Malignent Melanoma Survivors who climb

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Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Aug 11, 2010 - 10:46am PT
Paul Humphrey here.
I am a climber and a yoga teacher. I have been diagnosed with terminal stage 4 Metastatic Melanoma. It started as a mole that was taken off 6 years ago. Thought it was gone, but it returned. Now it is all through me, in my lymphic system and all through my abdomen.
Credit: Disaster Master

I am on experimental therapy using Docataxel and an experimental molucule called YM155. They hook up a portible pump to a implanted port in my chest and pump in the YM155 24/7 for seven days. Then I get two weeks off.

I would love to hear from other climbers who have gone through Melanoma treatments, or are in them now. CLIMBIERS NEED TO CHECK THEIR SKIN, EDUCATE THEMSELVES, AND NOT DIE YOUNG LIKE I MIGHT. Hopefully, this post will at least remind someone to slather on the sunblock daily before they climb.

** EDIT: As of 1/20/2011, I am on RO5185426, the pill formally known as PLX4032. It helped but seems to not be working anymore.

Click on "Last>>" near right of screen to go to the latest post.
-Paul H, 1/20/11 **

EDIT 2: As of 2/11/11 I am now on a third tril of two drugs: GSK2118436 and gsk1120212.

EDIT 3: As of 4/ 6/11 I am off of the last trial. It did not work.
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 11, 2010 - 10:55am PT
Here are some photos.

Climbing on experimental cancer drugs, see the IV port?
Climbing on experimental cancer drugs, see the IV port?
Credit: Disaster Master
climbing 5.10 on cancer drugs, the bubble, calistoga, ca
climbing 5.10 on cancer drugs, the bubble, calistoga, ca
Credit: Disaster Master
good friend Tom Ogden, my WIFE Ruth Riffe, and me (Paul Humphrey)
good friend Tom Ogden, my WIFE Ruth Riffe, and me (Paul Humphrey)
Credit: Disaster Master
black shadows of death
black shadows of death
Credit: Disaster Master
reddirt

climber
Aug 11, 2010 - 11:46am PT
That's really unfortunate about the metastasis... and I'm sure "unfortunate" was used to describe Lance's metastasis as well.

It's great that you are in what looks like a *good* clinical trial, on a drug that has already been completely approved for other cancers...
Footloose

Trad climber
Lake Tahoe
Aug 11, 2010 - 12:00pm PT
I can see your spirit, Paul, kick its ass!
rincon

Trad climber
SoCal
Aug 11, 2010 - 12:11pm PT
Hey Paul,

I've had skin cancer too, though I am very lucky that it hasn't come back. They used some kind of hot scraper tool to scrape off the skin, now there's just a small white scar there. Had other cancer too...NHL has been f*#king with me since '03, been through the chemo and like you, I still climbed. Currently, I have my fingers crossed, hoping the monster inside me, doen't rear it's ugly head again.

I wish the best to you, and hope to see you posting on ST for many years to come!
nature

climber
Whereverland....
Aug 11, 2010 - 12:16pm PT
Yo Paul....

man you just keep getting the hits. Broken back.... shadows of death. yikes.

We're all pulling for you man!

stay strong.

Doug La Farge
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 11, 2010 - 12:18pm PT
Rincon,

We are in a club not of our choosing. Good luck with your ongoing BS.

I hope this thread grows enough that I could put together sources / interviews for an article. I wrote for the mags in the day, and they could use something about this subject for climbers.
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 11, 2010 - 12:21pm PT
Nature,

Thanks for the word. I still got Humboldt on my mind.

-Paul
zeta

Trad climber
Berkeley
Aug 11, 2010 - 12:22pm PT
Paul,

thanks for the reminder, especially as we all spend so much time outside. I used to be way too casual about sunblock, but now--after two basil cell carcinomas--I am super careful!

I am interested in this experimental therapy, as I've never heard about it. I would be curious to know what your experience has been with this portable pump...anyways, I have a climbing friend who was treated for melanoma while she was in medical school so I'll forward your post to her...perhaps she'll have some experience to share.

we're all supporting you through this...stay strong
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Aug 11, 2010 - 12:23pm PT
Thanks for posting.

We did just have a thread on sunscreens, at http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1237096/The-Bottom-Line-on-Sunscreens Sort of on topic.
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 11, 2010 - 12:44pm PT
I am interested in this experimental therapy, as I've never heard about it. I would be curious to know what your experience has been with this portable pump...anyways, I have a climbing friend who was treated for melanoma while she was in medical school so I'll forward your post to her...perhaps she'll have some experience to share.

Here is a link to the clinical trial info:
http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01009775

Looking forward to any more stories, ideas.

-Paul
delendaest

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Aug 11, 2010 - 12:46pm PT
thanks for posting this. would you mind sharing what sort of sun exposure you had? did you have a history of blistering sun burns in the area? use sunscreen? climb a lot with your shirt off?
rhyang

climber
SJC
Aug 11, 2010 - 12:49pm PT
Sorry to hear about the metastasis, but glad to hear there is treatment and good to see you out and enjoying life. Hoping for a fast recovery !
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 11, 2010 - 12:58pm PT
Paul here.

I hardly ever climbed with my shirt off. If not in the shade, I used sunblock 60% of the time. I thought I was aware.

I lived in Brazil when I was 12-13. Got several lobster burns there.

Spent a lot of time outside. I was a mountaineering, backpacking, rockclimbing guide off and on.

Hung off a lot of cliffs in the sun bolting sport routes in Humboldt and other caolifornia locations.

But the first mole was on my right thigh, just below the shorts line. Only as big as a pinky nail. It was always there as far as I can remember. Then one day I noticed it looked scratched and puffy. Turned out it was Stage II Melanoma, and had already began to burrow into my lymph nodes.

An operation removed the mole, as well as nodes in my groin. They said all clear.

Six years later it came back. The cancer can lie in wait for years. It can bypass some nodes and lodge in others. Its liquid death, guys.

I'm a pale male, for sure. But almost everyone is vulnerable.

THE MOST IMPORTANT ADVICE I CAN GIVE: CHECK YOUR MOLES. IF IN DOUBT, CUT IT OUT. GET IT OFF OF YOU.
The small expense of removal is insurance against unexspected early death.
I know, you're broke, don't have insurance, are an optimist. Shut up! Cut it off!
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Aug 11, 2010 - 02:56pm PT

Paul
I've lost a number of friends to melanoma.
I certainly hope you beat the odds.

I'm smarting today, just had a couple of biopsies done on
my lower lip that may be cancerous. They don't think
it's melanoma, but it's not fun for sure, and I'll have
surgery on them next week even if they're just pre-cancerous.

Not even close to what you're experiencing.
My prayers & wishes are with you.
stevep

Boulder climber
Salt Lake, UT
Aug 11, 2010 - 03:43pm PT
Sorry to hear about the diagnosis, best wishes with the treatment.
I didn't climb too much with it, but I had a port and a pump for 4 months for the chemo I did following a bout with colon cancer. I did try to get out biking, and I felt like it helped me out. Even though I gradually lost some strength, it was good to get out and work out some of my frustrations.
monolith

climber
Berkeley, CA
Aug 11, 2010 - 04:11pm PT
Best of luck Paul and thanks for the inspiring share.

I've seen a couple moles I've been monitoring get much smaller and one disappeared after I changed my diet to all raw, low fat, plant based, four months ago. No meat,dairy,grains. When your body has the best nutrition it can do amazing things.
Jingy

Social climber
Nowhere
Aug 11, 2010 - 04:16pm PT
Paul...


Like someone already said.. I hope you kick this things azz...

Wishing for the bext possible outcome in this case..

BUMP _ To keep us aware!

Thank you, and be brave.
Amy

Sport climber
Santa Fe, NM
Aug 11, 2010 - 04:38pm PT
Sorry to be slightly off the topic of melanoma survivors who climb, but since it is a melanoma thread I wanted to reiterate the "when in doubt-cut it out" sentiment.

My dad visited a doctor about a suspicious mole in the sideburn of his beard (you should check under your hair for moles, too) and the doctor said "let's keep an eye on it". A year later Dad went back, said it still looked suspicious, and at that point they biopsied and found it was melanoma. Dad died of it a year and a half later. The moral is, DON'T wait and see, just get it biopsied even if it means leaving a scar.

Best wishes to you, Paul!!!

Amy
nature

climber
Whereverland....
Aug 11, 2010 - 06:35pm PT
I think this thread needs some (gross) pictures. I don't have any moles that I'm aware of. but dam.... I might look again, take a pict or two, and maybe get some input on what I might think about doing.
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 11, 2010 - 06:36pm PT
Paul here.

Its good to see all the replies.

Many people are aware and take seriously warnings, prevention steps for other cancers like breast and colan.

Most folks are ignorant about proper skin cancer prevention.

I was shocked when I told one person that my melanoma had returned and they said: "Oh good. At least its JUST skin cancer".

Melanoma is one of the deadliest cancers on the planet. We don't take it seriously... "I'll put on the sunscren when I get there".

Most have no idea Melanoma can travel to your brain, your lungs and anywhere else it wants to if you don't cut it off in time.

It would be pointless for me to go through this, maybe die, and not try to educate people.

Let's start an education revolution in the climbing community about Melanoma awareness. Perhaps then, those climbers will teach their families, friends, etc.
Footloose

Trad climber
Lake Tahoe
Aug 11, 2010 - 06:49pm PT
Paul, did you find any support groups out there
on the internet you could recommend?
nature

climber
Whereverland....
Aug 11, 2010 - 06:49pm PT
^^^^^^----- what he said.


a year ago yesterday I lost my best friend to liver cancer. Ms. Summit was the best dog a guy could have have. My girl.


F*#K I hate cancer.

Beat it Paul! We're all behind you.

SushiFest at the Leap next summer. You better be there!
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Aug 11, 2010 - 07:26pm PT

Doug
Here's a pic off the brochure I got from my dermotologist yesterday.
Kinda looks like the ones on my lip. . .

BigNick

Trad climber
Los Angeles
Aug 11, 2010 - 08:19pm PT
You might consider looking into even more alternative treatments. Check out the film "Healing Cancer from the inside out", it is a bit boring, but it will change the way you look at everything you do, and don't do. Also look at the "Gerson Institute" in Mexico, and "An Oasis of Healing" in Arizona.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Aug 11, 2010 - 08:23pm PT
Nick, you haven't posted for a while. Do you have a personal or business tie to either organization?

FWIW, Gerson Therapy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Gerson
BigNick

Trad climber
Los Angeles
Aug 11, 2010 - 08:39pm PT
Not at all. I have been researching (non-scientifically) diet/ health/ alternative healing and prevention methods for years for personal benefit. A few years ago my wife's aunt told us she had cancer. We encouraged her to explore a long list of alternatives. Out of panic and advice from Dr's, she made a quick decision to use transitional western "medicine." She has been in a steep decline ever since. Her quality of life has been dismal.

A month ago my sister told me the same sad news- diagnosed with cancer- multiple myeloma. She is 32. I am trying to encourage her to explore these alternatives. Its not an easy "sell" since I have not been personally treated for cancer.

If you look into this subject, you will learn that most people have cancer 5-6 times in their life and don't even know it. Only when our immune system is depleted do we see the symptoms. What we eat and dont eat, can create and/ or remove cancer.

Fritz

Trad climber
Hagerman, ID
Aug 11, 2010 - 08:52pm PT
Paul: Keep posting and I will try to keep bumping. I know two Melanoma survivors, but "they caught it early."

I've had 3 Basil-cell tumors removed, and see my dermo twice a year on average: for pre-cancerous areas of concern.

I have fair skin, and at age 20, got the really bad spring skiing sunburn, where my face-skin lifted up, fluids drained through the cracks, and two weeks later-----I had new face skin.

About age 40 it started catching up with me.

Most climbers are "in the headlights" for skin cancer.

I'm thinking "good thoughts" for you.
nature

climber
Whereverland....
Aug 11, 2010 - 09:56pm PT
I fully support you on your "crusade", Nick.
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 12, 2010 - 12:00am PT
Paul here.

Just got back from dinner. I feel better today than ever since I started treatment.

Disaster Master kicking butt, I believe.

Years back I broke my back (HA,HA). I wrote this.

Whenever I plummit
I bounce back quick,
Even stronger than before.
No just laying there
Like a Splat
On the floor.
I am a Rebound,
A trajectory traveled
At high speed.
I am the Seed
Of my own Future.

-Keep posting,

Paul Humphrey
rincon

Trad climber
SoCal
Aug 12, 2010 - 12:46am PT
Just got back from dinner. I feel better today than ever since I started treatment.

Disaster Master kicking butt, I believe.

That's great Paul, gotta keep eating. I remember how chemo really screwed up my appetite, and then when I did feel like eating, the food all tasted so strange, or had no taste at all! It all goes back to normal as soon as the the chemo stops, and your body stops getting nuked.

I think it really helps to be strong and in good physical fitness going in to chemo, so it doesn't completely kick your butt. I remember going in for treatments and seeing some of the other patients looking so frail and out of shape, they looked terrible and you could tell the treatments were extremely hard on them. It was somehow kind of soothing to be amongest others who were facing the same demon inside.

Alot of People survive cancer...or just live with it, and of course they're getting better at treating it all the time, so all we got to do is hang on long enough for them to find the cure!
Fritz

Trad climber
Hagerman, ID
Aug 12, 2010 - 10:59am PT
Bump for Paul!
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 13, 2010 - 04:42am PT
Any other Survivors / in on going treatment. What treatment are you getting?
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 19, 2010 - 10:10pm PT
Paul Humphrey here.

I might have to find a new way to master this disaster. The experimental chemo / molecule IV doesn't seem to be working. Its getting Laaarger!

On to the next thing?

Big questions, crappy options.

At least I'm not on a pump this week being poinoned for a cure.

Perhaps a long road trip is in order. Anyone remember me?
Anyone want to climb if my girlfriend Ruth and I drive through this Fall?

Mastering on...

Paul


HAPPY MAN

My seams are frayed.
My soles are worn.
And I'm a Happy Man.

I've had Manzinita
shake my hand
and wave me on my way.

I've talked with Falcons
and laughed with Squirrels.
Seen Resurection grow
from Redwood burls.

I've clung to the edge
of cliffs so high
that beneath me
the Raptors and
Songbirds flew by.
And I've cried
with the Owl
and his voice forlorn
at the coming of the Shadows.

So, when need comes
to venture out of
sight of the Wild,
into Traffic And Concrete,
still my temper is mild.

"Good Morning" I shout,
Middle Finger raised high,
not from disrespect,
just to point out the Sky.
And perhaps people stare
when I stand in the Street,
hands covering ears
and whistling sweet;
like a Songbird...

But it seems
a far better sound
than Horns and Screams
and revving Engines
all around.

Soon enough freedom returns
and I am on my way;
the Sun shining down
On a Wild filled day.
I relax,look around and say
"Yes, I am a Happy Man."

-Paul Humphrey
eKat

Trad climber
http://www.ecokath.com/
Aug 19, 2010 - 10:15pm PT
Beautiful!

Keep your MAGIC alive!

ox

eKat
mrtropy

Trad climber
Nor Cal
Aug 20, 2010 - 12:18am PT
Best wishes my mom has worried about this for years and 30 of teaching PE in the sun was not good for her skin. Good thoughts sent your way.
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 20, 2010 - 12:51am PT
LOL, or ha, ha, ha, for you Analogs out there.

Reviewing this link and just realized I posted my wang in X-RAY VISION ONTHE WEB. I'm in porn at last.

Life goes on,
Paul
Srbphoto

climber
Kennewick wa
Aug 20, 2010 - 12:58am PT
and no one noticed! haha so much for porn!

If you don't mind me asking, what was your first sign?

Good luck and keep the positive attitude!

Peace
nature

climber
Whereverland....
Aug 20, 2010 - 12:59am PT
road trip to Indian Creek the end of september. SushiFest. I got you covered....

doug
Tony Bird

climber
Northridge, CA
Aug 20, 2010 - 01:05am PT
best smile i've seen in a long time, paul. we've jousted with mr. C. me, just all that outdoors since i was a kid, and fortunately it was an easy cut-out. my wife had a scarier case, bladder cancer, possibly from a few years as a smoker. treatment was good, checkups continue positive. your smile will go a long way for you--they say a positive attitude increases the odds significantly.
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 20, 2010 - 01:27am PT
A couple replies:

To Srbphoto:
6 years go I had my first sign. It was a long-present mole on my thigh that started to bleed. It was the size of a pinky nail.

They excised and biopsied it. Melanoma. They cut a biscit out of my leg and did a "partial groin dicection", removing lymph nodes. I said groin and discection should never be uttered in the same sentance, or room for that matter. They did it anyway. The first or Sentinal Node was weird looking so they took more nodes out. They got it!

Or so they thought. Chemo was optional, but not recomended. Melanoma doesn't respond much to it. So I went home, went climbing and lived on through many other BS, injuries and adventures. People kept asking me what that scar was. I got tiered of the story, so I tattooed a sun around the hole. Later I added a skull in the moon looking at the scar. In Yoga the right side is the Sun side and the left the Moon side.
Melnoma removal scar on right leg, Skull in moon on left leg. Where it...
Melnoma removal scar on right leg, Skull in moon on left leg. Where it all began.
Credit: Disaster Master

The skull looking at the scar proved prophetic. 6 years later, I felt a pain in my groin. Went to the Doc. and found out the bastard cancer had lurked in my lymph system all this time then pop goes the death sentance.

I will live on (how long, who knows. How well? Real freakin' well.)


To NATURE:

My man,

I am there at Indin Creeek. Dates?!!

I want to make some Maguro sashimi at home. can I buy Ahi cut tuna, is it the same. Must eat raw meat, but don't want to puke.
Paul


TO EVERYONE,

Thanks for the posts. Good luck with your own survival / thrival.

Tell your story. Save a poor bastard's life.

Post on!
jbaker

Trad climber
Redwood City, CA
Aug 20, 2010 - 01:35am PT
Paul -

Thanks for posting, and keep up the fight.

I got checked about 4 years ago after a friend died of melanoma. I had a mole I'd been worried about but just couldn't find time to deal with. The doctor said it looked like it was no problem, but agreed to get it biopsied just in case. It was malignant melanoma. I caught it right in the narrow zone between "no problem" and "you're f**cked." So far, I've stayed clear. I get a few bits snipped each year, but so far nothing else malignant.
BLT&P Sandwich

Social climber
Amazon
Aug 20, 2010 - 02:06am PT
You are definitely in our Prayers. May God bless you and stay positive!

Cosmiccragsman & BLT&P
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Aug 20, 2010 - 02:14am PT
Paul,

Thx for the post. I have a mole I've had since a kid on my leg about short length too. Worthwhile to check it out. thx!


I remember your topos. May still have some printed out somewhere around here. It got us to Humboldt and north on several trips. Very fun!

Keep up the fun! My nephew had leukemia at a young age with a port. Free of A.L.L. at this point. I think he survived by playing xbox. :)
Lovegasoline

Trad climber
Sh#t Hole, Brooklyn, NY
Aug 20, 2010 - 03:22am PT
Paul, good energy on the vibe you're sharing.

Btw, there's a recent post about sunscreens: the suns is all around us, but it's like were groping around in the dark. If you have anything to add, please do:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1237096&tn=0&mr=0
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 23, 2010 - 10:08am PT
Well, the experimental clinical trial treatment for Metastatic Melanoma I am on is not working. I don't think I want to feel bad from treatment any more in the hope of feeling good later.

Instead, I'm going climbing. Good food, good love, and other "altrnative" tretments may be in the future.

But my new motto is "move it before you loose it."

Climb on,
Paul Humphrey
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Aug 23, 2010 - 10:12am PT
Take care Master Disaster.
ncrockclimber

climber
NC
Aug 23, 2010 - 12:21pm PT
A little off topic (lung cancer vs skin cancer).

A former co-worker had stage 4 lung cancer. This has a 5% survival rate. He was a very active cyclist before he was diagnosed. He had the majority of one of his lungs removed and went through a year of treatment. It is now 8 years later. He is still cycling (100's of miles a week, both mountain bike and road), looks great and at his last check-up he was declared cancer free.

My point here is that there is always hope. Stay strong.
nita

Social climber
chica from chico, I don't claim to be a daisy
Aug 23, 2010 - 12:41pm PT
"My point here is that there is always hope. Stay strong."

Beautiful words, worth repeating...

Mr Paul, sending *Hope, love and prayers...


edit, love the sun tat..

Jobee

Social climber
El Portal Ca.
Aug 23, 2010 - 12:45pm PT
Hello Master,

I don't know quite what to say to such an inspiring, empowering, wonderful human being such as you. It's apparent you shine with brilliant light! Thank you for reaching out and strengthening the tribe.

-some light coming right back at cha!
smiling your way from Yosemite

Jo
Credit: Jobee


P.S. if you're in Yosemite area and want to climb please look me up, I'm a pretty good rope gun.



Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 23, 2010 - 02:22pm PT
Thanks, everyone.

I have picked myself up off my ass,
And am off to teach a Hot Yoga class.

Rock on,
Paul

PS - check out another thread I started: Pauls "Post your poety" post.
Or something like that any way.
Seamstress

Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
Aug 23, 2010 - 08:09pm PT
Best wishes.

I had cancer removed from my hand and from my face just above the lip. These are places that I did not formerly slather with sunscreen. Somehow the arms always ended at my wrists. It's time to go get checked again.

Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 24, 2010 - 04:39am PT
Paul Here.
Keep it going.

Tip of the night: Its hard to remember if a mole is growing. Get a camera, some whatever to imbibe however and a woman / man / aassorted. Strip down and take pictures of each others moles. SAVE THE PICTURES! Continue debouchery. Repete six months later and compare pics. Prevention is fun!


Taught yoga to about 20 people this morning. 105 degrees, 90 minutes, hot sweaty stinky fun. It always makes me feel better to help someone else fell a bit better themselves.

Then it was off to try vitamin C IV treatment. Consulted with hole-istic Doctor too. In the end, while I was still hooked up to the drip, she said it probably won't be enough by itself (the Vitaminc C drip). Still charged me $250 for the privilige and $150 to tell me so. Then more news. Most people spend well over a grand a month at alterntive spots like this. Got money, got credt, got hope? No?

OH, yeah. Oh, well. Oh, Sh#t,

Well, as Bart Simpson once remarked, "I didn't think it was physically possible, but this both Sucks and Blows!"

Enough whining. On with the unknown.

Paul.
Gunkie

Trad climber
East Coast US
Aug 26, 2010 - 07:44am PT
FYI...

Penn study makes breakthrough in shrinking tumors of terminal melanoma patients


http://www.philly.com/philly/news/homepage/20100826_Penn_study_makes_breakthrough_in_shrinking_tumors_of_terminal_melanoma_patients.html
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 26, 2010 - 10:47am PT
Gunkie,

Thanks! I just saw that on the news last night. I have an oncologist appoint. at Noon. I will ask for more info.

Had a rough few past days. Infection in the lymph nodes is causing more swelling and gnarly pain in my leg. Bought some expensive compression tights. Look like a sexually ambivilent superhero, but they help.

C-Ya,
Paul
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 16, 2010 - 08:34pm PT
Got a few e mails asking if I am still alive.

No.

Just kidding. Yes, I am.

Hard month. The cancer is growing fast, and I feel tht it will be hard for me to actually climb by the time I get to rock!

I have swelling and pain in my right leg. My balls are swelling, at last, but not in a good way. And my energy is tanked.

I got biopsied today to see if I am a BRAF mutant. (Thanks Gunkie for the heads up, thats the drug I'm trying for.)If I am a mutant, I will get a new drug that had good potential. If i'm not, Bye-bye.

Freinds lent us a cabin in Wawona for the next week. I will get to rock,cane inhand or on my hands and knees, damn it!

then Sushi-fest in IC.

Lots of typos, to tired to care. Props to all still attempting to pull down.

SuperCrack or die!

...or Supercrack and then die!

