It has been 277 days, or 9 months and 4 days, since my last update about being disqualified for a new clinical trial. I know it has been quite a while since my last update, and some of you have kindly reached out through emails, Facebook, and cards to check in on me. But when I learned in February that my three tumors had increased in size (two being the size of large lemons), along with being disqualified for a new clinical trial…well…it hit me pretty hard. And how I faced it and bore the lion in his lair, I poured myself into my work – both in public and community service.
Today, I have some good news.
Since receiving the negative test results back in February, I’ve undergone three more CT scans, including a brain MRI. The scan results in May and August 2018 showed a reduction of hypermetabolic activity in all three tumors. In fact, two of them – the lemon-sized ones – decreased by nearly 50%, basically to the size of strawberries. Teresa and I were both overjoyed from hearing this news from my oncologist. However, the CT chest and abdomen scans conducted this month indicated that two tumors remained the same size, while the third slightly increased.
Despite hearing the news about November’s test results, I’m relieved that there were no significant increases in any of the existing tumors and no further signs of a new metastasis found in any other parts of my body. And given the fact that I have been fighting cancer for over five years, I’ve been able to enjoy life with friends and loved ones, serve my country as a public servant, and give back to my community through Career Network Ministry.
Moreover, my marriage with Teresa has become a living love story; our marital bonds have grown stronger through cancer. Also, to be able to see her grow in noble character (Proverbs 31:10-31) has been such a joy to witness. When individuals would comment of how blessed I’m with Teresa, I just smile and think, “If they only knew.” For I am the most wretched one among family and friends, and to receive such an undeserved blessing in Teresa truly exhibits the unfathomable truth of God’s grace, love and favor for a man such as myself.
From April thru August 2018, I was put on a new targeted therapy - my fourth treatment - to reduce the three tumors' cells growth. Basically, it was chemo in pill form. The treatment reduced my tumors by 50 percent.
"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity" -- Proverbs 17:17. Avi Ron joined me as I underwent another chemo/immunotherapy infusion, Aug. 23, 2018, Inova Schar Cancer Institute, Falls Church, Va.
Kim Haes (Left) and Kris Maypole, a CBP colleague, joined me as I underwent another chemo/immunotherapy infusion, Friday, Oct. 5, 2018, Inova Schar Cancer Institute, Falls Church, Va.
Making funny faces while receiving my chemo drip. My executive director, Honor-Garcia-Tomchick, and colleague Juliett ("Jules") McPhaul-Stephan, joined me during my chemo/immunotherapy infusion, Oct. 26, 2018, Inova Schar Cancer Institute, Falls Church, Va.
Just because I have cancer, doesn't mean that I stop helping others. Spearheaded a community job program, "Career Transition Academy," to help 24 job seekers, currently in a job search and career transition. The 1st cohort successfully completed 16 hours – two all-day Saturdays – that were jam-packed with career related training seminars designed to help them take full ownership and responsibility when identifying, applying and obtaining full-time work. The seminars were held on Sept. 15 and 22, 2018.
More photos of my walk with cancer here.
Prayer Request: Dear Heavenly Father, help me live a life today that truly exemplifies Your Love, while at the same time enjoying my true being. Show me how to use my gifts for others. Give me the wisdom to make each day my own masterpiece. Help me be more fully aware of what I see, taste, hear, smell, and touch. Give me the strength to be true to myself and to others; speaking words of encouragement and conviction, together with the service of my hands and mind. And help me see life as a celebration; a gift for each day to be delighted in, cherished and enjoyed. Give me the strength to embrace circumstances that I can control and surrendered to those that I cannot. Amen.