Schedule Update 5/7/13

Fresh off of a much needed vacation to Virgin Gorda, I have a few schedule updates to share with you. Also, I am doing well (trying to gain weight for surgery) and am tolerating the treatments as good as expected!

5/6/13: Chemotherapy Infusion @ St. Joseph’s

5/8/13: CT (chest) and MRI (abdomen) Scans @ Emory University Hospital

5/14/13: Scan Results Discussion with Dr. Kauh (my onc) @ Emory University Hospital



Scan Results and Good News! 4.4.13

According to my radiologist and oncologist, my liver is now free of cancer. My oncologist has spoken with the surgical oncologist and they are going to increase my chemo dosage and rescan me in 6 weeks. They are doing this for two reasons: 1. Precautionary measure to reduce risk of cancer spreading 2. The goal is to shrink the primary tumor as much as possible pre radiation and surgery. The smaller the primary tumor is, the less invasive the surgery will be. After I get the green light from the doctors in 6 weeks, I will begin radiation immediately and surgery will take place 30-45 days after. I do realize that I still have a long road ahead of me, but today was a victory and I am one step closer! Thank you for all of your texts, calls, and emails.


Upcoming Treatment Schedule-

4/8/13: Chemo Infusion @ St. Joes Campus (Emory)

4/22/13: Chemo Infusion @ St. Joes Campus (Emory)

March 2013 Update


Three weeks ago, I had my first routine endoscopy since the mass was found on 4/13/12. The endoscopy revealed that my primary tumor in fact is still slowly shrinking (which we assumed) and that the rest of my esophagus was in “pristine” condition. Dr. Kauh (my onc) recommended that we start back on the FOLFOX chemo regiment to ensure that we would keep everything under control. We of course obliged and I prepared myself for the nausea again. Insert 8 hr chemo treatment on 2/27/12 here…

Today, I am still pretty sore from last week’s RFA on my liver, but the soreness is the least of my worries because Dr. Nour ablated the LAST of my remaining liver lesions!!! None of the spots that he has ablated in the past have come back, but I am quite humble now with good news these days. Honestly, I don’t go to a super high or super low place when I get any kind of news; I just take the news as is and then put one foot in front of the other and continue on the path to having No Evidence of Disease!

Here is my upcoming treatment schedule:

3/13/13: Chemo@ St. Joes Campus (Emory)

3/25/13: Chemo@ St. Joes Campus (Emory)

3/27/13: Restaging Scans (MRI and CT Scans@ Emory)

4/4/13: Meeting with Dr.Kauh to evaluate next steps (either more chemo or more chemo then surgery!)

The picture above is from Groton Plantation, where Parker and I spent the weekend hog hunting (I told you I wasnt that sore!). I can truly say that spending three days in the wilderness without cell phone service was just what the doctor ordered. I made new friends and spent time with loved ones; what more could you ask for? It was the trip of a lifetime and I am already ready to go back!

Keeping my eyes on the prize,



Excluding his recent and scandalous love life news, Arnold has undoubtedly beaten the odds stacked against him during his lifetime. His story is pretty incredible.

Overcoming the physical aspect of having cancer is the easy part for me; the mental aspect is the most difficult part of the equation. Finding inspiration in others is one of the ways that provide a greater inner strength for me mentally.

My relentless will to fight and win will make me a survivor.


Another One Bites The Dust!

No, not the meatloaf.

This morning’s procedure (RFA) was a success according to my radiologist and oncologist. Since the last scan of my liver, the lesions had shrunk again! This news is good for me but bad for my radiologist because he will have a hard time seeing any abnormalities during the next scan. I think I will take my news over his!

Thank you all for the kind words and gestures over the last few days, it really does create a positive impact on my life. It is also ironic how people often tell me how I am an inspiration to them or others…YOU all are clearly MY inspiration to Never Give Up!



P.S. Who is jealous that I am dining at Ristorante Emory tonight?


Update on the big “C” 1/29/13

So far we are starting off the New Year “on the right foot”! I have had a couple of chemo treatments thus far and due to my reduced dosage, my side effects have been minimal and I have felt better than ever. Just to refresh you, my oncologist has reduced my chemo intake due to the ablations; they don’t want to strain my liver any more than necessary. The neuropathy in my fingers has somewhat subsided and the only other issues that bother me on a daily basis is the shortness of breath and difficulty swallowing certain dry and meaty foods (salmon, white chicken meat). Both of these issues are directly related to where my primary tumor resides at the GE junction. Heck, I like walking and for the most part, I eat a diet that consists of about 85% vegetables anyways so its not a problem!

I just got back from an appointment with my oncologist at Emory and he told me the following… My primary tumor and liver lesions continue to shrink at a slow pace. This is good news considering that it is not spreading! I still have two small spots on my liver (one on the front and one on the back) that he recommends that we go ahead and ablate anyways even though they have been reducing in size every four weeks. So, I have another ablation scheduled for 2/5/13 and the last on 3/5/13. Due to the location, they cannot take care of both of them in one procedure. No big deal because all four of the recently ablated lesions were still shown as “Dead Tissue” on the MRI that I had completed Saturday!

Fortunately, due to some recent business travel, I have been able to keep my sanity (somewhat) throughout this marathon. After the last ablation, I was told that I could not exercise for 3 weeks and it was brutal!

Here is my new treatment schedule:

1/30/13: Chemo Treatment #20

2/5/13: Ablation # 3

2/13/13: Chemo Treatment #21

2/18/13: Endoscopy

2/27/13: Chemo Treatment #22

3/5/13: Ablation #4

3/13/13: Chemo Treatment #23

3/25/13: Chemo Treatment # 24

3/27/13: MRI and CT Scan- Progress Update

4/4/13: Appointment with Oncologist to discuss scans. I think at this point we should get some direction on my surgery options.