Either way, I am f-ing going climbing.
Footloose

Trad climber
Lake Tahoe
Sep 16, 2010 - 09:03pm PT
Send it, Paul!
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Sep 16, 2010 - 09:04pm PT
important developments in melanoma research and cures:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/judithpotts/100053673/is-plx-4032-the-latest-step-towards-curing-cancer/
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 16, 2010 - 09:08pm PT
Yeah, peter, my tisue samples are being fed exed as we speak to the drug company that makes the drug. I am far along, yet unusually strong, so my doc at UCSF has taken an interest in geting me up the line. We will see. But the cure moves slower than the tumor, so far...

Paul.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Sep 16, 2010 - 10:58pm PT
Good luck D-Master. M is one of the really bad-assed ones.

ph.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Sep 22, 2010 - 04:09am PT
any word on the fedex tissue samples?


any word on what was sent on rock?


Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 22, 2010 - 11:34am PT
Paul Here.

No word on the tissue samples yet....

I am weaker by the day. 5.7 takes 5.10 effort now. it sucks. Two months ago I was climbing .11+ solid. Yesterday my girlfriend and I went to Fresno Dome. I wanted to take her up her first Grade 3 multi pitch trad climb. That morning I woke up and threw up. Said screw it we are going anyway. Racked up in the lot. everything was fine, except the massive pain in my leg and gut. My girlfriend had a wrecked knee too, so we are all gimped up.

Never ones to stay home though, we gave it a try. Only 5.7, the cancer had me breathing hard, and I feel WEEEEEEEEEEEK! Moved too slow and vomited from pain at about 120 feet or so.

Not good. I knew I could drag my carcass up still, but not guiding my inexperienced girlfriend. She looked nervous. Who wants to see their leaader barf on the route? "That looks hard," she said.
"It's not. I'm just dying babe, thats all. You can do it." But her eyes showed too much concern.
SO. I rapped off of a couple nuts (booty!), cleaned it and abandoned.

It is beyond frustrating to die slow, to have the rack on your back and feel so heavy you cant stand up. I don't quit, and deciding that was the smart thing to do felt like being stabbed.

I could have gone sport climbing. All the logistics have been engineered away. But I had to sell my rack 6 years ago when I grounded from 80 feet and shatteered my back (tree climbing). It was the rack or the rent and medical bills.

I came back fron that, climbed again, but on borrowed gear and with my rope gun posse helping me along. But I want all the way back in.

My mother died last year. I used much of my small inheritance to by a trad rack again. Used to be good at all this. When I found out I was sick I decided to go trad climbing. Not because it is easy or convienent. But because it is hard and scary and forces me to face fear, not cower from pain. And I wanted to honor my mother by climbing with her (re incarnated as my rack of cams).

Life is sufering. That I don't mind.
Dying is Bullsh#t. Make me healthy or dead. This limbo is a torture of the soul.

We are going to Indian Creek for Sushi Fest. Perhaps there will be a few hardpeople there to get a rope up for me so I won't barf on my belay.

Vomit, retreat, pandamonium. I am still going climbing, if I can.

I would'a gotten' up it if it wasn't for those damn tumors!
I would'a gotten' up it if it wasn't for those damn tumors!
Credit: Disaster Master
Ruth Riffe
Ruth Riffe
Credit: Disaster Master
Vomit and tears. Time to go down.
Vomit and tears. Time to go down.
Credit: Disaster Master
Don't I look thrilled?
Don't I look thrilled?
Credit: Disaster Master
bmacd

Trad climber
Grade V, Level III certified Kook 100% Canadian
Sep 22, 2010 - 06:45pm PT
Paul, go easy on yourself man. I'm making an appointment to get a few things checked out because of your thread.

Best wishes
Bruce
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 22, 2010 - 06:59pm PT
Thanks for the buck up camper. Resting today. Will tour the Valley tomorrow.

Pix from healthier times. Me on some FFA's.
The Pellicaan's BVD's, Footsteps, CA 5.11 something.
The Pellicaan's BVD's, Footsteps, CA 5.11 something.
Credit: Disaster Master
The Gold Rush, Trinity Aretes, CA, 5.10+
The Gold Rush, Trinity Aretes, CA, 5.10+
Credit: Disaster Master
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Sep 22, 2010 - 06:59pm PT
werd man

dying means you ARE still very much ALIVE!!!


"Not because it is easy or convienent. But because it is hard and scary and forces me to face fear, not cower from pain."

fuk yeah, that's the spirit!

A quote from the meister...

"climbing should be like shitting an anvil" -Dingus Milktoast


you sir, are a climber getting out there!!
dustonian

climber
RRG
Sep 22, 2010 - 07:47pm PT
Great courage in posting this thread Paul. Best wishes to you and for a speedy recovery.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 22, 2010 - 09:02pm PT
Wonderful post Paul. it takes shots across the bow messages to get people, guy's in particular, to take notice. Look forward to seeing you and Ruth in IC.
Tony Bird

climber
Northridge, CA
Sep 22, 2010 - 11:23pm PT
paul--

like all on ST i'm sure, i'm much affected by your situation and touched by your bravery. this thread and the poetry thread have told us much about you. you've been a fine climber, you're a fine boyfriend, and i'm sure all who know you feel for you and would do all they could--if they could.

but things are getting worse, predictably so, and we wouldn't be good friends if we didn't try to face that with you. all i can offer are a couple of things, and they're related, including the poems below by another fellow, a special fellow, which i dug out of my library.

if you've bummed around on some of the other ST threads, you've probably seen me sparring on religious subjects and on the paranormal. i'm not a conventional believer, but i also don't believe that annihilation comes with death. i've seen evidence, both in my own experience and in the experiences of others, that we go on somehow. life is a wonderful, beautiful thing, and as climbers i think we probably do better with it than a lot of other people. but it doesn't last forever.

i've been to a couple memorials this year for climbers, rather unexpected ones, for people i didn't know real well. it just chanced that way, and it seemed significant. these memorials meant more to me than any standard funeral i've ever been to. they were more of a real celebration of someone's good life, and a sharing of the love everyone felt, though not without heart-tugging. i know we go on after we die, and if you've had any inkling of that, i suggest you try to focus on it with that thoughtfulness that your poetry reveals. be close to those who love you so much, especially ruth there. i doubt you have to prove anything to her.

my friend the late robert stanford was a jolly fellow, a regular guy, and often the life of the office with his erudite sense of humor, when i worked for berlitz translation service. bob had been in the navy and was a professor of german language at the naval academy, then cal lutheran, and finally just translating for berlitz. i remember a couple of droll gems he came up with during office banter which will tell you what a delightful fellow he was:

    (for an impromptu metaphor-mixing contest) "a hand in the bush makes the heart grow fonder."

    in jest one day, to the smartest woman in an office full of smart people: "you vacuous twit!"

his humor had a way of buoying everyone. he was a linguist, though never much of a writer, until ...

bob came down with melanoma. his scottish genes and red hair didn't fare well in the southern california sun. he fought it every inch of the way and we admired his spirit and heroism and good humor until the end. but as the end inevitably neared, he developed a sense for what comes next. it was uncanny--the last person you would expect it from, just a regular guy and not religious at all. but he seemed to sense that the end wasn't the end, and he started writing poems about it:

When I shall leave you for a little while,
Start out bravely with a gallant smile,
Do not grieve or shed wild tears
And carry your sorrow through the years.
For my sake, and for my name,
Love on, and do all things the same;
Do not waste your life on empty days,
But fill each living hour in useful ways.
And never, never be afraid to die,
For I shall wait for you in the sky.



"The Need to Let Go"

The times that we have shared together
Can never be taken away.
But memories are light as a feather
Floating on some other day.

Nothing stays changeless forever,
We grow, blossom and die,
And we'll never recapture, no, never,
The light in a lost friend's eye.

So your love and your life are for living,
Let go, and try not to yearn,
For the gifts that you have are for giving,
And the gifts that you gave will return.

Credit: Tony Bird

Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 23, 2010 - 10:55am PT
(wish ST had spell check)

Tony,
Wow, you made ruth and I cry, in a wonderful way.

There are no coincidences. We read your post just after finishing a discusion about loss and endings. I have no fear of the afterlife. As I told my preacher daddy, I have a Quiet Blasphamous Faith. It makes sense to me, but is so personal that it need not be told. As my favorite philosopher said, the way that can be told is not the way.

My angst comes from a feeling of loss. A loss of health. I have been very angry at the loss of my strength. But that atitude fostors only a poisoned feeling in me. This can not stand.

It occured to me, strangely about the same time you were writting your post, that instead of anger, I really should feel grateful. Grateful that I once had a healthy body that alowed me to be a Bad Ass. Many people are born into this world in a diminished corpse. They will never be able to do the things I, we as climbers, are able to. My body was strong enough to carry my soul up. I am blessed to have had a window of time when I had high adventures, made my own way.

I am calling my new outlook "The Gratitude Attitude". Its the coin flipped to the other side. I feel better thinking about things this way. I hope it lasts.

It is tragic in a way that these bad-ass lessons hit us often near the end, or in the midst of increadible pain.
But like my dad said once, no one learns anything by being comfortable. In fact those in comfort often seek only to maintain that bubble. Pop the bubble. Step out into the void and fall if you must. It will wake you up.

We are off to tour the valley today, maybe TR something.

Life is a trip, hard, rediculous, joyful and sorrow filled. I regret trials and tribulations only while in them. Once through them, I always find out that I have grown, I have expanded, and I have continued.

Climbing on,
Paul and Ruth
Ruth, Paul and some rock in the background
Ruth, Paul and some rock in the background
Credit: Disaster Master
Maysho

climber
Soda Springs, CA
Sep 23, 2010 - 02:18pm PT
Hey Paul,

Peter Mayfield here, I have met you a couple of times, once at Trinity Aretes on July 4th, you were in recovery from your tree fall, and the next year at Lost Rocks, I had a bunch of high school kids bouldering with Matt DeShazo.

Your posts and attitude on your current situation are an inspiration. I hope for you and yours all the best through this challenging time.

Also have to chime in enthusiastically on the great climbing in Bigfoot country. I try to make a trip up there for the steep limestone each year, looking forward to checking out Cecilville next.

Take Care,

Peter
ncrockclimber

climber
NC
Sep 23, 2010 - 03:16pm PT
Paul.

You inspire me. Thank you for posting.

Sincerely,
Charles
scuffy b

climber
Eastern Salinia
Sep 23, 2010 - 04:53pm PT
Thanks for your writing, Paul.
It really feels like we're being given a special gift.
I can't give you anything but my best wishes, and you have them, of course.
em kn0t

Trad climber
isle of wyde
Sep 23, 2010 - 08:19pm PT
Paul,

You writings and photos are a profound inspiration in so many ways. It reminds me of four friends who have all survived long past their "terminal" diagnoses with the big C (different types than yours: multiple myeloma, pancreatic and two with brain tumors). I think it's a credit not only to advanced medical technology but also to a strong and vibrant will to live, which you obviously have in large measure.

I've been reading a book which you may find helpful: "Still Here" by Ram Dass, which talks about his mental/spiritual adjustment after he was paralyzed by a stroke, as well as challenges that we all will go through as we and our loved ones age, change and ultimately pass on.

"Understanding that we are something -- that's unchangeable, beautiful, completely aware, and that continues no matter what, really helps."
--Ram Dass, from "Still Here"

Warm wishes for healing on all levels. And thanks for shining a light for the rest of us.

Climb on,
Em
Tony Bird

climber
Northridge, CA
Sep 24, 2010 - 09:21am PT
curious as to who that favorite philosopher is, paul. and i for one would like to hear more about your dad the preacher, your dialogue with him, and this quiet blasphemous faith, which sounds a lot like mine.

i hate to juxtapose this with some good news i had last week, but i visited my dermatologist and he couldn't find much wrong. he cut out a shallow cancer i had on my chest five years ago, so i'm back for annual checkups, essential when you've gotten into this sensitized condition. i'd like to offer some further advice, since he's a pretty good dermatologist and a fellow skier who loves the outdoors and sympathizes with the dangers of exposure.

the important thing, and i'm afraid i got it by cross-examining him this last meeting, is to reapply that damn sunblock every 2-3 hours when you're out in the bright. he really questions those all-day or even 8-hour claims. what a pain in the ass that is, especially if you're climbing. i try to bring along a small package of those things they use to wipe baby's butts--you have to get the sunblock off your palms to get back to climbing again.

remember, the rays generally hit you from above. top of your head, chest, upper back, shoulders, face, and don't forget ears. these are our battle zones with dear old sole mio. they make good clothing these days, high SPF fabric. invest in a state-of-the-art hat. arabs survive the sahara with heavy robes, dark skin, thick hair. be like an arab.
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 28, 2010 - 05:40pm PT
A quick update from a free wi-fi spot in Moab UT:

Went to sushi fest in Indian Creek. Fun!

And.......

I got my ass up SUPERCRACK. Had to hang several times (TR) since I am very weak and have no lungs left. Also, the back pain, wah wah, wah. But I made it to the chains!

One of the biggest efforts in my life. The moves were fine, just sick, I guess. On to Colorado!
phylp

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
Sep 28, 2010 - 05:53pm PT
Hello Paul-
I've been following the story of your journey and just wanted to send some love the way of you and your dear ones.
Phyl
Seamstress

Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
Sep 28, 2010 - 05:55pm PT
I admire and keep cheering for the spirit within you that LIVES today. Too many wast time living in the past or working exclusively for the future. The glass is half full today, and you still find joy in your life. Many very privileged people miss all the joy that is completely within their grasp to whine about what they don't have.

I watched my mom die - fighting all the way, but completely at peace. She treasured the ordinary in life. Hours before she died, she totally enjoyed her grand daughter climbing on the bed begging her to read one more book to her.

Thanks
Jobee

Social climber
El Portal Ca.
Sep 28, 2010 - 07:59pm PT
"I got my ass up SUPER CRACK"

You my friend are the MASTER!

Best to you and Ruth.

Credit: Jobee


Fritz

Trad climber
Hagerman, ID
Sep 28, 2010 - 08:13pm PT
Paul: So glad to see that you and Ruth hit both Yosemite and Indian Creek.

Congrats for doing the trip and climbing Super Crack!
nature

climber
Whereverland....
Sep 29, 2010 - 10:20pm PT
it was great seeing you again after all these years. Hang in there bro. I'm so glad you made it east to be a part of a special event. Enjoy the rest of the journey.

peace,

doug
rincon

Trad climber
SoCal
Sep 30, 2010 - 10:58pm PT
Hey Paul and Ruth...thinking of you. Keep on keeping on.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 30, 2010 - 11:01pm PT
One of my finest moments in climbing was being a part of Paul's Super Crack climb- his ascent was truly inspirational, let's climb together again- soon!
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Oct 1, 2010 - 12:09am PT

Paul, I just don't know what to say.
You are one incredible person.
Keep your strength up and do what needs to be done.
My prayers are with you.
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 2, 2010 - 10:58pm PT
Paul here, still....

All these kind posts sure help both me and Ruth. We went to another crag neaar moab and climbed about 5 routes, 5.6 -hard 5.10. Ruth did her first desert crack, yummy. Swore at me the whole time, then loved it after getting to the anchors. We are climbing therapy patients lately. Get it out, work it out, climb it out.

Jim and Angela Donini invited us to Ouray, so we went. Jim is off to YO but Angela is here. We are in their guest apartment right now.

Travel day today. felt bad. Had to pull over and hurl at one point. I am a bit down.

The tumors are almost double the size as before the trip. I can barely digest now. The tumors push on my intestines and prostate. Pissing even sucks. got an apitite if I try to climb, otherwise not.

Tomorrow will bring new moments, some of pain, some of pulling down some more on new rock near town, I hope. Hot springs too. I feel sooooooo weak. All I want is time with my Love and a rock to top it off.

The tumors are also in my genitals. Can't get it up, but I can ctill get up. At least some muscles are working still. (Too much information?!)

I say these personal things to remind everyone that you can loose almost anything, including your wang, but not be impotent in the least.

Try till You Die, then one more time.

Love and redpoints to you all,
Paul
landcruiserbob

Trad climber
Maui or Vail ; just following the sun.......
Oct 2, 2010 - 11:37pm PT


Enjoy the wonderful SanJuan fall; the Ophir wall is waiting for you.

Be well & safe travels.........................


rg
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 2, 2010 - 11:57pm PT
Ya know, the hang in there posts are great. But am I really that inspirational?

What sort of boring things do most folks decide to do while they die?

I am glad evryone is concerned. Just remember the point is not me and my "unique" way of handling things.

The point is that YOU TOO can live and die Your Way. So figure out what that is, LIVE your way as long as your body alows, then DIE, not with dignity, but with gusto.

Working on the LIVING part,
Paul
Weld_it

Trad climber
Chatsworth
Oct 3, 2010 - 12:01am PT
you da man Paul!
murcy

climber
sanfrancisco
Oct 3, 2010 - 12:02am PT
Dude,

I don't know. But I am glad to be hearing from you now. Yes, it has been inspiring to hear about your climbs. And none of us knows how to die, so your trip report is on topic.

Mark
Wen

climber
Jackson, WY
Oct 3, 2010 - 12:59am PT
Paul, Know that your words matter to those of us in the big bad world who have yet to experience life through your lens. You're offering us a window into the part of life we all fear. I for one appreciate your letting us look in. Are you inspirational? To me you are, because you're reminding me to live and love my life.
Tony Bird

climber
Northridge, CA
Oct 3, 2010 - 01:26am PT
maybe a couple positive things to think about, paul.

not everyone gets to see their death coming. one of the memorials i went to this year was for john fischer, out for a fun day with friends, didn't know that deer was on a collision course with his motorcycle right on hwy. 395. the loss shocked those near to him, an immediate, dramatic loss.

we know we're losing you, paul, and you know it too. there's a chance here to say goodbye well. i remember the death of folksinger bob gibson, one of my favorite singers. i've made the study of song a lifelong study, and i think he had one of the best senses of song going. he wasn't an outstanding success in music, but he was pretty damn good and pretty damn influential too.

bob came down with a rather rare disease, difficult to treat, with the end fairly inevitable. he had led a good life, straightened out some bad habits, and when he knew the end was getting close he had a party, one hell of a party, and all the best of the folk music movement came to sing and to say goodbye. bob even tried singing then, but was too weak and it was a sad moment, but all much appreciated. he died a few days later.

you've got another good thing going for you buddy, believe it or not. you're not dying a shameful death or a despairing one. many people die such deaths, and those are perhaps the saddest deaths of all. think a little bit during quiet moments of all the sweep of the human race, the kinds of people out there, the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful. your life is sadly shortened, but you're not alone with that. i don't know you real well, but your life has obviously been decent, positive, clean, spirited. the indian's prayer is to "face eternity with straight eyes". i think you're doing that as well as i've ever seen it done. there are many who don't, who can't. you have a real advantage over them.
nita

Social climber
chica from chico, I don't claim to be a daisy
Oct 3, 2010 - 01:45am PT
Paul,
I 've wanted to post on this thread since it beginning...not quite sure what to say.... I have been blown away by your words..your poems, courage, honesty and strength. ...Thank you..

Sending out prayers and Love to you and Ruth...

Saludos..
nita.




Burt

Big Wall climber
Las Vegas, Nv
Oct 3, 2010 - 02:21am PT
But like my dad said once, no one learns anything by being comfortable. In fact those in comfort often seek only to maintain that bubble. Pop the bubble. Step out into the void and fall if you must. It will wake you up.

Paul nothing I can say or do changes anything. You lead by example and show tremendous courage in your fight. That is what is inspirational. You share the ups and downs, the successes and failures. While many of us will never know what you are going through, you give us a glimpse of how to "try your best" and to fight a good fight. Thank you.

Kurt "Burt" Arend
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 3, 2010 - 09:31am PT
Some Supercrack photos I got from the Donini's.
Credit: Disaster Master
Credit: Disaster Master
Credit: Disaster Master
BrassNuts

Trad climber
Save your a_s, reach for the brass...
Oct 3, 2010 - 10:23am PT
Hey Paul & Ruth - It was nice meeting you at IC sushifest. I was tent camping next to you and sharing your parking spot - you may remember. My wife and I live in Boulder so should your adventures bring you here to B-town, feel free to contact us and we'd be happy to show you some fun stone or have you over for some dinner. Take care! Dave
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 5, 2010 - 07:47am PT
Still in Ouray. We are soaking in the hot pools, great for the bones, and even climbing some more. Who knew there was so much to climb IN town? Went to the town park for no commitment sport climbing. Fun stuff, did a 5.4, 5.7, 5.8, 5.9+ and a 5.10c bam, bam, bam all in a row. Not bad!

Ruth's back has a pinched nerve now from bombing Oinion Creek near Fischer Towers on her old rigid mtn. bike. So that's why they put suspension
on those things!

The gimp patrol hobbles on. No doctor news. I think the yare waiting for me to die before they approove me for more tretment. Mean time, the bumps multiply. I have at least 20 tumors on my front and back now. Makes me a little self concience in the pools.

I was in the locker room at the hot springs and had to put on my compression hose for the lymphadema in my leg. Talk about some strange looks. A couple of kids whispered. "Look at that skinny guy. He's putting on panty hose!"

"No, gromet dude," I replied. "This is the latest in extream training tights. All the top athletes are wearing them."

"No way, do they work?"
I really had them going.

Climbing on,
Paul
Met the belayer, Bobby, in the park. He just moved from Arcata, my hom...
Met the belayer, Bobby, in the park. He just moved from Arcata, my home town! Knows folks I do, owns my guide! Small world.
Credit: Disaster Master
ncrockclimber

climber
NC
Oct 5, 2010 - 11:02am PT
I wish I had the words to express how I feel. All I can think to say is "Keep going, brother! KEEP GOING!"

Your posts and the spirit that comes through in every word you write reminds me to live every day with passion. Thank you for that gift.

Please continue to post. My thoughts are with you...
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 5, 2010 - 12:55pm PT
God-damn! Never felt so tired after so few / easy routes. Guess I am resting today.

I never was an internet guy. Hate even checking e mail. But since this illness started, posting and reading on ST has giving me a surprising amount of joy and support.

All you guys are quite the motivational safety net for me right now. Your posts back inspire me as much as aparantly mine do for you. Who knew so many people could care about an un-met face / words on the net! I feel truly and bizarrly blessed by this wierd site.

Rock on!
crøtch

climber
Oct 5, 2010 - 01:12pm PT
Hey Paul,

Your attitude is an inspiration. I got a mole removed today. Thanks for the motivation to go to the dermatologist.
Berdette Robison

climber
the present
Oct 6, 2010 - 01:42pm PT
Paul -
Your bravery, spirit, courage and strength down this path are more than an inspiration. Your are facing your final journey with such grace and dignity. Your ability to share your thoughts with an unknown audience humbles me. You've touched many lives these past few weeks. Many warm thoughts to you and Ruth.
Berdette
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 6, 2010 - 08:43pm PT
HOPE!!!!!!!!!!!!

I got the test results back from the Doc today.

I AM A MUTANT! That's good. I tested BRAF positive, a gene mutation. Us mutants can (hopfully)get the latest PLX somthin' drug through a clinical trial. Short term positive results, tumor shrinkage occur up to 60% of the time! That's odds I like. Problems with long term effects, who knows, but HOPE my friends.

Mastering on,
Paul
graniteclimber

Trad climber
Nowhere
Oct 6, 2010 - 08:52pm PT
Glad to hear that!!!!
Footloose

Trad climber
Lake Tahoe
Oct 6, 2010 - 09:30pm PT
Sending HOPE Positive your way!
Your ARE an inspiration, Paul, kick its ass!!
Brian

climber
California
Oct 6, 2010 - 10:10pm PT
Paul,

That's great news. For some reason I thought you mentioned that you were BRAF negative, which would be a bummer. I follow the melanoma news pretty closely, as I had a few very serious burns when I was younger, and the new BRAF treatments are the brightest news I've ever heard about melanoma treatment other than the fact that you can often detect early because your skin (unlike, say, your liver) is visible for checkups.

I really, really hope you get on the BRAF trials. The early results seem very encouraging.

I, like lots of other folks here, am inspired by your way of dealing with the hand you've been dealt. Way to keep after it and keep living.

