Monday, June 28, 2010

What Do You Mean It's Incurable?

Today we got the preliminary diagnosis from the second biopsy: it's between a liposarcoma or a synovial sarcoma. "The good news is that both of types of cancers are initially treated the same way and both types tend to respond very well to chemotherapy," says the Doctor. "The bad news is that at the present moment these diseases are incurable." These last words nobody wants to hear.

But what does this all mean? For starters, we are very close to a final diagnosis. In the next day, after completing the "FISH" analysis, we should know exactly which type of cancer we're dealing with. Although this doesn't change the treatment plan for now, a definitive diagnosis will allow us to hone in on the disease for future treatments, if necessary, allowing for the "sniper" approach. Also, there's a very good likelihood that the chemotherapy will shrink the tumor and systemically control the cancer, up to a 90 percent. This will stop the spread of the disease and reduce the pressures in my legs and spine that are causing me so much pain. This is all great news!

I've always heard of people "struggling with cancer their whole lives." I now understand and this is where "incurable" fits in. "Incurable" is different than "treatable." Everything is treatable: there are drugs and methods to alleviate and maintain the symptoms of the disease so that I can live a long and comfortable life. Unfortunately for now, there's a possibility that I will always have this disease, though dormant, inside my body, and I may have to go through further rounds of treatment later on.

Now this all being said, we're at the pinnacle of our times (as we always are), and there are some great drugs in their final stages of development to be released in the next six to nine months. These drugs can possibly lead to a "cure" or at least minimize the chances of the cancer relapsing. In addition to my treatment controlling the disease and alleviating the symptoms, my treatment is buying me time until one of these wonderful drugs comes out to cure my disease.

My uncle has been struggling with bladder cancer for 31 years, over which time he has had 24 surgical procedures. Last March his doctor suggested that he try a new treatment under investigation and six weeks later he is cured! He is 84 years old.

"Breathe in Hope, Breathe out Love."


  1. Hi Jeff,
    Your positive attitude is incredibly inspiring. Stay strong!!! Just wanted to let you know that we are thinking and praying for you and your family!
    Carolyn Rogers

  2. Brother, you are a beautiful writer! Love reading your blog!! Love, Kim and Dan

  3. Jeff,

    I love how incredibly positive and strong you are. Your a great role model :). I love your blogs keep them up they they keep me going! REMEMBER we are all FIGHTERS and now its YOUR TURN! I love you and talk to you soon.


  4. That comment for some reason came up saying GuyerDFW oops! Sorry I am still trying to learn how to work this thing over here! Love you.

  5. Is it a fish analysis or a tuna fish analysis? If tuna fish, is it red meat or dark meat or mayo meat?? Thinking of you and sending you well wishes.

  6. Jeff, we just wanted you to know that we are following your blog and cheering you on from across the Atlantic. We know others have said this, but your positive attitude and strength are truly inspiring. We have so much confidence in you being able to beat this! Thinking about you and Autumn and sending our love!!

    Haley & Shawn

  7. Jeff-

    Remember "The Little Engine That Could". Not, I think I can, I think I can, but I KNOW YOU WILL.
    You are incredible. We love you ---The Other Shell and Den

  8. Jeff,
    Ray and I are praying for you and your family. Yes, you can beat this beast.


    Ray & Jenn Baker
    Seattle, WA

  9. Jeff - if this is the strength and determination you have now (at the beginning), your positivity and zest for life will take you far...what a role model your uncle is for you, and for all of us actually. oh, and laugh TONS!

    Big hug to you and A

  10. Jeff-
    hearing your voice for 10sec last night was enough for me. these blogs are simply amazing. the strength mentally and now physically to do them is just awesome.

  11. Jeff - Your blog is so amazing to me. I did read a blog when I was going through cancer treatment, but nothing as inspirational or as incredible as yours! Your sense of humor, your honesty -- WOW! No wonder so many people love you. I check your blog every day because you're on my mind every day. I know I'm a cousin you don't really know, but I love you and am doing my best to be "with" you through this. Right now I'm hugging you XXX Cousin Sandy from Delaware

  12. jeff - i haven't talked to you in a jillion years, hope you remember me :) karen just told me what's going on and sent me the link to this wonderful, incredible, amazing, INFORMATIVE, touching blog. i just wanted to let you know... well i mean, what is there to say? this is horrible, obviously. you are a fantastic lovely guy and god knows things like this shouldn't happen to people like you. i am so sorry. but i applaud your positive energy, your humor (ever-present!), and how you say "we" to everything - you and your wife are clearly a unit, and you must be so grateful you married the girl :) way to go there, dude. but seriously, it sounds like you have an incredible support system around you, and are doing all the right things. i will continue to check back in with your blog and pray for you and cross all my half-jewish fingers and toes for you that things continue on the up and up. you totally rule, jeff - xxxxxx,
    jane (jolis)