Help My Angel, Lois, Beat Cancer!
My Angel and Life-Love, Lois, and I have been together for 40 years, and have always been completely and totally inseparable. In late February 2017, Lois was diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon Cancer, after she started experiencing what we first thought was appendicitis. A CT scan revealed a large (3 inch) mass where the small intestine joins the large intestine (and right next to the appendix).
Subsequent scans have confirmed that there are additional tumors lining the abdominal cavity, but gratefully, not affecting any of the other major organs (liver, kidneys, lungs are clean).
Lois is now undergoing her first chemotherapy treatment. Our oncologist anticipates a 4 month chemo program, with treatment every other week to shrink the cancer as much as possible. After that, major surgery (HIPAC) to clear out the abdominal cavity (removing the colon, appendix, and other linings), recovery, and then another 2 months of a different chemo. In all, we are anticipating between 8 to 10 months for this to take place.
There is strong belief from the oncology team that a cure is possible, and is what we're aimed at. With guidance from her team, we also hope to augment this with holistic and naturopath approaches to help boost her immune system as it will be weakened by the chemo.
As an independent, self-employed photography team, we will not be able to work, or only do so at a minimum as we direct our energy and efforts toward Lois' healing. We are asking for support during this difficult time of transition to cover our basic life necessities and restore Lois' health. When possible, we hope to take on commercial assignments (product shots, architectural, branding, etc.) as time and energy allow.
As her husband and life-love, my immediate and ongoing focus is to provide as much of a positive and healing environment as I possibly can, so that Lois can focus on what it takes to beat this. Lois is extremely strong, upbeat and indomitable, and believes that we will overcome this. I continue to build and nurture her in all ways, physically, mentally, and spiritually, and we both are extremely appreciative of the help, love, and encouragement from the dear people in our lives.
Thank you all for your support.
LoisPalooza 2019 | Help Lois Beat Cancer!
Hi everyone! There’s been a tremendous amount of effort put into organizing an amazing Benefit Fundraiser dinner and concert on our behalf, as mentioned prior.
Taking place this coming Saturday, June 29, this is being hosted by world-famous musician Lee Oskar (co-founder and harmonica virtuoso of the supergroup WAR), with his fabulous group Lee Oskar & Friends. Joining Lee will be Emcee Jeff Renner (formerly KING5 TV), and special guest appearances from Roger Fisher (co-founder, guitarist HEART), and vocalist Bernadette Bascom (The Music Project).
We are extremely blessed by the presence and support of such wonderfully kind and dear friends!!!!
Taking place courtesy of the generous kindness from Bake’s Place Bar and Bistro in Bellevue WA, doors open at 5:30, with the event including live and silent auctions with unique one-of-a-kind historical music treasures and a fabulous buffet dinner prepared specifically for this evening. There are also spectacular auction items that have been donated to help support us as well. ***
Here’s a brilliant short video that dear friend Nicole M. created on this:
Please note: Reservations are required (walk-ins day of show are on a “room available” basis). Tickets are $41/person, and buffet is $52/person (both are required). You can find complete benefit information and a link for reservations at the website:
You can also make reservations directly with Bake’s Place:
155 108th Ave NE Ste 110, Bellevue, WA 98004
We hope you’ll be able to join us for this exciting and deeply appreciated event!
If you aren’t able to be a part of this, we kindly ask that you consider sharing information about this out to your sphere of influence, and/or consider passing along information about our GoFundMe ( www.HelpLoisBeatCancer.org) .
THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR WONDERFUL, CONTINUED SUPPORT FOR MY DARLING ANGEL!!!
***Auction items include (partial list, other items also present):
• Official Tour Jackets from Queen, Prince, The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, KISS, and others.
A Lee Oskar Harmonica signed by Bruce Willis (actor and musician)
• A very rare limited-edition Lee Oskar Harmonica signed by the original WAR band members with signed music sheet music from the platinum hit, “Low Rider”
• Extremely rare 2Tek guitar signed by Vince Gill, Howard Leese (Heart), Roger Fisher (Heart), Michael Shrieve (founding drummer, Santana), Alan White (drummer YES John Lennon/Imagine) Lee, Steve Fossen (Heart). All members or nominees in Rock in Roll Hall of Fame/Country Hall of Fame.
• An absolutely stunning original painting by Lee Oskar, “Destiny” that is crazy-beautiful eye-candy!
• Signed lyric sheet from Vince Gill, with autographed photo and guitar pick
• Signed lyric sheet from Amy Grant, with autographed photo and guitar pick
• Roger Dean poster (YES album covers), signed by the entire members of the Prog Rock Group YES
• Gold and Platinum record Plaques (Vince Gill and other artists…)
A few scattered topics to cover today.
First: exciting news!!! Organized, courtesy of world-famous musician and artist, Lee Oskar, we have a fundraiser taking place.