Brian
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Oct 6, 2010 - 10:12pm PT
Best news all week!
We're all sending you our positive energy.
Way more people than post here are cheering for you.
ncrockclimber

climber
NC
Oct 6, 2010 - 10:12pm PT
You f*#king go man! Keep your hope alive!
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Oct 6, 2010 - 10:24pm PT
Excellent news! Best to you!
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Oct 6, 2010 - 10:26pm PT

I'm crossing my fingers for you, Paul.
Be well!
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 11, 2010 - 02:34pm PT
Made it to LA on the way to SF for Brain and body scans. If aproved, I could be on the new PLX pil from plexicon by next week. This is good news for me, since the tumor shrinkage rate is good in over 60% of people like me. Meaning I am a mutant. I have a gene, BRAF, that is mutated, alowing this new drug to target only cancer cells, not all cells like regular chemo. This means less side effects, better results, and hope for the first time in the history of melanoma tht some folks have a fighting chance near the end of the cancer cycle.

So off to UCSF to ty to get the pill in my hand. I might be around longer than we thought!
eKat

Trad climber
http://www.ecokath.com/
Oct 11, 2010 - 02:37pm PT
Keep the MAGIC alive, sweet man!

ox

eKat
Brian

climber
California
Oct 12, 2010 - 03:21am PT
Good luck Paul!
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Oct 12, 2010 - 06:52am PT
Keep on keepin' on. Hey how cool...you are a mutant. Best of luck and hope!
blackbird

Trad climber
the flat water trails...
Oct 12, 2010 - 08:50am PT
The film BigNick referred to is kind of boring but WILL change your perspective. I watched it when I was dealing with my cancer; the message lives in the forefront of my thoughts today.

I am one of the truly lucky ones: both of mine (uterine & ovarian) were caught WAY early. I shunned "new" meds (chemo/radiation) in lieu of alternative therapies and lifestyle changes. It's amazing…

PLEASE, folks, if you're not already so, become acutely aware of your own bodies and what they are trying to tell you. Subtle changes in skin tone, moles, hair texture and even your smell can indicate some serious health issues. And to repeat the message: when in doubt, check it out!!!

Life's too short to feck around!!!

Paul, keep the Spirit, play hard, laugh more frequently than you feel like it and take LOTS of pictures!!!! Keep posting good reports!!!! Lots of folks are rooting for you! And rincon's right… eat. A lot.

bb
Srbphoto

climber
Kennewick wa
Oct 12, 2010 - 08:58am PT
I wouldn't mention the mutant thing to much. You may start getting PMs from Klimmer.

Good luck and stay positive!!!
stilltrying

Trad climber
washington indiana
Oct 12, 2010 - 09:05am PT
Best wishes Paul. I am a climber with heart issues and am totally PM dependent with an ICD after 2 heart attacks and permanent a-fib. Almost got to the transplant stage but new technology has given me a reasonable quality of life and the ability to climb, bike etc. You are amazing and I draw inspiration following your story. Keep it up and enjoy every moment and climb. Thanks for being such an inspiration
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 12, 2010 - 03:31pm PT
Talked to the docs today. It looks like thursday is the all day testing marathon. If all goes well PLX by the next week. It is exciting and scary all at once to be in fight it mode again. Thought it was all over for a short while here.

Mastering on, with the help and hope of thousands,
Paul
Impaler

Gym climber
Vancouver
Oct 12, 2010 - 08:16pm PT
Hi Paul! Good luck with your tests and I hope that PLX4032 works for you! It's awesome to see that you are still cranking! Way to go!

Vlad
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 13, 2010 - 01:06am PT
JUST THINKING

I've been a sinner and a missionary,
A minister and a criminal.
An in-law and an out-law,
A climber and a cower-er.

I've been brave,
I've run away.
Yet I always wake up
the next day...

Who will I be
the next moment,
or life.
Full of peace?
Filled with strife?

Yes, no.
Stop, go,
Who knows?

All I'm sure of
is that fertilizer
is manure.
Good and bad are required
otherwise, who Grows?

All I know is
that I don't know...
About the next moment
or the dawn.

Off to greet it, though.
Off to see it through.
Until the sh#t hits the fan again,
and I scrape it off,
lay it down,
and plant the next
version of my soul.

Paul Humphrey
Seamstress

Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
Oct 13, 2010 - 01:22am PT
It ain't over until it's over.

nita

Social climber
chica from chico.. I shall call you..mini moo.
Oct 13, 2010 - 03:07am PT
Hope..It's a Beautiful word......... Esperanza..

Paul, i hope you realize that we are traveling on this journey with you and Ruth..

And we are hoping you and your sweetheart get to have many..many years together..


Who would of thought being a mutant was a good thing..(-;

Saludos..best wishes..

nita..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVy4w6vq8y8&feature=related


gimmeslack

Trad climber
VA
Oct 13, 2010 - 08:49am PT
Just stumbled om this thread. The first page kills me - pullin' 5.10 while dosed up on chemo :-o Duuuude.... YOU ROCK!!!

R E S P E C T ;-)
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Oct 13, 2010 - 02:01pm PT
Be the biggest Gall Dang mutant you can be and you'll be off on the next steps! Thursday is my big day too...my surgery is also on Thursday and will tell me which hand I have been dealt. So really really good good vibes, wishes, luck and love. Climbs of our lives, eh?
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Oct 13, 2010 - 04:05pm PT
Mutations are nature's insurance policy against the unexpected.
Best wishes to both Paul and SCseagoat and your medical procedures on Thursday.
graniteclimber

Trad climber
Nowhere
Oct 13, 2010 - 05:31pm PT
Good luck!
rlf

Trad climber
Josh, CA
Oct 13, 2010 - 09:37pm PT
Bump this thread.
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 14, 2010 - 03:10am PT
Showed up in SF late. Drove in from the LA cesspool. My brother in law has extra points at a hotel downtown. Got us a room. Should be helpful, relaxing before the tests. But traffic and trollys and people and doormen and city BS... Where the hell are we? After being in the desert and woods for weeks, this place is nuts! We are not impressed with congestion and pretty lighted towers. So hope we can chill in this room now.

Tomorrow is the all day loop around San Fran medical appointment day. Could still be rejected for the trial if blood tests, etc. aren't just right. Nothing seems easy anymore.

HOPE????
HOPE, DAMN IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Grip slipping, holding on,
Paul and Ruth
nita

Social climber
chica from chico.. I shall call you..mini moo.
Oct 14, 2010 - 03:33am PT
Paul,
Sending out wishes, hope and prayers....

Lighting a candle for you tonight..

Saludos..=..best wishes
nita.
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Oct 14, 2010 - 10:33am PT
Best wishes. Keep us posted.
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 14, 2010 - 11:31am PT
Sitting in the hospital with my butt hanging out of an examination gown. Let the madness begin!

Oh, yeah. Lost my wallet last night. THe thrills never end.
Probing on,
Paul
martygarrison

Trad climber
The Great North these days......
Oct 14, 2010 - 12:18pm PT
Good luck and Gods speed
ncrockclimber

climber
NC
Oct 14, 2010 - 12:23pm PT
My thoughts are with you. Hang in there!
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Oct 14, 2010 - 02:32pm PT
You go. Be tough. Be a mutant thoughts are with you.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Oct 14, 2010 - 02:39pm PT
Best of luck with your treatment.
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 15, 2010 - 12:15am PT
After 7 appointments today, I find that there is something that lights up in my brain on the MRI. The tech doesn't like it. The Doc is worried. The trials coordinator is not happy.

I inform the doc that the spot was there over 3 months ago. The last trial tech called it odd, but not a metastis. That's the exclusion problem, cancer in the brain. It's only a guess unless removed. But it could be blood vesles, or remnants of my head injury. So the doc says he has ammo to get me on the pill. But I need to send the old report etc. One more HOOP!!!

Back in Santa Rosa at home. Tomorrow I track down the tech from the old test and get him to say what he wrote 3 months ago to the new doc. then it should be fine...???!!@@

Tomorrow we rise again.

DM

PS Ruth ROCKS! Drove from LA to SF, found parking at night downtown, got up and dropped me off at all appointments, found parking, got the car, picked me up, drove all the way home and is finally sleeping on the couch. I love her.
Tony Bird

climber
Northridge, CA
Oct 15, 2010 - 12:26am PT
thinking of you, paul--good luck in the medical maze.
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 15, 2010 - 12:41am PT
Hey SCseagoat,
How did your doctor day go? Let us all know when you can.

Climbing with you,
Paul H

Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 15, 2010 - 12:12pm PT
Got up early and found the report I need to send to the doc to try and proove that there is not melanoma in my brain. I can't get the wonder pill if there is.

Found the report. I caned over to Office Depot to fax it. The fax woud not go through. I waited. I called the doc. The # was right. Waited some more. It feels like I am being turned inside out! Stress-tacular.

The fax went through! I called to confirm. The wording is good, but not definitive. So it could still go either way.... AAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHH!!!

Still waiting for the Roman thumb, up or down?

Limped home. Kept repeting to myself: "Can't collapse. Got to fight, muther f*#ker. Fight! Got to fight. There is no flight. This is the middle of the rock-fall. Got to reach the col! Then I can breath for a moment before the summit. Damn, got to fight!"

Paul
eKat

Trad climber
http://www.ecokath.com/
Oct 15, 2010 - 12:14pm PT
photo not found
Missing photo ID#173615

BigSkyMagic to you!

ox

eKat
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 17, 2010 - 10:00am PT
Can't sleep. Waiting for word on the PLX trial is driving me nuts. Sent off the info that I hope will let me on the test. But it is not cut and dry. NO word and now the weekend, so one more manditory waiting day today, I guess.

It seems rediculous to me that they have a pill in a building somewhere RIGHT NOW that is able to shrink tumors in 60-80% of people like me with a BRAF mutation, yet won't freely give it out. Spare me the clinical trials for the greater good argument. Real live people will be real dead soon if not treated with a substance that is known to work, but unavailible even as a compassionate use measure, because that company is afraid of legal / marketing implications.

The gene targeted approach to these new drugs, along with others, renders the traditional study system moot and out of touch. Basically, the system requires a certain number of sick PEOPLE to die to prove their point and patents. That's the real sickness.

I don't usually rant, but this is real an involves my quickly ending life if not treated. So I am nervous as hell as I await the signal from the medical experts on high whether I live or die.

Sigh,
Paul

rlf

Trad climber
Josh, CA
Oct 17, 2010 - 10:12am PT
Hang in there. I can't imagine how difficult and frustrating this must be for you.
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 17, 2010 - 10:14am PT
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/19/health/research/19trial.html?_r=1&emc=eta1Check out this NY times article. Heartbreaking!


This is a response to the nyt piece.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/loraine-boyle/heartless-science_b_732521.html
Clearly it's time the rules changed as newer and targeted drugs are being developed. If two new cars were developed and one buffered the driver in a crash 80% more than the other, would the public be expected to try their chances in the unsafe car just to prove the effectiveness of the safe one? It's time the FDA changed its rules so that the Brandon Ryans of this world don't die without having a fighting chance. I'm no scientist but from what I've read, PLX4032 sounds as if it works to prolong life with less pain even if it is only for a few months.

Think of how many beautiful sunsets and walks in the park you can enjoy in a few months. Maybe it gives the patient a chance to see his child take a first step or to graduate college. How do human beings in the name of science deny this?




A very good question.
blackbird

Trad climber
the flat water trails...
Oct 17, 2010 - 10:18am PT
Thinking about you and sending you good thoughts and energy!!!!

All digits and limbs crossed and followed Nita's lead: there's a candle lit for you.

bb
JOEY.F

Social climber
sebastopol
Oct 17, 2010 - 02:16pm PT
Sending good vibes your way, Paul.
I believe, after looking at the pics, I have seen you at Vertex.
Best wishes to you.
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Oct 17, 2010 - 02:27pm PT
Each time I see this thread bumped, I race back in hopes to see you posting good news. Thinking of you. Cancer simply sucks.
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 17, 2010 - 07:08pm PT
Joey, yeah, you've seen me at VERTEX. Maybe I will go by soon to try and keep training.

Crimpergirl, I'm sick of complaining too. Wish there was good news. Might still be, though. Tomorrow I call the trials coordinator to try and push it through.

The interesting part for me is the part of my brain that is lighting up on the MRI and causing the trials roadblock is responsible for pain management and general conciousness. I have used meditation and yoga, along with other mind training techniques to manage my chronic back pain for 7 years....(Insert Twilight Zone Music)

C-ya,
Paul
okaythatsme

climber
Oct 17, 2010 - 11:14pm PT
Hi Paul,
Checking in from Arcata and sending you encouragement. I know you are tired. -marcella
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Oct 17, 2010 - 11:32pm PT

Hoping for the best for you, Paul.
Stay with us!!!
Jobee

Social climber
El Portal Ca.
Oct 17, 2010 - 11:46pm PT
Credit: Jobee

For you Paul.






Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 18, 2010 - 01:05pm PT
Well, ya asked for it....




GOOD NEWS! YIIIIIIPPPPEEEEEE!!!


I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO HAPPY ABOUT BEING OFFERED DRUGS BEFORE. (OK. There was that one time at school...) Seriously, though, I called the clinical trials coordinator about my chances of getting on the PLX4032 trial. Those following these posts know I was wrung out from the waiting. I don't wait well. More of a do-er. She said the wording in the reports had them worried, but the doc and her and everyone else sighned off on it. According to her I am in. (I will believe it for sure when the pill is in my hand.)

They are trying to get me started this WEDNESDAY, two days away. I can't believe it. I did not let myself hope much on the first (YM155) trial I did. And it did not work.

This drug relly seems to help. And I need help bad. Pain, fatigue, and mental strain are all piling up.

A relief valve at last. Long road ahead, but there is a path at least. Felt like I was banging my head against the rock for a while. The next month is intense with many doc apoints. Then only every couple of weeks after that. So if I improve quickly, meet me at J-Tree sometime near a month from now to climb and celebrate.

Continuing to Master this f*#ked up Disaster,
Paul Humphrey

Ruth and Paul
Ruth and Paul
Credit: Disaster Master
eKat

Trad climber
http://www.ecokath.com/
Oct 18, 2010 - 01:07pm PT
YAY!

KEEP THE MAGIC ALIVE!

oxox

eKat
Fritz

Trad climber
Hagerman, ID
Oct 18, 2010 - 01:10pm PT
Dude!

Keep on keeping on!

I'm thinking good thoughts for you!
nita

Social climber
chica from chico.. I shall call you..mini moo.
Oct 18, 2010 - 01:27pm PT
Paul and Ruth,

Sweet!!!
Sooo Darn Happy for you kids!!!!

Saludos= Best wishes...
crøtch

climber
Oct 18, 2010 - 01:43pm PT
Woot!
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Oct 18, 2010 - 01:56pm PT
Awesome news! Thanks for letting us know!
ncrockclimber

climber
NC
Oct 18, 2010 - 01:57pm PT
I am VERY happy for you!
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Oct 18, 2010 - 03:20pm PT

That's so GREAT, Paul!

Keep us informed of how you're doing.
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 18, 2010 - 03:33pm PT
I was so excited last week when I thought it was a sure thing, I made a t shirt. Wore it all weekend while I worried. Now I don't have to burn it. I will wear it to my first Doc visits.

Paul
Credit: Disaster Master
Credit: Disaster Master
eKat

Trad climber
http://www.ecokath.com/
Oct 18, 2010 - 03:38pm PT
I LOVE THAT SHIRT!

You could probably market them!

:-)

OXOXO

eKat
JOEY.F

Social climber
sebastopol
Oct 18, 2010 - 03:47pm PT
Great news Paul!
Thank you for being an inspiration!
Wishing you all the best.
Timid TopRope

Social climber
Paradise, CA
Oct 18, 2010 - 09:27pm PT
I tell ya those candles of nita's are batting 1000 lately. I just have to remember not to accidentally extinguish them as she leaves them in the sink for safety reasons. nita just told me blackbird lit a candle too.

best wishes for some strengthening and more adventures to come,

Andy
rlf

Trad climber
Josh, CA
Oct 18, 2010 - 09:34pm PT
That is good news indeed. Please keep us posted!
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Oct 18, 2010 - 09:44pm PT
Fantastic news Paul! Can't wait to climb with you and Ruth again.
rincon

Trad climber
SoCal
Oct 18, 2010 - 09:48pm PT
Sure is good news Paul. Obviously you ain't out of the woods yet, but it looks like you might be on a good trail now. You can survive this, it's going to happen. It's been seven years for me now, still here.

f*#k cancer.
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Oct 18, 2010 - 10:44pm PT
I am so happy for you Mr. MUTANT! I will take your good luck as a talisman for all of us! Hugs and good times for you and Ruth. Susan
Wen

climber
Jackson, WY
Oct 19, 2010 - 12:23am PT
I LOVE that shirt! Good to read this news Paul, your energy to keep up the fight inspires me. I hope you kick some serious cancer a**.

We're in Jtree the first week of November. I'll be hoping to see your bald head on the rocks.

Wendy
locker

Social climber
Oct 19, 2010 - 12:26am PT


"Continuing to Master this f*#ked up Disaster,"...



COOL!!!....



Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 19, 2010 - 03:20pm PT
OK. Got an actual time and date for my PLX4032 start. The hold up was getting a room at the hospital for the day. Busy place. 8 - 10 hours of tests. Then some more in the AM day two. But the pill shall be swallowed (Cue "White Rabbit" music).

Also, a ST member has offered the use of his spare room to crash in SF while at the docs. Some of you are very cool! (some of you...[ha,ha])

So more smiles here than I have seen in a while.

Onward and upward,
DM
Jobee

Social climber
El Portal Ca.
Oct 19, 2010 - 05:46pm PT
Kick some A.. Paul!
nature

climber
Whereverland....
Oct 19, 2010 - 06:21pm PT
Kick some ass Paul! There's a sushifest at Lover's Leap next year and I EXPECT you to attend.
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 19, 2010 - 06:26pm PT
Nature-ally, Ruth & I shall attend in post cancer glory, no doubt.

Short term...can barely walk today from tumor pain in right leg. But IF THIS PILL WORKS I have a good chance of climbing again a month from now. So J-Tree in around 5-6 weeks from now. I will post dates when improvemets happen. Got to expect the best for once. Tired of anxiety and paranoia.

Yoga this month if I can while starting the pill. Then Rock it again.

SofCookay

climber
Oct 19, 2010 - 09:29pm PT
You are a true inspiration and I know you are going to beat this. It would be an honor to climb with you in Joshua Tree, so we'll see you in 5-6 weeks!

Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 20, 2010 - 03:34pm PT
THE PILL HAS BEEN SWALLOWED!

my first dose of RO5185426, the pill formally known as PLX4032. The na...
my first dose of RO5185426, the pill formally known as PLX4032. The name was changed to "honor" the new partner company out of switzerland.
Credit: Disaster Master
"Pppsssstttt, Here's the sh#t. You got the Guinie Pig?"
"Pppsssstttt, Here's the sh#t. You got the Guinie Pig?"
Credit: Disaster Master
Wash it down!
Wash it down!
Credit: Disaster Master

Wow, I feel great! Must be turning into...
SUPER-MUTANT!
SUPER-MUTANT!
Credit: Disaster Master

Now just 6 more hours of watching me and bleeding me. Then a place to crash for the night. Then more tests in the AM.

Doping on,
Paul
delendaest

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Oct 20, 2010 - 04:12pm PT
Rock and Ice in the background is a nice touch! If you have time there's a Phillie cheese steak place down the street from Zion, a few of those will put some meat on your bones.
hooblie

climber
from where the anecdotes roam
Oct 20, 2010 - 04:14pm PT
a brother smite's the reaper, the way ahead is clear!
nature

climber
Whereverland....
Oct 20, 2010 - 04:21pm PT
turning into SuperTopo story of the year.

Now just finish the deal. We know you can!

woohooo!
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Oct 20, 2010 - 04:27pm PT
awesome! perhaps all the picking, poking and bleeding will make you into a human sieve and all the crappppy stuff will strain on out! WAY TO GO Mutant! Susan
nita

Social climber
chica from chico.. I shall call you..mini moo.
Oct 20, 2010 - 07:00pm PT
...Paul, It makes me so happy you have the drugs...I have to put on some Happy music..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7AcZAd5Sss

Paul & Scseagoat...Sending good thoughs and prayers for healing and strength ..
lighting two new candles tonight...

Saludos...

nita (-:

SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Oct 20, 2010 - 07:11pm PT

Best of luck with it Paul.

Keeping the vibe alive!!!!
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 20, 2010 - 07:33pm PT
Still in the hospital. The trial coordinator just told me that they almost rejected me because of the brain thing, then did not at the behest of my Doc.

THEN she said the drug company closed the enrollment after my acceptence. I'm the last one on it. 12 people in SF and less than 60 WORLDWIDE!

THEN she said that there are 3 people in evaluation here today. She must now tell them they will not get the drug. Poor bastards. She was trying to make me feel grateful, but I can only think of them, and the sh#t going through their heads now..."What now? What else is there? Does this mean I'm going to die anyway???" Horrific. They are in the same building as me right now.

Free will for the dying. Let them have their hope. Say it might kill them then give them what you have. This hold-it-until-so-sure-its-rediculous-before-we-approve-it method of new drug testing is killing people.

Best of luck to those screwed through no fault of their own today. It could have been me...

But it wasn't, so on we go,
Paul
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Oct 20, 2010 - 09:17pm PT
I am so happy for you...but I am appalled that the nurse tried to do anything to make you feel "grateful" at the expense of others. The focus needs to be on you and your healing without the added stress of survivors' guilt. The positive perfect storm was with you today. As you heal you will have chances to give back in even greater amounts the compassion you are feeling now. For whatever reason, it's YOUR turn to heal.
blackbird

Trad climber
the flat water trails...
Oct 20, 2010 - 09:29pm PT
Paul - Nita's candle worked for my cancer so it'll work for yours, too!! I'm lighting one tonight as well just for extra support!!!

Thinking about you and Ruth!!

Samantha
Seamstress

Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
Oct 21, 2010 - 12:22am PT
Most excellent.
BrassNuts

Trad climber
Save your a_s, reach for the brass...
Oct 21, 2010 - 07:45am PT
Paul & Ruth,

Best wishes and healing thoughts to you both as you embark on the next phase - I truly hope the trial is fruitful for you!

Dave
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 21, 2010 - 08:48pm PT
Many thanks to you all for the props.

A special thank you from both Ruth and I to the Nystrom family of San Fran. They opened their home to us so we could rest in between all the appointments last night. Great people! This is an example of the positive off-topic (sort of) things that can come out of Super Topo.


Some of the other receint threads I have browsed are examples of the not so positive that can vie for space as well.

Been seeing too much arguing and hate on ST lately. Stop feeding the negative and create the positive. Start your own benificial posts.

hippy love thoughts,
(this new drug must be reallly good!)

Paul
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 23, 2010 - 09:05pm PT
Just postd a trip report about a fall in 2004. It's related.
http://www.supertopo.com/tripreport/tripreport.php?articleid=10807
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 24, 2010 - 04:16pm PT
Rather amazing news. Only 5 days on a 1/2 dose of the new wonder drug and I have more energy. I am not using my cane. And at least one large tumor on my neck is definetly shrinking!!! It is a quarter less large than a week ago. What up with that???!!

Climbing on,
Paul
ncrockclimber

climber
NC
Oct 24, 2010 - 04:17pm PT
I'll tell you what's up with that - you are kicking ass! That is great news!
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Oct 24, 2010 - 04:56pm PT
YES. YES. YES. YOU ARE MY HERO! Susan
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Oct 24, 2010 - 05:20pm PT
Wishing you well bro and blessings on your path.

Glad you are embracing positive change, as hippie studies by real doctors have shown that those who really embrace positive transformations are the ones who beat this stuff. When you're not the same person you were, you're not the same person who got sick in the first place

peace

karl
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Oct 24, 2010 - 07:05pm PT

Paul
That's welcoming news. My thoughts are with you
as you continue to get better, and keep on impressing me--
WOW!
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Oct 24, 2010 - 08:08pm PT
Great news!
Good drugs and a positive attitude.
The right combination for sure.
Timid TopRope

Social climber
Paradise, CA
Oct 24, 2010 - 08:14pm PT
When you're not the same person you were, you're not the same person who got sick in the first place- K Babba

That sounds about right to me.

