Living with Diminishing Side Effects

The background (below): I was traveling down the freeway of immunotherapy at 60 miles an hour.. Upon discovering that the immunotherapy was attacking my liver and apparently causing difficutl side effects, Dr. Mashru threw us into reverse! He put the ummunotherapy on hold and started 80mg per day of Prednisone to focus healing on my liver .

Bullet Points: (1) The muscles in my neck and back are regaining strength slowly; (2) I walk with a walker using it as a prop so I can stand straight; (3) I still need tape to hold up my right eyelid; (4) I am on a no-drive order from Sherry and the doctor so Sherry has become my personal driver; (5) Life is very fulfilling in surprising ways.

The Rest of the Story: Kaiser Labs have drawn about half the blood in my body to do all the tests. The results so far have shown nothing significantly out of normal range other than the liver distress numbers (AST and ALT). Gladly, there neither the blood tests nor the ultrasound show any sign of hepatitis or other specific liver damage. I now have referrals to neurology and endocrinology to continue the search for the cause of the drooping eyelid.

I was warned that 80 mg of Prednisone per day could have major impact: headaches, buzzing energy levels, unexplained mood swings, sleeplessness, bloating, etc. None of these have happened, I am very glad to say.

I cancelled my trip to Boise and taught my Leadership Cohort class from the couch in our family room. It was pretty comfy, but I really missed the class side conversations and seeing our Schlender grandkids.

My other classes and responsibilities have gone on pretty much in normal. My energy levels are near normal and the walker allows me to prop my self and stand pretty straight.

Joseph Pfeiffer and Stephen Posey met in my Costa Mesa Leadership Cohort. They come from very different backgrounds but found a deep connection. They were called by God and the church to co-pastor Reality Santa Barbara I was very honored when they asked me to preach their commissioning service last weekend. We were really bummed when the difficult side effects required me to cancel the trip.

Then the pastor who was going to do the service had to cancel on Saturday. Stephen texted me to ask if it would be possible to record my commission. I quickly agreed and went to my basement office and recorded my message, the charge to Stephen and Joseph and the church and a decicatory prayer. What an incredible joy to hear that that pre-recorded message meshed exactly with what God was doing in their service.

Donn, our first born, came fo visit so we are having great conversations and looking forward to church on Sunday and a full on Super Bowl Party. It is so fun to hear Michael, his 8 year old call excitedly to talk to his :Poppy”

On Monday I will have a CT scan of my chest to check the melanoma nodules and an MRI of my brain Tuesday I will fly to San Jose for my Bay Area Cohort class. It will be low stress with people ferrying me everywhere and me sitting to do my all day teaching before I fly hom. Looks like I will not miss this class party!

Sherry continues to take care of me in wonderful ways. She is worried with my side effects, but also encuraged to see me getting stronger every day. She is showing her deep love in new ways which delights me to no end.

12 thoughts on “Living with Diminishing Side Effects

  1. UNREMARKABLE?! That word absolutely does not describe you, but I’m glad it describes your test results. Even so, living and traveling and teaching while your body is not functioning normally is challenging. You amaze me with your determination to keep going no matter what. Luis Palau had that same attitude during his cancer journey and accomplished much during his last few years. Thanks for openly sharing your experience. You inspire me and I know you do many others, too. Having cancer or anything else is no reason to quit until God gives us the signal. I’m praying specifically for both you and Sherry and all the rest of your family, too. Love, Jana

  2. Dear Dr. Gerry,

    I thank God for the time He gave me to read your updates! This semester I have been busy, and I was not able to keep on track with messages, particularly your updates! I am very sorry about that!

    By God’s grace, I keep you in my prayers before the Lord and my twin brother shared with me that he continues to pray for you as well! The LORD is with you, Dear Dr. Gerry! He is working!

    Ongoing prayers for you, Sherry, and your whole family! Please, wish Sherry a happy birthday to her for me even so late!

    Ongoing prayers for complete healing!

    In His Love,


  3. Good morning Gerry! You continue to amaze me and challenge me. Thank for being a faithful warrior for biblical truths and for taking discipleship so seriously – praying

  4. So much more than we even prayed would happen. God does amazing things, Gerry, in the midst of surprise attacks. And one of those amazing things is seeing more of Sherry’s calm in the midst of this storm. Pain. And calm. All living in the same space. She is one treasure of a woman. And she married well. The body is a spectacular evidence of God’s handiwork! So resilient. So intricate. Praying for you both!

  5. We appreciate your updates. I’ve begun to pray more for Sherry as I realize how much falls on her shoulders. I love your positive attitude. Hope you are cheering for the Bengals. Enjoy some Cincinnati chili with the game.

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