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April is National Donate Life Month

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Prelude to One

My anniversary date is upon us. What a year it has been. This year has been good, bad, and everything else in between. I think one good thing that I have learned this year is that marriage, living in a house full or ladies, the Lifetime movie marathons, the tea parties, and constantly having to redress and carry Barbie dolls and pursues has not made me soft. The time that I have spent on my own as a pseudo bachelor I have been able to quickly adapt again to those life skills that took me years build up before marriage, children, and civilization:

  • Eating pizza for breakfast, lunch, dinner, then breakfast once again
  • Ice – Cream (milk shakes for breakfast)
  • Watching sports all day on the weekends in between naps
  • Working out late at night
  • Wearing holey clothes around the apartment
  • Scratching, belching, and using my freedom of speech when I drive

Thursday, January 25, 2007

chemo day cometh once again

Chemo Day "Rat poison #7" is upon us once again.

The side effects of this poison are finally start to come to the surface (bad skin, joint pain, vomiting / nausea), Oh well so much for this chemo being easier than the other Rat poison cocktails I have had.

Note to cancer infusion rooms everywhere we need Patch Adams. The chemo infusion rooms are dark in spirit and down right sad the doctors, nurses, patients, and care givers should be able to have some fun. We aren't at a funeral so even while getting the juice we should be able to have some fun live a little.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Stand for Something

There seems to be some confusion about information about me, about my situation, and about the message(s) I would like to convey.

About Me:
I am human I am going to have good days and bad days, bear with me. I only hope that my good days far out number the bad ones. If sometimes I sound a little bitter or sour about the hand I have been dealt; I am probably having a bad day so lets hope it quickly passes.

My Situation:
I am not alone, I am unfortunately a member of a select fraternity that I was not allowed to turn down. I am not the only person in the country or world with my condition, if I were I think I might be more accepting because it would mean (in my eyes) that other patients weren't slipping through the medical cracks and hearing the unbearable news that they have advanced, late stage, terminal cancer.

My Message:
My goal is to get the transplant so that it can possibly have transplantation as an option when dealing with late stage BAC (Bronchioloalveolar Carcinoma). I would also like to at least get people (young and old) to at least discuss organ donation and know that even in the darkest moments when life has beaten you down you can still lift someone else up. Lastly many, many (did I say many) smokers are unhappy with me and to that I say get over it. The deal is most non-smokers aren't up in arms about you all smoking, people are going to do what they are going to do. Where many non-smokers take offence is when we can't access a building, store, restaurant, train, or even walk down the city street without inhaling your second hand smoke. Smokers cry about their rights but don't known smokers have rights too??

Where's the balance???

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

MLK Jr. tribute

This post is a day late and a dollar short but I would be remiss if I didn’t take a minute to pay my respects to the man, the mission, the courage, the strength, and the leadership that was embodied by Martin Luther King Jr. Regardless of your race, creed, color, or religious preference or how you may have felt about him or the many shoulders he stood upon to rise to his position he fought for all of us. Martin drew a line in the sand and had the conviction to stay on difficult the course he had chosen in an effort to correct an injustice that had no place in our society. Thank-you Martin, and thank-you to the many nameless men, women, and children that aided Martin in the struggle and have kept the fight alive.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Hall of Fame

What a sad two days it has been for me. I have come to the realization that there is a goal I will never be able to fulfill. It seems I have become a victim to some of the horrible medication that I have taken in the Bay Area. No longer can I preach from my soapbox and tell young athletes that I don’t drink, smoke, or use drugs. I have not knowingly been taking steroids for about a month now; not the cream format either that is so popular in the Bay Area.

Since I am taking a steroid or athletic enhancing drug I have to make peace with the fact that I will now never be able to play in the NFL, or play MLB. I will also not be able to go in the hall of fame for either of the two sports. To top it all off I will probably lose my security clearance and have to testify before Congress. I may hire TO’s publicist to do damage control after I testify before that most moral and ethically sound body we call Congress. I hope I don’t get a cell too close to Jack Bower.