This will be on Saturday, June 29, 2019, at Bake’s Place Bar & Bistro, in downtown Bellevue. Lee Oskar & Friends will be providing an evening of music, joined by special guest performances from Roger Fisher (founding guitarist/Heart), and Bernadette Bascom (founder/The Music Project).
This is a reservation-only event, please call Bake’s at (425) 454-2776. (You will also be asked to make a menu selection at that time). Day of walk-ins are also possible, depending on availability. Underground parking is free.
You already know Lee Oskar, as the co-founder/harmonica player/composer for the pioneering funk/jazz band WAR that composed and recorded gold & platinum hits including “Low Rider,” “Spill the Wine,” “Cisco Kid,” “The World is a Ghetto,” “Slippin’ into Darkness,” “Why Can’t We Be Friends”
The evening will be hosted by Jeff Renner, former KING5 TV Chief Meteorologist, and a much-loved member of our Angel Family.
Auctions (Live and Silent) with spectacular one-of-a-kind items, including
• AMAZING Official Tour Jackets from Queen, Prince, The Rolling Stones, Kiss, Aerosmith and others
• Signed song sheets with matching signed guitar picks from Vince Gill and Amy Grant
• Extremely rare guitar with autographs from numerous Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees including Vince Gill (Eagles), Howard Leese (Heart, Bad Company), Alan White (YES, John Lennon), Roger Fisher (Heart), Steve Fossen (Heart), and Michael Shrieve (Santana) and of course, Lee Oskar himself!
• Signed music sheet for hit song “Low Rider” accompanied with an extremely rare, gold plated Lee Oskar Harmonica signed by original WAR band members.
• A limited-edition Lee Oskar harmonica signed by actor and musician, Bruce Willis.
• Amazing original painting artwork by Lee Oskar
• A pair of tickets donated by our wonderful friends at Alaska Airlines
This past week, my Angel received the 2nd radiation treatment, and as expected, it’s not been easy. Nausea, pain in the liver, inflammation, zero appetite, heavy lethargy/low energy – it has hit her with a renewed vigor. She had about a day and a half just before this, where things kinda felt slightly normal after the chemo from 2 weeks prior.
The nutrition/lack of appetite continues to be serious and very worrisome. Our wonderful protein shakes and many other comfort foods are no longer palatable, the chemo has severely warped Lois’ sense of taste. Lots of her favs now taste metallic. All proteins (beef, pork, fish, chicken) taste yucky, but even if she can swallow a little bit of this, they really upset her stomach with a lot of distress.
So the vicious cycle continues: little food => low energy => even worse appetite.
And being hungry with no way to satisfy is really eroding her spirit, just making her down.
It’s so hard to watch this.
Finally, financially things continue to be really tough. In the desperate search for palatable food, we’ve spent a lot of money trying eat out. It’s that or nothing right now for us (very few home-cooked meals are consumable). Lois is ordering children’s portions, and still can’t finish them.
Tomorrow (Monday June 10) we’re back at VM for labs, and meeting with the Palliative care team to see what else we can do.
And on the 17th, the next round of chemo, with still no indicator yet if it’s actually working or not.
We’re tremendously excited for the benefit. But… If you can please help get the word out, that would be appreciated so much. If you can’t join us but want to support, contributions to our GFM are what are keeping us going financially.
NEEDING TO ADD MORE FUN!
Another factor that is becoming more obvious – we’re so hunkered down and trying to just get through the treatments, that we’re not getting out and simply enjoying life. It’s too easy to focus on survival, and admittedly difficult to spend money on getting out to breathe. Trying to correct that that, but it’s just a challenge.
THANK YOU ALL!!! We simply cannot express that enough, and hope you know how appreciated you are, and how grateful we are.
We all get along better when we recognize the patterns in our lives. Whether we’re happy with the results of the patterns or not, predictability, stability… we can better tolerate things in general.
Every time we think we have identified patterns to help us get through all that cancer has thrown at us, we find out that the patterns don’t hold up for very long. Stuff keeps changing on us, and adaptability, flexibility is required at levels most folks could never imagine needing.
It’s been just over 3 weeks since the first radiation treatment, and a week since we had another round of chemo. Liver and cancer numbers both improved a bit, but not enough to celebrate loudly.
And it’s just been very rough, no way to mask it. Tricks we learned for managing nausea, the right kinds of food and nutrition, all have been randomized.
The radiation brought in a lot of unexpected pain. When the liver got inflamed, the tissue that was treated reacted and fought back, putting pressure against the stomach. When Lois would eat – anything – the pressure from the stomach pushed against the liver, and again – pain. She learned a simple massage technique to help smooth out the stomach, something mothers use to help infants and babies with their digestion, and this helped.
