Tag Archives: cancer diary

In Memoriam

Dear friends,

It is with profound sadness that I write to you today. Most of you already know, but for those who don’t, David, my brother and writer of this blog, lost his battle with cancer at the end of May. As he feared in his last post, the alternative treatments we tried were too little too late. He died at his home with our parents by his side. I echo his super praise that even in his last days on Earth, he was hardly in any pain.

Even now, five months later, it is hard to articulate the pain our parents and I feel at losing him. It doesn’t make sense to lose someone just two weeks after his thirty-fourth birthday. This is not fair. This is not right. This is not the way it should be.

But we can take comfort in the fact that, even in his too brief time with us, he was able to make a profound impact on those he came in contact with. If you haven’t read it, or just want to read it again, I recommend reading the tribute his work wrote for him. Everyone who read it loved it and it was quoted heavily at the services we had for him. Also check out the one at the website ITA, where he was a frequent contributor for several years. They have links to many posts he wrote which show the humor, grace, and intelligence that characterized not only his writing, but his whole life as well.

The only thing these two tributes don’t capture about my brother is his strong faith. It was a testament to how central it was to David’s life, that combining the viewing, funeral in New Jersey, and memorial service in Virginia, there were five Lutheran ministers who paid their respects. A verse used at both services comes from 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18:

13Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage each other with these words.”

And these are words we can take as encouragement. David believed, as all Christians do, that we will all, at the same time, be drawn to heaven and soar in the clouds. We will be lighter than the birds and much more beautiful than the sun.

Thank you to everyone who provided David with meals, visits, cards, late night NBA Jam sessions, friendship, and support throughout his treatment. I’ll close with the line that ends the American Historical Association’s tribute to him. “[T]here is only one David Darlington, inimitable in his modesty, exemplary in his conduct, and he cannot be replaced.”

Requiscat in pace.

-Stephen

Cancer Diary: Praying for Some Good News

Long time no blog. Unfortunately, there isn’t much good to report.

The clinical trial ended in February. After that, we got to two rounds with the Oxi chemo before the allergic reaction kicked in. So we had to stop that. Then, after a couple rounds of irenitican, my blood platelet count crashed and I spent a week in the hospital. It has been a slow recovery from that, and frankly, I don’t think I’ve been the same since.

My latest CT scan (mid-May) showed the disease is slowly taking over my liver. I had to stop my most recent infusion because my bilirubin–a liver enzyme–levels were high. And that’s where’s our story picks up. I haven’t had a treatment in like 3 weeks, and I don’t know what’s going on at this point. Very scary and depressing to think that after and year and a half of treatments, I might be out of options.

I’ve been praying for approval for a liver surgery because chemo wasn’t doing it’s job anymore. Well, so far that surgery has been denied because of my liver condition, but the docs don’t have any other options for me at this point. Back to the waiting game. The surgery is called SIR SPHERES. It works by injecting radioactive beads right into the liver so it hits the tumors directly. But it’s rough on the liver, so with elevated bilirubin, my doc is afraid it might make me worse.

And my symptoms aren’t helping. Difficulty sleeping. Enlarged liver with tumors on my last scan. Mild edema in my legs. Shortness of breath. Green eyes from jaundice. Big belly from enlarged liver and probably fluid retention. It’s hard not to give up. My parents God bless them are looking at 2nd opinions and holistic approaches. But to me it just feels like too little too late sometimes. We’re going to try to treat the jaundice naturally but it might just be an indicator of where my liver is right now.

Please pray for wisdom for my docs as they come up with other options.

Please pray for me to make it through emotionally and physically.

Please pray for my parents who’ve come down here as semi-permanent caregivers. They have been wonderful and I am more appreciative of them every day.

SUPER PRAISE that I am in little pain right now. Truly a blessing. I could write commercials for Alleve for my next job.