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Give me my life BACK!

You know the saying: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Well, for the last month and a half I haven’t had anything “nice” to write about, so that’s my excuse. Will you accept that? Seriously, I procrastinated writing something EVERY WEEK because my health kept getting worse and I hate having to share bad news with you. (But still no sign of the Big C! #holla!) 

Today, I finally have some happy news to share!

Last week I had the amazing honor of attending the Lifeblood awards held by the Leukemia & Lymphoma society. My little sister and brother even went! (This, folks, is a miracle in itself—the three of us don’t get together as much as we should.)

I know there were many of you who, like me, were a little disappointed when I didn’t “win” the Man of the Year title… because we all worked SO hard (it was measured by whomever raises the most money). But we sort of did win… because all of the candidates together raised over $700,000—the most in MN history—this all goes to help people like me. You helped me do most of the fundraising during a two week window WHILE I LIVED IN THE HOSPITAL! You did that. You made that happen. (People have asked themselves: “Wow, Eric… procrastinate much?” Why, yes. Yes I did.) $65,000 is a lot of money to raise in a short amount of time. We should all be pleased with our effort.

LLS honored me with the Spirit of Hope award because even after discovering I was diagnosed for a second time with cancer late last year, I still wanted to press forward and raise money to find a cure. The Executive Director had some very kind, very humbling words about my effort. I think you’d be proud of me. Make no mistake: this was the very last award they presented at the end of the night. It’s pretty important and I want to share it with you. We did a very good thing.

Some of you know that I have a friend who fought this battle before me and he not only inspires me (and has given me valuable tips along the way!) but has gone extra lengths to reach out to doctors at MD Anderson on my behalf. The second award is for raising more than $50,000 and because we raised so much, I asked that a research grant be dedicated to my friend, Leon Kirby.

I didn’t do this alone. No one ever does. So, thank you for the support and all the help. It was recognized not only by me, but by a whole ton of people who know how hard this path can be.

On the health front, I’m gonna hit this stuff quick because it’s all shitty news. You should be able to scan everything below and get a better idea of what’s going on:

  1. I’m back living in the hospital. Hopefully only for a week or so. No, this isn’t a joke.
  2. On Friday I learned that not only is my full-body red skin a sign of Graft-versus-host disease (my new blood is rejecting my skin because it doesn’t recognize it) but it’s also rejecting my GI system which is why I’ve lost 14lbs in two weeks. The worst news is that it’s also rejecting my lungs, they believe. It’s extremely painful. I have a bronc surgery to confirm. 
  3. The crummy news above is due to two reasons: First, we tried to taper me off some of my meds (this is typical when someone starts to feel better), and Second, (because I haven’t told you the really bad news…) I’m starting to lose my graft (the transplant). It’s very rare, but 5 weeks ago they drilled into my hip, sucked out bone marrow and learned that only 87% of my DNA was Leah’s. The other 13% was OLD ERIC. (He was supposed to go away, along with his stubbornness and that sassy attitude!!!) Last week we learned that number had dropped to 80%. So now, my body is waging a civil war that is unexpected and causing trouble.
  4. I have a “Super Bacteria” infection in my sinus. The “Super” is just like a “Super virus” (read: ebola and the extreme difficulty in which it takes modern medicine to fight it off). I was on the “don’t die” plan for the first week. I survived. It did not. Eric wins again. 
  5. Because of the Super Bacteria, they installed ANOTHER plastic line in my body (my 4th implant) several weeks ago and I’ve been on two different kinds of IV antibiotics to fight it.
  6. The 4th line was installed by a doctor at Children’s Hospital because it was the fastest place they could get me an appointment. She screwed it up (perhaps because: I. am. not. a. child.) and installed it into the wrong vein so they had to put ANOTHER hole in my body (this time in my right arm) to install a 5th line because…
  7. The 4th incorrectly installed line caused my body to create a “pretty massive” blood clot (the doctor’s words, not mine, I swear to god) in my artery, 8 inches from my lungs. Yep. Because taking Coumadin blood thinners for three months and stabbing myself 2x a day in the stomach with a needle to inject drugs is what I really wanted for Christmas.

See why I didn’t want to write a blog post? It’s a bunch of shit, is what it is. 

I want.  My life.  BACK!!!! Give it back… RIGHT EFFING NOW.

