Cancer update

Dear all,

Time for a cancer update – and rather a gloomy one, I’m afraid.

Round about the time that we had declared the first attempt at chemo a success, the cancer fought back.  The pain and discomfort, from an increasingly swollen stomach, have crept up, and the energy levels shrank back.   To start with I carried on a programme of a bit more activity, but each time I did more, I was more exhausted.  My stomach is now swollen like it was last December, when I last had in drained.  The swelling is a common side-effect of cancer activity.

The drugs I used were oxalyplatin, capecitabine and avastin.  They are known to work well, but often not for long, as the cancer gets the better of them.

So I spoke to the consultant  and now we have arranged a stomach drain for Monday, and a different course of chemo, the drugs being irinetocan (5FU), folinic acid (FOLFIRI) and Cetuximab, starting on Friday.  In the meantime, but for the stomach drain, I am not straying far from my bed.

My friend David is at a similar stage of bowel cancer to me, and has just started on Cetuximab, and says he is feeling far better with it, so I’m irrationally optimistic about it!

Thank you all very much for all your kind thoughts, and prayers, religious or otherwise

Adam

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Adam Kilgarriff

I'm a scientist who has set up and runs a small company. I'm married (to Gill Lamden) with three children, Boris (22), Maddie (18) and Raffie (9) (as at today, 28 January 2015, in case I forget to update!) We live in Brighton, UK. Last November (2014) I found I had bowel cancer (stage 5; not curable; only 'manageable'). We've been adjusting to that since (and it is what provoked me to start the blog) My scientific area is linguistics, with my specialisms being corpus linguistics, computational linguistics, and lexicography - or, best of all, the intersection of all three. Since 2004, my company, Lexical Computing Ltd., has been providing a web service, the Sketch Engine, to linguists and lexicographers wanting to find out about words, using corpus-driven methods. Customers include Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, Collins, Macmillan, Le Robert, Dictionary.com and around a hundred universities worldwide.

30 thoughts on “Cancer update”

  1. Sorry to hear this, Adam… Your posts have been a source of hope and wisdom for me over the past weeks, and even though I was a bit shy about sharing my feelings (fearing to see them published!) you have been always on my mind. You are – again – showing me/us a way.
    Thank you so much, Adam, for not letting cancer destroy what it cannot in fact destroy: love.

    1. Thank you, dear Adam. I am grateful life gave me the chance of meeting you and interacting with you. I’ll never forget it was through your efforts and generosity that I had the chance to attend the Lexicom Workshop in Brighton in 2002. You also helped me send my younger colleague Teodora to another Lexicom…

      In love, admiration, gratitude and solidarity (although I know one is fundamentally alone when the body is in pain),

      Rodica (from Iasi, Romania)

  2. I’m amazed that you can keep reporting so objectively; almost as if you’re doing fieldwork gathering a corpus of cancer treatment texts. Maybe the next step is a research project to develop a SketchEngine lexical analysis feature to predict log-likelihood collocation of cancer-type and chemo drugs in a web-crawled Cancer Corpus…??

    If you think a Cancer Corpus might be useful (to oncologists as well as linguists) let me know – I’m proud owner of a CRUK Cancer Research UK name badge, labelled “Eric Atwell: Computing and Language Researcher”

  3. Adam
    While a detached and philosophical attitude is fine, and does you credit, remember that the body is the servant of the mind.

    Tell the bloody thing to get better.

    Love Ralph

  4. Dear Adam,

    Irrationality tends to be right. Optimism is always the way. Cancer fought back, but do not give up. You can retaliate against it.

    Hasta la victoria siempre!

    mc

  5. As I read your words, I picture you in my mind as you were when I last saw you–scrambling over boulders in Boulder–and I will keep it that way. Thank you for keeping us in the picture so bravely.

  6. Yesterday I walked home without wearing a jacket for the first time in 2015, probably since about October last year in fact. And I was even wearing a short sleeved shirt. So, it’s gotten warm and spring-like here in Northern Minnesota all of a sudden. My walk home from campus is fairly pleasant – a good part of it follows along a creek that runs down into Lake Superior.

    Bird feeding is in full swing now, although the birds have recently been joined by a very persistent black bear who absolutely savages our feeders. At one time we had a rather fancy feeding setup with metal tubes and pipes stuck into the ground – well, one morning we found the tubes and poles bent and broken, with some rather large paw tracks nearby. Since then we’ve gone a simpler route in feeding – we hang various contraptions from our crabapple tree, and hope they are high enough to stay out of reach from the deer and the bears. Well, we aren’t sure how but this bear has found a way to the feeders – we speculate he might be climbing, or perhaps has unusual leaping ability. We just don’t know, but most mornings we find the feeders and residual seed scattered across the yard. Raccoon are sometimes an issue, but we’ve seen the bear a few times, so we imagine he’s waking up from his winter’s slumber and is madly seeking calories. And climbing, or jumping, or ?

