Monday, February 27, 2012

Eve before

I don’t really have much to say right now but since tonight is not just any old eve before treatment moment I feel like I should at least make a post to mark the date.

Yes, as happens whenever we start a new chemo protocol I’m a bit anxious about tomorrow. Mostly it’s just fear of the unknown and that I want to quickly establish the routine I’ll need for this specific chemo protocol. Will nausea be an issue? Will taxotere affect me as it did in 2008 when I had mouth sores, lack of appetite, and significant weight loss? Will my immune system be impacted to where we’ll need to use neulasta as we have in the past? What is this 2-weeks ON, 1-week OFF schedule going to be like?

I’m not scared… just anxious. I feel very well cared for by Dr. Richards and the nursing staff. I look forward to giving Debbie, Marie, and Sharon big hugs and to get this show on the road. Dr. Richards will have to settle for a hearty handshake. Ha!!

Of course one of my biggest hopes as we get underway with Chemo Party 2012 is that I’ll be able to continue bike riding during treatment with meaningful frequency. Following the results of the PET/CT I have had strong rides of 42 and 40 miles that help me just as much mentally as they do physically. We’ll see how things go.

I’m thrilled to say that today we had two people register for our Mintz’s Mentschen LiveSTRONG team in Philadelphia. Most importantly these are two people that have not ridden with us before. This is exactly what we need as we strive for our goal of $40,000 this year. Hopefully this is a positive sign for many more that will be able to join us. Keep those cards and letters coming! And.... if you aren't able to ride/walk/run with us if you're able to consider a donation it would be greatly appreciated (yes, I haven't really been clear that there is also an opportunity to run or walk as part of the Mentschen LiveSTRONG team).

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Deja vu all over again... all over again

Yes, I know that I’ve probably frustrated a bunch of people by not posting more quickly but really the past few weeks have been action packed.

First, let’s wrap up the Cycle for Survival topic. Last year the event raised a record $4.7 million and with the $6.1 million check presentation at our event early this month clearly this year had broken all CFS records. Imagine our surprise this week when we received emails broadcasting that total fundraising had surpassed $8 million! Absolutely amazing. Thanks again to everyone that donated so generously.

With 2011 as yet another year where my vacation days were used for chemo treatments I was very excited for Karsyn and Matthew’s wedding to enjoy a very happy occasion as well as a couple of days with extended family on Marco Island. It was everything I hoped for and more. It was a very unique gathering that included Erin, Bailey, and Sasha as well as Amy’s sisters and all of the Durkin family. Below is a picture of the Mintz clan from the wedding weekend taken at Amy’s sister Robin’s house.

Bailey, Erin, and me in the back. Amy and Sasha in front.

And at 7:45am on the morning after we returned from Florida I had my quarterly PET/CT. It was Valentine’s Day and since my recurrences have been like clockwork in February each year I had a sneaking suspicion for what might happen. And unfortunately I was right.

The metastases on my liver showed enough activity to where we need to start with chemotherapy again. My first treatment will be this coming Tuesday, 2/28. Amy and I met with Dr. Richards and we wound up choosing one of the chemo options that had been suggested by Memorial Sloan-Kettering when we went there at this time last year. The drugs we chose are two that I’ve had before but never together, docetaxel and irinotecan (aka taxotere and camptosar). Docetaxel is one of the drugs I had back when this all started in 2008 and it contributed to what was a challenging and “interesting” chemo experience. While I’m confident docetaxel will do its job I’m also hoping that it doesn’t kick my butt too badly. Especially since this will all be administered as two weeks on and one week off. i.e. I’ll be getting a treatment two weeks in a row before a one week break.

That about sums it up except that, of course, this recent development definitely kicks up the emotion that I have for our Mintz’s Mentschen participation in the 2012 Philly LiveSTRONG event. As usual it is in August but this year we’ve already set some big goals for our team. As you all know, we have collectively raised over $140,000 through these past 4 years of riding in Philly. Last year alone we had 23 people raise over $34,300. This year we want to reach $40,000 and to do that we’re making a plea for new Mentschen team members. Event routes range from 10 miles all the way to a full 100. I can’t predict what route I’ll be able to ride come August but I have ridden the 10-miler while in treatment before and I know that minimally I’ll be able to do that again. Please join us!! Experience level is NOT a factor. This event is a ride and not a race and we'll be preparing by riding/training together in advance. Believe me, while having an absolute blast of a time it is not uncommon for people to come away saying that it was a life-changing experience for them. And the minimum fundraising requirement is not at all difficult at only $250. Email ( or call me (917-533-9097) with any questions. Click here to register and join us. I'd be thrilled to have you join us.

If you aren’t in a position to ride with us please consider supporting us with a donation of any size. Heartfelt thanks in advance for your generosity! Click here to donate on my fundraising webpage.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Cycle for Survival success

The Cycle for Survival event was yesterday and it was a record-setting success. Thanks to the generosity of all that were able to donate the event raised over $6.1 million in support of clinical trials at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. Our Mintz’s Mentschen group had a great time and look forward to riding in Cycle for Survival again in 2013. I was lucky enough to have been invited to ride on the Team Fearless bike in honor of the event founder, Jen Goodman Linn (, who lost her cancer battle this past summer. Following are a few pictures.

Our Mintz's Mentschen team

Me on the Team Fearless bike

The check presented to MSKCC

As one event passes our focus turns to plans for participation in LiveSTRONG challenge and other events. We’re definitely participating as a team in the Philadelphia LiveSTRONG event in August and several of us may even go out to Davis, CA for the event there in June. Note that we are looking to up the ante this year with Mintz’s Mentschen by setting a goal of raising $40,000. Our plan for reaching that goal is to recruit more people for our team. If you’re interested in helping to raise funds to kick cancer in the face while making new friends and getting some exercise please JOIN US! Email me with any questions you may have but really there’s no “risk” on your part. Ride distances range from 10-100 miles and the financial commitment is that you raise a minimum of only $250. We will be riding together on weekends to prepare for these events and will train you physically and with all that you need to know so that you are ready on event day. PLEASE join us now so you can maximize your training and fundraising lead time before the event. If you are ready to JOIN just click here and then on the “Mintz’s Mentschen” link to register.

The next week will be a bit of a whirlwind since I’ll be traveling for work, then to Florida for a wedding the day after I return home, followed by my PET/CT the day after I return from Florida. As always, I will share the results of the scan here as soon as possible.