I’ve been doing this all on my own for the last two months. It’s been very hard. Simple things like having the energy to make a proper meal or wiping steroid lotion on my back are challenges. I’m sure people do it all the time, but it’s seriously hard (emotionally and physically) to be alone while trying to heal. Don’t get me wrong… I love your company! What I’m talking about is having one person who knows anything and everything that’s going on with me and is there for support. I took that for granted. But, as soon as I have more energy I can have you over to “catch up” (hopefully over a glass of wine!).

A month ago I was doing great, talking about going back to work (a sign of normalcy) and today I wouldn’t dream of asking the doc to sign my permission slip. That’s okay though… this is just a bump in the road. The bottom line is: I’m still not going anywhere. There’s a long life ahead of me and there is still time for fun. However, I’m going to stop saying “Bring it on—I can take it!” and “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. It’s time to change my tune: “I’ve done my time. Give me a multi-decade break, will ya?” You’d be doing me a huge favor if you put that energy out into the universe. Thanks for the help.

Love ya,
E

TODAY.

I’m going to keep this short. Mostly because I haven’t slept much and writing a coherent sentence is more difficult than usual. I spent the night watching videos and reading notes like the one above from all of you. It got me through the night and ready to face the day. I cannot thank you enough. 

I find out this afternoon if I still have cancer. If I do, it kinda sucks. Unless a new drug/treatment has been discovered in the last 6 months, there’s really nothing else to do besides a third transplant (and that’s rare because it’s incredibly hard on the body.) However, I’d need a match on the BeTheMatch registry. As of now, there isn’t one. You know what that means? I’m gonna get good news. It’s a perfect sunny summer day and I’ve kept up hope that there’s more I need to do on this earth and I’m still here for a reason. The reason may simply be to keep the vodka industry in business but, hey, someone’s gotta do it. 

This has been a longer, harder journey than expected and I was already “tricked” once, believing I was in the clear. If there is no cancer found in the scan today, my doc still won’t pronounce me cancer-free until May 1, 2015—a year after my transplant—just as a policy. But, I’m still going to celebrate because that means my beautiful sister and her amazing blood—not a chemo drug—has been fighting the cancer to give me another chance.

Thanks for being here with me this entire time and lifting me up when I needed the help. Wish me luck today!!!!I’ll let you know what happens later this afternoon. 

TONS of love and thanks,
E

TODAY.

I’m going to keep this short. Mostly because I haven’t slept much and writing a coherent sentence is more difficult than usual. I spent the night watching videos and reading notes like the one above from all of you. It got me through the night and ready to face the day. I cannot thank you enough.

I find out this afternoon if I still have cancer. If I do, it kinda sucks. Unless a new drug/treatment has been discovered in the last 6 months, there’s really nothing else to do besides a third transplant (and that’s rare because it’s incredibly hard on the body.) However, I’d need a match on the BeTheMatch registry. As of now, there isn’t one. You know what that means? I’m gonna get good news. It’s a perfect sunny summer day and I’ve kept up hope that there’s more I need to do on this earth and I’m still here for a reason. The reason may simply be to keep the vodka industry in business but, hey, someone’s gotta do it.

This has been a longer, harder journey than expected and I was already “tricked” once, believing I was in the clear. If there is no cancer found in the scan today, my doc still won’t pronounce me cancer-free until May 1, 2015—a year after my transplant—just as a policy. But, I’m still going to celebrate because that means my beautiful sister and her amazing blood—not a chemo drug—has been fighting the cancer to give me another chance.

Thanks for being here with me this entire time and lifting me up when I needed the help. Wish me luck today!!!!I’ll let you know what happens later this afternoon.

TONS of love and thanks,
E

Remember that time I told you the most embarrassing story EVER!? It’s right now.

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By now you’ve probably realized that I’m an open book about pretty much everything. I mean… why not? But, it wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that I was able to look back and muster the courage to share this because I’m finally at a point where my health has improved enough for me to believe there’s a good chance I won’t get admitted into the hospital again. If I did, I’m worried you’d visit and wonder if you’d unknowingly be a witness to another episode of this. (I think it’s hilarious now and I totally laugh while I’m writing this, btw… but it wasn’t very funny at first.)

Have you ever had to fart and let one slip in a conference room at work? Or in the car with a passenger you didn’t know very well? If you have (and I’ll bet at some point it’s happened), I feel for you. I don’t blame you. And I understand. We’re human! You and me. Both of us. (I’m reminding you so that in a minute you don’t judge me.) 

