It’s hard not to be a little…

The last time Tate wrote, he was struggling with the word metastasis.  Believe me, we were all struggling with it.  But he made the decision to transfer his care to the Cancer Treatment Center of America and we put our hope and focus on that.  The plan was he would fly out in time for his fifth (out of six) Chemo treatment.  CTCA would not alter same chemo regimen, since you have to go through the whole cycle, but they would get him going on ALL of the other services as well in the meantime.

There are five centers around the country. The one he chose was, of course, Chicago (it’s actually one hour outside of the city in Zion Illinois but I’ve heard that anyone within two hours of Chicago will tell you they live in Chicago).  The plan was to leave on May 17th. He would be there for about a week and then return home until round six.  CTCA pays for the all of his flights. Pretty amazing.

We decided we wouldn’t tell  St. Francis he was leaving until right before that so that we could assure that they would be available to him if he needed them.  Also, there had already been an MRI of his brain scheduled for May 14th.  The doctor said a brain MRI was standard procedure once cancer had spread to the spine.

Then about two weeks ago, Tate started having headaches.  They came out of the blue but hit hard immediately and then became a daily thing. They were like migraines in that they were light sensitive, noise sensitive and completely debilitating.  We told the doctor and the nurses. The nurses said it could be reaction to the pain meds, allergies, constipation, caffeine.  The doctor said, “Lets see what happens with the MRI.”

May 14th came, a full week after he began getting the headaches, and Tate went in for the MRI.  Within a matter of hours the doctor called with the results.  There are multiple small tumors on both lobes.  “Each about 7 millimeters” he said.  “We caught it early” he said.

The next morning when I came into Tate’s room to give him his tea, I asked him how he was doing.  For the past three and a half months I have been asking him this question at least 2 or 3 times a day.  But that morning the answer was different.  He said, “It’s hard not to be a little depressed.”

Once there has been brain metastasis, the person has to stop chemo and do brain radiation for about two weeks.  Then chemo can resume.  We discussed whether or not he wanted to stay in Hartford to do the radiation but Tate was clear; he was done with St. Francis.  CTCA said they could take over right away but it meant that he would have to be in Chicago for about 3 weeks as opposed to 1 week this first time.  It was longer than he wanted to be away from home he said, but he was sure it was the right thing to do.

Tate flew out on Thursday (May 17th).  Dezi took Friday off to go through his first day at CTCA with him.  Karen flew out to join him on Thursday.  She will stay for four or five days and then return home.

The house doesn’t feel the same without him of course and I personally am struggling with having even less control now that he is halfway across the country.   He already reports the CTCA is “so far so great,” and that gives me more hope than I have had in months.  But it’s hard not to be a little…I don’t know – terrified, angry, depressed, lost.

  1. #1 by Donna Raider on May 21, 2012 - 2:38 am

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and Greg always. He is and has been on our Mesheberach list (healing Prayer) at Temple Isaiah in Palm Springs since we first heard. These prayers are said every Friday night and every Saturday morning by the whole congregation. We are all pulling for you Greg.

  2. #2 by susan and jay on May 21, 2012 - 2:46 am

    Love from Susan and Jay.

  3. #3 by Sabrina on May 21, 2012 - 2:50 am

    Loving all of you FIERCELY right now!

  4. #4 by Anonymous on May 21, 2012 - 2:50 am

    Not sure what to say. You all are so loved. Tate has so many people pulling for him, it all has to figure itself out. Lots of curves in the road, but it all has to figure itself out, right? It just has to turn out right. Big love.

  5. #5 by Anonymous on May 21, 2012 - 3:11 am

    Hang in there, Tate. Do not give up. Glad to read that CTCA is great. We are praying for you. Keep praying, keeping holding on. God grant you peace.