4/13/13: ONE YEAR to date of when the mass was found, hard to believe it has only been one year; feels like 10! ha ha

I cannot thank you enough for the continued love and support that you have shown our family over the last 9.5 months. We love each and every one of you. Now I am off to take a spin on the bike, it is 71 degrees outside with not a cloud in the sky!

Get busy living or get busy dying,


2nd RFA Complete

Just wanted to provide you guys with a brief update. Friday morning’s RFA went very well…the procedure was a success. Our radiologist was also very pleased with the results from our first RFA in that their was no trace of the original cancer spot they ablated one month ago. Unfortunately, I am still at hospital due to severe cramping, muscle spasms, & some general soreness. I had a slight fever, but it has now subsided. I hope to get discharged late tonight or tomorrow morning. Again, the great news is – I am one step closer to getting rid of the C!

We truly wanted to thank all of you for taking care of us, praying for us & sending emails / text messages. Our family couldn’t do it without y’all.

Lastly, if you want to come down here to watch the big game tonight, you can check out my new hospital pants & we can also watch it from the rooftop bar / pool here at the hospital. The view of the Atlanta skyline is amazing. I may even take my canvas & easel up there at sunset.

Roll tide!




Gym this morning, Chemo today, and another RFA on Friday. Every day is a step closer to the light at the end of the tunnel. #cancerfreein2013 #vegan


1st RFA Complete

Other than the fact that my chin is three times the size of Jay Leno’s I seem to be doing quite well. We were discharged (sorry, gross word) from Emory University hospital around 5pm yesterday afternoon.

Here is a brief rundown of my procedure on Tuesday. We arrived at Emory Hospital around 6:30am where I checked in with the radiology department. I was then admitted for pre-op care around 7:30 where I received more details on the RFA procedure, my IV, a backless gown, a summary from the anesthesia team, and news that I would have to have a catheter! Yeah, the catheter part was probably my least favorite news of the day.

Around 8:30 am I was put under general anesthesia and Dr. Nour and his staff had me in and out of the MRI machine performing multiple scans and performing the ablation over a 6 hour period. During the procedure, the ablation machine had a malfunction and so they were only able to ablate one lesion (they typically try to ablate 2-3 at at time). The GOOD news is that the largest lesion was 5MM (which he ablated) and the other lesions were almost too small to even measure. He also stated that the lesions had reduced in size from my scan four weeks ago!  Dr.Nour and his staff also did a biopsy on my liver since they had already penetrated my body.

I woke up in the PACU (post anesthesia care unit) around 2:30pm and felt like I had been hit by a bus. They gave me some pain and anti nausea meds and I went back to sleep for a few hours. Now, that I know what to expect, it will be easier to manage next time. Yes, I will be having another RFA on 1/4/12 to ablate the remaining lesions.

Back to the Jay Leno reference…apparently the anesthesia team did a lackluster job of placing my body on the stretcher in the MRI suite. During the procedure I was face down (So they could access my liver through my lower right side of back) with all of the weight from my body on my chin. So throughout a 6 hour time span, my chin received a bit of localized trauma and is pretty swollen. The doctors said that the swelling should recede in the next couple of days. No big deal…We proceeded to spend the night at the hospital to catch up on some rest and for observation.

In summary, the RFA was a complete success and I look forward to the next one on 1/4/12. I want to thank everyone who sent me emails, texts, phone calls, etc over the past few days!



RFA Scheduled for 12/4/12

The RFA (Radiofrequency Ablation ) to treat the lesions on my liver has been scheduled for next Tuesday, 12/4/12. The procedure will consist of me being placed in an MRI machine (while under general anesthesia) at which time the radiologist will use a needle like probe to ablate the minuscule spots. My oncologist and myself are very confident that the treatment will be successful. After all, I have far more to gain than to lose. The only possible deterrents are liver damage and infection; both of which seem to be rare per the doctor.  Emory performs hundreds of RFA’s per year. I will go to Emory for pre-op meetings on Monday and then report to the hospital Tuesday morning at 7am. I will have the procedure done and then will stay in the hospital overnight for observation. As of now, I should be released Wednesday afternoon and may be mildly sore for a few days. You can read more about the RFA here:

Thank you again for your constant support and best wishes, I am so grateful that I have the best friends and family that anyone could ever ask for.

With love,



“He who becomes the slave of habit, who follows the same routes every day, who never changes pace, who does not risk and change the color of his clothes, who does not speak and does not experience, dies slowly.

He or she who shuns passion, who prefers black on white, dotting ones i’s rather than a bundle of emotions, the kind that make your eyes glimmer, that turn a yawn into a smile, that make the heart pound in the face of mistakes and feelings, dies slowly.

He or she who does not turn things topsy-turvy, who is unhappy at work, who does not risk certainty for uncertainty, to thus follow a dream, those who do not forego sound advice at least once in their lives, die slowly.

He who does not travel, who does not read, who does not listen to music, who does not find grace in himself, she who does not find grace in herself, dies slowly.

He who slowly destroys his own self-esteem, who does not allow himself to be helped, who spends days on end complaining about his own bad luck, about the rain that never stops, dies slowly.

He or she who abandons a project before starting it, who fails to ask questions on subjects he doesn’t know,  he or she who doesn’t reply when they are asked something they do know, dies slowly.

Let’s try and avoid death in small doses, reminding oneself that being alive requires an effort  far greater than the simple fact of breathing.

Only a burning patience will lead to the attainment of a splendid happiness.”

– Pablo Neruda

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