Positive Vibrations to you, DM! Glad to hear that you got on the trial and it's working!
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 24, 2010 - 10:00pm PT
Felt good enough to go in with Ruth and take a Bikram hot yoga class! First one in two months. I shocked myself an did every pose. did not sit out at all. Wow!

So who knows? Maybe the pill fits my bill? Feel the best I have felt in months.


Paul
ncrockclimber

climber
NC
Oct 24, 2010 - 10:37pm PT
that is such great news! i am very happy for you. keep that positive energy flowing and keep on getting better. you are going to beat this!
nita

Social climber
chica from chico.. I shall call you..mini moo.
Oct 24, 2010 - 11:54pm PT
Paul..Very sweet news!! Love it!!...

Many blessings to You and Ruth.

Salud....

Eddie Vedder..Rise..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXVpjjpwNss&feature=related
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Oct 25, 2010 - 12:04am PT
I am so happy for you. I too love Bikram yoga and a brand new studio just opened by me and I can't wait to get back to it. Hopefully next week. I saw your pic of the toe stand...awesome...I haven't been to Bikram for over a month....and when consistent boy does it make a difference.

There you go, being my inspiration again!
okay,whatever

Trad climber
Charlottesville, VA
Oct 26, 2010 - 10:10pm PT
Paul, I don't know you or Ruth at all, but having been through some difficult experiences akin to yours, though much less dangerous in the end, I felt like sending something positive to the both of you. Somehow, the energy in this video seemed relevant, especially because of your relationship... ignore if not so, and in any case all my best wishes!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ls5TR6dCknQ
stevep

Boulder climber
Salt Lake, UT
Oct 26, 2010 - 10:31pm PT
Great news. Raising my beer to months more of it.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Oct 27, 2010 - 01:30pm PT
I wonder how chemoboy's doing today? Hopefully the treatment is going well.
Nibs

Trad climber
Humboldt, CA
Oct 27, 2010 - 03:24pm PT
Paul:

My wife (then gf) and I remember you from HSU climbing class - '90 or '91. You were so supportive of us noobs and your enthusiasm was contagious. You were an inspiration then, you are an inspiration now.

thank you for sharing your journey with all of us; what's the latest?

gary
Jobee

Social climber
El Portal Ca.
Oct 27, 2010 - 06:19pm PT
Big, Happy, Hippie, Healing Vibe ... coming your way.

It's great you were able to practice Yoga!

Namaste

Credit: Jobee
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 28, 2010 - 10:40am PT
Well, we are back in San Francisco for another day of observation and blood tests. 10 hours of tests today. No traffic, though, on the way in from Santa Rosa. We are an hour early!

Good News:

The tumors are SHRINKING!!!

Hard to believe, but the truth is in the palpating. They are smaller. I have more energy and am walking better.

Nice to hear from folks from the past, hi back!

Mastering on,
Paul
rlf

Trad climber
Josh, CA
Oct 28, 2010 - 10:50am PT
Good news indeed!
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 1, 2010 - 12:05pm PT
Well, the tumors are still slowly shrinking! I am feeling good enough to go to the climbing gym...
Credit: Disaster Master
Paul at Vertex
Paul at Vertex
Credit: Disaster Master
Ruth and a freeloader ready to TR.
Ruth and a freeloader ready to TR.
Credit: Disaster Master
Ruth and Paul, the Mutant returns...
Ruth and Paul, the Mutant returns...
Credit: Disaster Master
Paul and Ruth at the gym with their new climbing friend, Gym Birdwell.
Paul and Ruth at the gym with their new climbing friend, Gym Birdwell.
Credit: Disaster Master

I have also started a blog so my non-climbing family and friends can check out how Ruth and I are doing.

Check it out at http://disastermasterblog.blogspot.com/


Climbing on,
DM
Gene

Social climber
Nov 1, 2010 - 12:07pm PT
There are some fantastic smiles in those pictures. Keep on keeping on!

g
rlf

Trad climber
Josh, CA
Nov 1, 2010 - 12:41pm PT
Good news to hear. Keep up the fight!
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Nov 1, 2010 - 01:09pm PT
This is AWESOME
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Nov 1, 2010 - 02:34pm PT

That's wonderful news, Paul.
Thanks for keeping us in the loop!
My thoughts are with you!
nature

climber
Tuscon Again! India! India! Hawaii! LA?!?!
Nov 1, 2010 - 03:17pm PT
Keep at it my friend. These posts are so very inspiring.

Tina says hello to you and Ruth.

peace,

Doug




Edit: so that's one of the chickens I was hitting on.
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Nov 1, 2010 - 05:21pm PT
Happy to see smiles because of shrinkage! :)

Really, this is great news. And thanks for the blog url. I'm a blog junkie - love to read them. Best to you both!
nature

climber
Tuscon Again! India! India! Hawaii! LA?!?!
Nov 3, 2010 - 06:35pm PT
update us buddy....
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 3, 2010 - 07:02pm PT
Hi.

Well, back in the hospital in San Fran for more monitoring and tests. They EKG'ed me good.
It's ALIVE, IT'S AAALLLIIIIVVVEEE.....(I think. Poke it to make sure.)
It's ALIVE, IT'S AAALLLIIIIVVVEEE.....(I think. Poke it to make sure.)
Credit: Disaster Master

Lots of blood draws all day long. My friend Gym stopped by and made fun of me. The little chickensh#t. He's a real cluck up.
Gym Birdwall mocks Disaster Master's treatment.
Gym Birdwall mocks Disaster Master's treatment.
Credit: Disaster Master

Guess we will go check out Planet Granite tonight. Shouldn't it be called planet plastic? At lest I feel good enough to climb.

I get a "drug holiday" for the next 6 days to see how long the drug stays in my sysyem. then its the full dose, full bore daily after that.

Even onthe half dose I am on now, the tumors continue to shrink. I can walk without the cane now and my swelling in the legs is down a lot.
Almost back to just out of shape!

Redpointing this mo-fo,
Paul
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Nov 3, 2010 - 07:05pm PT
Fantastic Paul! I look forward to seeing you and Ruth in Berkeley, Angela sends her best. Keep an eye on that chicken, they're sneaky little bastards.
Gene

Social climber
Nov 3, 2010 - 07:11pm PT
Even onthe half dose I am on now, the tumors continue to shrink. I can walk without the cane now and my swelling in the legs is down a lot.
Almost back to just out of shape!

Redpointing this mo-fo,
Paul


Nothing can beat your attitude. Much respect, Paul. kick ass!!!

See you at the Donini gig on 12/5.

Best,
Gene
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Nov 3, 2010 - 07:13pm PT
I can see a new title at the book store: "Chicken Soup for the Malignant Melanoma Survivor".

Starring guess who?

Good luck!
Maysho

climber
Soda Springs, CA
Nov 3, 2010 - 07:26pm PT
Awesome News Paul!

Keep on keeping on!

Peter
BrassNuts

Trad climber
Save your a_s, reach for the brass...
Nov 3, 2010 - 08:38pm PT
Egggzellent news Paul! Cheers to you and Ruth! Oh yeah, watch out for that chicken.... she was a real problem at the IC sushi fest ;-0
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Nov 3, 2010 - 08:46pm PT
Geez Paul, compared to your pics posted back around Aug and Sept. you look like the "Beef Master". You are looking much more healthy moving towards robust. Yeah...do it. I would love to get a Gym Bird to sit in for some of my upcoming procedures. Oh well...you've been an inspiration...you did it so can I!
JOEY.F

Social climber
sebastopol
Nov 3, 2010 - 08:52pm PT
Just Awesome, look at those smiles!
Wishing you continued shrinkage...
Fritz

Trad climber
Hagerman, ID
Nov 3, 2010 - 09:00pm PT
Too Cool! It is wonderful to see your positive attitude rewarded.

Keeping your sense of humor through all this is "great Schist!"

Glad that Gym stopped by.


Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Nov 3, 2010 - 09:10pm PT

Good times to say to your friends "DUDE I GOT SHRINKAGE!"

lol!
ncrockclimber

climber
NC
Nov 3, 2010 - 09:35pm PT
This is SO great! I have so much respect for the way that you are handling this and your attitude. Keep the post coming and hang in there! It is so amazing to see you getting better.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Nov 3, 2010 - 10:07pm PT
Glad the good news continues. I send positive thoughts every day.
We've all learned so much about the human spirit from you.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Nov 3, 2010 - 10:18pm PT
tumors shrinking slooooowly is good. That way they don't dump a bunch of metabolites into your unsuspecting system. You are looking better than that guy who climbed Supercrack.
nature

climber
Tuscon Again! India! India! Hawaii! LA?!?!
Nov 3, 2010 - 11:33pm PT
you sir, for inspiring so many, are granted a SushiFest pass for life.


Ruth too.


and we need to talk about the 5th-wheel.


plus the guidebook you did doesn't suck.
Bargainhunter

climber
Central California
Nov 4, 2010 - 07:39am PT
Some people think this forum is about climbing.

I like this forum because it is about life.

Thank you Paul; what you are doing here is important.
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 4, 2010 - 07:38pm PT
I am getting a LOT of thanks and praise on Supertopo lately. Thank you back. Remember, though, that not all is mastery. Parts of my life are still a disaster. As are parts of anyone’s. You post readers are getting the high-light reel.

A few months back I was on a treatment called YM155. Some old friends drove from Kansas to see me. We decided to go to the climbing gym, but needed to get some stuff from the local REI. I picked up the Dec. (#188) copy of Rock & Ice. Back home, I thumbed directly to this letter to the editor by Justin Isaac, titled “Thanks and Praise”.
R & I #188
R & I #188
Credit: Disaster Master
Thanks and Praise, by Justin Isaac, Rock & Ice Magazine, #188.
Thanks and Praise, by Justin Isaac, Rock & Ice Magazine, #188.
Credit: Disaster Master

It felt like it had been written just for me. I showed it to my girlfriend Ruth. Bizarre timing! It affected me so much I wrote R&I a response, they called it “Wisdom” and published it in Letters, issue #190.
R & I #190
R & I #190
Credit: Disaster Master
R&I Letter response to "Thanks and Praise", called "Wisdom", R&I #190.
R&I Letter response to "Thanks and Praise", called "Wisdom", R&I #190.
Credit: Disaster Master

Justin’s letter was a great motivating factor in how I would treat my illness, as far as mindset goes. But it ain’t all gravy and bravery here. I am often a grumpy, gristly bummer to be around. Usually not in public. Though on bad days I seem to intimidate or put people off. Must be some look on my face or a tone in my voice.
But the single person in the whole world who sees it all is Ruth, my lover and closest friend.
Ruth Riffe
Ruth Riffe
Credit: Disaster Master
She lives with me, does nearly all the chores. She drives when I can’t and fusses over me. She has limited, yet vast patience with my moods. But she is a casualty of proximity. She lives in my Bullshit tornado. It wears her out.
Ruth smiling in the face of Disaster.
Ruth smiling in the face of Disaster.
Credit: Disaster Master
She sees the good as well, reminds me of it when I am down. She strives to remind me that I’m not doomed, I am worthy, and can rise again.
In return, she gets the gale…The storm erupting from my frazzled nerves. She gets the uncertainty of an illness that usually takes its “victims” fast, yet horribly. And she knows she will still be here if I die, which sickens her. She loves me like no other.
Family Photo
Family Photo
Credit: Disaster Master

Those surrounding someone in crisis, those on the front line, are the silent heroes of these stories. Not just mine, but countless untold others.
If you know one of these front line heroes, thank them. Let them know they are recognized and remarkable. There is no need for angels with these sorts of humans on the Earth.



Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 5, 2010 - 10:56am PT
TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY. I MADE IT TO 39!

A month or so ago, when staying in Ouray, CO, I decided that 39 isn't old enough, though. I vowed to make at least 40 years. So stay tuned...

This is the letter my folks sent out when I showed up. They were a young evangelical couple. Dad was ordained the same week I was born. They were starting a church in Huntington Beach Ca. From there to here...Mr. Toad's wild ride!
Credit: Disaster Master

Still Here,
Paul
nita

Social climber
chica from chico.. I shall call you..mini moo.
Nov 5, 2010 - 11:37am PT
Paul, I just need to say.. thanks again...
and I've said it before....I love your writing and your honesty.


Thanks to you and Beautiful Ruth.
Salud..


Edit:. This song reminded me of Ruth
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Da9lBOSJhR4

edit, Shout out for Justin too...






SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Nov 5, 2010 - 08:13pm PT
speechless.
dougs510

Social climber
down south
Nov 5, 2010 - 09:41pm PT
Damn man, I didn't read this post for a long time. Just finished up your TR about when you fell from the tree. You are the Disaster Master, because you Master the disaster.

I sit around here, feeling sorry for myself, with moles and sh$t popping up all over me. I say to myself, "I don't want to know, besides, I got no insurance". Truth is, I'm scared of knowing. Sheeeewwwwww..... Man, I'm so glad your posting up here, it's really giving me a reason to push forward. My knee is blown out, so I haven't climbed in a couple of years, and usually just sit here.... I really miss those days of being on the rock.

You have brought tears of hope to me. I don't know were this all will lead, but you, sir, are an inspiration. And for that, I am grateful.

Doug
hashbro

Trad climber
Mental Physics........
Nov 5, 2010 - 11:19pm PT
Incredible story and thread Paul.

I've had several pre-melanoma moles excised over the last couple decades and am massively rooting for you and tumor shrinkage. If Lance can do it, so can you bro.

Get well soon!
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 11, 2010 - 10:33am PT
Hi everyone!

I just started the full dose of RO5185426, the pill formally known as PLX4032. Finally. I had to take a "Drug Holiday" to see how long the half dose they had me on would last in my system. Progress reversed. The tumors grew and my energy left me. Yeah, a "holiday!"

SO I am psyched to get the full dose. If it goes as well or better than the half dose, I should see improvments in the next day or two. We will see.

I am JONESING to get to J-Tree. It is such a healing place for me. But Ruth keeps reminding me we are poor, I have cancer, and she needs her job. Details, details...

IF we can get job, budget and medical issues in sync, we will be in J-Tree for at least a week in the second half of November.

If not... December?

Life tries to get in the way of living sometimes.

Mastering on,
Paul
nature

climber
Tuscon Again! India! India! Hawaii! LA?!?!
Nov 11, 2010 - 11:06am PT
go check your paypal account. maybe it'll help get you closer to jtree.

thanks for the update.

stay strong,
doug

don't forget there is a sushifest in cochise end of this month ;-)
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 11, 2010 - 11:31am PT
Damn, Nature. Thanks! That's going directly into the back to the rock road trip can.

I keep thinking of your next fest, driving vs. climbing time is the issue.

Thanks again. you rock,
Paul
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Nov 11, 2010 - 05:33pm PT
Paul, great news that you are getting back on the super pill. Good to know that it is doing its job. I start chemo on the 19th...a little scared but what the heck. We are also trying to get to Joshua Tree since we missed all our Moab and Yosemite stuff after my Dx. Just needing to work it around all the pokes and jabs....I know you know how that works. I've also become amazed at how different each blood draw can be in terms of the skill level of the person. Mondays draw never felt a thing, yesterday I thought they were sticking me with a rusty hose pipe. So it goes...this healing stuff...stay strong, clearly the full dose is working considering the pics posted earlier. Susan

Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 11, 2010 - 05:43pm PT
Just needing to work it around all the pokes and jabs....I know you know how that works. I've also become amazed at how different each blood draw can be in terms of the skill level of the person. Mondays draw never felt a thing, yesterday I thought they were sticking me with a rusty hose pipe.

Damn straight! I have a port implanted, but it only works half the time. So I get poked in the port, and then in the arm anyway, most times. Each stab feels worse. I am sooo over needles!

Carry on, SC.

Bikram, the guru of the yoga I do told me once "Life is like ocean waves. When I am in the trough of the wave, in a down place, I am happy. Because I know I will soon be on the way up again! It is when I am at the crest of the wave that I say 'uh, oh' because I may soon be going down again."

-Paul
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Nov 11, 2010 - 07:38pm PT
Love the wave analogy! Esp. living in Santa Cruz I have always referred to dealing with the "waves". I hope to get back to Bikram soon. They opened a new studio a mile from my house just at the time of my dx. Incision healing still a little too tender for full on hot yoga. I think about another 2 weeks. At least after my chemo starts I won't need to worry about the sopping wet hair after yoga!
Stay strong! Make them keep giving you the good pills! Do they hand it to you in one of those little paper cups which you then see the billing for the $25 paper cup? Yeah, medical fun and games.
JOEY.F

Social climber
sebastopol
Nov 13, 2010 - 11:53pm PT
Had the great fortune to meet Disaster Master and Ruth at Vertex today after the yoga class.
What you read is what you get.
Smiles, enthusiasm, friendliness, and laughs.
Didn't meet Gym Birdwall, had to stay in the car, prolly couldn't keep up with these two, dang...


Disaster Master Styling. Nice, eh? <br/>
Disaster Master Styling. Nice, eh?

Credit: JOEY.F

Thank you, Paul and Ruth.
Joe.
Gym Birdwall

Gym climber
The "Koop"
Nov 14, 2010 - 08:57am PT
Wow, Joe. That pic and post are like a Disaster Master bigfoot sighting!

(I was sleeping it off in the truck. Too much grey goose vodka.)
-GB
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 20, 2010 - 04:48am PT
Oh my God, I am starting to feel like a living human again!

After a week or so on the full dose of PLX4032 Tthe tumors continue to shrink. I have some wierd side effects, but nothing I can't LIVE with. I have been sleepy at odd times and I forget where I am, what I am doing on occasion...Could be the medical pot though...what was I saying?

Been taking more hot yoga classes. Feel almost good enough to start teaching yoga again.

Tonight Ruth and I went to the gym. I never thought I would say this, but thank god for plastic. It gives me the outlet to train, recover. I climbed 14 TRs in two hours, in between belays for Ruth. Sent 5 5.10a's and 5 5.10b's. Not bad for someone who could barely walk a month ago!

NEVER, EVER GIVE UP! THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE, UP TO THE LAST BREATH. FIGHT!

I am looking into starting a non-profit called C.R.A.C.Climbers Rise Above Cancer. Perhaps a fund / awarness raising climb in the spring???!!

Hard to kill
& even harder
to keep down.
I bounce back
& keep comming around.

_Paul H.
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Nov 20, 2010 - 05:15am PT
Paul, you are a total, high-class inspiration! Thank you for being...

-JelloMasterThanksDisasterMaster

EDIT: I would be happy to join your band of CRAC climbers.
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 20, 2010 - 05:25am PT
Absolutly!

As Founder, I have member number #1.

Jello is now charter member #2.

#3......SCSeagoat?
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Nov 20, 2010 - 05:32am PT
Charter member #2. I like that a lot...

-#2Jello
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Nov 20, 2010 - 08:54am PT
Maybe get that Blackbird in there.
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 20, 2010 - 10:32am PT
Remember, you need not HAVE cancer to become a member of CRAC. In fact, I would prefer it over cancer positive!
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Nov 20, 2010 - 11:43am PT

You are an inspiration, Paul!

My prayers are with you.
Steve
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 20, 2010 - 01:47pm PT
I have been reading past posts with "cancer" in them. So much of it on ST! Over 3,000 cancer related posts.

More CRAC automatic memberships go to the following. (Please update with your status):

-Anstasia
-Dirtineye
-Kris (cosmic's son)
-Blinny
-RickyD
-Blackbird

This is just from memory. Quite frankly, the names are too numerous to remember...

I have another thread gathering all the ones I have found together: http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1322403&tn=0#msg1323291
nita

Social climber
chica from chico.. I shall call you..mini moo.
Nov 20, 2010 - 02:14pm PT
I know Funkness was fighting cancer...don't know him and i just noticed he has not posted since 2007... I remember him from the F*#k cancer thread..
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Nov 20, 2010 - 02:42pm PT
Yes Yes....I want to be a charter member! (Single digit member number if possible as my major cancer marker, the CA125 blood antigen when in the single digits is what we shoot for) I just had my first Chemo yesterday. So far so good. I did not have allergic reaction to any of them (thank goodness) and my blood counts were all good going in. I know chemo is cumulative so it may get rougher...but I'm there. My dear little climber friend Tiffany,(who has won many world champtionship) sent me this quote yesterday "If you are going through hell, keep going" Churchill. Yes, I will keep going through this hell until I'm going through my next hell on granite (well probably plastic first). I'm not quite cleared for gym climbing yet (I'm only 5 weeks post surgery), but I think within a couple weeks I can make it to the gym. Just need to monitor the chemo fatigue and keep lots of hand sanitizer on hand.

Thanks Paul....you are so great. We hope to make it to the Donni event in Berkeley on the 5th; perhaps you will be there? By then my hair will be getting pretty skimpy so I might be the only one with a beanie on all night...well maybe not since it is a climbing event!
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 20, 2010 - 02:52pm PT
Oh, I will be at the Donini show with Ruth. Welcome to my new club! Good to hear so far so good with you, SC.
I am sure you are an inspiration to many people as well.

-DM
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 24, 2010 - 07:22pm PT
Just wanted to wish all following this thread a happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful for you all.

May your climbs be eventful, yet not tragic. And may you live to see all your eyes wish to.

Much Love,
Paul & Ruth
Seamstress

Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
Nov 24, 2010 - 09:54pm PT
Wish to see you in the New Year!
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Nov 25, 2010 - 10:03am PT
Happy Thanksgiving to you too! You have certainly reminded us of what's important in life and what we need to be thankful for. Here's to many more in your future!
go-B

climber
Matthew 25:40
Nov 25, 2010 - 09:15pm PT
A toast to you Paul, and prayers too!
God Bless
gjhj

Boulder climber
lishui
Nov 26, 2010 - 04:51am PT
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Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 26, 2010 - 10:33am PT
That last post makes NO SENSE!!!
ncrockclimber

climber
NC
Nov 26, 2010 - 11:13am PT
Happy belated Turkey Day. Keep up the good work! I am so happy for you and look forward to hearing more great news about your recovery.
Tony Bird

climber
Northridge, CA
Nov 26, 2010 - 11:13am PT
that wasn't a post, paul, it was spam stuffed with spam. hope the rest of y'all did better with thanksgiving dinner--i sure did.
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 27, 2010 - 01:55pm PT
Talking In MY Head

Disease ..................Unease .............. Not at ease ............. Sicker ........... Healthier ....... Happy .........
Sad .................. Angry .................... Silly................ Despondent …......... Overjoyed ........................
Dead or Alive ???????????????????????? ….................... Confused.
That's pretty much the short version of my illness up to now.

I find myself in a conflicting place. The tumors are shrinking, yet my mind is not at ease. I spent so much time and mind on accepting my own death that now the prospect of a longer than expected future seems....well, daunting.

I have always been an optimistic pessimist. I hope for the best but really believe its all going to hit the fan in the end. Part of the way I dealt with my supposedly impending death was to catalog the parts of life that annoyed me, that I despised, that scared me to death. I reasoned that at least my inadequacies would end with the rest of me. And I hoped to be remembered only for the things I bragged about, not the flaws.

I'm not that good at dying. I yell and scream at the Nothing. I bounce up and down in my head. And I cling to and push away the one I love, all at the same time, because I don't want to, but feel I can't help hurting her. I sink in a soup of “What the F*#k?”

Dying sucks.

Living ain't that easy either, though. I've had my share of successes and joy in life, but my personal pessimism persists. But pessimism is pointless. It serves no purpose, except to derail myself. So why is it there?

I'm not a big bummer masquerading as a saint. It's just that my moods reflect my outlook, where I am on the P.O. Scale:
( PESSIMISM -------------------------------------------------- OPTIMISM). For some weird reason I see only the Positive in most others, yet judge myself so harshly.

Today, well into the first cycle of the full strength cancer drug prescribed me, I feel more confused than ever. Anyone looking in would say “Rejoice!” My tumors are shrinking, My leg is not swollen, My gut is moving and I am eating and gaining back weight.

