Health Update: Start of Clinical Trials

Since Bruce and I had Cat scans in November, he’s asked me to update you on how we made out and what the next step is for both of us.

After being placed on waiting lists for clinical trials at Memorial Sloan Kettering and Weil Cornell Medical Center, Bruce was accepted into a trial at the John Theurer Cancer Center of Hackensack Medical Center, Hackensack, NJ. Since chemo was no longer proving effective for Bruce and since his recent Cat scans at Hackensack showed some small progression of his cancer, we are grateful he has been accepted to and already begun Cycle 1-2 of NC318–Next Cure. It is a brand new clinical trial for pancreatic cancer and as with any trial, there are no guarantees. But in true “Bruce fashion,” he is not only hopeful but positive that this trial will help to keep his cancer at bay and possibly even decrease it. We will certainly keep you posted!

As for myself, my recent Cat scans thankfully showed no new cancer. However, they did show “extensive” scarring on my right lower lung lobe and some on the left side. I was aware after my second lung surgery this past September, that I had a lot of scar tissue on my right lung. This, coupled with losing two small portions of each lower lung lobe, plus being diagnosed with Interstitial Pneumonitis will necessitate consulting with a pulmonologist. But I’m presently cancer free and for that, I’m beyond grateful!

I would like to end this blog post by sharing a personal story with you. After my Cat scans last week and prior to going down to Hackensack for Bruce’s blood work, we went out to breakfast. I mentioned how I was glad my scans were over but that now I’d worry until my doctor called with the results. Bruce said he never worries about his scans. I asked him how that’s possible when he has active cancer in his body. He said the following: “I’m too grateful for every single day to ruin it by worrying. I’m grateful to wake up in the morning, to have another day to be with family, to still be able to go to the gym, and to still be able to work on our lawn. I’m grateful for the cold and even the rain because I’m here to experience it.” He went on to say that he’s always “excited” to undergo scans because he “always expects good results.” Then he said, “And if the results aren’t good, I know there will be something that will come along to help me—like this clinical trial.” Finally, he asked me what I worried the most about after having scans. I replied, “Dying.” He said he’s not afraid of dying because he knows there’s an afterlife and that he already knows it’s beautiful and peaceful and that he’ll spend eternity with family and friends. Even after thirty years together, I’m still amazed at Bruce’s positivity and his sincere optimism about life—and death.

-Linda Hill

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One Year of Waging Hope With Bruce

In honor of the one year anniversary of this blog, watch this beautiful tribute by Nurse Jeannine explaining all the meaning, inspiration, and hope, that Bruce continues to bring into people’s lives while battling pancreatic cancer.

And there would not be a camera big enough to capture in one picture all the people who have supported Bruce and continue to support Bruce through his illness, but this is a good start:

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Health Update on Bruce

I’d like to give you an update on Bruce’s health issues. As always, he and I appreciate all of your support, prayers, and positive energy!

This past Sunday, Bruce ended up in the Emergency Room due to pain in his abdomen. I feared that his abdominal mass had grown. A Cat scan was done and we were told that there was fluid surrounding Bruce’s mass and that we should follow up with our oncologist. We did that yesterday. Bruce’s oncologist, Dr. Abbasi, told us that the fluid is minor; not enough to be drained. The pain Bruce is experiencing is from cancerous tissue pressing on the abdominal mass. Bruce’s tumor markers are up again. Dr. Abbasi said Bruce will continue with the new chemo (MIC) he started last week while we pursue clinical trials. As Bruce told you in his last video post, he’s on waiting lists for trials at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital and Weil Cornell Medical Center. This coming Thursday, we have an appointment at Hackensack Hospital’s Cancer Center regarding clinical trials. We’re hoping they’ll have something for Bruce that he’ll be able to begin as soon as possible. If not, we’ll expand our search.

With Tylenol, Bruce says the pain is just “annoying.” It’s not preventing him from going to the gym, walking, and living a “normal” life. He is convinced he’s going to “beat this.” He continues to shine with positivity that amazes even me. His goal with this blog has always been to help as many people as possible going through a difficult time.

Yesterday, Dr. Abbasi told us about a friend of his who was recently diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer. Bruce told Dr. Abbasi to give him our number and to tell him he’d be happy to talk to him. Once Bruce was on chemo, one of the nurses asked if he’d go over to talk with a young woman recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Bruce sat with her for several minutes and clearly lifted her spirits. She came over to us before she left to thank Bruce for talking to her. This coming Sunday, we’re all going to do the Breast Cancer Walk in Parsippany. While I wish cancer had never touched our lives, I continue to be impressed with the number of people Bruce has helped and inspired since his diagnosis two and a half years ago. He said from the outset that he “just wanted to help one person dealing with this.” He continues to say that. And I continue to tell him that he’s helped a lot more than “just one person.” Today alone, he helped two.

-Linda Hill