Lovebirds at Scott's Flat Lake 2016 -- Marla was the photographer

Sam Stern

First post: Sep 9, 2017 Latest post: Dec 1, 2022
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Hi everyone:

I have decided to start a new site, as I believe that I am entering a new chapter in this cancer journey, which I have been on for the past 6 1/2 years.  I have not connected with many of you in quite a while, so I will give a little summary of where I have been lately.  I have been treating non-stop for the past 2 1/2 years, hoping to convince the cancer to leave me alone.   A year ago, I began immunotherapy.  After 8 months, the cancer was progressing quickly enough that I decided take chemo again, with the intention of shrinking it to the point where I could try another type of immuno or targeted therapy.  After 5 miserable months, three different chemo combinations and one PARP inhibitor, this past June I decided to stop all toxic treatments. 

It was not an impulsive decision.  I spent a lot of time thinking, talking, writing, meditating and experiencing what it was like to be living in this heavily treated body -- and how much more I wanted to do to it, to save it.  I realized in June the scales had shifted.  I did, however, agree to start a targeted molecular Phase 1 trial at Stanford -- hoping it be non-toxic.  Unfortunately, it was more toxic than expected.  After two treatments, I realized that I was tired of treating.  I was tired  of being tired, poked and prodded, of hospitals, side effects and of trying so hard.  I always give myself permission to change my mind at anytime, but for now, I have stopped treating. I am, waiting to see what happens next.  Marla and I just spent a great week visiting friends in Half Moon Bay, San Francisco and Berkeley -- miraculously alluding the heat each step we took.  I am now up at the cabin we rent in Serene Lakes for the Labor Day Weekend.  Marla, Scott, Jeffrey and Jenny are here also.  Jeffrey and I are celebrating our 7th wedding anniversary today!  I am in good spirits and filled with gratitude.  I am also tripping on how surreal this turn of events is -- even to me.  It is just the past month that I have been in continuous pain -- which is luckily well controlled with medication.  My digestion is crap, so I am eating as many small meals a day as possible.  I am still enjoying the nature, although I am unable to walk more than a few blocks, due to weakness, fatigue and shortness of breath. 

Marla, Jeffrey and I will moderate the site, keeping you up on how things are going.   I am not up for visitors at this time, but I would love to hear from you via this site.  I am guessing that this news may cause some of you to have strong feelings, judgments, thoughts and opinions.  However, I would very much appreciate it if you could fully support us, and not give advise or comment on whether you agree with my decisions.  I apologize if this sounds harsh.  It is my wish that all of you  can appreciate that much heart, mind and spirit has gone into every decision that Jeffrey and I have made since April 2011.   We are extremely sad that we have arrived at this point.  We had hoped not to.  However, this is what is happening, and as all of you know, I am a big fan of not resisting reality. 

The other way that you can support me, is to continue to love and support my beloved Jeffrey and Jenny.  Please help them through this most difficult of times, in any way that makes sense to you.

You have all shaped my life, and made the deepest of impressions on my heart.  Thank you.

With a heart filled with love,


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