I have also been practicing taking the Fifth.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

DFW Star-Telegram Article

In 2007, Jerrold Dash resolves to: Live to see 2008. Find a way for his family to be together. Promote organ donation and break the stereotypes associated with lung cancer.

By Mitch Mitchell

Source: Fort Worth Star-TelegramCredit: STAR-TELEGRAM STAFF

WRITERTuesday,January 9, 2007Edition: Tarrant, Section: News, Page A1

The Lockheed Martin Aeronautics systems engineer is 33 and approaching the first anniversary of his cancer being diagnosed. For the past six months he has lived in a Mountain View, Calif., apartment awaiting a double-lung transplant at Stanford University Medical Center. Dash’s wife of four years and his two young daughters live 1,600 miles away at the family’s south Fort Worth home.

"Cancer doctors are well-versed in what they do, but they don’t give you a lot of hope," Dash said in a telephone interview. "I’m not supposed to survive a year, and I’m definitely not going to be around after five, is what they told me."

Dash and his wife, Rhonda, were racing toward the good life when he began complaining of night sweats, sleepless nights, constant coughing and fatigue. Doctors suspected allergies, asthma, bronchitis, but none used advanced X-rays to screen for lung cancer, Dash said. He was working toward a third master’s degree when the cancer was diagnosed Feb. 1, four years after symptoms first appeared.

He is one of two patients in the United States with his diagnosis who have been approved by a transplant program, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing’s Web site.
Dash says the fact that he has never smoked and was athletic and health-conscious delayed his diagnosis.

He’ll never be able to pinpoint the cause, but he is convinced that secondhand smoke and pollution are two of the likely culprits. He pours out his anger at smokers on a blog that he began in September.

"I am not crazy, deranged, I am just mad as hell. I am mad when I fight for breath and I see smokers lighting up not caring where or in what direction their second-hand smoke goes. In California, there is no smoking in the restaurants, businesses, stores ... however, that does not stop smokers from lighting up right outside of the entrances to such establishments. It physically hurts me to have to walk through this stuff."
— Dash’s blog, Oct. 16

Baylor All Saints Medical Center in Fort Worth, Baylor Medical Center at Southwest Fort Worth and Lockheed all went smoke-free this month. Arlington banned smoking in restaurants, some bars and many other public places as of New Year’s Day. Fort Worth city leaders have scheduled public hearings this month and next on further tobacco restrictions.
Dash, who worked for tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds for two years after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, said even stronger measures are needed to protect nonsmokers from the byproducts of tobacco.

Against the odds
About 10 percent of people who have lung cancer have never smoked, according to David Weill, head of Stanford’s Lung Transplant Program. It is one of the few U.S. programs that transplants organs to cancer patients, Weill said.

"Usually, transplanting with cancer doesn’t work. The chance of getting cancer after the transplant is pretty high," Weill said.

And while the odds of Dash’s cancer returning after the transplant are about 50 percent, the chances are small that any recurrence would be fatal, Weill said.

"I think in life we have two great vices — fear and failure. ... I have over the last several months conquered my fear of death. No one lives forever. It is in knowing that I will one day die as an old man that I am able to live without fear and try to take advantage of every moment I have. Failure is not in my vocabulary. Athletes don’t fail." — Dash’s blog, Oct. 27

Tamara Crawford, a co-worker at Lockheed, said Dash informed her of his diagnosis about a year ago while he was being tested at a Fort Worth hospital.

"I said that doctors can get the diagnosis, but they don’t know the final outcome," said Crawford, an aeronautical engineer at Lockheed who had attended classes with Dash at Southern Methodist University. "Then I walked back to my car and cried."

A former fullback at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina, the 5-11, 235-pound Dash has struggled to maintain his weight. He lifts weights nearly every day and says chemotherapy — rat poison, he calls it — makes him hungry, weak, sleepy and angry.
"I had to call the cops today at the hospital to get three die-hard smokers out of the no-smoking area so that cancer patients didn’t have to go through a cloud of smoke while trying to get into the cancer center," Dash wrote in an e-mail Dec. 28.

