Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Chemo Eve

Choosing the right doctors in a situation like this is absolutely critical. It may literally be a life and death decision. I am so blessed to have the supporting cast that I do, making it possible to meet with a handful of doctors before making my choices final. Credentials were not the only things we looked for during our search. I am sure all the doctors we met were extremely intelligent and fully capable of providing us with quality health care. That is not enough, though. If somebody is going to be pumping my veins full of poison, blasting my body with radiation, or slicing my abdomen into two halves, I want to make sure that I get a great vibe from them as a person, not only as a physician. I was not only searching for somebody that was completely confident in their abilities, but also somebody who was completely confident that they could return me back to family with a future. If I am ever in a position to give advice to somebody, I would tell them that they need to meet with as many doctors as it takes until they are completely comfortable. This is your life, your body, and nobody else should be making these choices for you, except maybe your wife.

Our team is selected at multiple locations and we are set to begin our journey. On Monday July 19th, I had a port surgically implanted in my chest. This port looks like a miniature computer mouse. The base of the device is about the size of a water bottle cap. From this base, there is about 10 inches of very thin tubing. The port was implanted about two inches under my right collar bone right under the skin. The tubing runs up over my collar bone and into my neck. It is fed directly into my jugular vein and is threaded down several inches where is rests just above my heart. The port acts as the primary access point for the chemo to be injected and also keeps the nurses from having to stick me in the arms every time they need blood.

Today is Wednesday July 21st and time couldn’t be moving any slower. I feel like I am six years old again and tomorrow is Christmas day. I am so anxious for chemo to start, I wonder if I will get any sleep tonight. The doctors have spoken to me about how I may feel after the treatment, but of course everybody reacts a little differently. The uncertainty is a little freaky, but I am still so excited to get these treatments underway. If Trudy responds well to the chemo, not only will the disease become more manageable and the surgeries become less invasive, but most importantly at this moment, the reduction in overall size should help greatly in terms of pain relief. Currently, as Trudy is all large and in charge, she is compressing on several nerve endings. For anybody who has ever had any sort of nerve pain, you know just how excruciating it is. Too bad I can’t inject Jim Beam directly into my port tonight, I am sure that would help me get some sleep.

The battle of my life begins tomorrow. There is message that has a tremendous amount of meaning to me, and I have been clinging to it since I originally heard the news. It comes from the “Jimmy V acceptance speech from the ESPY awards,” which I highly encourage you to read. I actually can’t even speak the words without getting emotional. I am adopting it as my own and will live by the message not only through this fight, but for the rest of my life.

don't give up...DON'T EVER GIVE UP!


  1. Errick,
    These are very moving to read. I am inspired. I wish you the best tomorrow. I will be thinking about you and praying for you tomorrow. Get it started!!!

  2. Errick, you and your family and your medical team will be in my thoughts and prayers as you begin this part of your journey tomorrow.

  3. Errick, my family will be praying for you tomorrow and for however long it takes to get rid of Trudy. You have the right attitude about all of this. You must keep fighting. There are so many cheering for you, thinking about you, praying for you... you can do this. All the best to you and your sweet family.

  4. We prayed as a family hard for you last night and will do so every day. You will win the battle and you were very wise to be selective in your team.

  5. Errick,

    Today is the day! Although you have prepared and provisioned for your journey, the trek truly begins today. There will definitely be highs and lows but just like anyone trying to tackle the Appalachian Trail, your views will be amazing. I'm not necessarily referring to the views of the chemo rooms (although from what you said they are great) but rather your view on life and what is important. Good luck to you and your family. As always, we will continue to pray for you all.

    On another note, I had to go to DC/Northern Virginia on a quick trip. Out of all vehicles I get at Avis, they gave me one with Michigan tags. Pretty ironic. As I picked it up at 11:00 PM, I immediately thought of you and what you are going through. Everyday, as I head to the office and see the tag, I'm reminded of what you are battling. Good luck and God Bless.

    BTW, I found that there are several songs about Trudy. The most famous is one by Charlie Daniels. You can look them up if you have time.


  6. Errick,

    Thank you for sharing your journey through this blog. My husband and I will be praying for you today and into the future in the war against Trudy.
    -Mandy Breen

  7. As I posted in FB earlier....Today is the first day of the rest of your life!! Lots of prayers and hugs Errick and Laurie. Love y'all, Erin

  8. Errick: thank you for sharing your journey with us. You are a very talented writer. I was amazed to be in tears in one moment, and experiencing laughter in the next paragraph. Please keep writing. I am praying for you, Laurie and your beautiful baby. Bless you. Our love & support- Jonathan, Sarah, Zoë & Ela

  9. Errick and Laurie-We have just heard about Trudy, and want you both to know that will be praying for her to go away, fast. Errick we know you are strong and know you will beat this.
    Hugs to you both- Monica and Dave

  10. I learned that your hemotologist/oncologist is also my husband's physician. He is awesome! Our thought and prayers are with you on this journey.

  11. Hope things are going well following your first chemo. Hugs!

  12. Our paths didn't cross much through the years, but we walked the same halls and cruised the same town for so long. Pretty sure we rode the same bus for some time. :) Anyways, I was made aware of your condition through FB and mutual friends. I have a strong belief in God and that he is a kind, wise, and all-powerful God. I know he loves you and your family and he hears your prayers. He also hears all of the thousands praying in your behalf. I'm adding my prayers to theirs with a firm believe that nothing is impossible. I wish you all the best!
    -Summer Billings Schaefer

  13. Get after it Errick! We're praying for you and the fam bud!

  14. Errick, as a UC sufferer, I can only relate to about .0001% of what you are going through. I love your bog, your attitude and your sense of humor and grace through all of this. May the 'poisons' blast Trudy as they should. Thinking of you!!

  15. Psalm 18:28-35
    28 You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning;
    my God turns my darkness into light.
    29 With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.
    30 As for God, his way is perfect;
    the word of the LORD is flawless.
    He is a shield
    for all who take refuge in him.
    31 For who is God besides the LORD ?
    And who is the Rock except our God?
    32 It is God who arms me with strength
    and makes my way perfect.
    33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
    he enables me to stand on the heights.
    34 He trains my hands for battle;
    my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
    35 You give me your shield of victory,
    and your right hand sustains me;
    you stoop down to make me great.

    You will be victorious. Trudy will not.
    Love you

  16. Errick,

    Thanks for sharing. You are in my thoughts and I hope you kick Trudy's ass!

  17. Errick, I was so sad to hear this news but so inspired to read your story. You obviously have an amazing faith, family and support system. Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers and that to only give that feels largely inadequate. Trudy has nothing on the Errick I knew! Be strong and be well

  18. ...i am jeremy wilson's mom...and i am praying for you...

  19. Errick, word gets around and I'm here in London sending you positive vibes - don't ever give up and, as Steve Martin's Dad in The Jerk said to him: "see a doctor and get rid of it". Love from Lynne in London. XXX

  20. Hey Errick, Never give up...even rivers someday wash dams away. Thinking of you and Laurie.

  21. Errick,
    I found you through a friend in TX. I live in MI too. I don't know where you are but I am in Canton. If there is something I can do to help please let me know. I also work at the U of M doing biomedical research. I will put you and your family in my prayers. God bless you all and I am praying for a positive outcome!