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Glen Allen, VA 23060


Garth Callaghan

Napkin Notes Dad





The Napkin Notes Blog

The Waiting Game

WGarth Callaghan

I sit in the waiting room of St. Mary's. I have been here before, but it doesn't quite feel like "home." I haven't had any food for 6 hours and I am starting to get just a little cranky. I am definitely dehydrated. I have a short, 45 minute appointment ahead of me.

I am waiting for my MRI, a scan that will show me what is going on inside of my abdomen. I am slightly anxious. I had cancer lesions on my liver and adrenal gland. We need to see what's happening today. I just want to get this over with so I can go home, eat, and take my meds. It will be some time until I have my results. I just want this process to be finished. I need some sleep.

It's been some time since I have posted something besides my daily Napkin Note. I started to receive some emails and calls a couple of weeks ago from kind souls asking if I was ok. I am ok. I have some good days and I have some bad days. Overall, I am not feeling fantastic. I started a drug therapy program in February that is frankly kicking my butt. It's a great drug, and the leading indication is that it is killing the cancer. I knew it wasn't going to be an easy ride. The side effects are somewhat problematic:

  • Diarrhea - check! double check!! triple check!!!
  • Tiredness - check!
  • Nausea - check! 
  • Change in hair color - check!
  • Loss of taste - check! (Most things taste like they're Black & White but I want to eat in a HD world!)
  • Vomiting - just once, but holy crap it was awful
  • Loss of appetite - check! (I have lost about 20 pounds)
  • Pain on the right side of stomach area (abdomen) - check!
  • Bruise easily - check!
  • Irregular or fast heartbeat - check! 
  • Fainting
  • Bleeding problems - check! (Bloody nose!)
  • High blood pressure - check!
  • Thyroid problems - check!

I am thankful, yes, thankful to be taking this medicine. It represents the best possible chance for me to beat cancer. It certainly comes with some challenges. I'll take them each and every day.

Someone asked me if this was chemo. It's not. Technically, it's not anywhere close to chemo. However, it's easy to say that it's "like chemo" except that I take this every day, and I don't really get a break. I don't experience all of the side effects at the same time, but I certainly am plagued with some of the tougher ones.

I may take this for the rest of my life. Think about that for a second before you move on.


I may take this for the rest of my life. What would you do? You'd take the darned medicine. Give your body a chance to win! Live! Raise your kids! Change the world!

What would you do to live?

This, this is what I do. Medically, it's what I'll likely do for the rest of my life.

And through this chaos of medicine and side effects, I'll take a breath. I'll pack Emma's lunch. I'll write a Napkin Note. I'll connect with her one more time.

Pack. Write. Connect.