And Then a Texan Called


I haven’t spoken much about my HEATT team except to say they are fantastic. They are varied individuals, compatible and unified in their avid curiosity and commitment to how heat treatments can stall disease. The “father” of the trajectory I am on, HEATT, is Roger, a Texan complete with cowboy hat, home on a ranch, and Marlboro man face. He has been working on heat therapies for decades and flies into San Jose for every surgery and, like all the team members, is very available. (They give out their personal cell numbers, answer the phone and seem happy you called!)


Roger checks in on me regularly. When he read my latest blog post he called from the airport to say, “Whoa, your situation is not that dire from our perspective.” He went on to explain stuff that I cannot easily re-explain but the swelling of my cancer may be its response as it prepares to die. HEATT is working to make changes at the molecular level and that takes time.

I feel a glimmer of hope

I start chemotherapy next Wednesday and I am quite ready – gemzar and avistan, both drugs I have had before. I wish I could start today and have some immediate pain reduction. My kick off palliative care appointment isn’t until the end of the month. But I cherish a small permission to wonder if maybe my toes will step into 2017 and beyond.

If nothing else, I do provide a good story of suspense.

Love, Marcy

P.S. Keep those helpful ideas coming!



About marcy westerling

I am a long time community organizer with a passion for justice and founded the Rural Organizing Project in 1992. Derailed by a Stage IV Ovarian Cancer diagnosis in spring 2010, I have stayed in treatment since then. I am learning how to embrace livingly dying and hope that by starting a Phase One immunology clinical trial at UPenn in spring of 2013 I will have more time to find the sweet spots of thriving while terminally ill.

23 responses »

  1. Hope you get the support that you need through the Palliative Care Program that you will be starting at the end of the month.

  2. Marcy, I’d love to know how to contact Roger. There is a local young mom who is fighting stage IV triple negative breast cancer and the doctors have pretty much given up on her. She has tried some type of hypothermic therapy but I don’t think she knows about this. Can you email me please? This sounds hopeful for you!

  3. You (and your team) never cease to amaze, Marcy. Quick question re: avastin. Do they check VEGF? It is my understanding if VEGF is low, avastin won’t work. . . Take good care “Pawdnah” ♡♡♡

  4. Sounds like you’ve got a great team. Liking and trusting your healers is half the battle. I love my med onc, gyn onc and especially my NP. I feel like they know ME as a person and care. I think Roger does you too!

  5. Marcy, I don’t know if you are familar with the book “Being Mortal”…. or the PBS documentary that recently aired on Frontline with the oncologist (from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston) that authored the book. It is an in depth exploration of palliative care, end of life issues, etc. Thought it might be helpful to you.

    Peace, Marcy.


  6. Fantastic news! I’ve just started a new medication that seems to be making my symptoms worse, which was so discouraging. And then I thought, “Wait a minute. Be patient. Maybe this is like positive responses can be with homeopathic treatments: an initial exacerbation of symptoms and then —- a cure!” Sounds like something akin to that is going on with you. How wonderful to have hope once again! Love, Lee Ann

  7. Hurray for the glimmer of hope — I hope the glimmer grows stronger, the cancer weaker, and the pain much less! If all you needed was a lot of people rooting for you, you’d be on top of the world.

  8. This is good news, I hope the treatment works! And more immediately that you get some pain relief. Lots of love to you

  9. Ridin’ on that roller coaster right behind you, hands in the air, hollering’ woo hoo! Wishing you continuing hope & healing, freedom from pain & dis-ease, & a good outcome. Love to you & your worldwide cheering section! Roz

  10. Roger sounds like a wonderful doc. So glad to hear that he called with good news.
    You’re going to back on that bike before long.

  11. When I read the paragraph that starts with “I start chemotherapy next Wednesday,” I was reading too fast, and it looked like you start “Chardonnay” next Wednesday! And then I thought…that might be a rather enjoyable type of therapy. Hopefully in the Napa Valley Wine Country, with a bed among the many casks of wine…with a long straw! Other than a wild imagination, I don’t have any kind of help to offer. I send you hope, hugs, healing, and hilarity. And much, much love! -Gigi

  12. It’s that roller-coaster cancer ride – up down and every which way. I hope you’re feeling better dear Marcy.

  13. I hope you see 2017 Marcy and meanwhile I hope each day here is a day filled with love and friendship. You are an amazing lady and I wish you continued hope and medical success.

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