Until 2014, I’ve truthfully never “sharted” before. Seriously, never. FYI: With no hair ANYWHERE on your body, every time you get a little gassy it sounds like it could be your worst nightmare. With every little toot my eyes go wide in fear - worried that it’s going to be a disaster. Every time, it was a false alarm. Until the day it wasn’t.

Replaying it in my mind, the incident happens in a painfully slow motion: I ABSOLUTELY, COMPLETELY, TOTALLY SHIT MY PANTS IN MY HOSPITAL BED… and not just a little bit either. The worst part? I was on so much medication I didn’t know it. I may have been lying in that body-temperature stew for 10 or 20 minutes and I can’t tell you how mortifying it was to discover what had happened—not on my own—from Mom, my nurse and Justin. I don’t know what tipped them off, either. The smell? A squishy sound coming from the pastic-covered mattress? Either way, there I was. Soaking in my own shit.

As soon as I got up to go to the bathroom (which didn’t muffle sound very well) I had to go poo again. It was wicked. There was an evacuation from my body that was so fast, I had no comprehension it was even possible. I was horrified my body let this happen.

Have I told you about the woman with two kids who worked three jobs who cleaned my room? She was a sweetheart! As she mopped the floor every day, she’d comment on how I was doing compared to the day before and expressed genuineconcern for me. She probably cleaned a hundred rooms every day. But, she was interested in knowing ME. So after the trauma that day, try—for a second—to imagine the guilt I felt when she came in to clean. I almost wish I would have ignored her every day of the previous several weeks. Almost.

I think you’d agree that typically in the social media world we put our best foot forward when it comes to sharing. When someone posts a new Facebook profile pic, the chances are—it’s phenomenal. The best angle. The perfect lighting. Your “skinny” side. You know, the one that makes you look 10lbs lighter. Be honest… you’ve done it. I HAVE done it.

I’m being honest in this post knowing that you might think less of me, but quite frankly it’s important to tell you that, yes, most of the time I write about fun stuff like goofing around in the hospital or important health updates. But this is the true (and very real) part that doesn’t get talked about often. Don’t get me wrong… I DO have fun. The picture I paint of this journey is the one I want to remember (and I’m a positive-thinking person) so I try to put that energy out there in the world. There are soooo many fun stories/photos to share when people visit, so I’m not trying to be fake. It’s just (perhaps) not as sexy as I make it look. 

Does Fergie’s G-L-A-M-O-R…OUS come to mind? Not. So. Much. But, I try to make having cancer look good, dammit! It’s just not. And there you have it. 

HEALTH UPDATE

I haven’t written an update for a while because I honestly haven’t felt up to it. Until I had something fun or really positive to say I just kept procrastinating. Emotionally/mentally, I’m going through a lot right now (related and unrelated to cancer) that’s making simple things more difficult to process. Relationship stuff, the implications of my upcoming scan & biopsy, and contemplating the future and what’s in store for me—they all weigh heavily on my mind. Thanks for being patient. Feel free to message me… I have a lot of catching up to do on Facebook and email but I’m making progress now that my physical health is improving. If you take the time to reach out, I’ll reply. I always do.

You may have seen some pictures of me outside my concrete prison lately… it’s been great! A week ago I was allowed to stop wearing my mask everywhere with a few restrictions. So… I started working out, got coffee, enjoyed ice cream with mom, crashed a rooftop pool party and went out to eat! Does it sound like I over-did it? Yep. Sure did. I spent the last two days at the hospital getting $4,700 Neulasta shots to bring my white counts up and had to get two units of blood because my hemoglobin dropped. Whoops! I’ll scale-back and try again soon.

In general, though, I am recovering. It’s slow and there have been complications. There is a photo below of my legs from last week. I’ve been getting charlie-horse cramps in the middle of the night and because my platelets are so low, my legs bruise. The doc said some patients go to the ER for the pain from the drug-induced cramps but I’m a tough SOB and just walk around my tiny little condo (albeit with a little screaming) until the spasm stops. Oh well. I just deal with it because it could be worse—and it ISN’T. Gotta be grateful for the things you can be grateful for!

Lastly, I know I told you that my scan was in early August and the results were supposed to be on Aug 14th. That plan has changed. My scan is next Monday; results with Bachanova Thursday. I’ll go into detail next week… my brain is tired already.  :)

Thanks for reading and checking in on me! Talk to you again before I get my results.

