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.
Dear Friends: Health-wise, we’re in a bit of limbo – and using this to get focus on building strength. The most recent conversation with our surgeon confirmed that it’s simply not clear what the new growth (first spotted in June) really is. Because of the location (extremely difficult to biopsy without surgery), there’s strong suspicion that it’s cancer. It’s exactly in the area that he debated removing a year ago, but because that meant a colostomy and it wasn’t blatantly obvious, he held off.
So right now, we’re waiting to let this unknown growth declare itself. That means wait another month and then scan again to see what changes have taken place. But – we’ve been told to prep for surgery.
We’re also behind the camera again (YAY!!!), with one over-the-top creative session already in post-production. More on this soon…
Some of you may have already seen this: The amazing Benefit taking place for my sweetheart: We hope you can join us!!
FB Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/296315307835747/
Location: Seattle Hard Rock Café – 116 Pike Street, Seattle, 98101
Date: Thursday, Sept. 27th
Time: 6 – 10 pm
The local music community has come out in force to support Lois and Jerry. The result is LoisPalooza III at the Hard Rock Café in Seattle. VIP guests will be treated to a meet and greet prior to the show, an autographed poster and special seating. There will be an auction loaded with special offerings including an original Lee Oskar painting , framed gold records of musicians (James Taylor, Carly Simon), a Bruce Willis signed harmonica, autographed photos and many other wonderful collectables and more.
Headlining the evening are:
Geoffrey Castle: This extremely talented and popular six-string electric violinist has been a staple for the Pacific Northwest region.
Roger Fisher: Founding guitarist of the group Heart, and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee.
Lee Oskar: Founding member and former lead harmonica player for the pioneer funk/jazz group, WAR and currently performing with the Low Rider Band.
Bernadette Bascom: Vocalist and the first artist Stevie Wonder signed and contracted to his record label, and creative director for The Music Project
Jeff Renner: Celebrity host for the evening. Former Chief Meteorologist at KING5 TV, and now an in-demand speaker around the Pacific Northwest.
As always, THANK YOU FOR YOUR WONDERFUL SUPPORT!!!! Cancer is not a single participant challenge!!!
Today was a very very long day for us both. But, we’re pretty sure we got the best news possible. Pretty sure…
Going into today’s scan, we had 4 possible outcomes:
1. New growth was discovered, in addition to the current tumor.
CROSS THIS ONE OFF THE LIST!!!!
2. The current tumor shrank or went away. If this had happened, it would have been proof that the new tumor was cancerous.
CROSS THIS ONE OFF THE LIST!!!!
3. The current tumor remained unchanged
CROSS THIS ONE OFF THE LIST!!!! (We think…)
4. The current tumor grew.
THE TUMOR ACTUALLY GREW BY 3 MILLIMETERS ALONG ONE AXIS.
So what does this mean? Either the tumor is cancerous, and the chemo has been completely ineffective, OR, the tumor is not cancerous, and therefore the chemo again would not have affected it.
It’s also possible that the perceived growth was due to a slightly different angle in how Lois was positioned, and that there actually was no growth.
Where does this leave us? We need to have surgery to find out what’s in there, and to get it removed. We’re at the point where it’s impossible to determine what we’re dealing with by scans and lab work only.
It’s also possible that this isn’t a tumor, but some very strange scar tissue. Chemo itself also leaves scars, which could explain the small growth since June. And the tumor is in an area that’s surrounded by other scar tissue. That’s also a blessing, in that it helps slow down cancerous growth; harder to develop blood supplies, etc.
It’s possible that this IS cancer, and it has developed resistance to the chemo. That happens over time as cancer learns to build “castles” to protect itself. This is why chemo alone is not a cure.
So, we just don’t know what this is, but can’t rule anything out. It also means that we’re done with chemo for the time being; no point in continuing with it.
Images have been sent to Lois’ surgeon, and we’ll be consulting with him in a few days to map out the next course. Either way, surgery (and a likely colostomy) are on the near horizon for us. Another HIPEC (heated chemo applied internally during the surgery) is also a possibility.
Best to have experienced eyes look at what’s in there. Remembering how much additional cancerous tissue was discovered during last year’s surgery (that scans didn’t pick up), we welcome surgery and a better certainty of what we’re dealing with.
As mentioned in prior posts, this will be major surgery, again. A long period of recovery in the hospital, and months in recovery at home.
THANK YOU ALL FOR THE KIND WORDS AND CARING SUPPORT!!! This is not a journey for a single person or couple to do by themselves. And if we can help even one other person who’s just now facing cancer, if what we’ve learned so far can make things easier for someone else, then sharing our experience is everything.
Dear Friends and Family – just a short note for you. Greatly on my mind: Tomorrow (Aug 28) we have our next CTSCAN to find out how effective this round of chemo has been. Needless to say, I’m extremely nervous. Prayers, good thoughts, well-wishes… Please keep my sweetheart in mind.
This chemo session was far far better than the previous; what we learned from that one really helped keep things running far more smoothly, and with a lot less distress.
As I mentioned in the previous post, be sure to save Thursday Sept. 27 on your calendar. Seattle’s Hard Rock Café is generously providing both the venue and event planning help for a Benefit for Lois. Dear friends from both the music and business communities have joined in to create a very special evening. Not quite ready to share details, but this is going to be amazing and not to be missed.
