Friday, October 28, 2016

End Chemotherapy, Start Hospice

It has been many months since my last update. For most of the time the news was mostly good.  My oncologist said the cancer in my lungs was mostly stable. It wasn't growing or moving until this summer when my health turned a pivotal corner.

Many of you have been fellow journeyers and avid supporters from near and far over the past seven years (as of this coming Nov. 8) of Ed's cancer story.  There was the initial discovery, the surgery to remove his rectum, the months of recovery and several major bouts of infection, the aftermath of effects that never went away, the discovery in January 2014 that the cancer had metastasized in his lungs and had become Stage 4, and then the 2.5+ years of chemotherapy and many often-horrible side effects.

Throughout it all, as you know, he has continued to live every day to the fullest.  Before the Stage 4 diagnosis, he hiked 2+ weeks in Scotland and in Canada, spending a month in each country as well as a month in Scandinavia.  He biked in Provence and walked almost every street (it seemed) in Paris.  Since the shocking Stage 4 announcement and all the subsequent, almost continuous chemo, he toured all throughout the Mediterranean, walked all over Rome, visited Cuba on the first LGBT cruise to go there, and most recently, saw 34 shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and visited Prague, Vienna & Budapest and many towns in between.  Since his November 2009 initial operation, he has attended over 800 live theatre and opera productions, including a whopping 162 to-date in 2016 (not including many full seasons of ballet).  And shall I mention how many scores of museums he has avidly visited in the Bay Area, Philadelphia, LA, New York, London, Paris, Rome, Istanbul, etc., etc.?

But now we enter a new and sadly final chapter in this incredible journey.  On  Friday, September 9th we were told that Ed's metastasized colorectal cancer is now spread to the point of causing his lungs to start shutting down.  This condition, brought on by the cancer and called lymphangitic carcinomatosis (or lymphangitis spread), is non-reversible and non-curable.  Chemotherapy of any type will no longer help.  His capacity to survive is now limited to some unknown number of weeks-to-months.  He will start getting more and more tired and will slowly drift into an eternal sleep.
With this diagnosis, Ed will be entering this week into in-home hospice care, with the team of physicians, nurses, and social worker fortunately including his current, much-beloved oncologist and palliative doctors from Kaiser.  All medical needs to make him comfortable will now be provided by this team at our home.

In the meantime, life continues as close to normal as possible, as long as possible.  (We have not cancelled any theatre dates for the rest of the month!)  He has transitioned out of his position at Stanford, helping others to pick up his duties there.  We are hosting an open-table Shabbat dinner every Friday night as well as weekend brunches for our kids and close friends in the area to drop by to schmooze and eat.

Even though there is a defined outcome, the timing and process between here and there is uncertain.   However, your continued support, messages, online chats, physical and/or online visits are all welcomed and very much appreciated.  This network has meant so much to us during the past seven years, and Ed has received much strength and encouragement from all of you to surge ever forward even when the going was extremely rough.

Love to each and every one of you,
Eddie (& Ed)

7 comments:

Jeff Tabaco said...

Much love to you both. ❤️

Jeanne Barrack said...

I was hoping to hear better news...my husband is also stage 4, but thank G-d, no where near as bad.
Sending white light and many prayers to you both.

Anonymous said...

If words from a straight are any consolation, here they are. My wife and I have been together/married for fifty-three years. The prospect of losing each other would be heart breaking. Your love is as deep and as real as ours. I am so sorry.

Johnny Diaz said...

My thoughts are with the both of you.

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