Eric

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TRANSPLANT SUCCESSFUL!!!!! Bone Marrow Results: 100% Donor Blood

So let’s have a party… because we finally deserve to celebrate some good news :)

In anticipation of the biopsy, I wanted to know what a good/poor result result looked like: “We hope to see better than a 50/50 mix.” Yesterday, Dr. Bachanova, with an unusual optimistic energy (and some really sassy tights) walked in with a smile. “I have the results. Your bone marrow is 100% donor blood.” Essentially, a complete—and almost unheard of—successful transplant, confirmed on Day +35.

To really enjoy this success, I feel like you need to know what life has been like the last two weeks out of the hospital. And I owe you an explanation for why I haven’t been responding to texts, emails and messages.

It’s been so, so, SO bad the last couple of weeks. To begin to describe it in writing just doesn’t cut it. I think the best way I can sum it up is to tell you about the shock my doctor had when I told her that I hadn’t slept more than 4 hours in the last 3 days and had spent time thinking about how to most effectively tear the skin off my body because it itched so badly from the Graft-versus-host response (Leah’s blood attacking my skin because it didn’t recognize it). Only a few days ago, I went insane. I told her that I felt like I’d lost control and completely lost it. If I didn’t get sleep and solve at least one of my problems, I wasn’t safe. 

This is what life with cancer is like.

I couldn’t walk. Most embarrassingly, Justin had to give me a shower while I was sitting on the side of the bathtub crying because I couldn’t do it myself. I dropped below 130 lbs. I’ve had so many platelets and blood transfusions that I’ve lost count. I can’t feel my fingertips because the chemo destroyed my nerve endings.

Last Wed-Fri between 2am-5am I’d wake up with my feet feeling like they were on fire, screaming. All I could do was scream. I felt so terrible that I was keeping Justin up (at this point I didn’t care about my sleep until I realized my daytime drugs kept me awake and don’t allow for naps) and I didn’t know what else to do but cry… and scream some more. 

What I wouldn’t give for some regular chemo+radiation+vomiting. THAT WAS A WALK IN THE PARK. I can never go through this again. I just keep shaking my head thinking, “This isn’t my life…” but it is. I was so frustrated. This combination is worse than anything I’ve ever felt and I’d truly never wish it upon anyone.

I was talking to my friend Bonnie the other day as I was getting another blood transfusion (and I’ve shared this with you before) but I believe the universe will only give you what you are capable of handling. I hit that point. I don’t believe I could handle any more.

Today, I can walk without a wheelchair, got two full-night’s rest, the diarrhea has calmed down to a manageable level (I get a max 10-second warning—you should see how fast I can run!), and I’ve started eating again. Most importantly, the transplant was successful so I’m hoping it was all worth it. At a minimum, I get more time with you and I’m glad to at least count that on the list of things that make me happy.

What’s next?

Until I hit another milestone (Day +100) I need to simply wait without having any more major complications and without getting sick. That’s pretty much it! I’d like to put on more weight, too. I was 129 lbs early this week and I think I’ve safely managed to get back in the 130s. 

Please be CAUTIOUSLY optimistic when I tell you this next part… however, because my sister, Leah, is amazing and has super-human bone marrow I got a jump start on fighting the cancer. Doc says that we could expect to see a complete resolution of the disease in my PET scan on Day 100 - (early August). I won’t be declared cancer-free until May 1, 2015 but this news definitely would be a cause for celebration.

So help me pray, will you?

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to you!!!!

Eric

Holy $h*!: I’m going home tomorrow.

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Having a little fun with my hair before it all fell out.

KNOCK, KNOCK.

I’ve lived here for a little more than a month. It’s hard to believe it’s been this long already but thankfully I was drugged up for half of it so I don’t remember everything. I was told to plan on being here at least two full months (three, worst-case scenario) and this is the earliest ANYONE on my protocol has gone home. Now, you know I’m not competitive or anything, but…

Honestly, I’m a little nervous going home this early. That’s a lie. I’m totally scared. Beginning tomorrow, I won’t have someone monitoring my temp, blood pressure and looking after me with doctors literally 50 feet away. There’s no code blue button to push and the familiarity of everyone checking up on me will be gone. Believe me, I want to go home—it’s just a scary feeling of being on my own. When I was discharged after the first transplant I was back in the hospital two days later for another week or two. We were too trigger-happy. Not only was that a mean trick the universe played on me, but it costs money every time I come back in and I got a crappy room the second time around.

