Thursday, April 19, 2012


I began my ninth systemic infusion today. As I got situated, I noticed a guy a few years younger than me receiving an infusion. I looked at him, started laughing, and told him I was supposed to be the youngest guy there and he was messing up my scene. We both started laughing.  It's just so strange seeing someone close to my age dealing with cancer. Sadly, we all know there are plenty of people of all ages managing a cancer diagnosis. It's just that I'm used to hanging out in the infusion labs and joking around with people 20 years older than me. So this fella and I talked for a bit and essentially agreed how there isn't much else to do but just go forward with it and live the lives we've got.

I won't have my boy this Saturday as I normally do. He'll be with his Mom. Saturdays that follow an infusion have become my worst days. I miss him like hell on the nights he's not with me, but it really doesn't serve either of us when I'm so fatigued and in pain. Fortunately after this infusion, I only have three more systemic infusions scheduled, plus one pump infusion. That's only four more Saturday's I won't see him within a ten week window. It will pass by before I know it.

And then, should scans and blood work come back negative, there will be no more anticipation of the coming chemo sickness. Again there's just about no nausea which is a blessing. And it could be worse. I know people in a lot worse shape than I am. I'm healthy and strong with no detectable cancer in my body. I'm just getting knocked around pretty good every couple of weeks. I believe June 6th will be my final treatment. And I'm sure as hell ready for that.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

All Clear!

On Wednesday April 4th, I had another series of appointments at MSKCC or as I now like to call it a day at the spa (thank you Brad).

I had a morning CT scan - chest/abdomen/pelvis - followed by blood work and a visit with Dr. Kemeny and her wonderful staff (no sarcasm there - they're a great staff). My CT scan results were all negative and my blood work looked good, so I was eligible for and received another liver pump chemo treatment. Great news!!!

And honestly, I had no idea how concerned I was about my scan results until I had received the good news, walked into the waiting room, saw my friend, and threw my fists into the air and smiling from ear to ear. You have to understand this is not my standard response. Whenever I received scans during my first treatment, for the Rectal Cancer, I had some concerns, but as time went on I became more and more confident I had nothing to worry about. They would say, "Good news Mr. Scholl. Your scans came back clean. You have nothing to worry about for another three months." And I would politely smile while I thought to myself, "I have nothing to worry about. This is my first and last cancer diagnosis." But now that I have had this recurrence, my confidence has been shaken.

I mean, I'm sure as hell not going to stop living. I love my life, even with all this divorce nonsense (little judgment there...). Sure my circumstances are not ideal, but I have my boy, my family & friends, music, Life Coaching to return to, and all the things I love to do. And as my friend's very inspiring father, a three time cancer survivor says, you play the cards your dealt. That's it. I may whip 'em across the room every once in a while, scream my face off and imagine doing things that would ultimately not serve me, but then I'll always go pick them back up and presence myself to deep gratitude, for the privilege of still being in the game.

So yeah, I threw my fists into the air  and beamed a huge smile from ear to ear. I chose to not yell. Like me when I was there at MSKCC four years ago with my wife and son, during this most recent visit there was a family there across the room from us - husband & wife with a baby in a stroller. I'll keep my celebrating to a minimum while their life is very likely being turned upside down. On that day four years ago, a cheering fool dancing around in cowboy boots in the scariest waiting room I'd ever been in would not have made any sense to me. So, once I could finally lower my arms, I grabbed my CD, the only copy I had in my bag, and gave a signed copy to my doc, who wanted one because she likes country music. The other staff will get theirs on May 9th, should my blood work make me eligible and fortunate enough for another trip down to MSKCC for another pump treatment.

That evening, we went to Tamany Hall, a club on the Lower East Side, to see a friend from home (whom I haven't seen in years) who manages the place, and to listen to some rockabilly bands. Some of those cats were passionate performers and damn good singers. It felt so good to be there. And the stage was looking pretty comfortable. Perhaps I'll have to try it out sometime in the near future.