Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New Chemo, New Hope!

Sometimes life gets in the way of life.

If you can follow that statement you will understand that as I promised to update my blog on January 19, 2009 a certain number of normal events interrupted my abnormal life.

First, the day after I met with my doctor in Toronto to discuss a new Chemotherapy treatment the entire Peterborough Lakers coaching staff, of which I am a part of, was hired three games into the season by the Toronto Rock Lacrosse Club. This professional sport franchise is nothing new to me and what I have been doing for the past four seasons with my friends and fellow coaches Jamie Batley, Bob Keast, Joe Sullivan and Jim Milligan. What is new is that it's TORONTO, and like the beloved Maple Leafs, being associated with them carries a considerable amount of weight throughout the City.

We had 9 days to prepare for our next game and as video coach, this meant a lot of video preparation for the bench coaches and of course the players. Jamie Batley, who was one of the first people to know of my diagnoses, has always reminded me that I must continue life as normal as possible. He also told me that he will continue to push me, in spite of my condition, until it is entirely not possible. If I believe I can do it, I am able.

I respect that. I live with cancer and I choose to direct my own life. I accepted Jamie's request to assist him with the Toronto Rock for that reason. I could have stepped aside and allowed myself to waste away in self pity but I chose to push myself and take on his challenge.

A challenge that has the Rock at a current record of 1 win and 2 losses since we took over. It's not perfect, but we are working to get better and the position is certainly something that I love and in the end being involved in professional sport franchise such as the Toronto Rock, Colorado Mammoth, Edmonton Rush or Chicago Shamrox is something to be extremely proud of in my life.

The other normal event that took place that week was already referred too. As normal as normal can be. Normal to me, these days my life evolves around regular visits to Princess Margaret Hospital for MRIs, CT Scans, check-ups and blood tests. It was during one of these regular visits that I was told by Dr. Sui that things were soon to change. She informed me that I would be put on a new Trial drug which has been used in the U.S. and there has been optimistic results with conditions such as mine. We can all hope that this is true.

So beginning Monday, February 23, 2009, I will endure five consecutive days of infusions at Princess Margaret. This means I will stay at the Princess Margaret Lodge on Jarvis Street and take the free van to the hospital for a daily injection of Chemotherapy. There will be many blood tests and watchful eyes on me for the five days. On the third day, as part of this trial, another drug will be introduced in a pill form. Together, these two poisons are 'GOING' to take away or at least slow down the cancer that is still growing in my lungs.

Following the five days of infusions, the plan is to return home and continue taking the pills for an additional four more days. Only then will I be free of the poisons entering my body. I will then be given three weeks following to recuperate until I have to go through it all again on March 16, 2009. This plan will continue for as long as the drugs work. We are not sure yet of the side effects of these drugs however the normal ones do lead the list: tiredness, hair loss, and of course vomiting. Not to worry friends, my body has adapted to the chemo in the past and I have been fortunate to suffer no such effects. The hope is that will continue.

In spite of that news, the last few weeks have been busy. Many of you probably think I am enjoying a good book or watching a few movies while I am away from work. Others might think I am on deaths door waiting for the Reaper to collect my soul.

No, the truth is I am living my life large. Fulfilling my high school dream of coaching a professional sport and watching my son play competitive hockey. I'm even helping my friend Bill Duff coach a little hockey some nights opening the door of his son's house league hockey team. There is nothing better than watching the smile of Trevor when he comes off the ice in celebration of a goal. Yes, Trevor's smaller than the others, a little weaker skater, but has good hands and works hard each and every shift. Does that remind you of anybody?

The real question, however, is Why do I do all this? Why do I continue to charge full steam ahead?

Simply because cancer should not get in the way of life. I continue to stress to my wife Jennifer and my friends that I have been blessed with this time right now. The cancer is slow and perhaps there may be a cure on the horizon. But I cannot and will not wallow in self pity. I am strong. I will fight. And I will be happy!

Thanks for reading and sharing.... next blog, February 24, 2009