And Down The Stretch They Come!


And Down The Stretch They Come!

I love that call in at the Kentucky Derby every spring.  One day, I will make it to Churchill Downs and be there live.  Yep, it’s on the bucket list.

Bucket list…  hmmm… file that away for a future post.

I’m writing this post on March 27th.  Today, I started Therapy No. 11.  After the pump comes off Friday, only 1 to go.  If that ain’t the home stretch, I don’t know what is!

So, here’s how things went today.

Alex, I’ll take “Best Laid Plans” for $500.  The answer is “You can’t have your treatment today”

I buzz in with “What is are my blood counts too low?”

Correct.  Crap.

I have planned out my entire April and part of May on the assumption that the final treatment ends on Friday, April 12th.  I have to have my treatment today!  Dr Mendonca, my rock star oncologist, and my wife Cindy, calmly listen to me describe the 7 appointments that will need to be cancelled and the fact that I have the SEVRAR Golf Tournament on Friday and I really, really want to be done on the 12th.

Cindy reminds me that my health comes first and my therapy trumps anything else.  She’s right.  I know it.  I just don’t want to accept it.

Dr Mendonca asks me about my worsening neuropathy.  My feet feel as if the bottom 1/2 inch is numb, but the rest is extra sensitive.  I know it makes no sense, so let’s just say my feet are jacked up and everytime they touch anything like carpet, concrete or the sheets, it does not feel good.  A more recent development is in my hands.  My fingers feel as if there is no blood flow to anything above the second knuckle.  They are cold and they are super sensitive.  Finally, I still have not had any drink with ice since October 23rd due to the pain swallowing cold drinks.

Dr Mendonca suggested that we could skip the Oxaliplatin portion of my therapy.  I have already taken 10 full doses and by skipping it this time, I can get some neuropathy relief and the low platelet and white blood cell counts are not as critical with the 5-FU drug on it’s own.  And I can stay on track to finish on 4/12.  Did I mention how much Dr Mendonca rocks?

So, I sit here at home, instructed to avoid crowds due to my reduced immune response.  That means a lot of work fine-tuning my AAR Spring Conference Power Sessions (blatant plug) and I can get some serious work done on an iBook I am developing for our Commercial/Builder Services team.  It could be a whole lot worse.

I’m sure I will continue posting here about my journey as long as Jay allows.  After April 12th, I do not see my doctor for three months.  They will do a scan and we look at the results hoping for a clean scan.  One year post surgery in early September, I will get a follow-up colonoscopy.  (Sidebar – If you are 50 or over, have you had your colonoscopy yet?  What are you waiting for!!  Go!!!)  All of this continues in some fashion until we hit the magic 5 year mark.

I wish I could individually thank everyone that sent me a note, article, cookies, food of the month subscription, a bag full of healthy stuff to eat, thoughts, prayers, or just a kind word when we met at an event.  I hope I thanked you at the time.  You will never know how much every one of these gestures helped me in keeping a positive attitude and pushed me through the initial uncertainty, the surgery, and finally my therapy.  Thank you again.

Finally, there is no way I get to this point without Cindy and Kev.  Each has their own style.  No need to detail them here.  Let’s just say they are both extremely effective.  I love you two as big as the sky and I am so grateful you are in my life.

And down the stretch I come, the finish line in plain sight.  Sweet.




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About the Author
Bill Risser

Bill Risser is Vice President, New Media and Education of Chicago Title Agency in Maricopa County. You can find him at and on Twitter at @billrisser, that is, when he’s not on a local golf course with his son, at the movies with his wife, or tending to one of his four fantasy leagues (NFL, MLB, PGA, and NASCAR).

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