Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Jake the Snake!

I am so excited! After putting the purchase off for too long, Marcie convinced me to go ahead and get a new bike for Christmas. Can't wait to get it muddy! Ho, ho, ho!

Oh yeah, Dr. P, my oncologist, said that since the Temodar regimen is going well and I tolerate it well I will stay on for six more months. Crush that cancer!

It is Thanksgiving break, my parents are here, the girls are happy and I am married to Wonder Woman. I have so much to be thankful for.

Bizarro World and Happy Thanksgiving!

My bizarro world: where hearing that I will get 6 more months of Chemo is very good news!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
I have a lot to be thankful for.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Where did that month go?

It is amazing how fast that month went by since my last post. In a nutshell, I am great. Had an MRI on November 1 with the follow up on November 5. It looked good! Still a dark spot but it appears to have shrunk a little. So I will continue with the Chemo (Temodar) every four weeks. Of course, this week is a chemo week! Brilliantly, I scheduled a day long, outdoor field trip with my eighth graders this week and parent conferences at the end of the week and grades were due...
gotta go. Dinner at Wegman's!

Monday, October 11, 2010

It's Chemo Week!

Compared to other forms of chemo, these pills are a breeze. This pic is a week's worth of Temodar. I like the way the doc described these pills, like whack-a-mole. The pills are the hammers to crush the surviving cancer cells.

Monday, October 4, 2010

It's not growing, so keep going!

Marcie and I were "Team Goeke-Morey" in the Half Full Triathlon this past weekend. Pics and details to come. In the meantime, here is a video of the interview conducted by the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults, the sponsors of the race. BTW, I was the swim and bike, Marcie was the run.

Picture from the race here.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Most Happy Anniversary!

Tomorrow, September 13th is our 13th Wedding Anniversary!! Yay us! It is so amazing how our marriage has gotten better every year no matter the changes (3 wonderful children) or challenges.
I LOVE YOU Marcie! Here's to many, many more anniversaries!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Of course the latest MRI showed no new growth...

...why was I worried?
I was originally scheduled for an MRI in the last week of August but school starts that week. NIH was kind enough to move it up four weeks (due to timing of the temodar schedule).
Once again: NO GROWTH OR CHANGE! Some of the "golfball" is still there and probably will always be there with the assumption it is scar tissue. The only concern anyone had was the nurse who took my vitals. He was concerned that my heart rate was too low. He measured it at 43 bpm and 46 bpm. I explained that I have always had a low rate and have been cycling and swimming much this summer. I've got a race to get ready for! The docs were not concerned.

I go into the MRIs as positive as possible but it is not something one can be 100% positive about. Those doubts and fears are there, I try to keep them to be fleeting whispers. Marcie is great at keeping me up emotionally on these MRI report days. She is wonderful.

Cycling mileage is where it needs to be. Swimming mileage is there also. Just need to get faster!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I'm on a bike!

Great Saturday morning bike ride last week. Met up with Anne and Gundy who rode across country to raise awareness for Brain Cancer. It was very powerful and inspiring. Many riders came out for the parade route from Hains Point to the Capitol Reflecting Pool. Anne is a brain cancer survivor like myself. There were several other cancer survivors present and riding including BethAnn, a local traithlete. We had a police escort leading us through the streets of DC. Rode right through red lights! Felt like the President! Marcie and the girls were there to meet us. What a great cheering squad.
The speeches and guests were extremely powerful and moving. They are planning an event next year. Can't wait to take part in it.

BTW: My biking mileage is up over 30+ miles. Now I am adding hillwork. Yippee! Swimming is up also. Chemo is still there, finished another week.

More info:
BethAnn's group: TeamBT
Jeff Schanz (a very energetic cancer survivor) is big part of the Race for Hope

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

2000 yards in the pool today!

Planned to swim a mile (36 laps). Not sure of lap count so I went to 37 to be sure. But then I figured might as well end at a round number. 40 laps. Felt great. Longest swim in a long, long time.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Brains on Bikes:Cycling Across America
Anne, a brain cancer survivor, and her friend Gundy are riding across America to raise awareness about Brain Cancer. They finish their ride on the National Mall in DC next Saturday, July 17th. The G-M family will be there to show our support. My bike is ready!
DC Finale details

Monday, June 21, 2010

Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da, Life goes on...!