Thank you all for your wonderful support – it helps tremendously!!!. Once we have results from tomorrow, I’ll let you know.
Dear Friends and Family: Thank you again for all the recent kind words, prayers, contributions, and support!!!
Yesterday, this was a buoyancy we really needed. During each infusion, we always have a meeting with our oncologist to review Lois’ current lab numbers, and what’s next on the horizon. The discussion was primarily on how we went from a 1 to 2 month chemo expectation to 6 months, and what the current thoughts on surgery were.
6 months of chemo is a “for sure” now. The concern is that her initial and wide-spread cancer has a very high likelihood of microscopic cancer cells that original chemo+surgery+HIPEC+chemo didn’t kill off. And the microscopic stuff is too small for current technology to detect.
After everything we’ve gone through, we just had to come to grips with what we’re still facing.
The next CT Scan is set for August 28th. PRAYERS that the current tumor will have been greatly reduced, or better yet – gone away completely. PRAYERS that microscopic cancer that we can’t see has been destroyed by the current round of chemo as well.
Results from that scan, along with additional conversation with our surgeon in Montana (who knows Lois’ geography, and has images from the first surgery) will set the stage for surgery #2. This also will be in Montana, will be “large” but we won’t know how large until more info is available. Last year resulted in almost a full month away (3 weeks of actual hospital time). This time, it’s almost certain that Lois will have to have a colostomy (permanent), so that means removal and learning to live with a bag.
As a reminder, when we went in for last year’s surgery, all the scans leading up to this (CT, PET, MRI, laparoscopy/fiber scope) gave us a cancer spread index of ‘7’. But, when the doctor opened my Angel up, the spread was actually a “14”, with “30” meaning we’re done, game over. So, the scans, while helpful, are nowhere near accurate enough.
Other cancer “markers” (via blood tests, etc.) have always been very uninformative as well (they’ve never gotten elevated like most other people get).
To recap: we need lots more chemo and surgery. What they’re really trying to avoid is a whack-a-mole situation, so nuke this as much as we can, as much as Lois can take.
SAVE THE DATE:
September 27 (Thursday evening) at Seattle’s Hard Rock Café: another benefit is on the calendar. Details to follow, but this will be an amazing evening. HR has donated the venue for us, and as before, some amazing music including the world class talents of electric violinist Geoffrey Castle and vocalist Bernadette Bascom. Some wonderful auction items have already been made available.
We also need to connect with someone who’s professionally knowledgeable about Social Security and possibly can help with some tax advice.
Thank you all again for everything. There just aren’t words to express this, but please know how appreciative we both are!
I love my Beautiful Angel immeasurably. How I wish for her to be healthy and strong again. I am there for her forever.
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
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...
Way to go Lois! You are amazing! You both are amazing! What a team. So happy for you. Cheers! Hugs! Love!
My favorite lovebirds!! Every single fiber in my being is sending love, light and healing to Lois. xoxoxo Aaron and Caspian too. xoxox
You are in our prayers! Much love to you both!
This update has left a smile on my heart. The trials and tribulations of all of this seem overwhelming, yet the love you both hold for one another is so beautiful and amazing. I love your strength, love and dedication. I am so thankful to hear this update and the progress. You both have always gone the extra mile for others which has been a gift and a blessing you so unselfishly give. Lois, you are absolutely beautiful and I love your new hair, glasses and flowers! Jerry, thank you so much for keeping us in your thoughts and sharing this today. You are both always on Patric's and my mind and in our prayers. Sending you both tons of love on this day and always. Much love, hugs & prayers! ♥ u
I have been thinking about the two of you, and wishing that I wasn't sick with this nasty influenza, as I so wanted to go to the shoot on the 10th. Knowing full well it would not be good for Lois to be exposed, we did not come. Lois, you look gorgeous with your adorable hairdo, and glasses. Dan and I will be keeping you both in our thoughts and prayers. I know there are many Angels looking over Lois, and I am praying for even more to be with her on March 1st. Stay strong, lots of love to you both
Looking fabulous as always, Lois. Love you both so very much. Always in my heart and prayers.
Jerry and Lois...that is such wonderful news. You've both been in our thoughts and prayers all day!
We've kept the date of the 12th in our 'mind calendar', as we've certainly kept you both in our prayers. We'll increase 'the prayer count' over the next few days...and of course, beyond. Our best wishes to you both for a blessed Holiday Season, be it for Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and/or Mele Kalikimaka!
Prayers for you, Lois! You are in our prayers!
Congratulations on this major milestone. You are an inspiration to all of us-Lois in your steadfast strength, Jerry in your loving support and to both of you as a model of mutual devotion. Happy Thanksgiving to you both, and our prayers, as always, are with you.
those booster shots can cause shine pretty tough bone pain. It was suggested to us that allergy pills help the pain for many. In the end Kendall was unable to take the booster shots. He had a severe reaction.
Awesome news! Go Lois GO!
..not knowing what to do or say but want you to know that this one simple human being is feeling you deeply and here to do more than praying ....yet, praying unceasingly, i am here to help in your journey in any way that can and will most help you Jerry to spend time loving Lois which is by far the best medicine of all. I am here.....xxoo
have you tried making smoothies with almond or some other nut milk, they would be high in protein on easy to digest. Hang in there.
Love to you both.
Thinking of the two of you every day. Love you both so much!! xoxoxox Hugs. Please let me know when a visit would be OK. Xoxoxo