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Garth Callaghan

Napkin Notes Dad




Month 19


The Napkin Notes Blog

Month 19

WGarth Callaghan

I had an MRI last week and got my results a couple of days ago. I quickly shared the news with my wife, Lissa. I told Emma once she returned from school. I dutifully shared the news with my mom and sister. I shared the news with my close friend and neighbor, Sheryl.


The liver demonstrates the small 6 mm hypointensity in segment 6 (series 16 image 17). This is unchanged from previous examination. No additional lesions are noted in the liver. Specifically the second lesion noted on the previous 4/19/2015 exam more inferior in the segment 6 is not identified by this study. There is no evidence of biliary dilatation.

Real English: No change. I still have cancer. However, the one lesion that had been seen from Feb 2014 through April 2015 is still not visible. (YEAH!!!)

My doctors have said multiple times this battle is a marathon, not a sprint. However, marathon runners know there is a finish line at 26.2 miles.

I was chatting with a good friend, MJ, over the weekend. I shared with him what was going on with my health. I told him:

To be honest, I am mostly tired. The summer started off well. We had tweaked my meds and I stopped throwing up. I didn’t have much diarrhea. I wasn’t nearly as nauseated as before. I felt pretty human, for the most part.

Without any warning the side effects came back in mid-July. I lost energy. I was “sick” again. I am at my lowest weight of the year. (Yeah, yeah, I know! I shouldn’t complain, right?!?) Summer didn’t pan out the way I had hoped and needed. And to those kind and shaken employees at the Flight of Fear ride at Kings Dominion, I have never in my life thrown up after a roller coaster ride. I’m pulling out my Cancer Card to explain that one. I am sorry, but at least I cleaned up after myself!

I feel like a front-line soldier in WWI, but I am fighting with no clear end in sight. I can’t even see the goal line.

Throughout much of this time I feel the effects of “Chemo-brain”, too. I have a dear friend, Marvin, who shared with me his chemo-brain fog cleared about 6 months after stopping the same treatment. That’s something to look forward to, if I ever get to stop treatment.  

I just started my 19 month of daily treatment. Wow.

MJ asked what I was going to do. I paused. I looked him in the eye and simply said, “I am going to take the damn pills. I am not happy about it, but what would you do? You’d take the medicine you need in order to live.”

I am ready to go the distance. I fight not just for myself, but for my family. I fight as an example for Emma. I fight so that other cancer patients can look to my battle and choose to go through with their own treatment.

I may need some help when I am weary. I’ll lean on my family and friends. I’m counting on you.