On the bright side, in the last four days I’ve done a complete 180. As of Monday I was a week behind on seeing any progress with my white cell counts. They were completely undetectable. All of a sudden I had 300, then 700, then 1,300 - and today I am at 1,900 (my typical counts are between 8-10,000). This morning my NP and doc were literally shaking their heads saying, “What did you DO?!” I have absolutely no idea but apparently this is very, very good.

HELP WANTED: CHAUFFEUR, BABYSITTER, ERRAND-BOY

When I go home, I am required to have 24/7 care until day 100. Yikes, man. That’s like… serious, but we’ll see how quickly my body recovers and I’ll decide what kind of negotiating I can do with the docs. In the meantime I could use your help watching me, getting groceries (I can’t step foot in a grocery store) and getting rides to the hospital every day.

Since I wasn’t allowed many visitors I haven’t seen most of you for quite a while. I should warn you: I’m white as a ghost, completely bald again and I’ve lost almost 20 pounds… I keep bouncing around in the 130’s. I’m totally fine; I just may look a little different. Oh, and my ass is gone. Like… GONE. Project “David Beckham Replica Toosh” commences soon!

Thanks for everything. I’m looking forward to being able to see you finally!!

xxoo 

Choosing to be happy is a great decision.

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You cannot imagine what it’s like to have your hands taped to your knees, legs strapped to a table while you sit for almost 18 minutes listening to the hum of the machine that floods radiation through your entire body. And I don’t ever want you to. I “smiled” in the picture—and I don’t even know why. It wasn’t real. Inside, I was so sad. Tears were running down my face for almost 9 minutes until I remembered something I told you more than a year ago… I’m glad it’s me. If it had to be anyone, I know I can handle it. I sincerely don’t mean to sound like a martyr and I’m not after your sympathy. I just really believe that the Universe; God; the World—it will only give you what you’re capable of handling. I’m staying positive and every day choose to be happy because the alternative just sounds miserable. If you’re having a bad day, try thinking about that simple idea.

This week has been a million times better than last. I’ll get the crappy news out of the way and move on to the funny stuff, cool?

When doctors say, “You gave us quite a scare”, it’s probably bad. What I didn’t tell you when I posted about the ICU is that it was a very scary couple of days leading up to that moment. It was the closest to kicking the bucket I’ve ever been. All of this info comes to me via my mom, Justin and the doctors after-the-fact. I was on so many meds that I (thankfully) don’t remember much.

After shivering NON-STOP for three hours they finally stopped giving me tylenol for my headache because they thought it might be artificially preventing me from getting a fever which needed to peak, then break. Within a few hours, my temp was 103.7, my blood pressure dropped to 77/30 (which is scary low) and they couldn’t put me on any blood pressure meds because I was pumped full of chemo and they needed me to pee before my bladder started bleeding. As the docs and nurses were standing around me, apparently I sat up and said, “WAIT. Just wait a minute…” and my blood pressure started rising—minutes before I was going to be riding next to a crash cart up a floor to the ICU. I hate this place. I want to go HOME.

In much funnier news, I ate some Rice Krispies a few days ago and, unfortunately, threw up shortly after. I must’ve been hungry and chowed down my cereal quickly because I swear you could hear my vom have a little extra snap, crackle, and pop. Just a little bit. But I swear I heard the famous cereal calling card. It was definitely awkward for everyone in the room staring at me holding my bowl.

I’ve been trying extremely hard (from my hospital room) to raise money for the Man of the Year LLS nomination and I’m really close to hitting the goal but I’m not quite there yet. I really appreciate all the help from so many generous people (for your time and donations). I really am the luckiest guy in the world to have such a great support group to lean on. If you want to help donate, click the LLS Fundraiser link at the top of this page. Get some credit card miles and a tax deduction while you’re at it!

The next time I write I can’t WAIT to tell you about my nurses. Oh, the stories I have to tell! Me on drugs. The things they’ve walked in on. “Shit my nurses say.” …my list is long and your abs will hurt from laughing when you’re done reading.

More updates soon. Love you guys. As always, thank you.

Eric

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Hospital: Day 1

Bowtie? Yep. You bet your ass I dressed to the nines when I got admitted yesterday. Why? Cuz that’s the only way to do this thing: With some class.


This is only my first full day and I already can’t stand it. I’m crabby because I didn’t get any sleep last night for many reasons: having to pee every two hours, having someone wake me up for any number of things (a blood draw, checking my temperature, changing an IV bag, introducing themselves at shift change, etc.) not to mention I have tubes hanging out of my chest again—for at least six months, btw—that I roll over on in my sleep and then bleed all over my sheets. This cancer is a bunch of shit, is what it is, I tell ya. No booze. No strippers. No sushi. Oh, and my nurse today LITERALLY asked about my half-eaten lunch “was this chicken or pizza?” It was literally unidentifiable. 


