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Castle Point Court
Glen Allen, VA 23060


Garth Callaghan

Napkin Notes Dad





The Napkin Notes Blog

By the Numbers

WGarth Callaghan

I am a geek. I love Star Wars, lightsabers, math, science, reading, learning, and outer space. When I first introduce myself, I feel comfortable going back to my roots. Numbers. 

I think I am a fairly average guy. I am 45 years old. I am 5'10" and weigh 170. I have been married for almost 18 years. I have a 15 year old daughter. I have probably written and packed around 1500 Napkin Notes. 

In November 2011 I was diagnosed with Clear Cell Renal Carcinoma, the most common form of kidney cancer. It was a 13cm tumor that mostly enveloped my left kidney. (I have pictures although I have never actually looked at them.) The kidney and tumor were removed. The cancer was Stage I, Fuhrman Grade 3.

There were approximately 1.6 million new cancer cases in 2011. I was one. 

There were approximately 63,000 new kidney cancer cases in 2011. The average age of diagnosis is 64. I was 42. I was one. 

In August 2012 I was diagnosed with prostate cancer.  My Gleason score was 6. I had multiple biopsies with a total of 32 samples taken. 1 sample showed cancerous cells.

There were approximately 230,000 new prostate cancer cases in 2012. The average age of diagnosis is 66. I was 43. I was one. 

In October 2013 I was diagnosed with kidney cancer on my left adrenal gland. It was about 2.5cm and had clearly metastasized from my original tumor. Stage IV. It was removed via surgery. Statistically speaking, Stage IV kidney cancer patients have an 8% 5-year survival rate. (How's that number grab ya?) 

In February of 2014 I was diagnosed with kidney cancer that had spread to the liver and my right adrenal gland. The spread was too wide to correct via surgery. I currently am in an program that is "like" chemo taken at home in a pill form. 

As of October 2014, we've seen a fantastic reduction with many of the lesions, but there are 2 stubborn ones sticking around. They must love me! 

Even with all of these numbers and statistics, there are two that need to be talked about. They are, in fact, the two most important in my life. 

826 and 1. 

826 - In December of 2013, I began secretly writing enough Napkin Notes to get my daughter, Emma, through high school graduation in the event I couldn't be here to complete the job in person. I am happy to say that I am still writing daily notes and plan on doing so for quite some time. 

1 - I am a statistic of one. No matter what I read, no matter what the statistics say, I will beat this. 

Thank you for walking the path with me. Thank you for supporting my family in this journey. We couldn't do this alone. 

Pack. Write. Connect.