Monday, April 10, 2017

SO much to be thankful for!

Greetings! I just started cycle 5 of INCB054828. I had a scan last week in Houston at MD Anderson. I had results of the scan and bloodwork on Friday, April 6th. My scan shows shrinkage in some areas and slight growth in other areas. Although Dr. Subbiah states it is stable disease, I am just not feeling so sure about it. But I do believe it is slowing the cancer cells down a lot. The places that had growth were just a few mm, so I feel it is better to have smoldering cancer rather than an all out forest fire. I am uneasy that there is ANY growth but sometimes you have to pick your battles.  I will scan in a few more cycles and if there is still growth, I will go off of the trial and back to the drawing boards with Dr. Javle. I mean, I have had pretty much all chemo cocktails and three separate trials.....I have had three separate rounds with IMRT radiation.
On a positive note, the PA that we saw before seeing Dr. Subbiah said my bloodwork was so good it should be pinned up on the fridge for everyone to see! It doesn't mean I can sit back and, there is no resting for a cancer patient!  I will march~~

I have lived, I have loved, and I will keep marching for every single day on this earth. Days where I pick up grandchildren and spend the day together....we play in the creek and make bubble art on canvas for their walls at home....and lots of trips to get an ice cream cone. I am so very thankful for every single day....more so when you have cancer. Ask any cancer survivor and they will back me up when I say you never start living until you are touched with cancer. It is like opening up the curtains in the morning. You have a choice whether you see sunshine and are ready to start the day strong OR you can open the curtain to a day filled with clouds and crawl back in bed. There is No day on my schedule of life for 'cloudy days'!

I will march, I will march, and I will MARCH some more!!!

Since coming back from the Cholangiocarcinoma Conference the first week of February, there have been several cholangiocarcinoma patients who have passed. Young men and women....and some who are older. It just scares the ants out of your pants!!!!  I pray for their families, friends, and for all cancer patients. You just never know when it might be 'your turn' AND it sure makes you thank God for every single day FULL of sunshine!!

As I sat waiting for a blood draw in the research lab this past week at MD Anderson, a lady who had been sitting across from me a bit, said "Patty?"  I kind of sat there and wondered if she was truly talking to me. I spoke up finally and said "Yes?"  It was a lady from Alabama and her husband has CC. He was there getting a blood draw also. I messaged back and forth with her in the past as her husband is on Lovenox like me and I wanted to make sure she knew to get his blood checked for consistency so there was no cerebral hemhorrage like I had. It is always comforting to have a network of cholangiocarcinoma friends out there. Pat and I also had supper with Cathy & Paul Dalton while in Houston. We met Cathy a couple of years ago in Houston and she is a CC patient. Cathy is a great gal who also has her big girl pants on fighting like a girl!!

I am feeling about 90% ok. I was at RMH with a red sore place on my lower leg on about April 2. It was hot to the touch and I had been running a fever the weekend before going to have it looked at. Never a high fever but 100.7 or less. I was told I had cellulitis and was put on an antibiotic for 10 days. My leg is all better and I am so glad I had it looked at. It is one of those things that just doesn't go away on its own. I am so happy that I had it looked at BEFORE going to Houston or it would have really turned into something ugly!!


I will share a quick story before logging off. I hear people stating that early screening and detection is KEY to catching cancer early. Well...let me tell you something. I was all about my yearly mammo's and pap smears. I wanted a sticker to wear on that yearly date....just like an I VOTED sticker!  It wasn't until I was at Mayo Clinic that they looked at my last two yearly blood results that Dr. Kristen Mahan ordered. My liver enzymes were elevated for two whole years and I was never alerted that it was high. It was never huge out of range but enough that something should have been done. So, the Mayo dr's knew I probably had CC for atleast two years if not three before diagnosis.  I had been to heart drs, did stress tests, many EKG's, and everything kept coming back ok. I was more active than the average 'Joe' with going to the gym atleast 5 days a week not to mention my long bike rides, walking, 5K's, and even playing volleyball weekly. There might have been times I had a slight ache in my back but I always attributed it to exercising and maybe pulling a muscle.
IF you have/had cancer, IF you catch it early, you are one lucky person to find it early.....but there are some people who truly tried to live healthy and just got struck with the big C word anyway....and way too late.  You can bet your bottom dollar that I get a copy of my blood results each and every time I have a blood draw. Dr. Subbiah stated to me back in January for me to not worry about my bloodwork as it can fluctuate so much AND it was his job to keep an eye on my labs.... but I beg your pardon!! Maybe if I would have been wiser or more adamant to get my results 7 years ago, I wouldn't be fighting this beast STILL. But, we can only look forward and to see many more sunny days and making memories in my lifetime!

In closing, enjoy this Season of LIFE. The real meaning of Easter....what does it mean to you?  To me? It's knowing that Easter is the oldest Christian holiday and the most important day of the church year. Easter celebrates and commemorates the central event of the Christian faith: the resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after his death. As I sit here letting this run through my mind, I am always thankful and amazed at just how AMAZING our God truly is. 
Yes, there will be colored eggs sprawled about as my family gathers to celebrate at the "Cummins-Zuber Ranch" but we will also take a minute to give thanks to our Almighty God and to celebrate each and every day on this earth.

God bless you all who read my blog! Celebrate LIFE every day!!

God bless~~
Patty Corcoran


  1. I am so thankful to find your blog! You are a super woman!
    There is so little out there about this type of cancer. My healthy, beautiful, fabulous 67 year old mother was diagnosed with bile duct cancer on Thursday. We are praying so hard we find a way to get her in to MD Anderson. It seems like the best place to be! Dictors feel good that it was caught fairly early and could be removed with surgery. Yet, very complicated surgery. I'm anxious who will be doing it! She's my world. I'm going to share your blog with her. Prayers for you as you beat this mean disease.

    1. I have had Dr. Jeffrey E. Lee (Chief Surgeon of abdominal I think). He is everything I'd ever want in a surgeon. He got out 3 very deep, complicated lymph nodes wedged between two vital arteries and organs.

  2. Thank you Katherine! There is a lot to read but I am thankful I am starting my seventh yesr with this cancer. Move FAST and get that surgery done!! PM me if I can assist in getting an appointment for your sweet mama!

    1. Thank you Patty! You have given us hope!Praying for you today. I do plan to PM you. One of my moms favorite quotes,"Sugar, it's no parade but you'll get down the street one way or another,so you'd just as well throw your shoulders back and pick up the pace." :)

  3. Patty, so glad and relieved to see your post. I was waiting and getting more anxious as each day passed! I end each day with prays for you on your walk that you would have Him and Pat at your side for each and every step. You are so right to cherish each day as a blessing that is a gift we so often don't know how to appreciate until being told that future tomorrows may soon be no more! Continue to be your best and strongest advocate. Others will help and guide, but only you and Pat can be as intense and focused as needed to see and question every change, to ask the unasked questions, to demand more from all around you as it is your tomorrows that will be affected. ,
    It is your time with you children and grandchildren that will cut short, it will be that hug, that kind word, that guiding thought that may be lost without you fighting each day. I am but a few months behind you in counting each new day as another blessing and am counting on you to continue leading the way! Ken

    1. Very beautifully said Kenneth!! Your words give me strength and focus as I continue marching in this journey called LIFE!! Hugs my friend!! Patty