June 2006

From: Tom
To: All
Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2006
Subject: update

There are a couple of reasons why I have not communicated recently, the most joyous of which is that I spent some time putting my motorcycle back together. It had been six months since I disassembled it to have a cylinder head repaired. Then for a variety of reasons, both physical and financial, I was unable to get it back together until last week. It sure feels good to be riding again!

Another reason for my unusual silence is that there has been a somewhat unexpected turn in the progress of my treatments and I've been having a hard time coming to terms with it. I had a couple of different scans a few weeks ago that marked the end of the chemo and thoracic radiation treatments and in preparation for the cranial radiation treatments. I even went in to the radiation clinic to have a face mask made which is to be used for aiming the x-rays at my brain. But when I met with my oncologist he informed me that the tumor at the primary site had shrunk, but is not entirely gone. Although his attitude was very upbeat, and he told me that the tumor should continue to shrink over the next few months, it is not what I expected to hear or what I was led to believe would be the case at this stage. It has, in fact, delayed the start of the cranial radiation because one of the qualifying factors is complete response (remission) at the primary site. I underwent another type of scan (PET) earlier this week to help the doctors determine how much of what they see is living tissue and how much is scar tissue. The results of that scan will dictate when, or if, we will proceed with cranial radiation.

Although I've maintained a fairly positive attitude, and hopeful outlook despite dreary statistics, throughout this whole process, I've found this sudden change of plans difficult to deal with. The fact that I've been sleeping about 12 hours per day, and have very little ambition when awake, indicates to me that I may be dealing with depression. I believe it's due to the disruption of an already uncertainty situation.

There are some bright spots in recent developments. After a discussion with my doctor, I believe that due to the nature of my illness, I will remain eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. Also, I have found a buyer for one of my lots in Hawaii, which will provide an infusion of cash. These are two important factors in pursuit of my goal to move to Hawaii. These developments, along with being able to ride my motorcycle again, are helping me to overcome the feelings of depression and regain the illusion of control in my life.

Tom

To: Tom
From: Bro
Date: June 29, 2006

I'm glad you're back to riding.

What happens if the tumor has shrunk but not gone away. Would they
recommend another round of radiation or chemo??

I think about you every day - several times a day. This situation would be
difficult under any circumstance but it's really tough with you being 2500
miles away.

Enjoy riding and find at least one thing a day to laugh at.
It's hard for you to think positively right now so I'll do it for you.

Bro

To: Tom
From: Albert M
Date: June 29, 2006

Hi Tom, I'm glad to hear that you got your bike all back together and riding again, that's great. I'm also sorry to hear about your tumor not going away completely, both my wife and I will keep you in our thoughts and prayers. I'm sorry to hear about your depression as well. I don't know if this would help or not, but I've been dealing with depression all my life as a side effect of my Bi-polar disorder. I haven't told anyone from work about that because of the fear of being judged and unwanted sympathy. I'm currently not on any meds right now because I'm at my manic stage of the year. Usually I can deal with the manic better than the depression but sometimes it can get out of hand. Again, I don't know if that helped any, but I know how the worst of the worst can be sometimes, just ask my wife she's always been there for me and she's probably the reason why I haven't left this world. I know how much another person can help so immensely. I know I can't relate to how you're feeling right now or what your going through, but I can definitely lend a helping hand if need be. Good news, I'm quitting smoking! I'm weening myself off of smoking cigarettes and I've gone from a pack a day to a pack a week now, come this Friday I'm going to quit all together. Seeing your situation has shed some light on the whole smoking all together, not only would it be a waste of a life, but it would be a waste to my kids when I have some. It's been great hearing from you Tom and not only I but everyone here misses you and hopes for your successful recovery.

Albert M
Database Development

To: Tom
From: Tim D
Date: June 29, 2006

Hi Tom,

You are a very tough guy . . . I find it difficult to read your emails
without becoming emotional. We all know that life can throw some
tremendous challenges in front of us, but we never really know what that
challenge will be. You provide a source of strength we all need. I'm
proud of you and hope you get well soon.

Tim

To: Tom
From: Sean S
Date: June 29, 2006

Tom it's great to hear from you. I'm happy to hear that you got your Harley
back together, you know as well as I do that when your on a bike the rest
of the worlds problems just seem to melt away. As for me I've been super
busy with work, Rancho Cordova 4th of July Committee, soccer and now my
daughter is playing softball for the California Breeze and spends her
weekends on the road traveling all over the place playing ball. Right now
though I'm putting my money together and shopping for an engagement ring. I
plan on asking Beth to marry me on August 14th, which is her birthday and
the anniversary of our first date so next year if your still in California
I'll expect you to be at the wedding. Anyway, we're all pulling for you
here, if there's anything I can ever do please don't hesitate to ask. Take
care of yourself.

Sean

To: Tom
From: Joe Z
Date: June 29, 2006

Tom,

Go riding. Ride, ride and when your done with that, ride some more. No
better way to maintain your sanity and your spirits than doing what you
like most. Glad to hear you got your bike back together. Keep your spirits
up and I know you'll beat this thing.

Best wishes.
Later dude.
Joe Z

To: Tom
From: Jim W
Date: June 29, 2006

Good Morning, Tom;

Thank you for the update. It sounds like some good news, but at the same
time, it must be hard to deal with the uncertainty. It is good that you are
able to get some of your hobbies (motorcycle riding) accomplished. Also, I
hope you are able to continue with your positive attitude, in spite of all
that you are going through. My prayers are with you to continue to get
healthy and keep from depression. I hope all of your dreams will be
fulfilled. And remember God's promise at Revelation 21:3, 4.

Regards
Jim

To: Tom
From: Eric
Date: June 30, 2006

I may not have understood, but isn't this good news?

Eric