Along with pain, the physical lethargy was like being hit and held down by a 500-pound sandbag. There was no energy to even get up for a short walk, or if my Angel did get up, she needed to rest, sometimes for hours to recover.
With radiation and the inflammation, ongoing fevers, running up close to 102. But we couldn’t take lots of ibuprofen (blood thinner issues), nor Tylenol (liver issues), so baby doses at most.
The nausea has been relentless, and we’ve learned it can have at least 3 or 4 sources: Physical fatigue, getting over-hungry (which doesn’t take much), pain as described above, and of course chemo.
Trying to find food that can be consumable has been the biggest challenge. With radiation and inflammation, foods need to be very soft. With chemo, nothing tastes normal and usually pretty bad (remember – taste buds have been grossly distorted).
But without solid food, all the resulting symptoms I’ve mentioned show up with a ferocity that’s almost impossible to describe.
Medical marijuana – don’t know how we got along without it. But while it helps with nausea, it doesn’t make it go away, just takes it down substantially.
The last week has been a huge exercise in chaos. The chemo plus the immunity booster (severely aching bones for 3 days) has meant huge discomfort.
Watching my Sweetheart go through this – agonizing.
When she apologizes for “not doing better”, when she looks at me and says, “Oh Darling, I’m sorry” - it shatters my heart.
When she goes through the constant stomach spasms that almost result in throwing up, and has to exert so much control to keep this at bay – it’s knife blades to my soul.
And – when I can’t find food that she can consume, and I see her energy just go down down down, it’s so hard to be strong for her. When I eat, there’s a kind of “survivor’s guilt” I feel. I know, I know – “oxygen mask” principle (like on a plane), so I can continue to do whatever I can. But, not very easy.
Each day, we go through a long long list of meals and foods to see what might work. We’ve absolutely plowed through the finances just going to restaurants in the hopes that we’ll find something that might work. I can’t tell you how many uneaten meals were thrown away, because her palate stopped her like a concrete wall. Walking away with Lois starved, but unable to get nutrition. So much food at home that we’ve thrown also away because it just wasn’t consumable.
And yes, we’ve tried everything in the form of nutrition drinks, bars, recommended foods, even desserts. But when the “puke factor” is so high, even after “drops” (medical marijuana), it’s just not that easy. The nausea was so bad that she couldn’t even take the anti-nausea pills. Just hearing the drug’s name has become a trigger.
And just when we think we’ve found patterns to help us both get by, they just don’t last long before being up-ended and we are searching again for new approaches that will help us get through this.
In another few days, some of these symptoms will have calmed down. Just in time to go back for the next radiation treatment.
I’ve been trying to get to where I had time to write out personal Thank You notes for those of you have contributed. You’ve helped so much. Apologies for not having done this yet. You’re not taken for granted at all, just have had to stay focused on doing whatever I can for my sweet Angel. Hoping you understand.
First – THANK YOU AGAIN for the wonderful deluge of prayers, positive comments, and contributions. We just couldn’t get by without you. You certainly are helping me keep up MY attitude and financial worries at bay.
Friday saw our first of 2 treatments, the focus on the large cluster of large tumors on Lois’ left side of the liver. It was a pretty delicate procedure as the surgeon needed to feed the catheter through a blood vessel that is shaped like a sine wave (not typical). The extra twists were very tight curves that he had to navigate completely past, in order to also bypass veins that go directly to the stomach, and then reach the channels that feed the tumors.
I had a long discussion with the doctor while looking at all the photos, and wow!!! He had some serious and careful driving to do (while avoiding the terrifying risks of puncturing the main artery, as well as not letting the Y-90 get to the stomach or lower GI and creating serious ulcers).
Tech info: Y-90 is short for Yttrium 90, a radioactive isotope that only the liver can tolerate. It emits beta radiation (electrons) with a penetration range of about a 1/10th of an inch, and a half-life of 63 hours. This means that 63 hours from now, the strength of the radiation will be ½ of the current measurement. And 63 hours from that, it will be ½ again…
The good news – the tumors he targeted this time are all clumped together. In the photos, they look like a group of 7 cotton balls. But, by being a fairly compact group, it was easier for him to administer a much stronger dose; i.e. the Y-90 was a much bigger poison pill for the tumors to ingest. This will also kill all the healthy tissue that the tumors are woven around, but her liver will be able to take this trade-off.
Near this cluster is also an isolated tumor that’s much smaller, and something he couldn’t reach with Friday’s procedure. In fact, since we don’t know if the current chemo is actually working, the plan is to watch this and see if it shrinks. If it does – that would be the best news possible!
We still have a 2nd radiation treatment needed, and this one’s more problematic. For this, the tumors are smaller, but are also much more wide-spread. This means that the doctor can’t deliver near as strong a punch, since we need to balance that against not harming the surrounding healthy tissue.
