Home » My Health Updates » A word of thanks to my friends and family

A word of thanks to my friends and family

Posted by on September 21, 2012 in My Health Updates - 20 Comments
thank you

It’s true that the last two months have been rougher than expected. Last month I noticed that the slice in my golf swing was back. The dancer I wanted to win on “So You Think You Can Dance” didn’t win. A travesty of justice. Josie has discovered the ancient martial arts technique of manipulating pressure points, and is experimenting with them quite effectively. And Kate is drawing cartoon caricatures of me.

Still, we are working our way through it all. The cancer stuff hasn’t been great, either, but all we can do is keep pushing forward. I’ve finally completed my rounds of radiation therapy. There appears to be a hole burned in my back. Maybe not a hole, but it is actually browned like a good steak. It would look like a nice tan if it covered the entirety of my back. Instead it looks like a deformed Krispy Kreme donut. As Dena noted, we’ve decided to drop Inlyta and pursue a drug that works on blocking nutrients to my cancer cells from a slightly different pathway.

This is the challenge of cancer drugs. At least for those of us with uncommon cancers. The immediate answer isn’t chemo, as it may be with many other cancers. Chemo doesn’t work. Ten years ago there wasn’t really an answer at all. During the course of the last several years a series of new biologic drugs have been approved by the FDA that attempt to starve the cancer cells. Unfortunately, nobody — including the oncologists and research scientists — know why some drugs work for some people and others don’t. It becomes a trial-and-error process. I haven’t had a particularly good run. So far, none of them have worked for me. We’re hopeful, however, that by changing to a drug that attacks cancer from a different cellular pathway, this may be the one for us. So, I’m swallowing four little pills each morning and waiting to determine their side effects. Mouth sores are one, I’ve discovered. Which doesn’t help with an already diminished appetite. It does give me an excuse to eat atrociously unhealthy but calorie-rich and sinful meals and desserts. As with all drugs, however, there are other drugs to deal with these drugs and their side effects and you pile them up in the morning so that each can counter the other. Except, hopefully, for the cancer drug. Let’s not counter that one.

In the meantime we get by because of the support of so many other friends and family. I don’t feel I thank you enough and I’d like to take a moment to thank you today. Dena and I have been helped by so many, in so many different ways.

  • Friends have come out of the woodwork, bringing food dishes and desserts and pies. Dena doesn’t appreciate the desserts, but I sure do.
  • All of the words of encouragement from our friends on the blog — many of whom we’ve never had the pleasure of meeting. Thank you for your support. When I first started the blog, I was anxious with the comments section because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to thank each person individually for their supportive comments. Well, I guess I could but it would be exhausting and, more to the point, could ultimately seem insincere as you can only say thank you in so many ways before sounding like a broken record. So I hope that you don’t mind that I keep my comments, generally, to answering questions. Don’t think, however, that because I don’t respond to each comment that I’m not reading them. I am, and they are deeply appreciated.
  • My partners at work, and all my friends and colleagues from the office, have been patient and supportive since the day I was first diagnosed. Many came to visit me in the hospital and over the course of the last three-and-a-half years have shown unwavering support and given me hope and optimism. I have actually taken some time off of work in order to address the radiation therapies and new drug therapies, each of which can be remarkably fatiguing and can produce unexpected side effects. And our crack team of skilled and creative professionals have picked up the slack. (Hmmmm, maybe I’m not so important after all.) Thank you, Adfero Group, for all that you have done and continue to do.
  • Dena and I have been attending Grace Episcopal Church in Alexandria and developed a second family there. I am particularly grateful to Father Malm, who has visited me in the hospital during treatments and has even come to my home to offer support and prayers.
  • My brothers have taken so much time off from their own busy work schedules to spend time with me — both to ridicule me on the golf course and to travel to Virginia to chauffeur me around to radiation treatments and otherwise help out. It’s been good to be able to spend time with them and their families — Mike, Dawn, Savannah, Patrick, Cheryl, Josh and Dylan. Family is a good thing.
  • Speaking of family, there is no way we could have made it through all of this without our parents. Dena’s mom and dad have packed up their minivan and traveled from Michigan to Virginia countless times when Dena and I have had to go through hospital stays. Oh Cracker Barrel, how we love you. And my parents? They of course have been with me and Dena each step of the way. My mom has practically moved into my house. I’m not kidding. Poor dad is going to have to do the same if he ever wants to see her again.
  • And finally, what can I say about Dena and the kids? All cancer patients have their caregivers, but I’m going to take an admittedly biased view and say that there has never been a caregiver like Dena. She is my wife first, and caregiver second, but the two roles have merged over time. I could not survive without her. Literally. I believe that. And my two little girls, Kate and Josie, are my inspiration and hope and reason for fighting as hard as I must. They are everything to me. Love holds us all together as we struggle through this as a family.

And so, I apologize for anybody who I may have forgotten to thank. But know this: I couldn’t have made it through all of these trials without you. Thank you. I hope you all know how much you are appreciated.

  • Jim G

    And likewise, I expect I speak for all when I say you and the amazing Dena are an inspiration to us!

  • Gail Schuler Cody’s Mom

    Chris and Dena, I wait patiently to see your posts and I for one am so hopeful for you day after day. I have to have faith that this one will be the right pathway drug this time. I sit and patiently wait to hear about Cody’s treatment results from IL2. Waiting is a real killer. So faith, family, hope and inspiration is my bag of tricks as a caregiver. I pray this is your magic bullet!!

