Hey everyone! Tommy posted a great update about the scan results from yesterday, and shared a bit about the mental game that goes along with receiving news- even when it’s good news. I wanted to share it with you all here, as I’m sure many of you can relate to how he’s feeling. Passing it over to Tommy below!
Tommy Walker 04/17/2019
It has only been 6 weeks since the last scan, and yesterday was already scan results day AGAIN (with my current regimen that’s the protocol) and let me tell you: the news is GREAT! All evidence of disease is continuing to shrink and I am now officially considered a “responder” in my trial. In this particular case, my doctor says that it is not very common to be a responder in the first place (lucky me!) but if you become one, the odds of this treatment continuing to work greatly increases. Basically this is very good news. Or as my doctor said with the biggest grin I’ve seen all month, “this is really the BEST case scenario!” My battle is far from over, but we are on the right track. As my mother put it, “I can breathe a little easier now!” To which I replied, “I can too... literally... there are fewer tumors in my lungs!” We got a good laugh.
Regardless of what the results ever are, whether they’re good or bad, this is trauma. I don’t say that lightly, and after an enlightening weekend at CancerCon in Denver (more on that later) I feel empowered to embrace that. It’s trauma! It sucks and it hurts. I feel vulnerable and broken down every time I have to wait to hear the news. Imagine a gun being placed against your head. You have no clue if it’s loaded or not, but you know that the trigger is going to be pulled no matter what. Now imagine the gun being held there for 24 hours while you wait to find out. Even though it wasn’t loaded, the ‘click’ still occurred. Then, the gunman whispers into your ear, “see you in 6 weeks.” I’ve never been held at gunpoint, but it’s the best way I can describe my feelings toward scan results. It’s a hard experience to come down from and even though these latest results are absolutely terrific, it’s not so easy to immediately jump up and celebrate. I’m elated. I promise. It’s just a bit more complicated than a simple “good news” or “bad news.” I am SO appreciative of the support from you all though, and I accept all of the words of encouragement with open arms! Every bit helps. Oh, and considering the good news now I don’t have to have another scan for 9 weeks. 3 weeks may not seem like a lot, but that’s 3 extra weeks in which I don’t have to worry, so I’ll take it!
Check out some of our other updates:
Jessie and I were invited to speak at CancerCon last weekend. It is a conference held every year by the wonderful organization, Stupid Cancer (click their link to learn more). We spoke about our experience thus far and touched on many topics including: new perspectives, external and internal pressure to do something ‘grand’ after a diagnosis, relentlessly forgiving yourself, and finding meaning. We connected with nearly 1,000 survivors, caregivers, health care professionals, and more in the young adult cancer community. It was an incredible experience!
Considering that this is Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month, we have been spreading awareness about how untreated heartburn can lead to esophageal cancer. That is exactly what happened to me, so we are encouraging conversations about heartburn treatment with a wristband project. We have shared over 400 wristbands and raised over $600 for Esophageal Cancer research which we are donating directly to our hospital’s prominent research team for gastric cancer treatment research. It is not too late to participate. Just reach out to me if you would like to add to our donations or for me to send you any wristbands. The month is almost over but we look forward to doing this again next year! If you share anything about it on social media please use our hashtags: #BandWithTommy #EsophagealCancerAwareness #TreatTheBurn
Jessie’s business Better + Co. is continuing to do so much good for the cancer community. I honestly cannot keep up with all of the projects and partnerships she has going on these days, so please be sure to follow her accounts and support the amazing work she is doing!
Cancer is tough, but we are tougher!