Today is Day -6 of my 2-3 month stay. Chemo started this morning and my hair will probably start falling out again in a few days. THANK GOD… when they rip the bandages off it hurts like hell and I’ll be looking forward to not having my arm and chest hair pulled anymore. The transplant is scheduled for May 1st which I kind of feel good about. Here’s the plan: Chemo for 5 days, then full body radiation for 1 day, transplant (Day Zero), then another several days of chemo followed by more of the new clinical trial drug that’s supposed to prevent GVHD. (More on all of this later.)


If you’re up for visiting me just send a text (612-412-0813) to see if I’m feeling okay and we’ll get it on the books! Surprise visits are cool, too, but please, please just make sure you aren’t sick. I hear stories of people who had a cold and thought they were “on the tail end of it” or “was just a sniffle” … and it didn’t end well for the patient. So, it’s a real thing. I am, however, set up like a king: I have a wine fridge, a Keurig, Apple TV, tons of edible treats and soon (hopefully) a soda stream - all thanks to some very kind friends. For not being able to leave the room… it’s not a bad gig.


In other news, I’m still trying to raise money for LLS and Justin is hosting a party (aka spin class with a live DJ) in a brand new studio at the downtown Lifetime Fitness tonight. I’m really grateful for everything my friends and family have done to help raise money for Leukemia and Lymphoma patients that need help. Patients just like me. You guys are the best. We also celebrated my mom’s birthday last night and had a little party where my brother(s) snuck in a case of beer and I enjoyed my last Coors Light for a little while. It. Was. Delicious.


Thanks for reading! I’ll hopefully be keeping up with posts more often now that I’m not working anymore.


Love ya,
E
Hospital: Day 1
Bowtie? Yep. You bet your ass I dressed to the nines when I got admitted yesterday. Why? Cuz that’s the only way to do this thing: With some class.
This is only my first full day and I already can’t stand it. I’m crabby because I didn’t get any sleep last night for many reasons: having to pee every two hours, having someone wake me up for any number of things (a blood draw, checking my temperature, changing an IV bag, introducing themselves at shift change, etc.) not to mention I have tubes hanging out of my chest again—for at least six months, btw—that I roll over on in my sleep and then bleed all over my sheets. This cancer is a bunch of shit, is what it is, I tell ya. No booze. No strippers. No sushi. Oh, and my nurse today LITERALLY asked about my half-eaten lunch “was this chicken or pizza?” It was literally unidentifiable. 
Today is Day -6 of my 2-3 month stay. Chemo started this morning and my hair will probably start falling out again in a few days. THANK GOD… when they rip the bandages off it hurts like hell and I’ll be looking forward to not having my arm and chest hair pulled anymore. The transplant is scheduled for May 1st which I kind of feel good about. Here’s the plan: Chemo for 5 days, then full body radiation for 1 day, transplant (Day Zero), then another several days of chemo followed by more of the new clinical trial drug that’s supposed to prevent GVHD. (More on all of this later.)
If you’re up for visiting me just send a text (612-412-0813) to see if I’m feeling okay and we’ll get it on the books! Surprise visits are cool, too, but please, please just make sure you aren’t sick. I hear stories of people who had a cold and thought they were “on the tail end of it” or “was just a sniffle” … and it didn’t end well for the patient. So, it’s a real thing. I am, however, set up like a king: I have a wine fridge, a Keurig, Apple TV, tons of edible treats and soon (hopefully) a soda stream - all thanks to some very kind friends. For not being able to leave the room… it’s not a bad gig.
In other news, I’m still trying to raise money for LLS and Justin is hosting a party (aka spin class with a live DJ) in a brand new studio at the downtown Lifetime Fitness tonight. I’m really grateful for everything my friends and family have done to help raise money for Leukemia and Lymphoma patients that need help. Patients just like me. You guys are the best. We also celebrated my mom’s birthday last night and had a little party where my brother(s) snuck in a case of beer and I enjoyed my last Coors Light for a little while. It. Was. Delicious.
Thanks for reading! I’ll hopefully be keeping up with posts more often now that I’m not working anymore.
Love ya,
E
Hi, everyone. Yes, I know in the blog post I shared almost a year ago I promised it would be my very last cancer post ever. I lied. I’m sure you know it wasn’t intentional but here we are, nonetheless. 
I’ll do my best to keep you up to speed on where I’m at in treatment, how things are going (but sparing you from all the undecipherable medical numbers and jargon that barely even makes sense to me) while I fight for the last time and get my life back. After the chemo I’ve been getting in addition to my second bone marrow transplant coming up in a couple of weeks, I am told there isn’t much else to do short of a third transplant which is nearly unheard of… mostly because a person’s body typically can’t withstand three. So this time it has to work.
I’ve got two of the best doctors in the country (meaning they’re in the top group in the world) for the kind of treatment I’m doing. Thanks to some great friends who introduced me to Dr. Bachanova two years ago and, most recently, some old (and new) friends who serendipitously got me in to see Dr. Oki at MD Anderson in Houston — I’m in very good hands.
As I shared a couple of months ago, this time is different. The odds are very much against me and it’s going to be harder… which means I need your support more than ever. I’m not as confident about how it’ll turn out. I don’t have the same sense that everything will be okay. And I am so fucking scared. But I DO have strength and a fighting spirit until the end… which I hope will be when I’m 102 after plenty of botox. 
You’ll want to smack me for saying this, but I apologize that we all have to go through this again. I sincerely wish you wouldn’t have to worry about me and we could instead talk about vacations and weddings and having kids and drinking—perhaps a little too much. You know, normal things. There’ll be a bit of that, because I’m Eric, after all, and I find a little bit of fun trouble no matter where I go! Thanks for supporting me. I’ll never be able to explain how much it means to me… but I’ll try.
I started my transplant workup already, expecting to have more chemo, radiation and the transplant a week from Monday—beginning my 2 month stay in the hospital. Everything is going to happen very quickly over the next few weeks.
Here we go.
Outside there’s a bird and it is singing.And outside of my window, there’s a lifeI feel like someone’s talking to my spiritThey tell me that there’s reasons to survive
And I know, no matter how much colderOr how much I carry on my shouldersAs long as I’m standing, I’ll be closerCause it ain’t over, ‘til it’s over
And I don’t get downCause you lift me upNo I don’t get downCause you lift me up
But we don’t get downNo we don’t get downWe can turn this ‘roundAnd maybeIt’s today.

