Wednesday, September 13, 2017

And The Battle Rages On . . .

We are not quite two years removed from December 27, 2015, and I am still here. Ever since that day, my wife and I have been in a battle with stage four kidney cancer that we both know we are eventually going to lose. Well, I will do most of the losing. But, for now, we have an oncologist who keeps telling me to make long-term plans and take better care of myself because I am going to be around for a while. So the wife and I have long-term plans and I have dropped a decent amount of weight over the past month. But today is scan day, and the world stops for scan day.

Today's scans are extra special frightening because things have been going so well with this new medication. Yes, I know, I need to be more positive. To be honest, I am generally positive about everything that is going on. But I also know my own track record when it comes to luck, and it is not always good. I lucked out with the friends that are closest to me, I really lucked out with my wife and kids, but not everything comes up sunshine and roses for me.

For anyone who is wondering, my "scans" are the CT scans Roswell uses to determine what is going on with my cancer. There are no quickie blood tests or any special kind of physical examination they can do to determine what is going on. The only thing they can do is take a picture of my innards and look for spots. Last year, there were lots of spots. So far this year, very few spots. And, as you can imagine, that has always scared me.

If the scans today go well, then I guarantee I will calm down and feel better. We have had two good scans in a row with this medication, which is a first. We have never had three good scans in a row with any medication. So here's hoping. My wife and I keep making those plans, and I keep getting involved in things that will take years to get rolling. I could just close my office door and not do anything. I think, with my situation, I have earned that right. But I prefer to get working on the bucket list because, after all, a little sunshine never hurt anyone.

From time to time, I do get people who ask me why I am so open about what is happening to me. "Isn't that stuff you should keep to yourself?"

No. Why?

I talk like this because if you have never had cancer before, being told you have cancer is absolutely terrifying. It is not just terrifying because of what cancer is; it is terrifying because no one ever really talks about what happens when you get cancer. What process do cancer patients go through? What goes through the mind of a cancer patient on a regular basis? How does cancer affect and change other parts of a patient's life? There are no pamphlets on that stuff, but it is information patients desperately want to know. So, I tell them.

We are packing up to go get scanned as I write, so I should probably end this right here. The real torture is that we have to wait until tomorrow to get the results because that is the follow-up appointment with the oncologist. Until then, I will keep stressing out and keep wondering what will happen next. During days like this, it is incredibly difficult to not get emotional when I hold my grandchildren, or hug my wife or son.

I will never be cured. I have already been told that and I accept it. But I still have a chance at a long life. For the next two days, all of that stops...and it is a very eerie and helpless feeling.

George N Root III is a Lockport resident who is living the good life. You can follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3, or send him a message at