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The 5th Infusion
Journal entry by Michael March — 4/16/2016

Today was day 102 since I was told I had 180 to 365 days to live. That means I have between 78 and 263 days left to live. Friday, before my 5th infusion of the clinical trial treatment, I met with my doctors and I was simply gobsmacked by what I was told.

Ever since I was told I had 6 to 12 months, I never really wanted to believe it, or think about it too much. But now I have a time frame I have to deal with. In six weeks I will get two more CT Scans and depending on what they show, a decision will have to be made. Continue with the treatment, or switch to chemotherapy, or stop all treatment and just let nature takes it course. As odd as that may actually sound, just typing it out is even more strange.

Some of my time goals have been met. I wanted to be around for my Father's birthday on March 13. Then I wanted to be around for the 9th anniversary of working at Navy Federal Credit Union, which was March 19th. So, I have made the two easy ones. My future goals are as follows:

June 1, the day my father passed away.
August 20, my 52nd birthday.
October 9, my 8th wedding anniversary.

I should be here for June 1, that will be only 5 days after the next CT Scans and decision day. My chances of being here for my own birthday in August might be a stretch, but it would be nice to at least make it to 52 years old. My heart hurts thinking I will not make it to my 8th wedding anniversary. I love my wife Tammy so much, and knowing I will be leaving soon just breaks me down pretty quickly. My heart breaks thinking about my mother not having her middle child and my brothers and sisters losing their brother. I am still wrapping my head around my fast approaching final days and the hearts that will cry out in pain when I reach that final day.

I will keep going to the office at least until a decision is made or forced on me in 6 weeks. I actually never thought this part through when I was thinking about being told I had 6 to 12 months left. I have thought about being told that since my first cancer in 2008. I just never thought about the leaving work part.

Right now, I continue to work to make sure my wife gets my life insurance after I die. I am also stuffing as much money into our money market as possible, and I will continue to do that until I reach my end because money certainly has no meaning to me at this point. But I know Tammy will most likely live another 20 or 30 years and she will need it. I think I have left her financially sound, and we have talked about what I would suggest she do, but once I am gone, it's all up to her.

So that is where things stand. I'm losing this fight. By the 6 month mark after diagnosis, 35% of all patients have died. At the one year mark, 56% have died. The 18 month mark shows 70% of patients have died. There are stats going out to 5 years, that has a 96% fatality rate. You have no idea how weird it feels to hope you live longer than half of all lung cancer patients and that is only about 6 more months. I used to want to live to see at least 58 years old, now I hope to make it 52. Not to mention 52 years old is only 4 months and 4 days away, and I worry I will not make even that.

I have not given up and I am not giving in. I'm just having to live my remaining days within a time frame that does not have much flexibility. I still worry about things, I still think about doing things a month from now, and I would enjoy watching a few more NFL games this fall.

I am thinking more and more about my Father. He passed away 18 years ago on June 1. Seems like only yesterday, and I assume my Brothers and Sisters, Wife and friends will think the same about me in 2034.

I can only hope I'm ready when it's time, and I have said my goodbyes and made peace with saying goodbye to everything and everyone. The next part of what comes next, comes to us all, and we all would rather delay it as long as is possible, yet none of us really know how long, "long enough" is.

Anyway, tomorrow is looming large and coming too fast now. I will be grateful for whatever the good Lord gives me, and take what is offered when it is offered.

Keep the prayers coming, and say a few for my family, please.
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