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I'm Winning.

Dave's Blog

I'm Winning.

Dave Clark

January 21

Chemo this morning.  I think the pre-chemo symptoms are a bit heightened over a bit of worry about the PET scan results; headache and waves of nausea is the worst.  Meds do help as does the most caring nursing chemo team one could have.  I tell myself “chemo is what it is”- don’t get me wrong, chemo sucks but it is a means to a greater end.  I have learned to look at chemo as my friend- it’s just become a part of my normal routine.  It’s amazing what you normalize after a while.

My earlier concerns were validated this afternoon- another malignant tumor in the upper right lobe of the lung- very persistent cancer.  I was hoping the maintenance chemo would have worked for longer.  So the lung cancer has returned- the good news (there is some good) is that this is the “only” tumor found- it could be worse.  To plan B…although we are not sure what plan B is.  There are options but again it’s a waiting game for recommendations from the tumor board.  I have an amazing treatment team- what fascinates me is that they don’t see how special they really are- they are amazing people.  I said ‘waiting’ was the hardest part?- no, telling your loved ones that there is another malignancy is the hardest part; I hurt for them.     

Fact is I cried for the first time in a very long time.  Simply put I don’t want to die and today I felt that I was dying.  I don’t cry necessarily for me but rather for the pain and hurt my family and friends feel.  I can’t fix the pain they feel, I wish that I could- I can’t and that is when the tears come. 

I think it’s important to allow yourself to be weak- it’s the only way to come back stronger.  It took 24 hours or so but the negativity is gone.  I am realistic about my prognosis but I am hopeful and I feel strong and determined again.  When I was first diagnosed with cancer I told myself “I am not fighting cancer”.  I convinced myself that I was going to learn to live with cancer- fact is I am doing both.  I am living each day and I am fighting cancer with everything in my being.  I am not “angry” that I have cancer; I am using it to drive me.  Cancer is NOT going to tell me I can’t climb or that I can’t laugh or that I can’t work- each day that I enjoy with my family and friends is beating cancer.  I’ll be back in the mountains in a few weeks.  I’m winning.        

January 20

Feel great post climb of Phelps, great workout this morning- PET scan today.  I am a bit nervous about the scan.  I’ve had multiple scans this year but for some reason I think this scan may not be as positive as my last.  I don’t get much “scanxiety” but…we’ll see.  For me waiting is always the most difficult part of all this.  For the most part I can “forget” that I have cancer- I don’t walk around with that load on my shoulders continuously- it would get too heavy; scans however bring it all back- the gravity of one test…  

January 16

So what can you do in 24 hours?  I’m not sure but I’ve learned what can be done in 21 hours; here is the timeline for Matt and me climbing Phelps Mtn;

Wake up 3am and drink coffee until 3:20.

Look over gear one last time.  Brush teeth and wash face, more coffee.  Lisa takes a pic of Matt and I and we are on the road at 4am.

Arrive at the trailhead at 0950 after driving through a mild snow fall.  Gear up and hit the trail to Phelps at 10:20.  Snowing, cold, beautiful.

Summit Phelps at 1:45p- a few pics, enjoy the wonder of the summit, beautiful even though the snow and sleet and low cloud ceiling obscured most views (still amazing!).  Leave summit at 2p- getting cold due to freezing rain.  Lunch trailside at 3p and at the trailhead at 4:30p.  Fitbit (thanks Lisa!) tells me 29,485 steps and 221 floors climbed…an 8.4 mile hike, last mile difficult in the snow and ice.

Dinner at 6p and begin the drive home.  Arrive home 11:50p- quick shower, bed, asleep by 12:10am.  I would say we got a lot done in 21 hours.  I think Nye and Street Mtn’s are next.  Great climb, Matt did real well as always and I felt great on the mountain- I was happy with our trail time and how great I felt.  Nothing like the mountains to clear your head and gain perspective- glad Matt is doing this with me and Lisa supports it.  We’ll be back in a few weeks to continue the 46ers.