Yet along with the progress come new side effects. My scalp and neck itch like a bad case of poison oak. My feet seem to be growing bone spurs or something. It hurts to stand and walk again. Night sweats and technicolor nightmares are leaving me sleep deprived and paranoid.

Just side effects, right? At least it seems I'm not on the way out right now, getting 'healthy looking'. But I don't just want to keep on breathing. I want to LIVE!

My Girlfriend Ruth wrecked her knee racing bikes as a pro. Every step reminds her of her past and her altered now because of it. She hates that her leg limits her. Yet she rides her bike instead of driving, everyday. When it hurts a little less, she runs stairs to challenge it. She goes to the gym and climbs as hard as she can, even though her injury means weird new sequences and pain just to move up. She rocks. She gets pissed at her body. She knows there is a loss that may not return. But she keeps trying.

Part of what brought us together was injury and loss. We understand these things. I just want to be able to feel joy again. To inspire her again like she inspires me. I feel a fool, though, incapable of competence. This depression is an irrational yet absolute wall, a tough one. Just looking up from the base makes me shake...

It is oh, so easy to fall down a hole. I've seen the empty eyes of those who have concluded all is pointless. The mind is often its own worst enemy. I am not going to fail, though I have fallen quite often. Get up. Get going. Get on with it. Get a life.............and accept it.

I forget that I am a bad ass sometimes. I just think I'm Bad, or an ASS..... and I collapse despite myself.

OK. Deep breath, then another, then a longer one. Chill. Don't self fulfill your prophecy. If you are alive try to deal, and if you can't laugh at it, don't despair. Might as well be happy and f*#ked up than just f*#ked up. If you can't climb walk. If you cant walk crawl. If you can't crawl meditate. Just smile, my man. You got the love of your life still here. You have your breath. You have you mind...don't loose it.

BUT I WANT TO FLY. I've had my wings clipped. It's no use telling me the grounded life is fine...I've soared!

You've changed, that's all. I bet even among worms there is a bad ass, wiggling better then the rest in the dirt. Wiggle well, if that's all you can do. Get over yourself.

I am me, and that's all I need to be?.................

Continuing to blow my own mind,
Paul.
pat

Trad climber
estes park
Nov 27, 2010 - 02:48pm PT
Hello Disaster Master,

My mother currently has melanoma, stage 3c, a result of a misdiagnosis by a dermatologist (scary). My family has been dealing with it for a while, and I have done a lot of research on the disease. There is a great website here http://www.melanoma.org/community/mrf-bulletin-board where melanoma survivors and those currently active disease get together and talk about treatments, dealing with the stress, anything really. Everyone there is from different walks of life, but in the same boat as you, and the wealth of information and support is vast. If you register and post what you just wrote there, you will get meaningful support from people who are traveling the same road as you.

It is, of course, a resource for cancer patients and survivors, and there is some depressing stuff there. There are also a surprising amount of success stories as well, it's hard, but people with advanced disease do beat this, and you can be one of them. Melanoma is also the focus of a lot of current research. Fight hard, keep taking the drug despite the side effects, get your tumor burden down, and take it from there. Ipimunillab (sp.) and vaccine therapies provide the longest remission free survival (i.e. cure), and there are planned trials combining the drug you are taking now with others that look very promising.

I wish you all the best,

Patrick Vernon
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Nov 27, 2010 - 04:51pm PT
I hate this souless cancer bast##ard. Wallow, be angry, pissed, depressed and overwhelmed for awhile, it's cathartic and I've found absolutely essential in this battle then it exhausts itself and some relief comes flowing back. Hopefully you will move through this debilitating patch soon. Warm thoughts for you and Ruth. Susan
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 27, 2010 - 05:31pm PT
Its not ALL bad, as Ruth reminded me after my last post. I am mostly Pissed at being hobbled again. I don't sit around well. Most of all though, dealing with being alive means remembering the issues undelt with, the would-a, could-a, should-a stuff that rattles around in your brain.

Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 29, 2010 - 06:08am PT
Paul in Toe-stand. Notice the pony tail in the mirror. 6 years without...
Paul in Toe-stand. Notice the pony tail in the mirror. 6 years without a haircut before it all fell out from chemo.
Credit: Disaster Master
Ruth in Eage pose
Ruth in Eage pose
Credit: Disaster Master

I am going to try to teach again. I can do that even siting down. Back to the yoga.

In my quest to work through the emotions involved with cancer I came across this by Sri Swami Sivananda in his booklet, Conquest of Fear.

BE COURAGEOUS, FRIEND
Difficulties, adversities and sorrows
Are Karmic Purgation;
They instil mercy in the heart,
They turn the mind more towards God,
They are blessings in disguise,
They help your evolution,
And strengthen your will and power of endurance,
They make you more wise and dispassionate.
Muster courage and strength,
Nil desperadum Friend!
Draw strength from within,
Move forward courageously,
Look not back,
Be regular in your meditation,
Stand as a witness or Drashta,
Identify with the Immortal Self
You are born for higher things,
A brilliant future is awaiting you,
Apply diligently to Yoga,
Unfold all latent faculties,
Yield not to unmanliness,
Shake off faintheartedness,
Stand up, be bold and cheerful,
Rejoice, enjoy and be blissful.
Thou art not this body,
Thou art immortal Brahman,
Thou art eternal Atman,
Thou art diseaseless Soul,
Thou art blissful Svarupa,
Thou art All-full Chaitanya,
Thou art invincible Lord of lords.



And this...

Cultivate courage. Be a silent witness of the mind’s menagerie. The mind will lurk like a thief. You will feel now that you were duped all these years by this mischievous mind and that fear is a non-entity, a big zero.

Now THAT'S a pep talk!
TWP

Trad climber
Mancos, CO
Nov 30, 2010 - 12:22am PT
Paul:

Your picture in "Toe Stand" is recent?

If so, you look far better than when our paths crossed at Indian Creek.

Wow! You look alive and strong! And that was not my impression at Indian Creek.

The invite to come to Mancos is still open come spring.

May our paths cross again,
Terry Price

Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 30, 2010 - 11:55am PT
Your picture in "Toe Stand" is recent?

If so, you look far better than when our paths crossed at Indian Creek.


Well, the pic was actually taken the day I noticed something wrong, close to a year ago. I was in Toe-stand repetedly for the photographer. By the end of the shoot I felt what seemed like a pulled muscle in my groin. Turns out it was the main tumor I felt growing.

I look better than when you saw me last though! I am about half way in between what you saw and the picture.

Would have stopped by your place, but had to hi-tail it to the doctors.

C-Ya,
Paul and Ruth

Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 30, 2010 - 06:49pm PT
Here is the comparison Toe-stand pic. This is after taking yoga today.

Paul's toe-stand, Nov.30, 2010
Paul's toe-stand, Nov.30, 2010
Credit: Disaster Master
Gym Birdwall

Gym climber
The "Koop"
Nov 30, 2010 - 09:39pm PT

Good to see youat yoga today,Paul. Love Ruth's classes. How 'bout climbing at The Bubble after the rains?

Mountain Pose, eyes ahead.
Mountain Pose, eyes ahead.
Credit: Gym Birdwall
Headstand.
Headstand.
Credit: Gym Birdwall
Gym Birdwall in Corpse Pose with Disaster Master going into Throne Pos...
Gym Birdwall in Corpse Pose with Disaster Master going into Throne Pose.
Credit: Gym Birdwall
Shavassana, Corpe Pose. &#40;Ruth teaching in the background.&#41;
Shavassana, Corpe Pose. (Ruth teaching in the background.)
Credit: Gym Birdwall
Locust Pose.
Locust Pose.
Credit: Gym Birdwall
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 30, 2010 - 09:41pm PT
How 'bout climbing at The Bubble after the rains?


Gym B., PM me. We will see..............

-DM
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Nov 30, 2010 - 10:52pm PT
You are looking awesome! The Bird is doin' well too! and Ruth...well Ruth is very lovely!
blackbird

Trad climber
the flat water trails...
Dec 3, 2010 - 05:48pm PT
I"m just now checking in/keeping tabs on threads in which I've posted...

A status update as per your request: I"m almost exactly one year out from my most recent surgery (it was January 13, 2010.) Results from labs last week say that all numbers/counts/levels remain (and will continue to remain!!!) exactly where they should. YAY!! Now I just have to keep working on getting my head and heart realigned... ACK!

ABSOLUTELY count me in the CRAC club, and if an opportunity to climb and visit with you et. al in the spring works out, I would truly be honored to be there. Let's send out some optimism and see when it happens!!

To respond to your post on the 27th: I vividly relate to many of your words and thoughts; I truly believe that many here could, particularly those of us who have been up close and personal with this thing we call cancer.

The crying, yelling, screaming and being humbled on every front... The agony of numbness, defeat, loneliness, depression... The gawdawful yoyo of "usta-coulding" and "remember when-ing" yourself to death... People pulling away and/or withdrawing and/or you simply pushing them away, not knowing how to act or react or reach out to you nor you to them because you are so angry at the world or angry at yourself or just damned pissed at breathing and and generally miserably as you try desperately inside your head and your heartto make order out of the ChaosThatHasBecomeYourLife... All of this is frighteningly - and annoyingly! - real and familiar.

Then gradually, you become able to look beyond all of the confusion, darkness and pain... You become able to look to that patch of blue as the storm clears and to the doe you can glimpse through the trees with her still spotted fawn and able to listen to a tune, simple though it may be with no complicated harmonies, that brings a breath of beauty to the air you breathe and that you feel as it resonates through your body and soul when you draw your bow... Serendipitious treasures - both tangible and metaphysical, from perfect strangers begin to light up your days... The light touch or deep hug of a well meaning individual do so as well... These, and others too numerous to mention, are the things that keep you going; that kept ME going. These are the things that continue to help ME to accept that yes, though I once was able to fly, that path has changed and now there are different opportunities. THIS is my path now, and while I may not be where I once was - and where I am certainly more comfortable - this new perspective has gifted me with new opportunities to travel in different directions and with refreshed eyes.

Acceptance is a challenging thing at times. Finding peace can be even more so.

Though it may frequently feel as if you are, you are not alone on this winding trail. I wish you continued peace and healing as your path unfolds before you...

Please keep us posted...

Samantha (bb)


SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Dec 3, 2010 - 09:12pm PT
Wow BB, Samantha! As a new warrior in the damnable cancer battle I have followed and chatted with Paul and gained many insights from his journey. Your most recent post has put to words that avalanche of emotions and jumble I have felt as I have been dumped into a fight I never expected. To this new warrior I find much strength and grounding in what you and Paul have shared...as you said, a reminder that we aren't alone on this journey, and regardless of our individual journeys whatever our love of the rock or nature that brought us all to ST we are able to reach out to kindred souls to discuss and share things as debilitating as cancer to the mystery of physics or historical Chounaird 'biners. Gotta love it! Susan
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 6, 2010 - 04:50am PT
Went to Jim Donini's show in Berkley. Good stuff.
Gym Birdwall, Jim Donini & blue camalot.
Gym Birdwall, Jim Donini & blue camalot.
Credit: Disaster Master

Met a few STers there including SCseagoat. Great to see ya! Don't sweat hair and chemo thing. Tell people you are shenade o,connor (sp?). Really, though, keep going.

Ruth and I popped in, watched the show, and popped out. Not much mingling. Ruth teaches yoga at 7 am the next morning and my feet are killing me from drug side effects. Fun, fun... Got home, too much rock in my head, can't sleep.

Pau, Gym and Ruth at Donini's slide show, Berkley, CA.
Pau, Gym and Ruth at Donini's slide show, Berkley, CA.
Credit: Disaster Master
Que-ing up to get in.
Que-ing up to get in.
Credit: Disaster Master
Credit: Disaster Master
Introducing Jim
Introducing Jim
Credit: Disaster Master

I wondered how I would feel going to a slide show about climbing. They usually rev me up to get out NOW. With my condition, I can't run out and climb. I left inspired yet a little melancoly about missed / rejected oportunities in climbing.

My skin is gettting scalier and itches like crazy. the pads on my feet seem to be impaled on nails when I stand, and ache when I sit. Poor me. Its like having poison oak and standing on tacks. Wierd side-effects.

Tumors are smaller, that's why I am putting up with this crap. But the number of pills in my box increases instead of decreasing. I am what I eat.And what I eat are chemicals.

Feel like I am starting to live up to the mutant thing. It is like I m in the middle of the Disaster Master mutant origen story. Comic on a news stand near you soon.

itching on
-Paul

Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 9, 2010 - 08:42pm PT
What's up with cancer ribbons anyhow? Especially Melanoma. The color for melnoma is BLACK! Let's just put a mourning armband on. That's supposed to give me hope?

what's your cancer color?
Cancer Awareness Ribbon Colors:

 Bladder Cancer
 Yellow

 Bone Cancer
 White

 Brain Cancer *
 Gray

 Breast Cancer *
 Pink

 Cervical Cancer *
 Light Teal

 Childhood Cancer *
 Gold

 Colon Cancer *
 Blue or Brown

 Esophageal Cancer
 Periwinkle

 General Cancer *
 Lavender

 Head & Neck Cancer
 Red & White

 Kidney Cancer *
 Green

 Leukemia *
 Orange

 Lung Cancer *
 White/Clear

 Lymphoma *
 Lime Green

 Melanoma *
 Black

 Multiple Myeloma
 Burgundy

 Neuroblastoma
 Gold

 Oral Cancer
 Red & White

 Ovarian Cancer *
 Teal

 Pancreatic/Liver Cancer *  
 Purple

 Prostate Cancer *
 Light Blue

 Stomach Cancer
 Periwinkle

 Thyroid Cancer
 Teal, Purple & Pink

 Uterine Cancer *
 Peach

I looked up why melanoma is black:

"Why The Black Ribbon?
Melanoma means "black tumor"
Black is the color of the warrior's mood when going into battle and the melanoma patient is in the battle for life.
Black is our rage when we consider the lack of progress and lack of research funding going on after 25 years of the so-called "War On Cancer"


Still don't feel any happier...

The side effects got so bad I called the Doc. He said stop the pills and come see him. Just got back tonight.

My feet hurt like I've pounded out 40 miles in bad shoes. The rash is now body-wide. Looks like chicken skin. (Sigh)

He wants me off the drug for around a week to see if the rash and pain go away. Then hopefully an adjusted dose. Such a roller coaster.

Fairly down. Don't want to give the cancer a chance by stopping the pill, but, God, the side effects suck! We will see. The docs are more hopeful than I am.



SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Dec 10, 2010 - 11:13pm PT
My thoughts are with you. Just got back from chemo, tired, but jagged up on the pre med steriods. I hope that your docs are able work with your side effects and make them go away or minimize. They sound just horrible. And yeah, I'm not impressed with why melanoma awareness is black...although black can be a very powerful color... Black Ops; Ninja gees; good color for power clothes....so I guess go with the stealth and powerful nature of black. Susan
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Dec 10, 2010 - 11:48pm PT
Paul-

The one main thing I learned from my friend's battle with leukemia is never to give up hope. At one point he had twice the fatal amount of white blood cells, total liver and kidney failure. All but one doc had given up on him, yet he survived and 8 years later is fine.

As for your mental description, it sounds like another version of the guilt of the survivor. I went through it when my husband was killed but I didn't know until now that one could go through it on one's own behalf as well. It does make life more serious as one can't help but think we were spared for some bigger purpose. It too takes a long time to get over.
okaythatsme

climber
Dec 14, 2010 - 02:49pm PT
Hey Paul,
Don't know if you've been getting my e-mails but thought I'd drop a line via this forum. I check here to see how you're doing. I'm sorry to hear about the side effects. Continuing good thoughts and hope sent your way. I'd like to send you some photos I have (prints / cd) of you and your siblings if you'd like -- just need to know where to send. If you get a chance send me a note. Lot's of people up north thinking of you and sending their love. -mh
nature

climber
Tuscon Again! India! India! Hawaii! LA?!?!
Dec 21, 2010 - 11:49am PT
Hey Paul.... what's the latest with you.

Give us an update, please.

peace brother...
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 21, 2010 - 01:09pm PT
Return of The Yogi.?!

(THE FOLLOWING IS EXCERPTS FROM MY JOURNAL, AND ATTEMPTED E-MAILS THAT NEVER WERE SENT. IT MAY SOUND JUMBLED TOGETHER, BUT SO ARE MY THOGHTS AT THE MOMENT.)

----------------------------------------------------------



“RO5185426.”

“What?”

“RO5185426. The drug formally known as PLX4032. It's effects rule my life right now.” (Let's back it up a little bit...)

-----------------------------------------------------------


When we last left our attempted hero, he was in the throws of mutation–driven experimental drug therapy for Stage IV Metastatic Malignant Melanoma. (Quite a mouthful.) Earlier non-targeted chemo and mystery molecules had failed to shrink the tumors, instead shrinking Paul down to an astoundingly svelte 128 lbs. He was becoming the “Almost Invisible Man”. Not a good thing.

Despair, and delayed-onset-teen-age angst, (entirely appropriate for a hero origin story),conspired to crush his spirit. His constant companion, Ruth, continually buoyed Paul's mood and braved the mental anguish of witnessing the grotesque and loudly painful transformation. But all seemed inevitably lost.

...Then the moment, we thought, the spider bite, the Gama ray burst, the whatever comic book moment came (and went): RO5185426. A pill so highly promising it was virtually on a pedestal. Doctors got that 16-year-old-girl-with-a-crush look in their eyes when discussing it. And patients felt a strange near-forgotten emotion...Hope.

The drug worked. It seemed almost miraculous! The mutation was nearly complete. The tumors were very small, perhaps even gone. Body weight was up to 143 Lbs. The sun was dawning a bright color indeed...

Then it burned him. Rashes and bumps appeared, first on the scalp then spreading down, like a colonizing horde of chicken skin nodules, all the way to the feet. Each swollen pore seemed to contain a needle, pointed at a nerve. (Itching is not the strong word needed for the sensation.) Then, insult to injury, the pseudo-hero was hobbled again.

Side effects, they wreck the party. They are the kriptonite of pharmacology. The needles turned to nails in his feet, demanding he sit each time he tried to rise. Pain soon had him pounding his sad head against a metal door, and slamming his fists against the floor.

RO5185426. Withdrawn. Transformation on pause. The side effects are too strong. Now denied the wonder-pill , our mopy-marvel waits for his skin to clear, even as his mind grows foggier...

(to be continued...)

----------------------------------------------------------


So that's your friendly neighborhood mutant update.

Life is problematic right now, a bit confusing. I seem to be riding a medical wave. I have access and respond to treatment well enough to surf along until the next drug / therapy. I might not be healthy, but I might be around longer than I thought.

Strangely enough this creates a disconnect in my mind. I just got used to the idea of this being my final fight. I was on my way out. Without the treatment I am going through now, I believe I would not still be here. Good news, right?

Yes, Of, Course!

But now my mind must adjust again, to a life as a perpetual Guinea pig. The treatment of melanoma is not a done deal by any means. New things are happening RIGHT NOW. But now my mind must adjust to the long term again, along with a constantly changing eyes-wide-open view of mortality and lifespan. It is one hell of a ride, emphasis on hell.

Life is a sludge I push through , right now.

Don't worry, I am fundamentally fine. But it would be only BS to say this is anything other than a chore. I must carry on, though. Thank God I am not alone. Somewhere in between the tantrums and the laughter is a peace to be gained from this. Haven't found it yet, but I am on the trail.

If I can get this nerve pain and rash to subside I will return to a slightly lower dose of RO5185426. If only my feet will heal so I can walk, I could put up with the rest. I see a podiatrist today for advice.

Above all, it is the love of those near and far that help. Most of all Ruth. She witnesses and co-experiences all the madness of this disease right next to me. Everyone should be so blessed with such a partner. And no such partner should ever be cursed with having to endure their lover's curse.

Much hope and love,
Paul.

----------------------------------------------------------


Took a nap. Woke up and the tumors are growing. (Shit!)

The one on my neck I use to gauge the progress had virtually disappeared. This morning, not there, this afternoon... it's baaaaack! What is going on? Am I doomed to choose between types of discomfort. Alive and crippled ...or dead? What a choice... if those are the only choices.

--------------------------------------------------------------


(Days passed...)

My feet have been x-rated. It's “only pain”. No bone spurs, no nothing. I devourer the shoe department at Big 5 to find shoes to help ease the foot pain. I leave with new shoes, a wake of boxes and strewn rejects behind me on the floor.

-----------------------------------------------------------


Kriptonite of the Mind...

With the pill retracted, our hero's mood darkened further. The cancers had puffed back, like they simply woke up , stretched and got back to it.

“Screw it!” He was overload, and his mind played down the self destruct sequence...7...6...5...4....Dark images rushed though the Conquered Crusader's mind like the hot beam of a laser of despair, burning out not the cancer but his resolve.

He shook with the struggle.

Who is this foe inside him? Has he turn against himself? In other words, What The F*#k Is Going On? Even sleep offers no refuge.

(to be continued)

-------------------------------------------------------


The only way to it is through it.

---------------------------------------------------------


I think about my mind, as a child, as a field of view, reaching out in 360 directions simultaneously with a smile on my face. Then I see me now, my mind entrenched, mostly blacked out, lighting up only what I believe I can handle.

I remember a time when it felt as if I could handle it all. Each breath was an adventure. Every new thing was a shock, yet a pleasure, all at once. Why do I shake when remembering these days?

-------------------------------------------------------


They gave me back the pill, at a slightly lower dose. Five days in and the tumors are not shrinking again yet. I hope they will. The Docs say they will. I get scanned in a couple days to see where its at.

It's crazy. My nerves make me quiver trying to process it all as I type. The only thing that helps is pranayama, the breath.

--------------------------------------------------------


I just got an e-mail from my good friend Tom. He will be in J-Tree over the New Year. My Dad and his wife Marilyn live in Joshua Tree now. Ruth wants me to get there and decompress, even if she has to work. But we will see.

----------------------------------------------------


That's the unorganized cut and paste ramblings of back against the wall Paul. Don't worry too much. Not done yet.



Here is something I remember writing on the Pacific Crest Trail that might explain my ultimate view...

Body And Sole on the PCT

Blisters.
Sores on these damn feet.
I am hobbled
by my own Ambition.

There's a knifing pain
in my damned right knee.
The tendons are rebelling.
I have but ten more
to go today.
10 miles of hills and heat.
Damn feet.

What I need is shade,
and freedom from flies.
And at last it comes,
under creek-side oaks,
past the poison kind,
near a cool, cow visited
seasonal trickle.

Long droughts pass the time
as I hide from high noon,
sweat drying to salt
on my lips and in
the corners of my eyes...

Damn feet,
time to go.
Got 4,000 feet
still to climb.
4,000 feet of
sage brush and buzzworms,
of hills and heat.
There's got to be a tree
up there somewhere...

Look at that!
The land drops away
in waves of shimmering heat,
down from this
blessed tree I've found,
to a vast barren
granitic desert....

I wonder what's up ahead?




Clutchin' & Clawin' on,

Paul.
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Dec 21, 2010 - 02:41pm PT
Still thinking positive thoughts for you Paul.

Keep on
Clutchin' & Clawin' on,
scuffy b

climber
Three feet higher
Dec 21, 2010 - 05:19pm PT
Thanks, Paul.

You amaze and inspire me. I'm really sorry you have to go through such
hardship.

The gift of your writing is enormous.
Seamstress

Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
Dec 21, 2010 - 05:23pm PT
You are the Master of a disaster. Best wishes for happy holiday.
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Dec 21, 2010 - 07:35pm PT
thank you Paul. Your writing creates great poignancy and texture. Not much else to say...fellow CRACer! Susan
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Dec 21, 2010 - 08:53pm PT
This is one Trip Report where no one will be asking for current photos, I am sure. Sorry Dude it is so tough.
sallyclimbs

Sport climber
new zealand
Dec 21, 2010 - 09:20pm PT
I live half a world away, but reading this, and having a friend find a mole she had removed for vanity reasons was malignent ,in the same week had me down the doctors for a check up. Got a mole removed yesterday. I'll be telling my friends to get a check up too. Thanks for the reminder to keep an eye on things
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 22, 2010 - 10:41pm PT
Ruth has prodded me off the couch and out to J-Tree. My friend Tom will be there, will YOU? Last week of the year or so. I am trolling Craig's list for a floppy pair of climbing shoes for my cinder-fella feet. They ache too much for my tight ones. (The Doc told me I shouldn't "Climb or do that rope stuff or anything strenuous". Ruth reminded me that I could climb at les than max. That counts, right?)

