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Goliath Strikes Back

December 6, 2015

This past week was my MRI update day.  Currently I have an MRI every 6 months to check on Goliath.  For the past several years, its been an uneventful day.  At this point I have had so many MRIs the past 4 years, I actually find my time in the machine to be relaxing and peaceful.  If you have not had an MRI before, you are loaded into a machine that looks like a tube.  The original machine at UW is tight, meaning that basically my shoulders span the length of the opening and I can fill the sides of the machine. Since my first scan, they have added 2 machines that are bigger and provide more space  They place a cage over your face, give you a panic button and slide you in.  For anyone that is sort of claustrophobic, this would be torture!  During the scan the machine makes these terribly loud clicking sounds.  For most people its a very unpleasant experience.  I have actually started to find my time in the tube to be relaxing and peaceful.  You are able to listen to music during the scan.  My choice has always been Jack Johnson.  I also have to have an IV drawn as during my scan they will inject contrast in me that helps to show any areas of tissue growth on the scan results. I was cracking up on this visit as for the first time in 4 years, I realized that the waiting chairs, where you wait to have an IV or wait to get called into the machine, actually have butt heaters in them!  I laughed as for the most part I have felt that I was an “expert” at the MRI process.

I actually sent out a tweet about it.  My MRI was on a Thursday, which in the brain tumor community on Twitter is considered #braintumorthursday.  Twitter actually has been an important part of my cancer battle. I have been able to locate other brain cancer warriors and have been able to use it to locate other bloggers and during long sleepless nights when I was on chemo, I was given encouragement from random people whom I have never met.  It was a great lifeline in the middle of the night when your support group is asleep and you are feeling awful, awake, and discouraged. Some props from some random folks on Twitter are a great pick me up.

After my MRI, I met with me Oncologist.  On most visits I have to ask him to pull up my scans and go over them.  However last week, he immediately opened up the results and started going over them with me.  Not a good sign!  I quickly learned that Goliath is on the move again.  Although the MRI tech who actually reviews the scan before it moves to my Dr.  rated the results “stable”  which is what every brain tumor patient wants to hear.  That was when looking at my last couple of scans.  However when you go back to 2013, the growth is pretty obvious.  It’s there and visible for even the untrained MRI reader.

It was a gut shot to me for sure.  After I was finished with my Dr.  I went up to the lab room and requested a disk of my scan.  I have a copy  of every MRI I have ever had.  While I was waiting for them to make my copy I sat in a lobby area of the hospital and made my phone calls. While doing that I sent out another tweet.  It said the following:  “It’s #braintumorthursday, MRI day and the day I learned that I am not superman anymore”.

In terms of my next steps, my oncologist will be putting together a plan for treatment and will follow up with me next week.  Basically, the time from MRI to appointment is only about an hour, thus not enough time to do the research, get collaboration, and put together a game plan.  However it will involve recommendations of more chemo, radiation, or maybe both.  I will be going back into some type of treatment.

Since I was diagnosed and Defeat Goliath was born I honestly have believed completely and without a doubt that I am the exception to the brain cancer world.  The stats are grim across that board.  Most people do not live to die of old age when diagnosed with brain cancer.  It’s a reality and a fact.  However during this process I have truly thought that I was impervious, invincible, and superhuman.  Goliath would have no control over me.  Granted I am well aware of the reality of this disease, I have read about it in other warrior’s blogs.  I have even blogged about the crushing reality of losing people to it whom I have met along this journey.  I also know that in almost every person I have talked to, read about, the reality is that the tumor will also come back.  The battle is not a one and done affair, its a battle that features many wars and many battlefronts.  However the tumor always comes back…  Yet, if you were to ask me if I was different, I would say yes I am!  Without a doubt, I am the person who will be one and done.  I will be the person who will beat this thing down.  One day I will be able to proclaim “I fought my enemy and smelled his ruin.”  Yes that is me.  Defeat Goliath is bigger than the tumor.

