Category Archives: The Long Tail

Lance’s treatment plan will be re-evaluated

Hey everyone, Lance’s brother Parker writing here.

Lance went in for an MRI the other day. The test was to see what effect, if any, the chemotherapy and radiation have had over the last three months.

My brother is part of a double-blind study (in which neither the doctors nor the patients know who gets what) to test the effects of Avastin, a drug which targets the blood supply feeding the tumor.

Well, the results of the MRI are in. They have determined that there has not been the level of impact they hoped from efforts thus far and will evaluate his treatment plan and make new recommendations this week.

What everyone would like to know – me included – is will Lance get better? When will he be back to his old self? Smiling, blue-eyed, Lance.

I am just like you! I created this blog for the purpose of documenting his recovery. I was committed to put prayer first and to hope until the end, and even further, because that’s what we’re taught to do, and what human bonds shared in flesh compel us to do.

But that goddamn cancer. I’ll be the one to speak from my heart, today. It’s tough to say if Lance will get better. My Dad, my Mom, my brothers (especially Lance), my sister, friends, close family, we’re all optimistic, as our nature instructs. Francine especially. She is the strongest of any of us. That girl, God bless her, will love and support and fight until the end. I only write what I write because that’s what Lance would do for me if he were in my shoes.

The cancer Lance has is progressive. It effects the centers of memory and speech. It hits his balance, nerves. It has the egregious character of rendering the brain, that fragile mass of flesh, progessively less capable of understanding what’s happening to it. And it advances, not linearly, like a golf cart, but quicker and quicker, like a plane at takeoff.

I know you have your hope on the line for him. I do too. Today, I hope the doctors and nurses un-blind the experiment to find out if he has been receiving the Avastin, and if not, that they would give it to him promptly.

Lance is with us today. We spoke to one another for an hour on the phone. He was bright and alert. He is bright and alert.

If you are a friend, and you are wondering, do I stop by or not? Stop by. Do it now, because life has a way of slipping, and regret is a bitter pill to swallow.

My sister Ashley is more eloquent, my brother Morgan more sincere. I am pragmatic, spare. This is what I would have done for me, were I the one.

I love you Lance. I am sorry to write about you, and not to you. You are very much at the center of my heart.


The Long Tail

A few years ago, my brother Lance called me to ask if I was up for an adventure.

Boat Contest Peru

Boat Contest Peru

It was a no-brainer. When your brother calls you and invites you on an adventure, you say yes. No matter what you have planned. So I said I’d meet up with him. There was only one problem. He wasn’t exactly in my neighborhood.

At the time, I was living in the smog-choked capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires. He was on the other side of South America, in Lima, Peru. To visit my brother, I’d have to go a distance of about 2,000 miles.

Still, the promise of a far-off adventure with my brother beckoned, so I took up the challenge.  Two uneasy border crossings. A long chain of mountain roads. Through a dry, dusty landscape and 48 hours of constant bumps in the company of a pair of hardy drifters who played a coarse fiddle. The trip was rough. Especially on my stomach.

Halfway there, I was lying bed-sick in a cheap hotel in Bolivia after eating bad lettuce. Worst of all, I missed the Steelers game, the day they went on to win their fifth Super Bowl. (In Peru, my brother had watched the game on a big screen TV while his host family cooked him bar-b-que.)

Lance sleeping in Peru

Lance sleeping in Peru

I made it to Lima, eventually, and found Lance sleeping in his hostel. It was about noon and I had to wake him up. The first words out of his mouth were, “Be careful out there. It’s dangerous.”

I spent 24 hours recovering from the stomach flu before he dragged me out of bed to enter a boating contest with him. That day we paddled a fat-bottomed open-hulled kayak into fifth place. Not bad, all told. Seeing the sunset along the Pacific was worth a few stomach cramps.

What’s ahead for you, brother, is a long road. Not all that different from the one you never took to see me. Think of the beginning as Lima and the end as Buenos Aires, and the mountains in between as a few obstacles. The road will climb. The terrain will be rough, especially on the stomach.

But it leads somewhere, and beckons with the promise of far-off adventure. I am ready to ride it the long tail with you. Anyone who wants to, can join us on this road. Here’s our weapons:

1. Detox (get the bad stuff out).
2. Eat well (get the good stuff in).
3. Exercise (keep your body strong).
4. Meditation and prayer, stay positive.