Hi, everyone. Yes, I know in the blog post I shared almost a year ago I promised it would be my very last cancer post ever. I lied. I’m sure you know it wasn’t intentional but here we are, nonetheless. 

I’ll do my best to keep you up to speed on where I’m at in treatment, how things are going (but sparing you from all the undecipherable medical numbers and jargon that barely even makes sense to me) while I fight for the last time and get my life back. After the chemo I’ve been getting in addition to my second bone marrow transplant coming up in a couple of weeks, I am told there isn’t much else to do short of a third transplant which is nearly unheard of… mostly because a person’s body typically can’t withstand three. So this time it has to work.

I’ve got two of the best doctors in the country (meaning they’re in the top group in the world) for the kind of treatment I’m doing. Thanks to some great friends who introduced me to Dr. Bachanova two years ago and, most recently, some old (and new) friends who serendipitously got me in to see Dr. Oki at MD Anderson in Houston — I’m in very good hands.

As I shared a couple of months ago, this time is different. The odds are very much against me and it’s going to be harder… which means I need your support more than ever. I’m not as confident about how it’ll turn out. I don’t have the same sense that everything will be okay. And I am so fucking scared. But I DO have strength and a fighting spirit until the end… which I hope will be when I’m 102 after plenty of botox. 

You’ll want to smack me for saying this, but I apologize that we all have to go through this again. I sincerely wish you wouldn’t have to worry about me and we could instead talk about vacations and weddings and having kids and drinking—perhaps a little too much. You know, normal things. There’ll be a bit of that, because I’m Eric, after all, and I find a little bit of fun trouble no matter where I go! Thanks for supporting me. I’ll never be able to explain how much it means to me… but I’ll try.

I started my transplant workup already, expecting to have more chemo, radiation and the transplant a week from Monday—beginning my 2 month stay in the hospital. Everything is going to happen very quickly over the next few weeks.

Here we go.

Outside there’s a bird and it is singing.
And outside of my window, there’s a life
I feel like someone’s talking to my spirit
They tell me that there’s reasons to survive

And I know, no matter how much colder
Or how much I carry on my shoulders
As long as I’m standing, I’ll be closer
Cause it ain’t over, ‘til it’s over

And I don’t get down
Cause you lift me up
No I don’t get down
Cause you lift me up

But we don’t get down
No we don’t get down
We can turn this ‘round
And maybe
It’s today.

