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Version 2On October 7, 2016, I underwent an endoscopy that showed an “abnormality” at the junction of my esophagus and stomach which ended up being a T3N1 malignant tumor.  (Pretty, isn’t it?) It is hard to believe that that was 67 days ago.

In that time, we (as you are never in this alone, and I am so thankful to have my wife, partner and primary caregiver Lee by my side through all of this) have had a lot of ups and downs. We have come to understand all the treatment and procedures – and the issues that come with them – that would happen in order to eradicate this cancer from my body.fullsizeoutput_1ac0

Last week Friday, we achieved the first major milestone – completing my fifth and final Chemotherapy treatment.  As I have said previously, my regimen was not as bad as some, but it still sucks getting through it.  Whenever a patient completes their chemo treatments, the ritual at Huntsman Cancer Institute is for the patient to strike a gong in celebration.

I like the symbolism of gongs. When used by east Asian Buddhists they are frequently inscribed with Mandarin symbols Tai Loi, which notates the arrival of happiness. Gongs are also used in ceremonial function and healing rituals. I can say I’m happy to have completed my chemo. I hope the gong’s sound will resonate toward the rest of my radiation, on through to my surgery in January, and hopefully carry me toward good health.

In addition to completing my chemo, I ran into Santa and Mrs. Claus! Santa reached into his big bag of toys and handed me quite a dapper Teddy Bear. img_6523Santa and Mrs. Claus were making their way around the hospital and handing out Teddy Bears to all the patients. (I don’t think we passed more than 2 groups of people where somebody wasn’t carrying a bear!)

Next week I will hit another milestone – I will finish my radiation treatments which will end Part 1 of this journey.

Please feel free to comment or question anything you read. Please feel free to share the site with people – you never know who’s going through something that my story could help.

Thank you so much for your caring, your involvement and your support.

Love,

Mark