I think over the past several years I have lived this out.  I don’t think that anyone who has met me, who didn’t know about my tumor, would have even guessed that I had been through something like that.  From my professional world, to my world of hobbies, the tumor was a simple blip on the screen, a non-issue.  My life was on track as if my surgery and a year of chemo had never occurred.

To clarify a common question that people have, I have never been in remission.  I will never reach remission because the tumor cannot be completely removed. It will always be present.  A part of it will always be with me.  Like a volcano, I will experience periods in which the tumor is dormant, however currently, modern medicine is not able to cure me.

That has been the challenging part. The growth tells a story that I am not completely superman. I will not be one and done.  Its going to be a battle.  I had an ideal of what being the “exception” would be like and that plan has been erased.  Hence, now I learned that I am not Superman.  It’s been a difficult hurdle for me to mentally jump over.  I am not invincible. The thought that maybe I am not the exception, I am not different.  I am a stat just like tons of other people.  I am not the outlier, but I am on the standard curve.  It’s a hard pill to swallow.    Honestly it’s difficult to put these feeling into words, but part of my way of coping with this entire process is leaning on that hope, leaning on that perceived reality that Goliath has zero hold over me, that I will crush this thing, but once again reality has crushed perception.

Thursday night we sat down with Colby and Cade, and Jessica and I told them about the results and the next steps.  We asked if they had any questions or were worried about anything.  They both looked at me and said “nope”.  I then asked if they understand what this means.  “Yes we do, you have already been through this before and got through it, we know that you can do it again.  You are our Dad”.  Ok enough said its time to not worry about things, they still think I am superman, which is good enough for me.


It’s time for round two…




12 Comments leave one →
  1. December 6, 2015 2:16 pm

    Well Sh*t . Humpf. For now, I will continue to think of you as the standard diviation. Thank you for continuing to tell your story with honesty and grace.

  2. Juanita Griest permalink
    December 6, 2015 2:56 pm

    Our GOD is Mighty!! Praises to our Lord, saviour and king for what HE has done and the things and blessings that are to come!!!

  3. December 6, 2015 3:01 pm

    The Fink Family has you in our prayers. Please do not hesitate to ask if you need anything at all. ❤️

  4. Khristie permalink
    December 6, 2015 5:02 pm

    Keep those positive thoughts going. I wish strength, courage, and pray for you and your family that you will have another successful outcome. Take care!

  5. December 6, 2015 5:21 pm

    You might not be Superman, but you are an Outlier – I should know because “outlier” is my middle name. Every day we get farther along the right side of that curve and keep going, we are beating the odds! Warrior to Warrior, I say, ” Rawwwr!” To Goliath! Sending Strength and positive thoughts your way.

  6. December 6, 2015 7:10 pm

    Praying God’s grace, peace, strength and encouragement over you and your family.

  7. Rick permalink
    December 6, 2015 9:12 pm

    When we climbed Big Craggy, I was definitely thinking on the way down: “Holly Sh**, this guy is superman.” And then again when you dropped me in the last 10 miles around Mt Hood in hypothermia conditions. #strongestguyaround

  8. December 6, 2015 10:44 pm

    David, we are here, praying and hoping for you, Jessica and the boys. We love you all and are here if you need ANYTHING!

  9. Amy permalink
    December 7, 2015 9:01 am

    I am sitting here with my eyes filled with tears in disbelief….Thank you for so generously sharing. I am heartsick to hear about this set back. You are a survivor and I know you will be the exception! Sending you and your family lots of love and prayers.

  10. December 7, 2015 9:32 am

    Your writing is real, raw, and gripping. I still believe in miracles, Dave, and continue to pray for you and your family. May
    God bless you big

  11. rick scheuer permalink
    December 7, 2015 10:53 am

    David thank you so much for sharing. You have been in our thoughts since day one. we will continue to provide as much positive energy as is possible towards you and the eventual cure and, will ramp those up !

  12. Juddy permalink
    December 8, 2015 9:59 am

    You’ve always beat the odds David, and you will beat this! Since the day I met you, you’ve overachieved and excelled at anything and everything you’ve done. This will be no different.

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