Terry's Latest Health Update
I’ve been looking forward to updating you as soon as we reached clarity on Terry’s next steps, and many details have now come into view. Writing you today brings joy to my heart. I sense the field of love, support, and compassion in which my words arrive. This is an immense blessing and honor; thank you!
I can’t adequately convey how profoundly grateful Terry and I are to Craig and Claire for launching and seeding the GoFundMe campaign, and to so many of you for responding with tremendous generosity. Each donation truly makes it easier for Terry to breathe –– quite literally, and also figuratively. He deliberated for several weeks before “feeling right” about receiving this kind of support, and I’m so glad he felt able to do so. It will directly improve the quality, and, we pray, the length, of his life. Deepest gratitude to all who’ve been drawn to take part, or to share the news with others. The sense of being able to rest into your embrace through these tangible gestures is deeply restorative for Terry.
The image that comes to mind to describe the past few weeks is running a marathon through a maze. Our team now includes four oncologists, an integrative MD, a patient advocate MD, a pulmonologist, a palliative care nurse practitioner, and two acupuncturists. Their recommendations for treatment protocols, clinical trials, imaging, lab work, healing practices, and supplements cover a range of valuable perspectives, and emanate from a wealth of experience. I love organizing the data, and managing communications and logistics to help Terry synthesize the information so he can make choices with which he most resonates. We agree 99.99% of the time, and we’re discovering so much as we go along.
My tender regard and devotion to Terry grow daily. Seeing his heart remain so open and free while his body is in distress, laughing until we nearly cry as we add yet another procedure to an already-jammed medical schedule, and walking hand-in-hand as he bravely navigates this complex terrain––it's all part of a baptism by fire. My life has greater meaning because I am supporting his. I sense that many of us feel this way.
On July 27, Terry begins an off-label three-drug protocol used in a clinical trial with very positive outcomes. He’ll receive two immunotherapy drugs and one chemo drug. Had the pharmaceutical companies not approved him for compassionate use, these drugs would cost over $70,000 per month. Manageable and transient side effects are likely, but so is a positive impact on the cancer. One of the drugs will be delivered via a port, which will be surgically installed on July 29. Lab tests have become so frequent that they're part of the daily, and sometimes twice or thrice daily, routine.
Terry’s symptoms have gotten a bit worse in the last week or so, and he’s eager to begin the next round of treatment. Breathing and speaking have become more difficult, fatigue has at times been a challenge, and the largest tumor causes pain in his chest and back. An x-ray today revealed that his right lung is about 50% full of pleural fluid that will likely need to be drained soon, and/or a catheter placed for easier future drainage.
Despite all this, Terry continues to walk in nature, participate in Zoom and in-person meetings, have conversations for his podcast, occasionally dance with his neighbors (many of whom deliver delicious homemade meals he truly enjoys), bask in the love that is sent his way, and deepen in contact with the Divine. Last weekend, he enjoyed a wonderful family visit from his brothers, David from Sebastopol and Jonathan from Seattle. Thought you might enjoy these photos of the brothers Patten!
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