M and I went to NIH last week for my quarterly MRI. No pressure walking in to that appointment, Ha! I always hope and pray for the best but prepare for bad news. This was a very good appointment. The MRI showed no growth of the tumor and possibly some shrinkage!!!!! (Insert Seinfeld shrinkage joke here). First doc said possibly a little shrinkage, second more senior doctor said definitely some shrinkage. They don't expect much shrinkage anyway as the mass is assumed to be scar tissue that will not fade away.

So that is that. Life goes on. Next MRI in September. Chemotherapy pills this week then three weeks off, as per normal chemo program.

Heading to visit dear friends this week in the IN/MI/OH. Very excited.

Friday, May 28, 2010

I'm Famous! (sort of...)

I won a drawing by the organization with the goal to bring the FIFA World Cup to the US in 2018 0r 2022. They sent me a beautiful, personalized US jersey and interviewed me for their blog. The interview is here:

I actually am sharing the home page of the site with the US Mens Team, President Obama, President Clinton and VP Biden...sort of.

For the interview they found my blog and asked me about it. They asked why I decided to blog and what advice do I have for those starting their fight with cancer:

GoUSABid: You have a blog that chronicles your experience with brain cancer, how did you decide to blog about this experience? What advice do you have for those who might just be starting cancer treatment?
ME: The blog came out as way to communicate to friends and family around the country and world. I wanted to keep everyone updated on my brain surgery, recovery, radiation treatments and chemotherapy. I wanted information out there so people wouldn't be guessing or expecting the worst. I have always felt strong and positive through this situation and wanted my friends to support my fight in the same way. Right now, only the blog has been suffering as I am too busy living to update it regularly!

My advice is to stay positive. I have on my computer desktop a statement that I typed early on when I was pretty scared. I wanted to record my thoughts as I started my fight. I simply typed, "I choose to live." That became my mantra. I also would not be doing so well without my incredibly supportive wife and family and the best doctors, nurses and staff that I could find.

Side note: I spent several months at home after my brain surgery. Thank God for the daily afternoon soccer matches on ESPN and Fox Soccer!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Play Ball!

Cheverly Day East-West Softball Game. After months of bad weather, a gimpy leg, and many, many pills and needle sticks it felt great to just play a game. I should have gone to a batting cage months ago. Great therapy!

BTW: It is a chemo week. (But only 3 1/2 days of work! Long Memorial Day weekend.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I am just too busy.

I have too many things I want to get done. Simple as that. Busiest part of the school year. Family coming in this weekend for eldest daughter's First Communion. Yardwork. Bike rides; long bike rides; really long bike rides. World Cup starts in 44 days. Then the Tour De France. Pool will open soon. I don't even have time to blog properly. Therefore, I have decided to put brain cancer on hiatus. Sorry cancer but you were taking up too much of my time. I'll send you a postcard.

BTW: It's chemo week! Ummm...Temodar. Is it me or do the pink ones taste better than the blue ones?

Friday, March 26, 2010


This week was filled with anxiousness waiting to have my quarterly MRI. Today, Marcie and I went to get the results. We heard again some good words. "Great" is the exact word the Doctor used! What a relief. "Great" is the word they use when the brain tumor is NOT growing. I can live with that. Literally. I would prefer that it is shrinking or gone but I will take "not growing". Growing would be bad.

What happens now? First, I go about life trying to live as fully as possible. (A good motto for everyone. Don't forget your vegetables ;-) Medically, I will still be taking chemotherapy pills every fourth week and some other medicine. I will get monthly blood tests and in June another MRI. Yay.

Now, I deserve a reward. Suggestions? New bike? A trip to Europe? A pony?
Marcie, for all that she has done and for being right next to me through all of this deserves a bigger reward. Maybe I'll get her a pony.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Keep fighting Coach Karl!

Been there and I know how it feels. George Karl, coach of the Nuggets and former Cavs coach has a different kind of cancer but the treatments are similar. The pictures bring back a lot of memories.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

How the strange becomes normal

It is amazing how quickly pills, doctor's appointments, and head shaving becomes routine. I am three cycles into the chemo pills with no ill effects. My hair is coming back unevenly so I cut my hair every Sunday. I visit my oncologist and have the same blood draws and answer the same questions. "How do you feel?" "Really good!" Working full time again and into the school routine. That is my normal.