    And so. Warm weather and a black bear. An interesting start to spring. And of course we are hoping for the very best for you.

    1. We are vacationing in Georgia and North/South Carolina where we hear the bears may break into the house if the bird food runs out, so good luck with that!

  7. Dear Adam,

    I am sorry about the news… but keep on being optimistic. You are being a source of inspiration and encouragement for many of us. Do not give up!!!

    No te rindas que la vida es eso,
    continuar el viaje,
    perseguir tus sueños,
    destrabar el tiempo,
    correr los escombros y destapar el cielo.

    No te rindas por favor no cedas,
    aunque el frío queme,
    aunque el miedo muerda,
    aunque el sol se ponga y se calle el viento,
    aun hay fuego en tu alma,
    aun hay vida en tus sueños,
    porque cada día es un comienzo,
    porque esta es la hora y el mejor momento,
    porque no estas solo,
    porque todos te queremos.

  8. Thanks for the update Adam – will be thinking of you on Monday and praying. I get a lot of comfort from Psalm 103 and would recommend it as a different perspective (noting the frequency of the key phrase!).

  9. Adam,

    You, Gill and the children are very much in my thoughts. I hope the stomach drain goes well tomorrow and that the new drug regime gives you some respite. I admire your strength and courage in writing about this. Lots of love.

  10. If something like this ever happens to me and I can handle it with half your stoicism and objectivity, I’d consider myself a braver person than I know I can ever be.

    You certainly deserve to be (as you put it yourself) bathed in love, from all those praying for you around the world.

    Love from us both, and here’s hoping that today’s procedures and the new meds make a big difference. Thinking of you.

  11. Dear Adam,
    We were thinking of you today, particularly, and hoping that the pain is less now and that you are feeling more comfortable.
    We send you lots of love.

  12. Dear Adam, I’m really sorry to hear about your pain and everything you must go through again. I’m thinking of you hoping that you are already feeling better.

    Btw, I hope you had a wonderful time with Maddie in Bristol. You must be proud that she’s taking after you in her choice of studies.

    Greetings from Dresden. Lots of Love.

  13. Dear Adam,
    I’m thinking of you and hope Monday was successful.
    You are so amazingly strong. Optimism is the only way!
    Much love

  14. Hi Adam

    We hope you are feeling better. We (myself, Daniel and Rafael) are thinking of you and sending lots of love.

  15. Adam,
    Very sorry to read this news. So sorry that you are experiencing so much discomfort. I hope the next treatment works for you. Sincere best wishes.

  16. Hang on in there Adam. I thought of you a lot last week at a corpus linguistics conference in France, how often your name cropped up in contributors’ reference lists, or just in conversation, either about CL or your own situation. There’s a lot of people rooting for you.

  17. Adam
    Sorry to hear the news. I hope the new regime proves effective. I’ve been getting good results from cetuximab for my head/neck cancer, so hope whatever juju it is that’s working on this side of the Atlantic will also prove effective over there.

    My thoughts and good wishes are with you.
    Paul

  18. Dear Adam,
    How are you feeling during these last weeks? I think of you often and wish the medication is working out for you and you can recover soon. Remember: you have many friends in Spain and next time you come I’ll organise a visit to the beautiful mountains of Segovia. Lots of love. Julia

  19. Hello Adam,

    Thinking about you and your many acts of kindness and cheerfulness in the past. Be assured that a lot of people are rooting for you and ‘holding a good thought for you in their hearts’. Take care and good luck.

    Patrick

  20. Dear Adam,
    Please listen to:
    Ludovico Einaudi – 36 Song Golden Collection​ on Youtube​

    It’ll bring you a sense of peace and harmony like no other…
    Love,
    Julia

  21. Dear Adam,
    You are travelling so bravely along this final journey that we must all take one day.
    I’m waving farewell to you from the shore. I’m glad to have shared some good times and all sorts of walking weather with you, and to have memories of our long friendship to enjoy (ah yes – some from that other country, when we were all so very young!).
    Thank you for being you, Adam.
    I know your family are all there for you now and I hope that you come to a place of peace soon.
    Love, Kate xx

  22. Dear Adam

    You have been springing into my mind on a regular basis for the last two weeks. Dunno why. So, thinking of you lots. My heart is with you.

  23. Dear Adam
    I am so sorry to hear that. Your pragmatism and optimism are an inspiration; I really, really admire and am amazed at everything you have done: in your work, your life, and now how you are coping in this sad time. I am rooting for you, and hoping for all good things.
    All my best
    Judy

  24. Dear Adam,

    I have thought fondly of all the Lamdens over these long years since I last saw all of you.
    I found your blog most randomly, I was talking to a friend here in Sweden about Reading and got to thinking about what the street was called where Ralph and Barbara lived. I googled and came across your blog. Life…it’s strange like that.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your lovely family, I can’t believe baby Boris (sorry Boris) is 22, surreal, I can see his chubby, happy little face to this day.

    Lots and lots love
    Linda

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