I hope this Harrington Update finds you well and in good spirits and health.
It is warm and sunny on this Friday morning, July 16, 2021. I cannot believe we are on day 197 of this year, with just over five months left of 2021!
As usual, my modus operandi allowed a significant lapse of time since my last update on March 24 (A Life No Longer Defined by Cancer). So, allow me to bring you up to speed on the Harrington Clan.
Moving on out
Teresa and I decided to take advantage of the seller’s market, so we placed our 2-bedroom/2-bathroom condo up for sell. And it didn’t take long for someone to extend an offer; in fact, matching our asking price! You can check out our condo at:
- Realtor’s site
For now, we moved into a 14-month rental lease at the Meridian at Eisenhower (right next to our old apartment building when we moved back to the DC Metro area in 2008). Our new address is: Alex & Teresa Harrington, Meridian at Eisenhower, 2351 Eisenhower Avenue, Apt #1019, Alexandria, VA 22314, Home: 703.567.4713.
Good riddance to monthly cramps!
On July 7, Teresa underwent a major hysterectomy – her uterus was cramping her style, she would say – and now she is on an 8-week recovery. All in all, the recovery is going well. In fact, she is looking forward to the day when all the pain is gone, and especially when she can walk down the tampon aisle at CVS and just laugh…laugh…and laugh!
One of the major reasons that I have not kept up with https://www.alifeswalkwithcancer.com and https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/alexharrington is that my extra time has been consumed by standing up an educational non-profit, Federal Career Connection, Inc.
After 10 years of running this community program under Career Network Ministry, based in Vienna, Va., I've decided to transition FCC Inc. into a bona-fide non-profit to provide job seekers with free resources to navigate the federal hiring process, as well as help the government recruit a new cadre of citizens who would support the timeless merit system foundation on which the civil service was built on. You can check out the following resources that we provide at:
Also, I would like to recognize the following individuals who are helping me turn Federal Career Connection, Inc into an educational non-profit:
- Angela Freeman
- Bibi Hamid
- Bob Korzeniewski
- Chris Westbrook
- Debbie Replogle
- Doug Roberts
- James Steele
- Jon Keller
- Julie Broadway
- Krystle Cluen
- Lora Allen
- Marily Roberts
- Maura Danehey
- Nathan Smith
- Paul Cuddihy
- Rachel Weaver
- Salvador Amado
- Silvia Lucero
- Stephanie Soza
- Tony Eiland
- Treva Smith
Okay, now onto my cancer update
I underwent another PET/CT scan on June 24. The good news is that both small cancerous tumors have not yet spread or increased in size, thanks to the last radiation treatment. With these latest results, my oncologist gave me another four months break from treatment. In October, I will undergo another PET/CT and brain scan to check the status of the tumors and to look for any new spread of the cancer.
Now, some of you may be wondering, “Why not get them surgically resected?”
Unfortunately, both tumors are deep within my pelvis area, next to an organ. So, we decided against surgery due to the post-op risks. If the cancer does metastasize, we have one more option for treatment. However, given the fact that my type of cancer is incurable, while living a full life for the past eight years, I count each blessing during this life’s walk with cancer.
A plea to get vaccinated
For the past 18-plus months during this pandemic, our country … states … towns … communities … and families have faced many challenges. And I am sure that you can all agree we want so desperately to get past COVID-19 and resume a normal life without masks, 6-foot distancing, elbow bumps, hand washing, etc. But to get past COVID-19, we must all do our part.
Teresa and I are strongly encouraging all family members, loved ones, and friends to do the right thing and get vaccinated against COVID-19. Teresa was fully vaccinated by January 16th with Pfizer and experienced some temporary side effects that quickly abated. And I was fully vaccinated by March 24th with Moderna and had next to no side effects…and this is with a compromised immune system from cancer treatment. We are both very thankful to have been eligible early on, so we can do our part to protect not only ourselves, but also all others who we have contact with.
I realize that some folks are afraid of the vaccines, especially how fast there were developed and distributed. But believe me when I say this: "I know that fear."
Throughout my six cancer treatments there was one not yet approved by the FDA. This second treatment was a clinical trial, and I was invited to sign up for in the summer of 2017. I was presented with the known risks of taking the experimental drug: mostly expected to be temporary if diagnosed and treated early on; or possibly long-term, or permanent side effects including damage to other vital organs, and of course – Death.
I must admit, fear consumed me when presented with the possibility of death from a clinical trial.
However, we – the oncologist, Teresa, and I – discussed the benefits, including improvement or healing not only of my advanced stage of cancer, but also to future melanoma patients, who could benefit from this new, life-saving treatment. In fact, Teresa strongly encouraged me to sign up for the trial and said:
“God has been very gracious to us so far, carrying us through this trial and keeping up your health and strength with the advanced medications you’ve been offered, which weren’t available when your young uncle passed away at 21 years old from melanoma back in 1962. You may not personally benefit from this research trial at all, but there could be some young boy 5-20 years down the road who may be able to receive a life-saving treatment due to your participation in this trial. This is not just for you, but others as well.”
We are also reminded of Jesus’ words in John 15:13:
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
Taking the vaccine is not going as far as to laying down your life, but it is a tangible way to show love and help to end this pandemic.
So, protect yourself and others. It is the right thing to do. The decision not to get vaccinated puts other people at risk.
If you have any concerns or questions about this, please contact your primary care doctor.
You can also go to:
- "Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines," Center for Disease Control and Prevention
- “COVID-19 vaccines: Get the facts,” Mayo Clinic
- “Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Vaccines safety,” World Health Organization
Be safe. Be well. Be strong.