Valorie and I have moved off the farm and out of New Mexico to California. The reason for the move is two-fold. Two of our three sons, John and Andy, live here and have been very supportive of Valorie and me in my struggle with cancer. There are medical specialists here that are absent in New Mexico. Our third son, Peter, lives in Seattle and has been supportive with his clear logic and helpful insights.
As some of you know, I went through a full chemotherapy treatment last year with the final treatment being on August 31, 2010. A CT scan in December indicated the Hodgkin’s Lymphoma had returned aggressively and it was confirmed with a PET scan in January of this year.
A round of “second opinions” ensued: USC Norris National Cancer Center and UNM National Cancer Center were consulted. They both recommended a more aggressive Chemotherapy treatment than what I had the previous year. My basic question for them was: if chemotherapy did not work before, what makes you think that more of the same will make me better? I rejected their answers as inadequate.
I embarked on an alternative, nutritional therapy to control my cancer. As the months went by and summer came, even my nutritional therapist thought I should have another PET scan to ascertain my progress, or lack of progress.
I now have a team of four doctors here in California, the likes of which could not have been assembled in New Mexico. Interesting, they are all women, and all four are consummate professionals. They are caring individuals who clearly demonstrate an interest in my wellbeing.
I did have a PET scan and it confirmed the cancer is still active and similar to my PET scan from January of this year. I have reversed course and have started a new chemotherapy regime that is a lot milder than before and has fewer side effects. This is all in preparation of trying to qualify for the protocol established by Seattle Genetics’s new chimeric drug. Please see their web site, www.seagen.com, if you would like more information. It is exciting in that this is the first treatment of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma that has been approved in over 30 years!
In the meantime, Earth Echo Farm has been put up for sale. We have received our organic certification for the current year and the farm is being maintained by a caretaker. At the present time I do not have the energy to write commentary for Field Notes From The Farm, but I look forward in the not too distant future to resuming such writing. There is a lot happening in the organic movement. The organic movement itself is under assault by "natural" foods that mislead the consumer while filling them with poisons. Such duplicity needs to be exposed and my background as a certified organic producer gives me unique insight into the process.
It may seem a strange thing to say, but having cancer is a blessing in many ways. Say you were killed in an accident. You don’t have the opportunity to gather family and friends about you. You don’t have the opportunity to talk about what is really important.
Having the opportunity provided by cancer brings me to the bittersweet understanding of the here and now, the importance of living in the moment. I realize that my cancer may prevail and I will die, or my quest will be successful and I may prevail. The outcome is unknown. It is a strange equilibrium of dread and desire. I find solace in the dichotomy. I have the ability to stand outside of myself, to realize that I have been given a gift of terrible complexity that overwhelms traditional understanding. I feel fear and dread alongside peace and serenity. I hold joy and sorrow together in equal measure. I hold elation and despair together in equal measure. However, the blessing of family and friends cannot extend to traveling my journey with me. My journey is ultimately and uniquely mine. I will travel it alone. I feel blessed that I have the opportunity, the clear knowledge to take my journey. Each morning when I wake up, it brings the realization that yesterday was not the final day. Maybe today will be the final day. Acceptance of the here and now falls lightly on a heavy soul. The journey does not move. The journey is the here and now.
I ask for your prayers and support to bring light to me and my family.
If we heal the land,
the land will heal us.