for others with similar diagnosis.
That brings the condensed version of the past few months health history up to date. We will post any further medical changes or major developments on this site.
Meanwhile, Josh had maintained an incredibly positive and optimistic attitude throughout. His strength in coping with this whole thing has blown us away.
After mostly staying with my husband Peter and I since his treatment began, Josh has recently been able to return to his apartment and is trying to resume a more normal life.
Though the chemo side effects are expected to dissipate over the next few weeks, Josh is still quite fatigued due to the cancer, so the help friends have offered with errands and cooking have been greatly appreciated.
Most importantly, knowing he has the support of his friends and community are as important to his recovery as the medical aspects of his care. Phone calls, emails and company are great…. Offers to take a short walk or see a movie, a visit or an invitation to dinner are greatly appreciated. He still get fatigued easily, and needs rest, so early morning and later night plans are not a good idea, but seeing friends in the afternoon and evening are great.
His friend Ana has set up a Meal Train site for those who would like to sign up to cook meals for him. The link to the site is: https://mealtrain.com/o3ok9l
I have also set up a GoFundMe page for those who wish to help out with his non-covered medical, support and living expenses until he is fully back to health. Again, all support large or small will be appreciated as any relief to the financial stress of the situation is a huge help as well.
The direct link to the site is: https://www.gofundme.com/joshcolow
(Again, per Josh’s request, PLEASE only share these links about his condition privately, but for now do not post anything related to his condition on social media)
Finally, Josh truly appreciates your support and words of hope and encouragement. You are an awesome community of friends.
Thank you all!