Better Every Day

Hey lovers! Hope everyone had a warm Valentine’s day yesterday. Good news this week – my tumor marker was down to 4.7 on Thursday and CT scan at the same time showed an approximate 20% reduction in all lung masses as compared to a month ago! They saw some fluid around my kidneys and Dr. Sheinfeld ordered a renal ultrasound for next week to make sure it’s just leftover fluid from the surgery and my kidneys are working well.

I meet on Tuesday with thoracic/lung master surgeon Dr. Manjit Bains. He is going to look at the latest scan and determine how easy it would be to excise the metastases in my lungs. My sense is that if  1)  he thinks he won’t be able to get it all and/or 2) it would be an invasive / higher risk procedure, then the decision may be to monitor everything (and witness my body break down those dead cancer nuggets into oblivion!). We shall see. The prospect of more surgeries is hard to wrap my head around right now.

Recovery from the RPLND/orchiectomy has been harder than I anticipated. There were some tough days and nights -especially during my first week home.  On a physical level there was the pain, feeling tired and drained, a lingering fog from the anesthesia. And then there has been a weepy hot mess of emotions.

On one level I just felt knocked down again after having built my energy back up after chemo which was discouraging. Then there was just a general weariness of the whole deal; being sick and tired of having cancer and all of its attendant changes and challenges. And add a tablespoon of grief around the loss of my testicle any sense of corporal innocence.

The most overwhelming emotion, however, was an almost alien anger that would well up deep inside of me daily and fervently seek an external target at which to hurl itself. Finding nothing to attack it would just surge upward in my body and pour out of my eyes in what I can only describe as rage tears (with a pinch of grief).

I believe the anger was coming from a deep, cellular body intelligence. Mammals have been evolving for over 65 million years and the ones who disallowed deep cuts to the abdomen, who fought off those who wounded them with existential enthusiasm were among those who survived. Those experiences are in our DNA. The animal body doesn’t know about hospitals, cancer treatment and the good intentions of gifted surgeons. It knows: cut no good. Cut deep real bad. Cut deep and take out guts? Somebody got to pay.

My Qi Gong teacher/healer has urged me speak to the animal body, to reassure it that we are safe now. He recommended listening to recordings of bird songs, frogs, crickets, etc. because animals know that when those critters are making noise it’s safe and when they aren’t there is trouble lurking. I have been doing this, especially during naps, and it does seem calming.

Three weeks now after the surgery and the anger seems to have mostly dissipated along with the pain. I have started doing some restorative yoga, standing up straight (at least in the mornings), walking and meditating and every day is better than the last.   And I am happy to be where I am in the course of treatments and pathology of my disease – I do believe the worst is behind us.

KR’s mom was here for a week and was helpful in so many practical and emotional ways. I am just so effing grateful for her, for KR, my sister, my docs and nurses, you guys, all of the caregivers and supporters along the way. I would not have made it this far without you.

Speaking of amazing support: Nicky Agate and The Party of Jays has raised over $21,500 as part of Cycle For Survival! The funds will be earmarked for my doc’s research into testicular cancer. Big thanks to everyone who has donated and participated, especially Emily L (responsible for over $8K!) and The Foundry Home Goods (owned by KR’s sister Anna) – they donated a day’s profit (over $2.5K!). Any amount helps and there is still time to give if you want to get in on the action.

Hope everyone is keeping  dry and warm – Spring is almost here!!!


  1. Anna Davis says:

    Listen to those crickets and birds. Like Mary said- let the soft animal part of you love what it loves… (And know what it knows!) you are a healer, jay bird.

  2. Thank you for sharing this with us. It’s inspiring.

  3. Kathy St. Vincent says:

    Glad to hear the good news! Sending our love, as always!

  4. Theresa Ryan says:

    Every day the news is better. All of those loving hearts and hands carrying you through. xot

  5. So glad you’re feeling better Jay. It takes time to heal from surgery and you have had one hellacious surgery indeed. Spring is coming and you are healing. LOVE LOVE LOVE the numbers. Come on ZERO!

  6. Katie and I think of you all the time, brother. Keep up the good fight. You are doing awesome.

  7. patty giesecke says:

    I am so happy with the 4.7 and the CT results. In truth, I must share some of that DNA because I too have felt rage. My professional experiences tells me this is not uncommon but I have rarely heard clarity, such as your journey and in the process ……cleanse.
    As always……we send love

  8. kimball Knutson says:

    Jay… Thank you for these posts. I read every word and so appreciate you expression and openness.
    Lisa told me today that you may be coming to Liz’s 90th. Oh, that will be a special time! But I hope not too difficult for you. Sending you and KR love and healing!

  9. Roar! Glad each day is a bit better. We are sending love…. Always.

  10. Jay,
    It’s great reading about your “getting over” the operation and calming your animal body. Keep going.

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