One of the most amazing, humbling experiences I’ve ever had. Thanks to some really great friends… and Sir Elton John.

This is my last cancer Blog post ever.

Winning Takes Work

Yeah, I worked really hard to get better. I tried as hard as I could. But so did YOU.

Thanks for being patient with me when I lost all memory of what happened (sometimes I couldn’t even remember the previous day). Thank you for taking care of me when I was being difficult. Thank you for holding my imaginary hair back when I had to throw up 1.3 million times. Thanks for the encouragement and for believing in me.

I’m going to be thanking you a lot so get used to it! Please let me.

Suck & Blow (not the game)
Is he blasting off in a spaceship? No. Is he resorting to the cryo-preservation fad from the early 90’s? Aaahhh… nope. Is that what a male fertility collection bank looks like? Also, NO. But I do need to go back soon to find out if I’m still packin’ or if the chemo burned me out. Hope for the latter, because you’ll be safer on the road without my offspring behind the wheel. The apple does not fall far from the tree, right? Speaking of that: yesterday’s x-ray revealed that the pneumonia is almost gone and I’ll probably be able to drive again next week when I can stop taking this crazy drug!

I digress. Sorry.

S&B: If you’re claustrophobic you’re gonna want to go ahead and avoid having a bone marrow transplant because you’ll sit in this chamber a lot. I have to suck and blow into a tube for at least an hour each time. Last time the nurse did not understand my humor. I cannot even EXPLAIN how many times “that’s what she said” would have come out of my mouth… if my lips weren’t sealed around the shaft of the machine. [insert now] Soon, I hope my lungs start playing ball and give me the oxygen my blood needs to function without getting so tired.

Hi, Ho. Hi, Ho!
You know the rest. I’ve been back to work since last Thursday and it Feels. So. Good. I can taste “real life” coming back. It’s as sweet as french silk pie… only someone was nice enough to remove all the calories so I’ll keep on eating. Watch out, world. I’m back! I’ve been instructed to start slow; 4hrs/day for two weeks then slowly ramp up after that. What I can tell you, though, is that I still have an insatiable thirst for learning and lots of ambition but I now have something I didn’t have before: perspective. And I earned it. 

While I won’t preach to you about too many things (hold me to it, please) I feel the need to tell you that I have a renewed faith in companies who look out for their employees. I absolutely could not have been better taken care of. Colleagues stepped in to help while I tried to work and manage chemo at the same time… without being asked. People pooled together and we got food deliveries at home. I got to treat some friends to the Lady Gaga concert. I could FEEL them caring. Most importantly, it wasn’t because they had to. 

I was once told, “If you’re good to them, they’ll be good to you.” and I believe that. You might hear about stories from other companies that will cause you to shake your head—so I hope I can share a story, this story, that will make you smile. Note: This is the absolute truth; no ass-kissing innuendo. I don’t even think my boss reads this. Note 2: This is a test to see if he does.


Moving On
Apparently a couple of you like reading the crazy stuff I write on here so I may just keep on doing it. It’s therapeutic actually, and I’d prefer to not pay for therapy sessions in addition to everything else. Did you know that more survivors than patients need counseling?! Neither did I. Makes sense though. When you survive it isn’t instantly over. I still have my goddamn port installed in my chest! They won’t let me take it out for a while because of the extremely high reoccurrence with cases like mine. The universe told me that I’m done though, so don’t worry about it. I listened. 

What I can tell you though is that I feel ready to move on. I don’t mean to be insensitive… but cancer and all the associated fear has already taken up too much of my time on Earth. I’ll probably give a few milestone updates and be an advocate for prevention/treatment but it won’t solely be about the C-word. No idea what I’ll write about yet but I’ll be the candid, potty-mouth (and sincere) person I was over the last 18 months. That’s a promise.

I want to leave you with a special message from a friend of mine; a message that I’ve listened to, believed and lived for nearly 30 years. Pay close attention to the words and the message. 

I wouldn’t have gotten through the most challenging time in my life if it weren’t for all of your support. Thank you for reading. Thank you for caring. Most of all, thanks for being YOU.

Talk to you soon.
Eric

P.S. Twitter bought this blog platform and is shutting it down. The next thing you’ll see from me will be on ericgilseth.com!

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