We trekked to UCSF MT. Zion to see the Doc again today. 1/2 day of the run around and more tests. For now I continue on a 3/4 dose of the wonder pill. One more potential trap tomorrow when we go back again to get me scanned. At least we will have visual evidence soon.
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 23, 2010 - 11:16pm PT
Got scanned today. Bad news: still got cancer. Good news: not as much.

This is one Trip Report where no one will be asking for current photos, I am sure.
Here are some comparative scans from the past number of months:
Scan, June 9, 2010. This was the scan that led to the diagnosis.  The ...
Scan, June 9, 2010. This was the scan that led to the diagnosis. The black spots in the abdomen are cancer.
Credit: Disaster Master
Scan of lower abdomen tumors, Oct. 14, 2010. The sices are not exactly...
Scan of lower abdomen tumors, Oct. 14, 2010. The sices are not exactly the same, but close enough to highlight changes. Notice enlarged masses in lower abdomen. I was near-bed ridden at this stage.
Credit: Disaster Master
Scan, Dec. 23, 2010. Scan from today. Notice the lack of large tumors ...
Scan, Dec. 23, 2010. Scan from today. Notice the lack of large tumors near groin and up by ribs. Where did they go?
Credit: Disaster Master

A side view comparison:
Upper tumors from Side Scan, Oct.14, 2010. At my worst so far in this ...
Upper tumors from Side Scan, Oct.14, 2010. At my worst so far in this scan.
Credit: Disaster Master
Lower tumors from Side Scan, Oct.14, 2010. At my worst so far in this ...
Lower tumors from Side Scan, Oct.14, 2010. At my worst so far in this scan.
Credit: Disaster Master
Side Scan, Dec. 22, 2010. Where is it going? Will it be back?
Side Scan, Dec. 22, 2010. Where is it going? Will it be back?
Credit: Disaster Master

nature

climber
Tuscon Again! India! India! Hawaii! LA?!?!
Dec 24, 2010 - 12:01am PT
smaller is good.
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Dec 24, 2010 - 05:38pm PT
OMG I don't do well with trying to figure out scans and ultra sounds and stuff like that...When the docs point out something like "this is your liver" I go "uh?, that gray shadow?" But I can actually see the the incredible difference in your scans. I've always wondered where it goes too...like we absorb it then pee and poop it out? Well anyway, it really looks like the pill is working on the tumors, now how to tame the side effects so you get survivorship with a reasonable quality of life!
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 25, 2010 - 11:01am PT
I can actually see the the incredible difference in your scans. I've always wondered where it goes too...like we absorb it then pee and poop it out? Well anyway, it really looks like the pill is working on the tumors, now how to tame the side effects so you get survivorship with a reasonable quality of life!

It does seem to be shrinking, so for that I am grateful. But the feet, skin, mood side effects are not that great of a trade off. I just hope my feet will allow themselves to be stuffed into little shoes. I hope I remember to re-aply sunblock so I won't blister in the Sun.

Details, details.

I just have to remember that , right now , at least , I don't look like this inside:
At my worst.
At my worst.
Credit: Disaster Master
When the future seems so un-nerving, it seems ignorance is inded bliss.

I put up a route years ago called "The Curse of Conciousness". Sometimes it feels that my route names turned out to be prophetic. "The Grounded Visionary", "My Up and Down Life."

Got to get my hands on my new D5 Hammer so I can go put up my next routes: " Out, Damn Spot!" and "Infinite Ascention".

They will be classics. I already know where they are...
nature

climber
Tuscon Again! India! India! Hawaii! LA?!?!
Dec 25, 2010 - 12:16pm PT
Stay Strong Brother....

Merry Christmas to you and Ruth!

much love,

doug & tina
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 30, 2010 - 12:02pm PT
Happy almost new year.

Ruth and I are in Joshua Tree. The weather is windy and cold now, but I managed to haul myself up a few routes before the weather changed.

Perhaps we will get to do some more before going home in a couple days.

The damn side effects are starting to flare again. My feet are a mess. But on we go.....

Paul
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Dec 30, 2010 - 10:09pm PT
Thinking of you Paul...glad you got down to JT and even some climbing! Wowsa! Michael and I got up to the mtns for a few days. It was beautiful. He got some skiing in, I enjoyed the scenery and mtn. air. My third chemo is New Year's Eve day. Hope you get those side effects tamed. They sound gruesome. Happy New Year to you and Ruth! Susan
rock*

Boulder climber
???
Jan 4, 2011 - 10:42pm PT
Happy new year Paul! It was great to see you guys out in the desert. We missed you on new years eve, hopefully you found an even better party.

Ben & Kate
tamberly

Trad climber
san diego
Jan 5, 2011 - 12:31am PT
Paul...I remember your beautiful smile from an earlier post....god bless and my thoughts and prayers are with you...do some climbing and kick ass
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 5, 2011 - 08:38pm PT
Hi, all..

I have been trying to write a trip report about the trip to Joshua tree. But it is coming off as sort of a bummer. Probably not something people want to read.

As a writter (NOt a speller) I want a point to the chapter, the story, the poem...whatever. Not sure if this has that yet.

I am back in Santa Rosa minus one tooth, some cash, and with new swelling and pain in my groin. Still sorting it all out.

Stay tuned...

SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Jan 5, 2011 - 09:15pm PT
Ouch...that doesn't sound so good...I hope things turn around soon! Susan

And boy o boy a writer you are!
ncrockclimber

climber
NC
Jan 5, 2011 - 09:43pm PT
Hang in there! Although we have never met, you are in my thoughts.
labrat

Trad climber
Nevada City, CA
Jan 5, 2011 - 09:53pm PT
Good thoughts going your way!
Erik
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 7, 2011 - 03:59pm PT
Hi, Paul here...Attempting to Master on. Feel like more of a Disaster, though.



SCseagoat


Trad climber
Santa Cruz Dec 30, 2010 - 07:09pm PT
Thinking of you Paul...glad you got down to JT and even some climbing! Wowsa!
Susan, you are a light to me as well. Climbers Rise Above Cancer. Now if I can just wrap my mind around the reality of today...


rock*


Boulder climber
??? Jan 4, 2011 - 07:42pm PT
Happy new year Paul! It was great to see you guys out in the desert. We missed you on new years eve, hopefully you found an even better party.

Ben & Kate
Ben and Kate,
You guys rock! thanks for camp. Ruth and I left for the dentist and other fun stuff. Sorry we missed the new years with you all.




tamberly


Trad climber
san diego Jan 4, 2011 - 09:31pm PT
Paul...I remember your beautiful smile from an earlier post....



Everyone is so kind on this thread. I hope to post more as soon as I can.


ncrockclimber, labrat, thanks for your thoughts.

C-Ya,
Paul



Jobee

Social climber
El Portal Ca.
Jan 7, 2011 - 06:15pm PT
Hey Paul,

I love your profile image; YOGA DUDE! Super inspirational for me.

You look cool!

Credit: Jobee


Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 8, 2011 - 01:02am PT
I posted the following as a trip report as well, if you are wondering.



Disaster Master makes it to J-Tree.
Disaster Master makes it to J-Tree.
Credit: Disaster Master
How long will it take
'till our smiles
are permanent?
Will laugh lines ever
outweigh wrinkled brows?

I want to lounge,
like a lizard
on a rock in the Sun;
Be alive.
Have fun.
Be free.
Be me....

I want the warm light
to fill me up,
and have a soft breeze
blow in my ear
like a lover.

But my moods come
like the tides;
high and low.

And tears
turned to salt-spray
lie mingled
in my eyes...

How long will it take
until our smiles
are permanent?


DAY 1:

We roll into the cold beauty of Joshua Tree National park wrapped in parkas and beanies. Destination winter climbing indeed.
Seth and Tom unload.
Seth and Tom unload.
Credit: Disaster Master
Clouds and wind lend a bite to the experience of Diamond Dogs in the Hall of Horrors. It is Seth's first JT lead, and a fine one.
Diamond Dogs starts in the flake at the left.
Diamond Dogs starts in the flake at the left.
Credit: Disaster Master
Seth starts up his first J-Tree climb.
Seth starts up his first J-Tree climb.
Credit: Disaster Master
Seth pluggin' pro on Diamond Dogs, Joshua Tree.
Seth pluggin' pro on Diamond Dogs, Joshua Tree.
Credit: Disaster Master
After a lap to clean it up,
Disaster Master, Paul Humphrey, on Diamond Dogs, Joshua Tree.
Disaster Master, Paul Humphrey, on Diamond Dogs, Joshua Tree.
Credit: Disaster Master
I pause as he and Tom bag another granite bump as the gray light fades to an even darker shade of evening...
Tom Ogden bolt clippin' in the Hall of Horrors area, J-Tree.
Tom Ogden bolt clippin' in the Hall of Horrors area, J-Tree.
Credit: Disaster Master
Tom wondering..."This is a sport route, right?" J-Tree.
Tom wondering..."This is a sport route, right?" J-Tree.
Credit: Disaster Master

Off to camp.
Cold, clear, windy and empty. J-Tree.
Cold, clear, windy and empty. J-Tree.
Credit: Disaster Master
It is cold. The wind snaps and buffers my tiny tent, pitched in haste as the shadows gathered. It is a welcome respite from the gale. Joshua Tree in late December is often cold or windy or both. But this time the wind holds a bite more bitter than I remember. It feels malicious and purposeful, as if it wants to blow out my hope. All I needed was a break from my bullsh#t.

This beautifully barren land, studded with lumps and bumps of Monzonite, had been my refuge and escape in the past.
Wandering washes, Joshua Tree, Ca.
Wandering washes, Joshua Tree, Ca.
Credit: Disaster Master
It is a place where I can rack up and play the hard-man, or leave it all behind and wander into the desert with my thoughts. I often wrestled with my mind here as much as the stone, wandering alone into the Wonderland to see what I could find out about Me.

Seven years ago I got word that I had cancer. This is where I fled then to process and plan. That fight was through, I thought...
After the first Melanoma surgery, 2004. Paul Humphrey
After the first Melanoma surgery, 2004. Paul Humphrey
Credit: Disaster Master
Not. Cancer returned this year
Scan, Aug. 18, post ym155, worst shot.
Scan, Aug. 18, post ym155, worst shot.
Credit: Disaster Master
and ever since I longed to return here. Don't know why. It just seems the thing to do.

I have left a lot behind in these washes. I've laughed and cried tears into the sand. Somehow the stones listened better than most people. They whisper their advice to me in the wind. 'Buck up, camper. You can stand the gale. We have sat here near forever. The Sun comes back, the yuccas bloom, then 'round it goes again.'

Why, then, is the wind overcoming me now? In the past here I just laughed it off.
Random J-Tree wandering rocks.
Random J-Tree wandering rocks.
Credit: Disaster Master
“Fine, Mr. Bluster, Let's play hide and seek. Chase me if you must, I will hide in the folds of the earth, up against the golden stone, in pockets of warmth that thwart you. Go ahead and blow til you blow yourself out. I am fine.”

Today, though, the wind seems not a companion but a creep. A blowing , blustery bully. “F*#k off, go away,” it screams. 'You are fooling yourself. Give in. Give up. Go away.'

No. I will stay. At least for a little while. But, damn, this is an arctic blast.

DAY 2:

The wind is still blowing, but the Sun is overhead, so there are possibilities. We are camped at the group site, Sheep Pass; an assortment of abilities... and injuries. There are some healthy folks, but not all. One friend shows up from CO on crutches. A two story fall while roofing broke his foot, but he still came.
Broken Ben, J-Tree.
Broken Ben, J-Tree.
Credit: Disaster Master
Another guy superman-ed over is bars when he hit a tree on the trails. Ouch! And Me? I have Stage IV Melanoma. What a crew.

What to climb?

In the past I would have a plan, an agenda, goals upon goals for the day ahead. Now filling with Cancer, I feel half-dead. 'What to climb, where to climb, can I climb? Screw it.' I give in to the impulses of the group. They are far more likely to lead than me today. “What's the Plan?”

Houser Buttress.
Outside Real Hidden Valley, Houser Buttress in the distance. J-Tree.
Outside Real Hidden Valley, Houser Buttress in the distance. J-Tree.
Credit: Disaster Master
Off we trek around the corner, up the blocks and into a pocket of windless sunny stone. Five layers are quickly shed to one and the possibility enters my mind that I might even have some fun. “Who's up? I'll belay.” I offer up my rope and rack. At least my rack will be on the sharp end. Like many native cultures, I believe my gear must be used. It's what it wants, it's purpose. So go forth, my happy Camalots, and stoppers. Let yourselves be wedged smiling into the gaps. I will gather you back up as I follow.

Tom is an indecisive Master, often doubting himself, then performing like a pro. I am never worried that he will fail. I relax and allow myself to be led, instead of leading. BITD the sharp end was the only end for me. To follow was second best, if that. I always wanted to attack. Where did that drive go? Even more pressing, where did the Sunblock go?

“That's me.”

No time to slather on the SPF now. The rope is tugging with an insistence that suggests the summit is windier than the base, and Tom is ready.

“Climbing.” (I hope.)

One hand, one foot above the other is all I need to do. Crimp with the right, Jam the left. Match, shuffle up and repeat. My tape gloves re reused, I made them on my trip to Indian Creek. And the remnants of red sand in the glue contrast nicely with the large granite grains I jam against. The feet are thin from place to place and I scream as I kick out into a stem to use an edge. Something ripped inside, in my groin. 'F*#k you, tumor. I will rip you apart.'

My scream startles the group, thinking a fall is surely next, and the rope tightens as Tom reacts above. But is is only pain, not incompetence. I reach the top. Windier here. “Hi, Tom.”

Unsure of the walk off or rappel choices to be had, we wander down dangerous slots to the base. Getting down is often more adventurous than climbing up here. Water still fills the sculpted potholes in the stone. The wind creates a storm in miniature, a tempest in a teapot, as they say. And so went the day. Not bad.

That evening the group makes an attempt at a windy campfire. My body fat was devoured by disease months go. And the cold buries itself into my bones. Good thing Ruth is on the way, our Alaskan Camper on her truck,
From the manual of our 1964ish truck camper.
From the manual of our 1964ish truck camper.
Credit: Disaster Master
ready to whisk me inside when she arrives to Mr. Heater comfort.

But she's late. In my tiny tent I try to sleep, but wake at the sound of each wandering engine searching for a place in the night.

'Not her...not her... not... Screw this.' I move camp to the cab of Tom's truck where I can see who's coming. After midnight she arrives, and I fall into her arms and into the camper.


DAY 3:

I am dried out, turned to jerky, a husk. Despite my best efforts to slather against the Sun, and the pills it has left me burnt, bloated and peeling. At least the wind is down and the Sun is out again. But whence the warmth? It seems an empty light, devoid of the heat promised by memory. 'Is it only me who feels this?'

With Ruth arrives a new nonsensical source of nervousness. My mind wants to show her the magic of this place, to whisk her into the world I remember of grainy grips and biting jams. I want to show her summits and skills and teach her new things.

My carcass will not comply. It drags its feet and gasps for air far too soon with the effort. It aches and cries and shocks and generally pisses me off. My mind remembers leaping stone to stone. Yet my Form can't keep up with my former self.

The fact confronts me head on. Instead of turning to a new direction I allow it to hit me and shove me down. And in doing so I solve nothing. Something's got to give...
The Freeway Wall, Lost Horse, Joshua Tree.
The Freeway Wall, Lost Horse, Joshua Tree.
Credit: Disaster Master
We do our best, Ruth and I, playing on a 5.9 on the Freeway wall.
Credit: Disaster Master
But I am spent and she is nervous of that fact. “How bout just scrambling?”

My feet feel pierced with nails, a side-effect from treatment. Can't just sit anymore, though. “Fine.” We drop all the aluminum ballast and simply walk...
The best picture I got of Ruth climbing ;&#41;
The best picture I got of Ruth climbing ;)
Credit: Disaster Master
I lose myself in my mind:

I am a phantom, a visible vapor...
and lately, desire escapes me.
It lurks, to be sure.
Yet remains in the peripheral.
In climbing, the top, the completed act, is the one common desire.
Joy in the perfection of the pre-prescribed sequence.
Lately, such a quest escapes me.
Is this a loss, or rather a simple reckoning?
A regression or a moving on, beyond...
In climbing, the goal is distinct,
known at least in the envisioning as a line,
a series of points...
Why, then, has my mind become a field of view?
Lately, I find it hard to concentrate,
focus... on points... on lines.
The canvas it too broad, expansive.
So I pause.
Lately, my arms seem light
only when I give up guiding them.
My mind is lost in the pattern, and
knows only that it does not know...

“Gees, get a grip, Paul!”
Time to worm my way into the boulder piles in search of sanity.
Me, center, between rock and hard place. :&#41;
Me, center, between rock and hard place. :)
Credit: Disaster Master
Deep in a hole I find the large shed skin of a desert serpent, and I am filled with a strange jealousy. Why can't I shed my skin? After all, it is trying to kill me. My only way to slough is to burn, and that burn is why my skin is rebelling in the first place... Ironic.

Where do I turn when all directions face oblivion? How do I smile at a black hole? It will simply rip the lips and teeth from my grin, never to be seen again. Where do I reach into to find my audacious bravado, my "F*#k you", abyss mocking mindset...

What will allow my to laugh even as I burn?

It’s in me, whatever it is, that ability to snub the world and feel better for it. But also in me is the disturbing ability to collapse, retreat, cocoon, and let the precious one way stream of time nearly drown me. What' up with that?!

“Paul?!” I hear Ruth's voice calling out to find me, and slither up out ofthe shadows. There she is, her face a map of love and concern and exhaustion at it all.
Ruth, ah, Ruth...
Ruth, ah, Ruth...
Credit: Disaster Master

'But she is here. Remember that.' I only hope I learn the skills of leaving the angst and letting love exit my mouth instead of this whining and pining for an alternate reality.
"Oh, yeah! I remember this place." Disaster Master at Joshua Tree.
"Oh, yeah! I remember this place." Disaster Master at Joshua Tree.
Credit: Disaster Master
'Live the one your in, dumbass!'

DAY 4:

As if in response to my escilating angst, the wind speed increases in the night and stays pinned there. To up the anty even more it brings rain. “At least we're not that poor guy,” points out Ruth. She gestures out the window ofthe camper to a soogy soul stirring breakfast in the storm. The rain is blown near horiziontal againt the down jacket clad cook. Out our other window the lights burn to the sound of a generator at the group site of Evolv. Ruth guesses we are somewhere in the midde of the comfort spectrum.

If I wanted to sit in an RV, though, I would have stayed home. We live in one.
Our homes on wheels.
Our homes on wheels.
Credit: Disaster Master
I'ts the outside just outside the inside we are in that confounds me this morning. The final straw is a growing, swelling sore in my mouth. A bad tooth has finally broken in pieces. Infection may be setting in. Looks like its time to visit family in town.

My Dad and Marilyn, his wife found a place in Yucca Valley last year, only minues from the Park. This was a fine way to get me to visit at last, but only after exhusing myself climbing... Or when it rained. Dad's a minister, so maybe he called it in. Reguardles, Ruth and I were washed out of the Park and into a senior community below.

It's good to see the folks, but hard for them to see my mood. I am a grouch despite my best intentions. It's not all bad, though, and soon stories are flowing to enrich Ruth's understanding of me, many to my embarasment.
Dad, David Humphrey, and Ruth at Marilyn and Dad's home.
Dad, David Humphrey, and Ruth at Marilyn and Dad's home.
Credit: Disaster Master
The offer of a warm bed is more inviting than I thought it would be. I guess I forgot to pack my resolve this trip. The idea of either freezing in solidarity around the fire in camp, or retreating anti-socially to the warmth ofthe camper seem equally lame. Instead we choose Fox News and Jeopardy with Dad and Marilyn.
Credit: Disaster Master
Ah, the life of adventure!

Day 5

I have been up all night. Not a wink of sleep. My gums continue to swell. My tooth is toast. Worst of all thre is new pain and swelling in my groin. A persistent ache and throb. But we have only a day or two more to try and climb. I am lost too deep in my brain-molasses.

Let's review the facts:

-I am with the love of my Life.
-I am in (or damn near) J-Tree, a favoite place.
-I am with my Father and Step-Mom who love me.
-I am freaking out...WTF!

Plan not working. Implosion continuing. Nonscence breeding nonscence. What's the deal? What will it take to heal?

I feel at war with my brainstem, my carcass, that part of me made of dirt. My “Me” mind is indifferent, and could likely cope. But my “Body” mind knows it ends with my hartbeat, and that is not acceptible to it. “Body” wants “Me” mind to figure it out, to get a plan, get a clue, get going!

“Me” mind has no answers for “Body” mind's suffering, though. “Me” mind can survive and thrive only by loking beyond “Body” mind. But “Body” wont have that. So it shoves itsway into the rest of “Me” like a suicide bomber or a jilted lover. “If not me, no one then. Oblivian. That's the only out.”

Such Bullshit! F*#k off and die, corpse. Stop clawing at my contentment. Quit screaming at “Me” that I am only You. Leave “Me” be, don't kill it all out of spite at “Body's” reality. Don't drag “Me” down with my corpse...

Time to get out while we can. Ruth and I head for Indian Cove, a lower and less (legend has it) windy part of the park. The wind has slackened, but it is still there, lurking on the summits for underclad leaders. Sunny again. Yet shouldn't that mean warm?

We run across Tom and Seth battling it out on a 5.10 sandbag. I try and set a TR, but Ruth's knee is flaring up and she is taking her turn at pouting. I give up. Game over, dude. We've got too much on our plate.

DAY 6:

New years eve. It's emergency dental surgery for me. Horray! This is exactly how I wanted to spend the last sunny day of vacation. Dad drives me off to Palm Desert to get the now multiple shards of my moler out.
One less tooth to weigh me down. Joshua Tree, Dec. 31, 2010.
One less tooth to weigh me down. Joshua Tree, Dec. 31, 2010.
Credit: Disaster Master

Back at Dad's the hole throbs, and I wonder what the point of this joke is. The thought of shivering with the drunken masss in the Park held no appeal, and we were all asleep soon after the New Year reached Times Square.

DAY 7:

Time to head North again.
Credit: Disaster Master
Ruth has a teaching gig for a couple days in Napa, then Santa Rosa again. The tumors seem to be returning, quite suddenly, and with them memories of pain best forgotten. I think that is the root of all this angst.

I must have felt this coming change for the worse. My nightmares and sweats were sirens. Only months ago I lay near death, my right leg twice the size of the left, my groin and testicles inflamed. My bowels had collapsed and pancreas had swelled. I could not walk more than 10 steps without a ghasp.

Then I got better. I swallowed the magic pills that gave me not the cure I wanted, but a reprieve.
my first dose of RO5185426, the pill formally known as PLX4032. The na...
my first dose of RO5185426, the pill formally known as PLX4032. The name was changed to "honor" the new partner company out of switzerland.
Credit: Disaster Master
Now they seem to be loosing their effetivness. And I remember the horror that was and likey comes again. I do not want it. It feels worse for having been there before. I stare down a tunnell of future pain.

What will be my tool to see me through?

