For those of you who don't know, Jeff Healey has had a reoccurance of the cancer that caused him to go blind when he as a year old. Below is an update from Jeff himself.
His website: http://www.jeffhealey.com/home.htmSeptember 22, 2007
To the website subscribers:
Sarah has passed onto me all of your emails. At time of writing I've gone through about half (close to a hundred), and will go through the rest later today, when I have more time. I can't tell you all how humbled I am by your obvious concern, best wishes and love. It is so nice to hear from each and every one of you--some I've known for decades, and some who have only become aware of me as a musician and/or person recently, and everyone in between.
I should explain a few things in regards to the type of cancer I have and how it's being treated, and why certain treatments are being implemented.
I was born with the retino blastoma gene, which resulted in cancer of the eyes developing during my first year of life. The eyes, of course, were removed. I was not aware until recently that those with this gene stand a 50% chance of the cancer recurring in several places: the legs, the lungs, and the liver. The tumors that develop are called "sarcomas" and I have now had three in my left leg, two of which have been removed, and one has been radiated, and needs to be removed through a major operation which may entail some additional plastic surgery and all sorts of jigsaw puzzling. About eleven months ago, some spots were found in my lungs, making it necessary to operate on them in January.
The thoracic surgeon, on my follow-up appointment with him post surgery, said there was a 40% chance that ore spots would surface in the lungs. They have. Now, before I can have this operation on my leg, I need to get the lungs in some sort of shape to handle it. This is why chemotherapy is being applied to me at this time.
Apart from all of the conventional medical stuff, I have been introduced to a clinic and a theory put forward by them which I believe to be beneficial to everyone, not only those with nasty diseases. If you look up aminomics.com, and click onto the Immune System Management link, you can read all about what they do, and their history, In short, their theory is, if one's amino acids are balanced in the blood, the immune system will function at a higher level, if not perfectly. At the very least, their system has been keeping me healthy throughout all of these treatments.
I should explain that until summer, I'd had no additional treatments to augment the surgeries. In July, I received radiation on my leg (25 treatments). Now, the after effects of these are quite painful, as one is receiving a major dose of radiation, and can develop what is akin to a major sun burn, or worse. Chemotherapy, on the other hand, is not painful--yet! I had my first treatment two weeks ago, and it involved three doses given through intravenous. I experienced about five days of severe nausea, but I wanted to lose a little weight, anyway. I've had a different anti-nausea drug prescribed to me, so when I receive my next treatment (on Oct. 1) I shouldn't have such a violent reaction, hopefully.
The immediate plan is to give me a CAT scan about ten days after my next chemo treatment to see how things are progressing Decisions will be made, given the outcome of the scan, as to how to proceed from there.
Please be assured, all, that I am happy and positive about all of this. God has looked after me since my birth, placing me with the perfect adopted parents, when I was three months old, who could look after me and thoroughly attend to my well being, which they did, and then some. God gave me talents with which to make a living and survive in this world, and He has provided me with wonderful friends and family with which to share my life. I realize completely how blessed I am. So I know He'll continue to look after me and heal me, and give me the strength to endure the process of recovery.
My friend Darlene commented on how, as a blind person, I may not have fallen prey to the vanity regarding my inevitable hair loss. Well, actually, believe it or not, that has been one of the saddest points I've had to contemplate regarding the chemotherapy. I'm very proud of the fact that, at 41, I've retained about 99% of my hair, and now it'll drop like the current autumn leaves. I'm told, however, that it'll grow back. Until then, I'll have to wear a hat (or something) in public, which I hate. Oh, well...
I can't think of an appropriate way to close this little ramble without sounding trite. So, suffice it to say again just how touched I was by all of your emails. They come a close second in inspiring me to beat this thing. My first inspiration is seeing my kids every day, and knowing that I have to be there for them. I love to answer my son's anxious question, "you feeling better, Daddy?" by saying, "Yes, Derek, I am".
September 22, 2007