This week will be a little different. I will visit NIH on Thursday for another MRI. The plan is that I will have MRIs on a quarterly basis. No change in them is good. Smaller is even better. Will find out the results for this week's MRI on Friday. Keep the prayers and karma and good wishes coming! The more Mojo, the better!

Monday, March 1, 2010


Third round of this chemo cycle. With the chemo, I have to take an anti-nausea pill. But for that I also have to take a laxative. Just can't win for losing. ;-)

Hair is still growing in slowly. I have gotten pretty good at clipping my own hair, now a Sunday ritual. Have not shaved it completely bald though.

I have been back teaching full-time for over a month but it has been weird. Last week was the first week of five full days. We have had the normal days off plus seven snow days and four delays. I really enjoyed the "snow week" with the girls, but boy, am I ready for Spring.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Dentist made me laugh

Went to the dentist this week for a check-up. I laughed out loud when they put the lead vest on me before they took the bite wing x-rays. It struck me as very funny that the dental staff was worried about my exposure to radiation. Ha!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Month #2 of the chemo only regimen

This is a happy package to receive. Meh. A box arrives on my front porch once a month now with just 20 pills, 5 days worth. These are the pills that, ARE killing the bad cells in my brain.
I am now a month further away from the radiation. Will this chemo make me as tired as last time? (which was not too bad). I expect to not be as tired.

Prescription rant: I am prescribed to take 440mg of the medicine nightly. They do not make a pill that size. I have to take 3x100mg pills and 1x140mg = 440mg. Since it is two different size pills, it is considered two different prescriptions and two separate co-pays: 2 x$50 = $100 = $5 per pill. $5 = pint of beer. I'd rather be prescribed pints ;-)

Actually, I am not really annoyed because when this does its work, it is a bargain at twice the price.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Irony Part II

I got congratulations for my return to running this week. Ironically, the delayed return to running had less to do with the brain tumor and more to my healing achilles tendon rupture surgery (September surgery 5 days before the brain surgery). My right calf muscle is still smaller than the left but the limp is pretty much gone. I am sure my speed will never return. Of course speed was never there in the first place. (Boy, was I a sight for a while: hair falling out, puffy face, drooping left eyelid, and a big limp.) Finally, made it to the pool today. Easy half-mile+. Felt good. Lot of work before I am beach ready though.

I am in a chemotherapy regimen right now of one week on pills, three weeks off. This is the 3rd "off" week. Back to chemo pills next week. Interested to see how I will be effected this time as I move farther away for the radiation treatments.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Finally started working full time yesterday, yea me! Ironically, I am home today with my youngest daughter who has the crud: low grade fever, cough, snot, etc. Hopefully she will feel better today or tomorrow.
It is so good to be back working. I teach Junior High Social Studies so our focus this week of course has been on Haiti; the earthquake, the history of the country and the recovery. Our students' response was awesome raising over $1200 in two days for Catholic Relief Services which is doing a fantastic job in Haiti.

Seeing the destruction from the earthquake reminds me that by comparison I have not had it so bad.

Tomorrow to the Oncologist for a blood test! Yippee!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

End of Chemotherapy Week One and shout out to my radiation oncologists

Finished first week of the new chemotherapy regimen. I took Chemotherapy pills for five days and now will be off the pills for the next three weeks, then on for five more days and off three weeks, and so on.
How was it? Not so bad, no nausea, but by the weekend I was just really sleepy. I am sleeping harder at night and just had to take a long nap this afternoon. I have to make sure I get more sleep during the week. For years as a teacher I worked with 5 hours of sleep a night figuring I would catch up on sleep in the summer. Now, I need a minimum of 8 per night. My energy should build to normal over the three non-chemo weeks.

Visited NIH for a follow up with the radiation oncology staff. They also were very pleased with my most recent MRI images. I am very thankful for their skills in aiming those x-rays to kill, wound, weaken, or maim cancer cells. They did a great job and always treated me and Marcie and the girls extremely well with respect and kindness. I gave Dr. Kesarwala one of my "stupid cancer" wristbands which she was thrilled to receive.

No Doc appointments this week and a 3 1/2 day weekend coming up!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Better life through chemistry!

Chemotherapy begins again. Yippee! One week on, three weeks off. Repeat. Pills (4) only just before bedtime. I don't expect nausea but have a pill for that also. Knock on wood.