I need to remember Supercrack in Indian Creek, and my determination.
Jam till you puke! Paul Humphrey, cancer and all, on SUPERCRACK, India...
Jam till you puke! Paul Humphrey, cancer and all, on SUPERCRACK, Indian Creek, Utah.
Credit: Disaster Master
I top-roped my way to the chains even though riddled with this disease. It was the hardest effort of my life, at one of my weakest states, and I am proud of it.
Paul Humphrey, very ill and happy after Supercrack, Indian Creek, UT.
Paul Humphrey, very ill and happy after Supercrack, Indian Creek, UT.
Credit: Disaster Master

I need to remember the day Ruth and I tried to climb Wamello Dome but diddn't.
Vomit and tears. Time to go down.
Vomit and tears. Time to go down.
Credit: Disaster Master
I was hiking back up the steep climber's trail at the end of the day. The pain in my right leg sucked, I was on a cane. “I'm f*#king crippled” I thought. Then “No I'm Not!”

When I mountaineered, I used the rest step up high. Step, rest, take a break then move again. It was hard to breath then too. I used my ice ax to help me through.

What is the difference between that and today? I hold my cane instead of an ax?
I would'a gotten' up it if it wasn't for those damn tumors!
I would'a gotten' up it if it wasn't for those damn tumors!
Credit: Disaster Master
I'm still on a steep slope with a short stick in my hand determined to make it to the top. Who gives a sh#t if the top is a hill or a high peak? I am at my max, roling with it. One rest step at a time until I am done.

One rest step at a time until I am done...


One rest step at a time until I am done...


The way that can be told is not the way...


Guess I just have to experience it...
One rest step at a time until I am done... <br/>
 <br/>
 <br/>
The way that can be...
One rest step at a time until I am done...


The way that can be told is not the way...


Guess I just have to experience it...

Credit: Disaster Master
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Jan 8, 2011 - 01:50am PT
Thank you Paul.

That was so beautiful and so hard to read at the same time.

The Supertopo family continues with you on your journey.

You are not alone though many who share this journey will not say anything
because they do not know what to say in the face of so much suffering and
our own sense of helplessness.

You help us to understand more each day, what it is to be human.
We could not choose a better representative than you.

gf

climber
Jan 8, 2011 - 02:04am PT
Paul,

I am so full of admiration for your spirit and appreciate very much the chance to write and send love from my family to you.
greg foweraker
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 8, 2011 - 06:31pm PT
D5 hammer
D5 hammer
Credit: Disaster Master
I just got my new wall hammer in the mail. It was a gift/ loan and I am psyched! http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1326037&tn=540
Happy Paul D5 delivery.
Happy Paul D5 delivery.
Credit: Disaster Master

Is this the karmic hint / hit I needed?
Lucky #13
Lucky #13
Credit: Disaster Master
What am I supposed to do with this thing? Feel like I just got a new sword. Need a project now, a new route.
HHMMMMMMMmmmmm......

Maybe here...
The Poison Garden Wall, Marble Caves, Ca.
The Poison Garden Wall, Marble Caves, Ca.
Credit: Disaster Master

Or this...
The Dream Tower
The Dream Tower
Credit: Disaster Master

Or here...
Limestone Bluffs, Cecilville, CA.
Limestone Bluffs, Cecilville, CA.
Credit: Disaster Master

What should I call it???
Lucas

Trad climber
Goleta, CA
Jan 8, 2011 - 10:42pm PT
Dear Paul,

We've never met but I've been following your story and I'd like to wish you all the best.

Sincerely,

Lukasz.
Vosser

Trad climber
reno, NV
Jan 8, 2011 - 11:56pm PT
HI, Paul

I am working on a new rout and when it is finished I am nameing it Disaster master. Hang in there.
Hummerchine

Trad climber
East Wenatchee, WA
Jan 9, 2011 - 02:25am PT
Disaster Master...

That name alone shows what an incredibly awesome attitude you have! (GREAT name, btw...) I've been reading all your posts, you sound super cool. I just wanted you to know that, even though we have never met, I am thinking about you and wishing you the very best. I have learned through some difficult times of my own that nobody goes through life without having some gnarly things happen to them. I used to feel awkward when around someone going through something difficult (to say the least) like you have had to endure. But I know now, from my own personal experience (a legal nightmare, which truly was a nightmare, but obviously your situation destroys my own) that the best thing you can do when someone is going through something really awful is to tell them that you care rather than ignore it. I feel really bad for you, but I am also massively impressed with everything about you...and your attitude completely rocks! I have this gut instinct that everything will work out for you...but of course, I could be wrong and none of us lives forever. I know you will continue to savor every moment you have, there are silver linings to things even like this. I prayed a lot during my nightmare, and have just said a prayer for you...even though I guess you would have to call me an agnostic, at times this just seems to help and I pray it helps you!

Best wishes, man...I wish I knew you!
silentone

Mountain climber
wisconsin
Jan 9, 2011 - 07:46am PT
Paul,
I had a malignent melanoma removed about 10 years ago and have recently noticed some odd looking moles. You have inspired me to get them looked at this week. Sometimes I don't want to know what might be wrong with me I'm stuborn and prideful but I want to live. I have so much left to do.
I want you to live to and I am wishing you and Ruth the all the best.
I also didn't think your trip report sounded like whining, it sounds like someone toughing it out and managing to live on in the best way he can.
Thanks Paul you inspire me and your writing is terrific.
S.O.
another Paul
Captain...or Skully

climber
leading the away team, but not in a red shirt!
Jan 9, 2011 - 08:23am PT
Right on, Paul. You damn sure inspire.
Thank you for that. Lucky 13 rolls on, eh? Wishin' all the best, man.
steveA

Trad climber
bedford,massachusetts
Jan 9, 2011 - 08:37am PT
Paul,

You are an inspiration to all of us. You sure are a fighter! All the best. Steve
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 9, 2011 - 10:31pm PT
Wierd day. I did not sleep well last night. All day a persistent fatigue has consumed me. I am on edge from new pain and growths I feel in my neck and groin.

So I made chocolate chip cookies to cope.
Credit: Disaster Master
And breakfast, bucher bacon and eggs, organic blueberry pancakes, coffe and OJ. Then this afternoon, just as I started pasta and meat sauce, the phone rang.

Actually, Ruth's phone rang. She had just left for the store, and left her cell.

It kept ringing, then my phone too. "What the hell?" It was our boss at the yoga studio. THe web schedule said Ruth was off. But the board at work said she was on. The owner was in San Fran and could not make it. Everyone else was not answering. "Crap!"

I tried to start the Harley, my only availible ride. No go. I run back inside and stir the pasta. Maybe the bike flooded.

I run out and try again. It fires. But the choke is broke. I wedge a pebble in to hold it open and run back to the stove. As I stir I call the boss.

"You find anyone?"

"NO, Damn, what now?"

"I'll go start the class and leave a note for Ruth."

"Really?"

"Well, f*#k, someone has to get there." I hung up and tested the pasta. Two more minutes. THe gloves were in the truck and I forgot my warm jacket as I puled on my leathers, Drained the pasta and stirred it into the sauce. "Good enough."

Helmet, glasses, out to the bike.
Credit: Disaster Master
I flick the stone out of the choke and blast off coughing. THe cold engine makes me cringe. 'yah, boy!" On the freeway and up past the limit. It feels good to do something silly and dangerous again. It is cold!

I roar in front of the studio and rush in in a shiver. Suprise greets me. "Let's do this thing!" I shout as my helmet comes off. I grab a towell, the mike and some water. Off to the room.

It is full. Good grief. 39 people! I strip right there out of my leathers down to the shorts I had put on at home to save time. "You get the full Humphrey tonight, I guess." I launch into an impromto act, yoga, stand-up, corrections and philosophy spew from my mouth for 90 minutes in the 100+ degree room. 'It's Showtime!'
Credit: Disaster Master

I end with a gasp. Ruth arived but I had continued. Talk about jumping into the pool. I have not taught for months and was afraid I could not. I forgot a few things. Just laughed it off and went on.

I am tired!

Ruth is still there. She is coaching for the demonstration / comp in Stockton next week.

Whew!
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 10, 2011 - 02:04pm PT
Oh, God. I might have over done it. Again.

Woke up early and have been hurlin' the morning away. Yeach!

Found an old poem in an old file while wastin' time. I wrote it while hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail.

My every movement is a prayer.
My every breath an expression of joy.
These creaking bones,
curses & moans
are shouts of glory.
My every effort is a drive to praise.
My sweat through travail is Holy made.
Oh, wonderful marvelous effort
which sustains as it drains
every ounce and hint of worries away,
scattering them into the wholesome wind.
This same breeze embraces me,
cradling my kenetic worship
& I breath & move effortlessly;
for neither I,
nor the universe,
nor the devine is static.
We are movement, all of us.
We ebb & flow.
My every movement is a prayer.

-Paul David Humphrey


What did I climb today?

Back into bed!
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 12, 2011 - 07:43pm PT
I got side tracked by starting another thread the other day. http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1375736/AAAAAARRRRRRRGGHHHHHHH Bringing it back home now.

We just got back from UCSF Mt. Zion. It was time to start round 4 of the RO5185426, the pill formerly known as PLX4032.

The Doc and the study advisor both came in to see me. They looked happy. The latest scan from a couple weeks ago were in. They showed a 50 percent decrease in size of the tumors over all. What they did not know yet was that since then the main mass in my groin had grown. Another active tumor in my neck seemed larger too. I told them.

Their faces dropped. I felt like a fart hanging in the room. I explained how I had an infection and a tooth pulled on New Year's Eve and my Doc in Santa Rosa gave me antibiotics. They did not seem to help the pain.

After an exam we talked ideas. The tumor in my groin was bigger than the scan. My disease was progressing again, but maybe not to the level yet that I HAD to get of the trial. But the Doc's oppinion was that the drug has stopped working for me and the illness will likely continue. I asked to stay on the drug another week at least while I weigh my options.

One is interlukin 2, a hardcore in the ICU for 5 days therapy with bad side effects. Another is an experimental trial that includes CHEMO. I had chemo. I hate chemo. Other than that, localy, there is not much else. Lots of things "on the horizon", just not in reach for me, yet.

So...Good thing I took this pill. It shrunk the cancer and gave me back a lot of strength. Damn that pill for quiting on me.

I am healthy enough to start new treatments. But those treatments will sicken me in the short term at least.

None of the options carry better odds than 15 percent. At least it's not zero.

I could just accept my time is near. Perhaps the point of getting ill is it is time to die. Hope not...

I am left on edge, run out, pumped and out of gear. Oh, dear.

Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 13, 2011 - 12:17pm PT
Here is the real reason I keep posting here:

bmacd


Trad climber
Grade V, Level III certified Kook 100% Canadian Sep 22, 2010 - 03:45pm PT
Paul, go easy on yourself man. I'm making an appointment to get a few things checked out because of your thread.


Nature wrote:
I don't have any moles that I'm aware of. but dam.... I might look again,

silentone


Mountain climber
wisconsin Jan 9, 2011 - 04:46am PT
Paul,
I had a malignent melanoma removed about 10 years ago and have recently noticed some odd looking moles. You have inspired me to get them looked at this week. Sometimes I don't want to know what might be wrong with me I'm stuborn and prideful but I want to live. I have so much left to do.

rincon


Trad climber
SoCal Aug 11, 2010 - 09:11am PT
Hey Paul,

I've had skin cancer too, though I am very lucky that it hasn't come back. They used some kind of hot scraper tool to scrape off the skin, now there's just a small white scar there. Had other cancer too...NHL has been f*#king with me since '03, been through the chemo and like you, I still climbed. Currently, I have my fingers crossed, hoping the monster inside me, doen't rear it's ugly head again.


zeta


Trad climber
Berkeley Aug 11, 2010 - 09:22am PT
Paul,

thanks for the reminder, especially as we all spend so much time outside. I used to be way too casual about sunblock, but now--after two basil cell carcinomas--I am super careful!


SteveW


Trad climber
The state of confusion Aug 11, 2010 - 11:56am PT

Paul
I've lost a number of friends to melanoma.
I certainly hope you beat the odds.

I'm smarting today, just had a couple of biopsies done on
my lower lip that may be cancerous.



Mungeclimber


Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud. Aug 19, 2010 - 11:14pm PT
Paul,

Thx for the post. I have a mole I've had since a kid on my leg about short length too. Worthwhile to check it out.

Seamstress


Trad climber
Yacolt, WA Aug 23, 2010 - 05:09pm PT
Best wishes.

I had cancer removed from my hand and from my face just above the lip. These are places that I did not formerly slather with sunscreen. Somehow the arms always ended at my wrists. It's time to go get checked again.


crøtch


climber Oct 5, 2010 - 10:12am PT
Hey Paul,

Your attitude is an inspiration. I got a mole removed today. Thanks for the motivation to go to the dermatologist.

Blackbird wrote:
I am one of the truly lucky ones: both of mine (uterine & ovarian) were caught WAY early. I shunned "new" meds (chemo/radiation) in lieu of alternative therapies and lifestyle changes. It's amazing…

PLEASE, folks, if you're not already so, become acutely aware of your own bodies and what they are trying to tell you. Subtle changes in skin tone, moles, hair texture and even your smell can indicate some serious health issues. And to repeat the message: when in doubt, check it out!!!


dougs510 said:
I sit around here, feeling sorry for myself, with moles and sh$t popping up all over me. I say to myself, "I don't want to know, besides, I got no insurance". Truth is, I'm scared of knowing. Sheeeewwwwww..... Man, I'm so glad your posting up here, it's really giving me a reason to push forward

Jan


Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan Nov 25, 2010 - 07:03am PT
Happy Thanksgiving to you too! You have certainly reminded us of what's important in life and what we need to be thankful for

sallyclimbs


Sport climber
new zealand Dec 21, 2010 - 06:20pm PT
I live half a world away, but reading this, and having a friend find a mole she had removed for vanity reasons was malignent ,in the same week had me down the doctors for a check up. Got a mole removed yesterday. I'll be telling my friends to get a check up too. Thanks for the reminder to keep an eye on things

Dick Erb

climber
June Lake, CA
Jan 13, 2011 - 01:13pm PT
Thanks Paul, for producing the most helpful stimulating and interesting thread I have seen on this forum. It is so inspiring to see the true energy of creation flowing through you at this time.
Gal

Trad climber
a semi lucid consciousness
Jan 13, 2011 - 01:48pm PT
I am in the same late jumping aboard boat as Jeff, and in total agreement with Dick Erb, and admire everyone on this thread, it has touched my heart, but especially you. I wrote this last night... don't know why I hesitated, I suppose because I'm a self conscious writer, but here it is:

Paul, you don't know me, but today I read your JTree trip report. I was going to post something, but then I thought maybe what I would write would be trite, cliche, or not properly express what I would want. But then I read this whole other thread of yours, describing everything you've been experiencing, and realized that even if I can't explain what is in my heart, it might come across, even if a bit blurry. This is what I wrote about your J-Tree trip report, and this thread that I have now read from beginning to end. I cried, I soared, and I am still hoping strongly for you! The pills should keep working, they were working and shrinking tumors and I hope they will work again as you take them for another week.

Here is why I find you inspiring-the bravery to go through this in a public way, and to be completely honest about your situation. I have learned a lot about endurance, tenacity, and human nature based on the interactions from this thread. I have also learned a lot about what going through cancer can be like. You have a creative soul in your writings and the way you are expressing yourself, and getting comfort from a wonderful support system. I have learned the thought process and emotional roller coaster that is involved when you are facing such a harsh situation. I have learned to try to be preemptive if my body tries to tell me something, or show me something. You are being REAL, and that I always highly respect. A lot of times people waste a lot of time posturing about things that don't matter at all-you face it down full force! Your J-Tree trip report was meaningful in the way it weaves the love of climbing into the bigger picture of life and it's hardships. It shows that while people are connected here at ST based on climbing, they are connected at a deeper human compassion level-I'm proud to see it, when we often don't in life (NEVER expected something deep could come from an online climbing forum-never say never, obviously). I'm feeling the love everyone is directing your way, it's a wonderful thing. I'm glad you went on your trip to a place you clearly love, JTree.

I hope that during your week back on the pills, you will be envisioning shrinking again the cancer so you can continue taking the medicine and kick that cancers ass!!! Thanks for your openness-I feel like I have a window into who you are as a person-you are awesome! Ruth is an angel. So glad you two have each other to lean on. Sending good & healing thoughts your way. Keep fighting! You are strong and there is hope! As long as you're alive, there is HOPE!
okaythatsme

climber
Jan 13, 2011 - 05:33pm PT
Your unexpected teaching of the yoga class was wonderful. I am constantly reminded of what the body and spirit are capable beyond our own predictions. Energy is transported into the words you write and has helped others. I hope you may feel the strength, love and energy of those sending you encouraging words back. -marcella
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Jan 13, 2011 - 07:19pm PT
thinking of you Paul. Susan
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 13, 2011 - 07:36pm PT
Good to hear from all in cyber-land. My nerves are shot at the moment. But I always get to the other side. Worn out now, but I will be OK in the end.

I just feel on edge constantly, like I am posessed by a demon chiuaua. Ggggrrrrrrr. :)
Credit: Disaster Master

Off to try and rest for a while. Update y'all later.

Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Jan 14, 2011 - 12:12am PT
Hey Paul,

One of my greatest friends had a go with malignent Melanoma and came out the other side to enjoy climbing, a Crab dinner, the sun set and all the things that really matter. Don't be afraid of a bone marrow transplant if it presents itself during a patch of sun through your treatment.

Jim

Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 14, 2011 - 12:57am PT
Don't be afraid of a bone marrow transplant if it presents itself

Could you explain?
John_Box

Ice climber
Bellingham
Jan 14, 2011 - 02:07am PT
Demon Chihuahua my ass that's a Chupacabra if I have ever seen one. I've followed this thread for a long time, and have learned a hell of a lot more from this than anything else on the forum. Thank you everyone that has shared to make this what it is.
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 17, 2011 - 07:17am PT
Paul here.

Man, emotions are a trip. Sometimes dispite my best efforts it is still hard to deal...

So friday I got up and called the doc. She said she could see me soon. Ruth had the truck, though and would not be back in time. So I hopped on the Harley and motored toward the doc. I forgot to check the fuel, it was on reserve. I ran out of gas 1/4 mile from a gas station. I am already upset and that did not help. After pushing the HOG and gassng up, off to the doc.

Nerves shot. Can't get through the jitters to the point I need to in order to deal and make good decisions. So I got some temporary fix anti-axiety meds, Don't like solving problems with pills. But sometimes you need to use different tools.

The tumor in my groin is bigger and more painful. I have an apoint. in UCSF middle of this week. What is next???? Anything???


Credit: Disaster Master
Credit: Disaster Master
On the fun front, I went along with Ruth and a group from our yoga studio to the "USA YOGA Northern CA Regional Yoga Asana Championship in Stockton, CA."
Ruth and Ian
Ruth and Ian
Credit: Disaster Master
Full house, Stockton
Full house, Stockton
Credit: Disaster Master
It's a exebition / comp where participants demonstrate 4 standard yoga postures and two "Freestle" postures of their own choosing.
Ian in Standing Head to Knee pose.
Ian in Standing Head to Knee pose.
Credit: Disaster Master
Sounds odd, but the point is to see a lot of people in certain postures to learn and be inspired by them.
Credit: Disaster Master

Ruth coached the three entries from our studio, Ian, Barb and Craig.
Barb in "Bird of Paridise"
Barb in "Bird of Paridise"
Credit: Disaster Master
Ian won second place and will go to "Nationals" in LA in a month.
Credit: Disaster Master
Ruth is psyched.
Craig in Bow Pose
Craig in Bow Pose
Credit: Disaster Master
Credit: Disaster Master

Other than that, it is all about choices as to what to do next cancer wise...

Mastering on,
Paul
Credit: Disaster Master
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 17, 2011 - 10:09am PT
Forgot...

I saw Naveena Bird at the Yoga thing.
Naveena Bird
Naveena Bird
Credit: Disaster Master
She is the Instructor who taught me my first yoga class.
Credit: Disaster Master
I was broke and broken and did not think I could afford it. She asked me if I could scrape together $100.

I said if I tried real hard, yes.

Naveena told me " Give me $100 and I will give you 100 classes. The catch is you have to come every day. If you miss a day I keep your money and you start all over again at a higher price."

"Uh,....OK."

Here is an excerpt from a story that includes her:http://www.supertopo.com/tr/My-Up-And-Down-Life-Disaster-Master/t10807n.html
Friends told me about this crazy place where they did yoga for over a hour in a room heated to over 100 degrees. They called it 'Bikram Hot Yoga'. I thought they were nuts. They thought I was if I didn't give it a try. So one morning I walked into "Sacred Palace," a tiny storefront in downtown Eureka, CA. My face was a mess. I shook from nerve pain. I had electrodes & cords hanging from my back to shock spasming muscles into submission. I was taking eight morpine pills a day & wore a large three-day fentinyl patch. That's a lot of opiates.

The instructor gave me a towel & mat to use. There were around seven others in the hot room chitchatting and stretching. Then class began. Wow, it was difficult. I couldn't keep my balance, my mind was swimming in heated up opiates & I was sweating like I'd never sweat before.
Early attempt at triangle. Paul Humphrey.
Early attempt at triangle. Paul Humphrey.
Credit: Disaster Master
Early Rabit Pose. Paul Humphrey.
Early Rabit Pose. Paul Humphrey.
Credit: Disaster Master
This stuff was crazy; far removed from my image of yoga. You know, sitting around trying to be calm. That Bikram guy must be intense. I left with the same buzz I got from climbing.

"Fun.”

That evening it dawned on me that I felt a little better than usual. I wanted more yoga. But I couldn't even balance on one leg with the amount of pills I took. I was at a fork in my mental road. I could not take both paths. So I cut my pill doses in half & made hot yoga my number one priority.

Boredom breeds despair in me & when I despair I wish only to be numb. Now I decided to embrace the pain. I set a goal to get off painkillers by my 100th yoga session. I treated it as my job. I would go every day, rain or shine, arriving by bus, car, thumb or bike. Less than 30 days later I threw my painkillers away. I still lived with constant cramping, but I was exploring it now, not cowering from it. And I had my brain back.

It soon got to the point where I could feel a definite improvement after a morning session. Pain was still always with me & cramps would be back by afternoon. Instead of giving in & popping a pill I began doubling up on daily sessions, sweating in the morning & the evening, three hours a day. I did my 100 sessions in around 75 days.
photo not found
Missing photo ID#174986
A little obsessive? Sure, but it was working. I realized that I could rise to the level I sought before my tribulations. I would just have to be twice or even four times as strong as before to get there.

Everyday I did my yoga. Little by little I felt my body strengthen. Bit by bit my mind stabilized. I began to make peace with my pain. The trick with anything is doing it, practicing it; not just talking or planning. Armchair climbers read books & mags, then evaluate others' achievments. Practicing climbers accomplish goals; then push their mark forward.



I went from this:
Spine the same day of the 80 fall. Disaster Master.
Spine the same day of the 80 fall. Disaster Master.
Credit: Disaster Master
Credit: Disaster Master
to this:
Back after the fall, and 100 straight days of yoga
Back after the fall, and 100 straight days of yoga
Credit: Disaster Master
Paul "Disaster Master" Humphrey & his first teacher Naveena Bird at hi...
Paul "Disaster Master" Humphrey & his first teacher Naveena Bird at his graduation from Bikram Yoga Teacher Training.
(I shaved my head, then stopped cutting my hair when I started Yoga. 6ish years in this photo. Chemo finaly made it fall out.)
Credit: Disaster Master

NOW IF I CAN JUST FINISH KICKING MELANOMA'S ASS, I CAN GET BACK TO IT.
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Jan 17, 2011 - 01:16pm PT
Thanks Paul for the update...looks like it was enjoyable. Before I got sick I did Bikram Yoga at least twice a week. I loved it. I don't think I could tolerate it at the moment. I am going to gentle yoga and restorative/healing yoga classes at the moment. I was blown away by some of your previous pictures doing some Bikram postures even during your current treatment. I think it was the cobra posture and how high up you had your legs/tail. Even at my strongest it seemed like my cobra legs/tail was only inches off the ground! Thoughts with you this week as you visit your doctor. And props to Ruth for her coaching! Susan
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 18, 2011 - 03:14pm PT
I am in a lot of pain. I took more drugs than ever for it today. Fell into a sleep. Dreamed and woke up. Wrote it down. Here it is.


Dark seas, swirling,
seem to cry
againt death's unfurling.
The surf is high
and I look down
half-drowned
yet defiant.