    • Dot

      Chris and Family, goodluck with Afinitor it is a harsh one. My daughter lost her fight in May of this year , she was pulling for you and I know she still is, you are an amazing writer it is always interesting to read, you make light of the trial and tribulations you are going through , I for one know how devastating all of these treatments are and I want to say I admire your spirit. May god bless and make you well.
      Sincerly wishing you the best

  • Jacki Reed

    I agree that you and your family are an inspiration to everyone. The trials and tribulations that you all have gone through make any struggle that I am encountered with seem very do-able. Whenever I feel frustration or stress I am able to think of you and your fight and realize that I have it easy compared to some. I now don’t take it for granted. I think of you and Dena and the kids often and hope your new drug proves successful.

  • Gina Welker

    Row 3 love, CB! Give those girls a hug for me, please. :)

  • Patty

    Loving you all everyday and hoping for strength. Wish we could be closer to at least punch you in the arm once in awhile…and probably some hugs and wine in there too. What your family has given to so many is inspiration everyday to be half as strong as the Battles.

  • Hayley

    My husband Travis and I follow religiously. He has been battling for 5 years now, an we appreciate your spirit and optimism. I’m sure many have given their advice to help combat side effects, but I thought I’d add ours. Traci was on torisel for 4 years and mouth sores were plenty. He took elyzene from a nutrition store and it dodo wonders for him, and was the only thing that helped. Also, he swears by the dry mouth toothpaste! Wishing you luck!

  • Leighann

    You’re ever in my prayers. You’re an inspiration!!

  • Pam Hendricks;

    Hi Chris, You and Dena inspire all of us. I think that your graditude comes through in all of your posts and that gradituded is what gets us through each day. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. I hope this is the correct pathway and that eventually you get fat from eating all of these great deserts just like your mom and dad and I would. Love you. Pam Hendricks

  • Dennis Murphy


    reading your latest post yesterday on the Kidney
    Chronicles, I thought a lot about why I’m compelled to read them the
    instant the alert hits my inbox. I
    suppose first off, I love your writing.
    I knew you were good, but I never knew you were this good. You are truly a creative and gifted
    writer. Anyone that can squeeze the
    humor out of your circumstances is a genius.

    suppose most importantly, however, is that I find your writings inspiring. You’re not just a great writer, you’re a
    great soul. We all “battle” (pun
    intended) through the everyday ups and downs of life, and it’s easy to get
    caught up in our own problems as insurmountable. The grit and determination shown by Dena and
    you through your sharing, makes me, and I’m sure others, dig a little deeper to
    get through our own problems in life. They all seem so small by comparison.

    And whether life hands us a
    broken body on the battlefield, or a financial hole with seemingly no way out, or
    deadlines that seem impossible, or even a debilitating illness like kidney cancer;
    examples of perseverance like yours give us all hope that we can somehow get
    through the moment and live a great life, albeit perhaps a different one than
    we first imagined.

    So I wanted to let you know that
    the reason I read the Kidney Chronicles
    with such relish is that you remind me with every post that life is truly
    sweet, and it is well worth fighting for… no matter the circumstances or the odds. I look forward to many, many, many more posts
    of the Kidney Chronicles for years to
    come. Keep fighting, my friend. You
    inspire me, and I’m sure you inspire us all.


  • Meredith

    Chris, I pray for you all the time and remain hopeful that this new drug is your personal miracle. In the meantime I owe you a pie. Apple, sweet potato or pear? I will email Dena.

  • Asa Hutchinson (Sr)

    Your post does put life in perspective! Those close to us make all the difference and I am glad you have many close by! I am grateful for you and Dena sharing your frustrations, humor, hope and heart through your posts. They cause me to pray more and also to realize what are really the important things in life. God bless, my friend. Asa

  • Minnie Kriek

    God bless and keep you and your family in His care.

  • Richard Fisher

    Chris, you, and the story that you tell of love, humor, support and family, are truly amazing and inspirational. For Dena, serving as caregiver, I have a tremendous empathy, having served in that role as well. Keep up the fight!

  • Callie

    Hi Chris and Dena! Keep up the good fight. Thank you for teaching me how good people make it through tough times. You are good role models to me.

  • Laura Kellams

    I agree that you and your family are an inspiration. Arkie thoughts and prayers are with y’all. :)

  • Shaun T

    Chris, this is a beautiful tribute to the true meaning of love. I pray that you finally get relief from your symptoms and positive results soon. Prayers from up north.

  • Kim Larkin

    Chris – you, Dena and your girls are an amazing example of how love is supposed to work in a family. You are so blessed to have this tremendous gift. I am continuing to pray for you and that this new drug does its job and kicks some a**. Love you and thinking of you all always.


  • betty roddy

    Chris, I think You are an amazing person and Dena is such a dream of what I wish I could be.. Just knowing you has been a pleasure I could have not known if not for keeping touch with the both of you..I am doing quite well since I was poisened on meds and finally got home and went to Ohio to visit family.I am happy to say on my birthday oct 31 of this year I will be 75 years old. I have to say I’m proud of every year,I now know there is a loving God and a mighty one. I never thought I’d be here for 9 years on oxygen with copd…….sometimes, I think I am special, but I also pray for those who have lots of problems, and then I just bow my head and say”Thank You God”
    hugs,Betty aka Bett

  • Karen

    Thank you Chris and Dena for sharing your journey as doing so helps us all. Your honesty and openness are so inspiring. I cried as I read this today. You are truly blessed to have such a Caregiver as Dena. Even though we have never met, I know you through this blog. Prayers for you all and your precious children. Praying for excellent results and also Peace. May the SON shine on you daily. Karen V

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