Monday, March 10, 2014


It's just about March Madness time. Brackets. College Basketball. Truly one of my favorite times of the year.  If I had a bunch of money and a bunch of time, I'd fly around the country for the first 4 rounds. Or, I'd love to be in Vegas, surrounded by games on tv. The Pac 12 tournament is in Vegas this weekend and I'd love to be there. Go Bruins!!

I did create a blood cancer group on ESPN with the funds being split between the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in the group. Starting next week I'll have my copy of my brackets everywhere I go.

Last Friday was a Cure Talk about fund raising. The 3 participants were awesome. Brad, Kendra and Cindy are all inspiring and motivating.  I was on the call, and like a fool, I didn't put myself on mute when I wasn't talking. Instead I subjected everyone to all the noises and distractions from my chemo. Oops. Where's my personal assistant telling me to mute? Anyhow, those 3 got me fired up. Fired up to get off the pot and do something. There are great organizations out there and they rely on donations to do what they do. So I gotta do my part.

One of the top teams this season in college basketball is Wichita State. The Shockers. They made the final four last year and this year are even better. 34-0. First undefeated team going into the playoffs since 1991 when UNLV did it. I loved that UNLV team.

Wichita State. Story time. Way back in the 80s I worked for Chuck Barris of Gong Show, Dating Game, Newlywed Game and much more fame.  Basically I was a runner for the production company before I eventually became one of his personal gophers. Car washes, light bulb, books, whatever it took.  I'm guessing a lot of people got their start in the entertainment industry this way. But I was young and dumb and didn't once think about my future and how I might be able to parlay access into a career. I worked closely with 3 people. Joe, Louis, and Danny. Danny was from Kansas. Joe and Louis from Burbank out here in California.  Danny was a Wichita State grad. A Shocker.  So whenever I hear Wichita State today. I think about Danny and those wild days of the early 80s. Danny was a productions assistant with the company and an aspiring actor. I believe he did a couple of cigarette ads.

Anyhow, Danny dated a woman, Adelle, at the company who was also a production assistant and a professional ice skater.  One winter there was a Peggy Fleming ice show in Lake Tahoe that Adelle was skating in. One Friday after work me, Danny, Joe and Louis decided to drive to Tahoe that night to surprise Adelle, see some ice skaters and basically party. The four of us crammed into Danny's VW bug, loaded with drinks and recreational drugs.  We arrived in the middle of night, right when the last ice show of the night was ending. We were feeling good and like young guys do, we were loud and obnoxious, and purposely trying to blindside each other and knock each other to the ground.  Danny knocked me over right as Adelle was walking out of the arena with other skaters. Oops. Not a good way to positively surprise someone.

Early on in my myeloma journey I did a lot of thinking and regretting about the past. Hashing and rehashing things I had done decades ago. Kicking myself for decisions I made when I was younger. How my friendship ended with Danny, Joe and Louis has always bothered me.  I left the production company to go back to college. And when I did that, I broke ties with a whole bunch of people. I thought I needed to that. I needed a drastic shift.  So eventually I lost touch with those guys. 

When I was diagnosed I actually tracked down Joe and Louis. Sent them emails. They responded. But that was it. They have lives. It was a long time ago.  One of the things I work on with my therapist is having healthy beliefs, and looking forward and not obsessing over the past. That's tough to do. I replay so many thing in my heads. So annoying. But I can't do that. It serves no purpose.

I'm on a two week break from chemo. This Friday I do my large myeloma labs, Blood and urine. This will tell us if the shift back to treanda is working.  Next week, we see Berenson to review the results and discuss the path forward. Plan, plan, plan.

Wichita State. The Shockers. They're pretty good in basketball. I can't go back in time to when I knew someone who went to Wichita State, but I can pick the Shockers to win it all in my brackets. Not to tip my hand, but that's what I'm going to do.

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Berenson Oncology Success Rate

 Some reading about my myeloma specialist's success rate. A press release and an article from Targeted Oncology.