Tall trees, greening,
grow where I
dream of leaning;
seated way up nigh
in the crook
of the arm
of a Giant.

Large stones, warming
like eggs, lie
with swallows swarming;
nestled in the sky
near the apex
of slopes
velvet and verdant.

-Paul Humphrey

SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Jan 18, 2011 - 06:00pm PT
Again, no words can express what I felt when I read it. Rest as best you can. Susan
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 18, 2011 - 10:08pm PT
Glad you liked the poem, Susan. I thought it came out pretty well.

Remember, everyone, I like to hear from you. Don't be afraid to stop lurking and get an account so you can post back.

I know you're out there...


Climbers Rise Above Cancer: I am still trying to put together a logo t-shirt / card art idea. I found some clip art that would be a good start for a logo.
Credit: Disaster Master
Credit: Disaster Master

Here is a cartoon cancer. Thought of the climber climbing above the monster. Needs a face though.
Credit: Disaster Master

Posted another cartoon at the start of the thread, here it is:
Credit: Disaster Master

Off to the Doc tomorrow. They will likely kick me off the trial. The alien puppies are growing..
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jan 18, 2011 - 10:14pm PT
Paul, I'm in Coyhaique on my way home from Patagonia. I've been thinking about you and Ruth and what a pleasure it was to meet the two of you. You truly inspire me- hope to see you soon.
blackbird

Trad climber
the flat water trails...
Jan 18, 2011 - 10:54pm PT
My thoughts and prayers are with you...

Samantha
ncrockclimber

climber
NC
Jan 18, 2011 - 10:54pm PT
Thinking of you!
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 18, 2011 - 10:56pm PT
I have ignored calls and mails from many I should not. It has just been too hard to say the same thing each time to each person. Hence the supertopo blab.

Keep shouting out. I will give news from the doc tomorrow.
stilltrying

Trad climber
washington indiana
Jan 18, 2011 - 11:58pm PT
Your insights are incredible Paul. I have carried on a battle with heart disease for 17 years and I will turn 59 in March. I am eligible to retire in May after 30 years of Goverment work (4 military, 26 civilian) Strange thing is that I know what "I" want. I have a pacemaker (100% dependent) a defibrillator, a stent and am in permanent a-fib. Somehow I can still Mountain bike, road bike and climb but I want to do it FULL TIME while I still can. You are a brave soul and I can tell you that you are more vibrant and alive than 90% of the young folks inhabiting the cubes where I work. You certainly make me see the REAL world and not the game of just existing. Hopefully I will follow your lead and walk out that door in 120 days. You are in my thoughts.

Mike T.
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Jan 19, 2011 - 03:15pm PT
thinking of you for your Doctor's appointment today. Susan
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 20, 2011 - 04:20pm PT
News from the Doctors:

The pill still seems to have stopped working. I want a scan to call it. It needs to be a 20 percent overall increase in tumor mass since the last scan to kick me off the study.

The next logical step is an "MEK" trial. But there is not one in SF area. Ruth found one recruiting in LA. I e-mailed them and will call to follow up. That would mean some travel / re-location, who knows. Locally the only options, as of now, that I am considering include:
-Interlukin 2
-Targeted radiation to shrink the main mass in my groin

The radiation is an option because the pain is SO BAD now, and I have seen what it can do if it gets worse. But I don't want to irradiate my "junk" either!

Interlukin 2 has the best response of a non-experimental non-CHEMO therepy.

I really don't like any of this stuff. But I am past the alternative window. This sh#t is growing very fast and it hurts.

So still in the info / transition stage now...

Disastering on,
Paul
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jan 20, 2011 - 08:25pm PT
Paul, I haven't added to this thread previously, but not for lack of thinking about it. It's hard to know what to say or do, beyond saying best wishes and hope, for your health and for successful treatment. I'm not a praying sort, and can't pretend to be. I can't "send" you anything. All I can say is that your fortitude is something greatly to be admired, and I appreciate the trouble you take in posting your reports and photos. Good luck!
Brian

climber
California
Jan 20, 2011 - 09:09pm PT
Sorry to hear the update Paul.

What the hell is the point of kicking people off the study if it's not working perfectly? Won't that skew the results to make it look like the drug works better than it does (i.e., if you boot all the people for whom the drug is not working 100%)?

If the new drug is helping, even if it is not shrinking the tumors and it is just slowing or delaying their growth, I hope you manage to stay on the study. If not, I hope that either the radiation or Interleukin can provide some relief. It's a tough hand to play, but you are doing a fine job of playing as well as you can. Good luck.

Brian
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Jan 20, 2011 - 10:51pm PT
Hi Paul, I am so sorry to hear you are in pain. I hope your doctors are helping you with that. Also, I hope one of the other options will be the ticket to beat the cancer back. Hugs to Ruth, too. Susan
blackbird

Trad climber
the flat water trails...
Jan 20, 2011 - 10:57pm PT
BIG HUGS to both of you... You are in my thoughts and prayers.
pat

Trad climber
estes park
Jan 20, 2011 - 11:01pm PT
Paul, I don't know your whole history but what about ipillimulab(sp) or ipi? It is a drug that shows complete remission in some melanoma patients that can be offered as compassionate use (you don't have to go through a trial to get it). My apologies if you already know about this.

-Patrick
Iclimb5.1

climber
Jan 20, 2011 - 11:27pm PT
Hi again Paul, Vicky here.

OK, here are the pics I promised...

Paul and Jeff on top of Preston Peak, circa 1994-5
Paul and Jeff on top of Preston Peak, circa 1994-5
Credit: Iclimb5.1

Paul by some lake on the way to Preson Peak, circa 1994-5
Paul by some lake on the way to Preson Peak, circa 1994-5
Credit: Iclimb5.1

Paul and Jeff, Hollenbeck Humboldt visit 1997
Paul and Jeff, Hollenbeck Humboldt visit 1997
Credit: Iclimb5.1

Fun times!

I'm also going to post a couple of poems on the poem thread...one of which I'm not sure you got via email.

Love,
Vicky
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 21, 2011 - 08:04am PT
Jeff and Vickey,

Cool shots. Good memories. I surprised Jeff with the airline bottles at the summit. Huge view! That trip had it all: bears, wasps, a gun and summit.

what about ipillimulab(sp) or ipi?

Pat,
I have loked into it. It is a posssibility, but the sucess rates are about the same as Interlukin 2 and tha hs a proven track record. Basically, all options come with small odds, big side effects which make NONE of them apealing.
pat

Trad climber
estes park
Jan 21, 2011 - 01:06pm PT
Paul,

The difference as I see it between ipi and interluken or chemo is that the response rate with ipi is slightly greater, and is much longer lasting.

"It is being tested in advanced (phase III) trials by itself and in combination with vaccines, other immunotherapies (such as interleukin-2), and chemotherapies (such as dacarbazine). Overall response rates range from 13% with ipilimumab plus vaccine in patients with stage IV disease to 17% and 22% with ipilimumab plus dacarbazine or interleukin-2, respectively, in patients with metastatic disease. Responses have been long-lasting, and among those experiencing more severe side effects, even higher response rates have been seen (up to 36%). These results indicate that more than one-third of ipilimumab-treated patients with advanced melanoma experience a long-term survival benefit, a rare success story in the treatment of this disease."

My mom is stage 3c right now, and after a lot of research on my part I think if she ever moves to stage 4 (I hope not) ipi seems like it would be the best option. Advanced stage 4 patients have seen a complete response with it. I think immune activating drugs might also be more potent in younger patients, but that is just a guess. I realize this is an extremely difficult decision so i'll step back, but you might want to take a closer look at it.

-Patrick
Pastor Dave

Social climber
Yucca Valley, CA
Jan 21, 2011 - 01:22pm PT
To: Paul, Ruth, and all Paul's friends. Some people are rich with silver and gold and all other forms of "wealth" Paul is rich beyound measure with LOVE (i.e RUTH) and a host of true friends old and new. Thanks to all for your love and support!
Paul's Dad "AKA Pastor Dave"
yllw2lip

climber
Orange, CA
Jan 21, 2011 - 01:53pm PT
I have been reading your posts and following you on Supertopo, just signed up so I can comment on your thread and show you my support and love.

You are an amazing and inspiring human being and I am proud to call you my brother. I and all my friends and my church continue to keep you in our prayers and pray for a miracle and your complete recovery. And of course, if no cure then at least a not so miserable exit from your journey in this life. I hate to think of you in constant pain, although I know you are... which is what makes you such an amazing and inspiring person, that you continue to do what you love and don't let your physical shell keep you down. You rock!! ;-)

XOXO your lil' sis
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Jan 22, 2011 - 12:57am PT
Dear Paul's Family...Thank you so much for logging on and seeing the out pouring of love, compassion and concern for Paul. He has meant the world to me and so many others on this forum. I am currently in chemo for ovarian cancer and got to meet Paul in person in December. I have communicated with him and followed his Super Topo posts. I cannot express how much he has helped me in understanding this journey. It pains me so deeply that he is hurting right now and I hope for him every day that some of his new options will kick arse. Susan

PS: He is the toughest guy I have ever met with a most beautiful heart and soul.
nita

Social climber
chica from chico..waiting on spring days..
Jan 22, 2011 - 01:18am PT
Hi, Paul's Family, Thank you for posting up.... Many of us have never met your son, but he has touch us deeply with his beauty, honesty and gift of writing. Joining you in positive thoughts and prayers for your son.


Both Paul and Ruth are amazing people..sending you both> much *Love.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlzIRXzcjY8
Salud..
xo
nita..
crock

Trad climber
The Windiest Mountain, Wyoming
Jan 22, 2011 - 09:07am PT
Interesting approach and result:

Pill slows spread of skin cancer in half of cases

According to the article, the drug 'RG7204' targets a mutation in a gene that produces the BRAF protein. This mutation is present in about half of all melanoma cases.

Maybe there's some way to get involved in a study before it is generally available.
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 22, 2011 - 11:16am PT
Crock,
I checked out your link. Unfortunately, the drug you saw IS the one I am on now that is not working anymore. The problem is it changes names, and is called different things in other parts of the world. PLX4032, RO5185426, RG7204 is the same thing.

Oh, well...
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Jan 25, 2011 - 09:49pm PT
Thinking about you Paul. I hope you have been able to get some measure of comfort. Susan
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Jan 25, 2011 - 10:01pm PT
I can't add much to what has been stated. We are thinking of you, Ruth and your family.
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 27, 2011 - 10:01pm PT
Ah, NUTS! My nuts. Ouch! Why, out of all the parts available? Cancer has chosen the sensation of getting kicked in the huevos as it's 24/7 gift to me.

I am nodding off now from pain killers, but no more for me. Don't want to OD. But I can still feel the pain. A year or more ago I would be grabbing a bomber of IPA or anything else to keep trying to get rid of this. But I decided not to drink as a reaction to pain or depression, so... Damn it.

I have been trying my pranayama breathing exercises. But there is a returning lump under my ribs that catches back and forth with my breath. Very odd and uncomfortable. So even yoga is a pain.

Sounds fun, huh? So much for the boo-hoo.

The new facts:

After reviewing choices we have a plan, sort of. Ruth has spent lots of time on the phone with hot-shot docs and got good info. I have been too spun from pain to deal with this.

-Radiation will likely burn my already senstitized skin. And it means time off the BRAF drug before and after treatment, up to a month.

-Interlukin 2 is too much of a step in the bed -ridden direction before I get there on my own.

-We found a trial working with BRAF and MEK, the two receptors that seem to be my best hope.

The tumors may be growing again, even though I am still on the BRAF pill. But they would likely explode if I am taken off the drug entirely. The MEK drug showed poor results alone (in other patients, according to Ruth's phone calls.), but maybe not in combo with BRAF. That is the study we are looking at now.

Pros: I stay on some sort of drug that is likely at least slowing the tumors. This is the next trial already suggested in the past as a future hope by my docs.

Cons: The study is only in LA and does not start for two more weeks at least. It would involve at least temporary relocation. I don't want the disease to BE my life. And Work? $ is gone.

The test may be picked up here in SF in the future and I MIGHT be able to transfer back north...

I just want to be a real boy again, like Pinoccio.

I get scanned in SF next week. This will determine if I get more wonderpills or not. It could go either way. I think if they take me off them because of "Protocol" I will weaken quickly. With them... time until the train rolls into the station perhaps.

Ow, my balls...

Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
WA, & NC & Idaho
Jan 27, 2011 - 10:09pm PT
Thanks for the up date Paul,
You are an incredible person!
Hope you feel better!
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 27, 2011 - 10:18pm PT
Here's me on a route called "Screaming Dick" Appropriate, no? ;)
Credit: Disaster Master
In so many ways, on different days...
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Jan 27, 2011 - 11:50pm PT
I wish I could sit and have a cup of tea with you. I'm really saddened that you are dealing with such pain. I hope some of the new options get things reversed for you. Lots of thoughts for you and Ruth. Susan
JOEY.F

Social climber
sebastopol
Jan 28, 2011 - 01:25am PT
Hi Paul, gave you a jingle today, If you're still awake, 707 291 8398 till 11pm. Otherwise, I will give you another shout friday. Poor nuts!!
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Jan 28, 2011 - 04:47am PT
I'm still following this thread and hoping for the best.
Berdette Robison

climber
the present
Jan 29, 2011 - 12:33am PT
I'm still following your journey, and as I'm sure you know, you have touched so many lives with your strength and spirit. Lots of good wishes and better days ahead to you and Ruth. I'm sure you also know what a treasure you have by your side.
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 29, 2011 - 12:38pm PT
Hi, thanks for the good thoughts.

Ruth is excited because her youngest, Cammy, is in town to visit. It has been three years since they have seen each other! It's the first time I have met her, though I have listened to countless hours of calls between the two of them over the years. So good to meet her.

But the pain is the worst ever. I am in bed with my throbbing leg and groin in the air, trying to no end to find comfort. Terrible timing with the visit. I told Ruth to just go have fun. I will work in when I can. We are all in a 5th wheel, so I can just join the conversation from bed anyhow.

I really don't know if I can take this level of OUCH! much longer without resorting to very heavy meds. Unlike some, I like my brain. Don't want to dope completely out of it.

Cruxing!
Paul
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Jan 29, 2011 - 02:47pm PT
Sorry to hear about the pain, Paul!

There are drugs which can take care of it without totally blitzing you, but doctors are often afraid to prescribe them for fear of addiction. Generally hospice deals the best with pain and sometimes doctors recommend them for just that.

I have a friend who is bed ridden with severe arthritis and the only way she got both pain relief and a clear mind was having hospice take over from the nursing home staff. She's in no danger of passing on, it's just some bureaucratic rule problem.
Wayno

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 29, 2011 - 03:04pm PT
Sending some light your way. See if this helps:

Never been there but I hear it is nice
Never been there but I hear it is nice
Credit: unknown

all in jim

climber
Jan 29, 2011 - 04:12pm PT
Found em! Photos from the far northern california coast: Paul Humphries and Eric Chemello,
1996-ish. Some great routes you guys put up there. I'm thinking about you and hoping for the best Paul!
Credit: all in jim
Credit: all in jim
Credit: all in jim
Credit: all in jim
Credit: all in jim
Credit: all in jim
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Jan 29, 2011 - 04:55pm PT
thinking so much of you Paul. I hate that you are in such pain. My thinking is that being in so much pain takes as much a toll on you (if not more) as possibly being fuzzy brained until you get your options sorted out? Another cancer patient is on some sort of pump that is implanted in her abdomen. She doesn't seem fuzzy brained and she can control it as she needs it. Its so hard to get any rest when you hurt so much. I hope some of the options you mentioned in a recent post are available and work for you. Sharing a virtual cup of tea with you, Susan
yoginigirl

Social climber
Eureka
Jan 29, 2011 - 05:30pm PT
Paul ~ I am sorry to hear you are in so much pain. Jodi and Nikki send their love. I hope you can get a handle on this. Hope to see you for a few moments next Sunday? I won't stay more than a few minutes.
phylp

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
Jan 29, 2011 - 06:36pm PT
Paul - I have a CD called "Rapid Pain Control" from Carol Erickson and Tom Condon. It's based on Ericksonian hypnosis. I have no idea if it would help with your pain at all, but I'd be happy to mail it to you to try. I found it very relaxing - two voices speaking simultaneously in rhythmic soothing tones. If you are interested just send me an email with a snail mail address for you.
Regards, Phyl
BrassNuts

Trad climber
Save your a_s, reach for the brass...
Jan 30, 2011 - 01:14am PT
Paul & Ruth - wishing you continued strength in such challenging times. Take good care of each other...
Iclimb5.1

climber
Jan 31, 2011 - 05:02pm PT
Paul,

Thanks for the update. I don’t know if you are feeling like reading, but Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zin is a great book on how to deal with pain by using meditation…sounds like right up your alley…maybe it will help. If I had your address I’d send you the book and meditation cds that I have.

Hang in there and best to you and Ruth.

Vicky
Jobee

Social climber
El Portal Ca.
Jan 31, 2011 - 07:50pm PT
Credit: Jobee
Disaster Master

Social climber
Born in So-Cal, left my soul in far Nor-Cal.
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 1, 2011 - 11:34pm PT
HI.
To the cool folks offering help, housing, books, cds, love, $, etc. we are very thankful. I intend to PM each of you with the info you asked for, but it just rough now. Believe m, though, we love all the offers and support. I hope a few people don't feel ignored...

If this entry comes off a little spacy or mis spelled its 'cause I am hooked up to this:
Credit: Disaster Master

I was checked in to the hospital for a few days to try and get a handle on the pain. This is not an easy fix. Each time I move the main tumor in my groin shifts and pinches another nerve. Suffice to say , it is unbearable.

I was dealing with it at home until I ran out of meds, and even meditation worked not. I was screaming from just standing up.

I must find what works in the hard core drug realm for now.

What is infuriating is that in a hospital, they made me lay on the floor in admissions, there is no where for a serious ill person to recline. No one knew what they were doing, and I lay on the floor for an hour and a half while idiots danced around like headless chickens. I kept telling them that pain meds is the first thing I need not the last. Did no help.
Credit: Disaster Master

I finally “Get” room an ten go through more Paperwork, interview say everything 16times.hrs later they give me pain meds, at a low dose. Because of opiate heads stealing and lying for dope, folks like me get treated like scum instead of patients. I don't want to get high! I WANT RELIEF. Th doctor ordered one of those push a button for more IV meds, he floor nurse agreed, but some Beurocrap Said no. To easy for me to get high I guess. This is insane! I have to push the call button for the nurse. Wait, no response. So buzz again. “WE will be right there” is always an hour it seems. So is a freaking' joke.

Eventually, like over 18 hours in the hospital, they finally get their sh#t somewhat together and medicate me to the point I can finally do something besides curl up in the bed, or floor. Still in a lot of pain, but I have found the staff that treats me like an ill man instead of a junkie. (They still have to LOCK the IV drugs to the IV tree to keep people from steeling the drug)

I must make this clear: The actual Doctors and my “team” do the best they can. It is the hospital bureaucracy that drives me mad. In a business devoted to “Do no harm” an patient care,, the actual people are not as important as covering their ass legally. Great, but they do such a poor job it opens more holes than it closes.

People first, not paperwork. You actually have to act like a two year old and throw a fit until they are so tired of you they finally do something...

AAARHHH.

This concludes the bitch and moan portion of this entry.

The facts:

-Still in a lot of pain
-Heavy drugs in large amounts don't do much
-I am one drug tolerant bastard.
-I will be in the hospital at least a couple more days as they find something to make the pain level acceptable to me.

At home the D5 #13 is getting fracture tested beating the crap out of a pylon in the yard when the pain spikes.
Credit: Disaster Master

Cammy, one of Ruth's daughters visited and got to see me at my (not) best. I hurt so much I barely got to talk with her. But at least Ruth had a chance to hang with her youngest, do some yoga, see the town.
Caught primping
Caught primping
Credit: Disaster Master

My docs are trying to get me on the newest trial ahead of anyone else calling me a “Special Case” I always wanted to be special, but not in this way. Even so, I might have to go off the BRAF drug up to two weeks because of my most hated word “Protocol”. Protocol before people. Oh, yeah, I'm a guinea pig now, not a person in the eyes of the mystery decision makers. Who the hell are they anyway?

Every intelligent Doctor I talk to about these things say they agree. But then they shrug their shoulders, unable to doctor until who-ever-the-hell-they-are waves the magic wand.

Live well, but die quick people. This slow sh#t blows.
Credit: Disaster Master

Rambling … a bit medivcated...

FILL IN THE BLANKS
Paul D. Humphrey



Fill in the Blanks w/ Thoughts.
For Thoughts are all there are.
No Words to use,
no Signs to see,
just the thoughts of
We the Mind.

Simple Vowels or rows of Runes
amount to naught, indeed.
The Deed is fruitless.
The Meaning is lost.
Somewhere within my mind
a Rebellion has gone off.

No rebellion is wrong,
the wrong word to use.

Ah, that’s the gist: WORDS!
They fly like Birds, away
from what I want to Say.
Perhaps I Cannot,
though I Ought.

Unless……
I cannot Express.

And that is what I mean.
(So it would seem.)
These prints were made by three things: A doe and her fawn were hangin...
These prints were made by three things: A doe and her fawn were hanging out on this beach one day. Totally calm. I walked behind them as they explored "Lost Rocks". Very cool day.
Credit: Disaster Master
Gene

climber
Feb 1, 2011 - 11:44pm PT
Sending love to you, Paul!

Gene
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Feb 1, 2011 - 11:49pm PT
I'm hoping you get some relief...but they wouldn't give you the "green" button?? That seems crazy. When I was on the self-medicate IV they told me I couldn't overdose because even though I could push the button to self medicate they said it was timed to only deliver so much during a specific time period. It horrific you were treated so poorly.

My deepest thoughts are with you, and again, sharing a virtual cup of tea with you. I hope you get some rest while in the hospital. Susan
Brian

climber
California
Feb 1, 2011 - 11:56pm PT
We're thinking of you Paul, and hoping for the best in what I'm absolutely certain (even though I can't "know" without being there) must be an incredible challenge.

All the best,
Brian
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Feb 2, 2011 - 12:13am PT
So sorry for your pain and trouble!

I still think it would be worthwhile to contact hospice about pain control.
They seem to have much less bureaucracy than hospitals do.

I'm hoping that you get on those clinical trials soon. Good vibes to make that happen.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
Feb 2, 2011 - 12:21am PT
Hang in there, Paul. Try to be clear as to what you need from us. I can proabably help help. But what do you need?

I'll say a prayer for ya tonight, Paul. Good rest and God bless!
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
Feb 2, 2011 - 12:27am PT
Hey Paul, hang tough too, dude. You are gonna be okay. You just need to have the right attitude. You're just pulling a hard roof. Figure out the moves, stay focused, and top out.

I feel for ya, but ya gotta be strong, dude. You have it. Do it!

You have a bunch of people pulling for you. Hang tough!!!
JOEY.F

Social climber
sebastopol
Feb 2, 2011 - 12:39am PT
Paul Disaster Master,
Not a day goes by when I don't think about you.
Big hug,
Joe.
Gene

climber
Feb 2, 2011 - 03:30pm PT
Thinking about you, Paul.
Love, prayers and best vibes coming your way.

Gene
Iclimb5.1

climber
Feb 2, 2011 - 03:30pm PT
Paul,

What Joe said.

And, no, no one feels slighted. You've given us this wonderful say to stay connected to you, your experiences, your thoughts.

I hope you're getting some relief. Best to you and Ruth.

vicky
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Feb 2, 2011 - 03:31pm PT

I hope you're doing better, Paul.
My thoughts are with you. Hang in there!
stevep

Boulder climber
Salt Lake, UT
Feb 2, 2011 - 03:37pm PT
A friend of mine with stage IV bone cancer was able to get an implanted pain med dispensing pump. It helped her alot in terms of remaining functional.
Beyond that, I'd agree with you that it is extremely frustrating that the drug addicts have caused so many problems with pain med administration.

Have you tried hippy lettuce?
okaythatsme

climber