  6. #6 by Anonymous on May 21, 2012 - 3:16 am

    The only thing to do is go on fighting. I like the idea of CTCA. I like the idea that they specialize. He is just getting started so this is a beginning. Prayers are going out for him. Val

  7. #7 by Anonymous on May 21, 2012 - 3:30 am

    Just got a call from a fam member hearing the news. Brings tears to my eyes. I may not talk to u everyday or even see u on a regular but it doesn t mean that i don t still think about u. I still love you and I am praying for you always.

  8. #8 by Anonymous on May 21, 2012 - 3:51 am

    First I must ask, what time is this blog on anyway? Not mine.
    We missed you, Tate, last night at the goat roasting Reggae fest in your backyard. This s*t is BRUTAL. I hope it’s okay to say that, but sometimes it’s hard to hold it back. I believe it is okay to be terrified, angry, depressed, lost….but always don’t ever, ever, ever forget LOVED!!!!!
    Tate, you and yours are In our hearts,

  9. #9 by Anonymous on May 21, 2012 - 5:06 am

    Oh, Julia. I wish there was something we could do besides send love, love, and more love your way. pam

  10. #10 by Hersheyn on May 21, 2012 - 11:01 am

    Tate, Julia, everyone,
    what can we say , but it brings tears to our eyes, pain inour hearts but we are thinking ofyou, cheering for you every day, You are loved by many and lots of love and wonderful vibes are sent your way
    love amy and eliot

  11. #11 by Elvy Stepinoff on May 21, 2012 - 11:26 am

    I am so sorry for the pain you are all going through. I feel the lump in my throat, and I know it is in yours. Yet, there is always hope, and the comfort of knowing how much love there is between you all, and towards you all. My thoughts are with you.

  12. #12 by kathy hucks on May 21, 2012 - 11:45 am

    Julia and Household and Tate-
    all in my thoughts, on my mind, in my heart.

  13. #13 by Anonymous on May 21, 2012 - 1:14 pm

    Keep your heads up. We are all pulling for you guys and Tate to make it through this. You have a large community of support and we’ll all be sending good thoughts your way.

  14. #14 by Velina Brown on May 21, 2012 - 2:56 pm

    Everything you are feeling makes perfect sense. Peace and strength to you all on this journey.
    Peace and strength and love.

  15. #15 by woody65labounty on May 21, 2012 - 2:59 pm

    Thanks for doing the hard work of writing this… we’re giving Tate our best thoughts here in California.

  16. #16 by Anonymous on May 21, 2012 - 4:21 pm

    Everybody has said what I’m thinking and feeling…add another hug (if virtual)–and more power to you, julia. love from Elinore

  17. #17 by Amos on May 21, 2012 - 7:03 pm

    “I’ll show you how I’m living, Lord, every day,
    I may not fall down on my knees and start to pray,
    I may not fall down on my knees and worship you or pray,
    But there’s the reverence in my laughter, Lord, anyway.”

    Maclom Daglish (Shake These Bones)

  18. #18 by Anonymous on May 21, 2012 - 10:48 pm

    Tate, As much as we hate to say it, Zion is Chicago enough to call home for awhile. I’m glad you’re there letting them “get it done”. They have opened their hearts and expertise to you. Your spirit will have them soaring. Tell them to get some darn music playing and to pick up the beat. We love you.

    Julia, I cannot imagine the challenge you are going through without him near. You may think you have lost a portion of the contribution of direction and support, but far from it. You lead us. You lead him. You do not need to be physically present to have Tate and us know this. Your power to keep family alive is overwhelming.


  19. #19 by Anonymous on May 22, 2012 - 2:55 pm

    my love to all.. and prayers.. love is beautiful to see..

  20. #20 by Anonymous on May 22, 2012 - 6:34 pm

    Our family continues to be grateful for news, which tells us not just the facts, but gives some depth to what would otherwise just be a vague notion of Greg’s and your challenges. Thank you for helping us focus our thoughts. We continue sending our best hopes and strength your way, assuming it will make some difference just to have people care so much.

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