My current medicine gave me my body back and gave me 10 fantastic months. Now I can’t say that it is failing me yet, but given a spike in my tumor markers and a steady climb up in those markers since June it seems that the cancer is no longer quiet. The jaw pain started Labor Day, ironic since I describe it as childbirth 10/10 pain, and the bruised skull feeling that suggest lesions on skullbone is expanding rather than coming and going as it has in recent months. As I told Rugo, while I’m happy that gabapentin/neurontin has nicely manage and masked the hideous pain since I started it last week, I do not want to ignore the fact that my body is screaming and wants me to heed its message. My hope is that we are catching this new transition before the cancer has a chance to do too much new damage. I would hate to return to the skinny, cane dependent version of me of December. No please! I’m trying to stay calm and upbeat focused on the simple and sad fact that this is a smart and devious cancer doing its best to outwit the medicines. Our job is to catch that quickly and fool it again quickly. My friend Micaela tells me that I have smart cancer because I am smart. I will take that flattery!
Rugo scooted up my next scans to Monday. Given that I already know I have cancer i have to take any new cancer in stride. Hopefully it is only in my jawbone and skullbone and hasn’t gotten worse anywhere else. There is a proven drug called Xeloda that could suit me well. As one friend said, the first drug was good (4mths), the second one was great (10mths), so whose to say that the 3rd won’t be the charm. Who knows?! One day at a time. And in the meantime I will just keep living intentionally and gratefully and joyfully.
I continue to keep myself busy with the band, my book, and philanthropy. I’m very excited to be meeting an editor on Monday who I hope will help me turn this into something real. Now I’m more motivated than ever to turn my 80 pages into 220 awesome publishable pages. We shall see.
I was blessed with some serious intellectual stimulation this week between a riveting UCSF dinner on psychiatry and then a Nature Conservancy board meeting. I have been notably impressed by the level of care in the breast care center and by the brilliance of my doctors. I didn’t know how advanced their mental health work had become in the last 3 years. Thanks to Sam Hawgood’s superb hiring and his encouragement of innovative work they are breaking down the silos between psychology and psychiatry and weaving in neurology and technology for a comprehensive department. It is time for mental health’s stigma to vanish. A good percentage of the population will suffer from lifelong disease and a far greater percentage will suffer from depression or anxiety at some point in their life. So enough of the stigma. If anything it is normal. And it will help both patients and surprised caregivers a hell of a lot of it is more known so that coping tools are readily available. Adam who like Sting is known by one name at UCSF is making history with his innovative approach to mental health treatments, specifically through the use of fascinating video games that have shown vast impact and improvement for those suffering from add, ADHD, depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s, and even eating disorders. How exciting to have this be part of the menu of care. I loved speaking to a pediatric orthopedist who educated me on the crazy economics of that world (doctors get paid far less for pediatric surgeries despite what I would assume are equal complications) as well as to Chancellor Hawgood about hiring, medicine, and managing. 3 hours flew by and I felt elated from just being exposed to such brain power.
As ever, I continue to be impressed by the science, impact, and innovation of The Nature Conservancy of CA. This session focused on their work with fisheries both in CA and globally. They have made remarkable strides thanks to teaming with 5th generation fishing families in Morro Bay and developing game changing and easy to use technology in e-catch and FishPath that have resulted in fisheries recovering in just 3 years. Incredible. Simple measures like size limits, temporary fishing bans have massive impact on nature’s resilience and recovery. Given that fish is the protein that feeds 3 billion people annually this is a problem that demands solving. And it is happening. Their solutions are exportable. They are working on how to scale for serious global impact. Encouraging I think.
The solar work is now part of national policy such that any time an energy project is considered it will go through the TNC protocol of mapping so that any installations avoid the most sensitive habitats. Renewable energy companies can build, make money, run viable businesses all while avoiding environmental damage. Win win.
We perform again next week at 8pm at Neck of the Woods on Clement Street. Feel free to pop in even just for a few songs or a quick drink. We likely play til 10. I taught We Can Do It to the Burkes 3rd grade girls last week. It was deeply heartwarming to see their enthusiasm when I talked about how I wrote the lyrics, how their Rosie the Riveter play inspired me. And I alsmot cried when the music teacher said they will learn it and sing in assembly. When you listen to it on Spotify imagine 44 or more girls singing the chorus. It is what I imagined when I wrote it hiking through the Presidio.
I will write again when I have a new action plan. I’m doing well and staying cool. Nothing to gain by anything else at this point. Lucky me that I’m spoiled with the best doctors and so much love. Who can ask for more.
P.s someone sent me gorgeous flowers from farmgirl after our show. No card. So big thanks to whoever did that.