One “big” question I raised: how will we know how effective the radiation is? The answer is unfortunately pretty vague: Mainly by watching the cancer markers in her blood labs. After being killed off, the tumors don’t disappear or get re-absorbed very quickly. In fact, they may remain, and just take up space, but change to a different shade of grey as far as the CATSCAN is concerned.
So… hoping and praying that
(a) the Y-90 is effective at killing cancer
(b) the current chemo is also effective at killing cancer
(c) the next Y-90 can also work with minimal damage to healthy tissue
(d) focused meditation is also working (still need to blog about this)
Next up will be either radiation #2, or chemo, still waiting to find that out (these have to be at least 2 weeks apart from each other).
In the meantime, the fever, nausea, and deep liver pain have returned, along with a huge amount of exhaustion and lethargy, loss of appetite and energy. The medical cannabis helps, but we have to be careful with that of course. And of course the actual puncture wound to the groin hurts, along with her degenerating hip, and headaches caused by the port under the collar-bone. The latter restricts head movements, and causes a lot of muscles to complain.
The lack of appetite is again a major challenge, and I am watching her weight drop. The one thing that’s helped is simply getting out to various local restaurants for a better variety of food, as she’s so burned out on almost everything. But if Lois says she’s in the mood for such and such, then that’s what I’m going to make sure she has.
My heart goes out to you Lois and Jerry; this is a hard battle, but you two have the kind of teamwork to really do everything you can to get through this and to continue to enjoy the fun lifestyle you have known together for so many years. My love and prayers are with you; this is such a difficult time for you both. Having been through this with Dick, the memories of it all are very close to my heart. You have many folks supporting you and that has got to be very heartwarming for you, as well as many people praying for you. Wishing you only life's very best. Love, Kay
And still, Lois has the best smile on the planet and you have the ability to maintain this flow of information. I am in awe of you both. I am appreciative of your example of strength and dedication. I am praying for full recovery/full restoration.
I am chanting so hard for the two of you will keep trying to add to your fund... love Kelbi
As always, I’m sending you both good energy and visualizing the best for you. I’m fascinated to hear what it is about the meditation process that has you commenting about it
We are sending you Both All of our Love ~ You are in our thoughts Always ~ We are with you both Always in Loving Healing thoughts ~ Sending Huge Hugs ~ Love from Roger ~ Sonja and Family ~
Praying hard for you both! Lois, you are such a strong willed, loving person. I know you’re going to beat this! Jerry, we all know how lucky Lois is to have you by her side. Sending love ❤️
Well, I'm going to focus on the good news, and keep sending thoughts re: the Review Board of having an "ah ha!" moment.
I honestly can't thank YOU enough for keeping us so informed Jerry. It makes knowing what to pray about, ask for, and identify the specific kind of pure energy thoughts that should be sent your way. I love you guys so much and I love this picture of Lois. You two are such incredible gifts and I am praying that your greatest gift in return is on the way! Complete and total healing and restoration. Much love!
Love your story. Would love it even more if you could post some photos from those early days 42 years ago. Sending my love and good wishes.
Hi Lois and Jerry - love to you both. I found that taking Claritin prior to the Neulasta shot [immune booster], cut down on my aching bones... if you can stomach it or your oncologist allows. Best.
Thank you for the update Jerry. I keep you both on my heart and in my prayers always! I want to be of use in some way. Is there anything I can do to help??? Run errands, clean at your house, anything? Anything?! I will try to come up with ways to help you too but please, please know that I am a phone call away if you come up with any need. Love you both so much!
Hey you guys. Just think of the fun we are going to have after we beat this together. Our journeys have crossed paths again and the very minute I beat my stuff I am down to you guys for our happy dance!!i admire you two so much, and Lois is the toughest person I know in a streamline package
thinking of you both nd sending hugs. XXXX
Sending our prayers and continued love.
Hello Jerry & Lois, Thank you for the update. We are sending love and prayers your way always. As for your PTSD statement Jerry, I am no doctor, but many people who are not vets deal with it. I know I have my own, so you may have it on some level. I would think after all you both deal with on a daily basis, the unknown has to effect you. It is after all a stress disorder. Sending you both much love and hugs and just wanted to say hello! Thinking of you! Lana & Patric
I am chanting for the two of you. And sending intense love and light ...love Kelbi
Thank you for continuing to share your journey. It takes great courage, and love, to continue on a path of so much pain, uncertainty and yet joy. The two of you are like a finely honed violin. Such beautiful sounds. My thoughts and wishes for healing go with you both.
Jerry and Lois, this obviously isn't what either of you wanted to hear and certainly not what we wanted to hear either. We remain in your 'corner' and are here for whatever you need...and we'll be happy to throw in some 'green' support as well. Our prayers are with you, we will add those of our prayer group tomorrow...