Tumor Cells – Over 90% Off!

Hey team – the last week has been great!  My immune system was back along with my energy levels. I went for hikes (including a 5-mile) and practiced yoga almost every day.

But here’s the best part: my tumor marker (HCG), which is the best indicator of the number of live cancer cells, went from pre-chemo levels of 209,000 to 36,000 last Thursday to 13,000 today! That is about a 94% reduction!

It sounds and feels like a major win (and it is) but it is also pretty much where the doctors expect me to be. The decline of the live cells should be logarithmic with the number cutting in half about every 3.5 days moving forward following the peak (342,000 on 8/26). The tricky part is we need to get to ZERO and it functions like that old “walk halfway to the wall, now walk halfway to the wall, and again, etc” mental exercise in which you never get to the wall. In theory all it takes is one remaining mutant cancer to restart the no-fun party. But we are going to get to that wall and wipe ’em all out!  (what with all the white light you guys have been sending! – p.s. don’t stop those intentions, prayers, white light, mojo until we do get to zero and stay there for a while :)

In other news, KR started classes today -molding young teenage minds into Francophilic freedom-fry-eating geniuses. She continues to be the best caregiver, partner and inspiration a man could conjure. I had a mohawk for a bit but I shaved it yesterday because my hair started coming out pretty fast. Here’s a pic of us from last week just before we went to a cocktail party for the faculty at KR’s school:


I started Round 2 of chemo today which I will be doing outpatient at Sloan Kettering for the next 5 days. It takes about 4 hours and will be returning home to Pawling each night, ferried by my chemo buddies – friends and family KR has lined up. Kind of like Driving Miss Daisy. Except not really.

I also made a pledge to do something creative each day which has so far consisted mostly of attempts at poetry. Here’s one (and I warn you I may post more – my fear of embarrassment seems to be shedding as fast as my hair :)


let this surprising wind bend me.

may it strip flurries of brittle leaves
and crack finger-sized wood.

but leave me this trunk and these roots.

i am not done with them yet –
we have more suns to reach for,
more earth to hold.


  1. <3

  2. DAT and Betsy Williams friend Kevin Hull here from Chicago [married Kirsten Ekdahl P’99 friends w Sebastian Abbott] — I am a t-cancer survivor with two RPLNDs and my own 3-course treatment of BEP — we had a 2x orchiectomy and stored my little guys for a successful IVF attempt that produced little Oscar Timothy — lots to share please reach out khull@jmls.edu or 312 925 6085 — gotta tell you about Cycle III and thereafter… THRIVE THROUGH CANCER!!!

  3. Peace. Love. Happiness.

    Go Jay! Go Katie Rose!


  4. That’s wonderful news! I’m wishing you lots of strength and peace as you enter round two. And I love the poem– your voice and spirit have always been inspiring, and they continue to be in this unexpected landscape.

  5. Great news! Awesome poem!

  6. Marilyn and David Levine says:

    Wonderful news!! Keep taking those steps and we will continue our prayers.
    Marilyn and David

  7. Dov Barnett says:

    this is amazing news. you are going to not only make it to that wall you are going to tear it down. KR is in charge so you better stay in line ;-). Kara and the girls send their love. as do I.

  8. Such excellent news! Cocktail photo is beautiful, too–chapeaux everywhere are tipped as you and KR continue to live your lives with so much zest. xxoo

  9. You are always in our thoughts and love the good news and the poem too! Awesome!!!!!
    We continue to send healing thoughts and long distance hugs—-just eliminate any MN mosquitoes that venture to NY. :) Love to you and Katie Rose. Joe, Jane and the Ring-a-dings

  10. Awesome news, Jay!
    Your strength is inspiration.
    In our thoughts,
    Bill and Cynthia

  11. Sebastian Abbot says:

    Awesome news! Was so psyched to get this upon arriving back in Pakistan after visiting my family in Tokyo. I left a healing prayer for you at the Meiji shrine in Tokyo, so perhaps the Shinto magic is doing the trick! Hope you got the truffles I sent and look forward to seeing you in two weeks!


  12. bart louwagie says:

    Linda read your text out loud and the poem chocked her voice

  13. beautiful. amazing one day at at a time. life moves. continuing to fight for zero!

  14. Theresa Ryan says:

    Fabulous progress, Jay. You are blessed to have your optimism, spirit, faith, talent (poem) and, of course, KR.

    Continuing to wish you the very best,


  15. patty giesecke says:

    Just have to say……your immune system is now eligible for the very ‘best prize evver…’ Please pass on, that it has made us all very happy! I thought the poem was wonderful.
    Patty et all

  16. Cate ODwyer says:

    That chemo is your ally! Amazing.

    Sent from my iPhone

  17. Great news Jay- liked the mohawk, loved the poem. Thanks for the updates. Keep em coming! Sending love to you and kr. Hugs….k

  18. Huzzah!

    This English Teacher digs your poetry.

    You guys look fantastic in that picture!

  19. Ann Bresnan says:

    You guys are the best couple! Love your creativity! Please keep it coming. You both look so well! Am going to see your ‘rents, Jay, tomorrow night- cannot wait! Sending love , prayers, and big hugs.xo

  20. my heart is filled with joy!
    the poem runs deep.
    see you both tomorrow.

  21. john mccarthy says:

    What good news – and what a blithe spirit you seem to be. Our best wishes to both of you. Marija and John

  22. Jay,

    Carolyn and I are thrilled to hear the positive news today. We talk of you and think of you daily. We were both shocked to hear of your illness. Your approach to it could not be more impressive. Thank you for sharing so openly via your blog. Draw strength from us all as you need it. You are a tremendous person. One admired from up close and afar always. Wishing you and yours the very best. Please accept our white light.


  23. Dr. Robin Lester says:

    A fine start, Big Rooster, now set it to music and pick it out.
    Congratulations on your progress.
    And, by the way, none of your admirers is quite finished with you yet, either.


  24. Charlotte Rowe says:

    So awesome jay!!! I am so happy to hear you doing do well. Your posts are such a treat to read and no need to feel embarrassed. THat’s a kick ass poem. Thank you for sharing so much with all your peeps.

    I am off to meet Alex at the school bus after her second day of kindergarten. It’s a “super super long day” as she so eloquently put it, and I’m proud of her for not crying when she got on the bus, like I did.

    Lots of love to you and KR, Charlotte

    Ps- is dark chocolate off the menu for you these days?

    Sent from my iPhone

  25. made my day J. keep up the good work and thanks for letting us all know. ps – the mohawk and button-down go together surprisingly well.

  26. bravo for the poetry..just what I was going to say.

  27. Such wonderful news! And I know the steps will get smaller and more frustrating, but you will get to that wall, propelled by bright white light and love and KR-power. Beautiful poem, beautiful picture, beautiful you. x

  28. great news Jay!!! sending my love, happy mojo, thoughts, and always thinking of you. Missing you terribly! see you soon xo

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