Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I recently returned from an exhausting, but fun trip to the Pacific Northwest. I had my 6 month check-up with Dr. Druker and Carolyn at OHSU. It was rather anticlimactic because I had received my blood test results several weeks earlier as PCRU (or undetectable). This was obviously great news and they were pleased to see such a great result. The plan is to continue to get these tests done every 3 months and return to OHSU in another year. There will be no reduction of the medication for at least 2 years since I am responding so well with few side effects.

Soon after the appointment, my wife and I took a train from Portland, OR to Seattle. This was about a 3.5 hour trip through a beautiful part of the country. We met our friends Russ and Angela out there. We had spent last May with them in Portland and the previous May we traveled together in Italy (where we had met). It was great to see them and we explored Seattle together. Seattle is a wonderful and beautiful city. We did a few things that I would highly recommend for people who are going for a visit. For those of you who have been to Pike Place Market, you know how overwhelming it can be. We decided to take a food tasting tour of the market. The Savor Seattle Tour led by Eric (who you can see in the video on their website) was wonderful. We tried foods from all over the world and got to do things other people were unable to see or do. I would highly recommend this. We also took a tour of the Puget Sound on a boat tour of the locks. This was a fun and relaxing experience. We had a blast in Seattle, despite our overall level of fatigue from the time difference.

On the day we were leaving, we received some upsetting news that a cousin on my wife's side had died of Multiple Myeloma. This is a particularly bad blood cancer that does not have a cure. Jeff (the cousin who passed away) had gone through a transplant several months ago, but his body could not fight it any longer. I admired his fight and we unfortunately shared blood cancer together. Jeff would send emails before he went back to the hospital mixed with humor and frankness. He fought a courageous fight and we visited with his family last night.

When we returned from the condolence call, we received a call from a dear friend of ours. Her father had just passed away from esophogeal cancer after a long battle and multiple surgeries, chemotherapies, etc. This awful news was also devastating and we will be heading to the funeral tomorrow.

Unfortunately, my very positive news was mixed with the sad realities of the devastation that cancer can produce. I know I am extremely lucky. When terrible events like this happen, I am reminded of how serious a matter this is. I have mixed feelings of happiness, sadness, and to some extent some guilt. I have not had to endure any of the hardships that these two men encountered. I realize now why I was congratulated when my diagnosis was made.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


I received a call from Carolyn, the nurse practitioner at Dr. Druker's office last week. She was calling me to let me know that the latest PCR results had come back from a sample I had sent out a couple of weeks prior. The results came back the same as my most recent reading from Boston, undetectable. The technical name for this is PCR Undetectable or PCRU. Since this is such a sensitive test, it continues to be good news.

I am heading to Portland next week for my 6 month check up with Dr. Druker. We will be in town less than 24 hours since we are heading to Seattle from there. It will be a mini vacation. We will be meeting up with our friends from California, Russ and Angela. We can't wait.