Friday, May 16, 2008


Hi! I met with Dr. Richards today in Chicago. He said my latest CT scans reveal that the tumors in my liver, kidneys, pancreas, and abdominal cavity have grown, both in mass and in number. The cancer also appears to be in my lungs now, too. As a result, we are going to discontinue the clinical trial because it appears that it is not working. He presented a few other treatment options but recommended that we take six weeks off before choosing one.

Yes, that news sucks. But let's put things in perspective. First, I have other options. No one has told me to "get your affairs in order" and I don't expect to hear that directive anytime soon. Second, I still feel pretty good and can eat what I want. I could have a relentless bout of nausea and severe fatigue. Third, I have a loving wife and kids, a supportive network of relatives and friends, and I'm happy with my life. Not all people in my situation can say that. Fourth, it could be worse. I just received word this morning that my cousin, who is nine years younger than me and who has been battling cancer for three years longer than me, was Lifeflighted (is that a word?) to the KU Medical Center to have emergency surgery. His doctors discovered a softball-sized tumor in his pelvis, which was causing his kidneys to shut down. Now that would really suck. So although it makes no sense at all, I remain optimistic about future treatments and continue to pray that things will get better.

I pray also, undoubtedly with a greater sense of purpose than I would have had a couple of years ago, for everyone who needs healing. This blog almost seems silly and vain when I think of the ailments afflicting other people I know, who suffer but do not have a way of communicating their own need for understanding, for sympathy, for support, and for prayers. Please pray for them, too. You may not know their names. You may not know their distresses. But they probably need God's help as much or more than I do.

In other news, we celebrated Finn's birthday last night (May 15th). He is now one year old! I'm posting a couple of pictures. The first is of Finn trying to figure out what to do with these strange wrapped objects we put in front of him (he eventually figured it out, of course!). The second is of Finn enjoying a bite of brownie and ice cream. I know it looks like I'm yelling at him, but I'm actually demonstrating how to open wide. Really. : )



Mary M Clay said...

Jeff: Thanks for the blog. You always do an amazing job of putting things into perspective for us (the readers) and somehow, always find a way to comfort us. It's a gift. You're a great brother and I could not be more proud of you.
I love you,

PS: i love the pictures! I can't believe Finn is already one!

Kara Smith said...

Thank you Jeff, for always keeping life in perspective. I am sorry it wasn't different news. I understand your gratefulness for the many blessings in life and appreciate the reminder to also be grateful! Keep fighting.

mka said...

Jeff, I emailed Kelly about a web site I wish you could start. Ask her about it and see what you think. I can't hardly believe Finn is one either. I think your perspective on life is great. Enjoy the things you can do, and don't worry about the things you can't. Remember the old song, "Don't worry, be happy". Love, Myrna

the Shields family said...

Jeff and Kelly,
You two have been such and inspiration to Sean and I. I know the latest scan results are not what anyone hopes for, but this is just another hurdle in the melanoma battle. Stay strong, stay positive (it definitely rubs off on others!), and please know Sean and I continue to pray for you and your family.

Nicole and Sean
P.S. Finn is adorable and I am glad to see everyone enjoyed his party!

katie.elsener said...

You remain in our daily thoughts and prayers.
Sincerely, Mark and Katie

Marc and Mike said...

Jeff, wish Finn a happy [belated] birthday for us! He is such a cute little boy!

Terri said...

Jeff, I wish it would have been other news for you. You really are an inspiration!!! Do your best and forget the rest.

Terri said...

Jeff, I wish it would have been other news for you. You really are an inspiration!!! Do your best and forget the rest.

Katie Clancy said...

Hello Dodd Squad!
Congrats to Finn, 1 year old! sorry to hear this trial didn't work out... this is reloading time and getting both barrels ready for the next option. Thinking of you all.... and sending lots of love and pom poms cheering for the battle. K

Paul Trotter said...

Hi Jeff,
Sarah had told me so much about your positive outlook and perspective on your illness. I finally got to read some of your blogs and I can't tell you how much they inspire me to approach tough turns in our lives with openness but steadfast determination to stay the course and battle illness with an unrelenting and positive spirit. I saw you in church today ( sorry I didn't get a chance to say hi. I had to leave early ( sorry Charlie ) to prepare the donuts and coffee downstairs but anyways during mass I saw the gentle smiles you bestowed upon your children and wife and just thought how strong you must be to provide such a model of hope and unselfishness. You are blessed. I admire your courage. If there is anything Sarah and I can do to help please feel free to call.

PJ said...

Peace, Love, Hope and Prayers to you and yours Jeff.

The Whalens

Mary M Clay said...

Jeff and Kelly: Just wanted to wish you a HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Jeff, and HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!

Have a wonderful celebration!

michelle wait said...

The picture of you and Finn is absolutely precious. It needs to go in a frame. Great talking to you today. Hope you had a good birthday and anniversary!