We (Kim Gallagher and Lori Carlson) ran the Santa Barbara International marathon on November 10, 2012–it was grueling, but we finished! We ran in honor of our amazing dad, Jim Erdman, who has been fighting colon cancer for three and a half years. During the process we raised over $4200 for the Colon Cancer Coalition–we were so pleased and surprised by people’s generosity, totally exceeding our expectations.
It was just a little over three and a half years ago when our dad was diagnosed with colon cancer. His initial diagnosis, surgery, and first round of chemo began in October 2009. His clear PET scan in May 2010 gave him a reprieve of a few years while we believed (and his diligence with follow up medical care confirmed) that colon cancer had left our lives.
He was in remission until April of 2012, when he was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer that was filling his lungs to such a degree that he could not breathe without supplemental oxygen. His oncologist started him immediately on a chemotherapy that included a new drug. He and my mom continued with their planned adventures with grandchildren all summer, while maintaining a regimen of chemo every two weeks.
At the end of September 2012, his PET scan came back with amazing results. As a result of this new drug and a lot of prayers, his cancer was almost completely gone–including a tumor that was the size of a lemon! Unfortunately, his PET scan in January revealed that his cancer was again growing, so he began a chemo regimen that includes yet another new drug. He and my mom both remain in positive spirits and have incredibly strong faith in God, which is inspiring to those of us riding the roller coaster with them in this arduous cancer battle.
In March our whole family ran in a local colon cancer race, which was a celebration of my dad’s and other’s perseverance in the battle against colon cancer. It was a great time of coming together with other supportive people in my dad’s life—we wore t-shirts that said, “No One Fights Alone” on the front and “Ba’s Believers” on the back. Ba is my nephews’ designated name for their grandpa.
We are so grateful for research that led to the new drugs that have effectively prolonged the life of our dad. A friend and fellow sojourner of our dad on the stage IV colon cancer journey described the battle like the game Whack-A-Mole, where you bop down the head of the mole wherever it pops up. We recognize that we will continue to fight battles as we wait for a cure, and we are happy to be able contribute in some way towards that end.