Dash communicates with his family daily by phone, e-mail or webcam. His wife, Rhonda; their 3-year-old, Raegan; and 1-year-old Ravyn huddle around the computer to share news of holidays and routine events. The trio last visited Dash in California on Thanksgiving.

Raegan "cries for him. She misses him," said Rhonda Dash, an environmental investigator with the state. "She always asks when we can go back out there for a visit."
Ravyn was only a few weeks old when her father received his diagnosis. For her, Dash is a man inside the box.
"She calls the telephone Dada," Jerrold Dash said.

Timing is crucial
Jerrold Dash hasn’t been to Fort Worth since September, when he attended the funeral of his mother-in-law, who died of lung cancer. If he leaves the Palo Alto area, his name will be removed from the transplant list. That policy is driven by the short shelf life of lungs — a mere six hours after being removed from a donor. Transplant recipients must not venture more than four hours from the hospital because of the time needed for a pre-surgery work-up.
Dash completes his assignments related to the Lightning II project by telecommuting from one of Lockheed’s California offices.

He is working on a third master’s degree — this one in systems engineering, having earned graduate degrees in organizational management and computer information systems. He completes course work at Southern Methodist University by watching DVDs of his classes. His classmates graduated in December, but he is one class and one paper short of fulfilling his degree requirements.

Yet some things, he knows, are more important.
"From the time I graduated from college up to now, I did everything I could to benefit my career; a career I do not feel I will ever get back on track again. However, I am not sad to see my career take a backseat. You have to find a balance in life and prioritize the major things in your life. The things that are important to me are being able to wake-up and see another day, my GOD, and my friends and family."
— Dash’s blog, Jan. 2


Secondhand smoke causes 35,000 to 45,000 deaths from heart disease every year. An additional 3,000 otherwise healthy nonsmokers die of lung cancer each year because of their exposure to secondhand smoke, according to the American Cancer Society.
The Environmental Protection Agency has classified secondhand smoke as a Group A carcinogen, a substance that is known to cause human cancer.
Find information online about lung cancer and secondhand smoke at Medline Plus at or at the American Cancer Society at
As of Dec. 29, more than 94,600 people were on a transplant waiting list; more than 22,000 received transplants in 2006, and nearly 11,200 donated organs.
To ensure that your decision to become a donor is carried out, sign up at
Indicate your wishes on your driver’s license or state ID when you apply for or renew it. Tell relatives that you have decided to become a donor.
Find information online at Donate Life America at, the United Network for Organ Sharing at or LifeGift at
Contact Jerrold Dash through his blog at
SOURCES: American Cancer Society, Donate Life America, United Network for Organ Sharing
The public is invited to comment on recommended changes to Fort Worth’s smoking ordinance during 7 p.m. meetings hosted by the city:

Jan. 16: R.D. Evans Community Center, 3242 Lackland Road
Jan. 22: Handley Meadowbrook Community Center, 6201 Beaty St.
Feb. 1: Southwest Community Center, 6300 Welch Ave.
Feb. 12: North Fort Worth Baptist Church, 5801 N. Interstate 35W

Mitch Mitchell, 817-548-5411

Monday, January 08, 2007

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday little one I will be home soon.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Chemo Day (comes again)

Had an interesting ride into the hospital this morning. Some guy was on the road and was already having a bad day taking out his frustration on the other drivers on El Camino Real. This guy offered me a chance to get in an early morning workout as he decided to challenge other drivers on the road, I unfortunately gave him a pass and came on into the hospital but I am not so sure the other drivers on the road did not take him up on his challenges. There is a lesson that I am trying to pass along to the early morning drivers near cancer centers wherever you are located. It is in your best interest not to challenge cancer patients on their way to chemo, don't make any sudden movements toward us, and don't look us directly in the eye in a challenging manner b/c we are already tense, on edge, and ready to "Pop the Pop off". Unknown driver please know this I am 5 pounds short of bringing Sexy back my pre-cancer weight of 240 so in three weeks when I ride in for my next chemo I might not give you a pass Mr. 8 A.M. angry driver.

Disclaimer: I don't advocate violence but, you are not of a normal mindset on treatment days; your thoughts and actions are different so you can make it through.

Another day, another hit of rat poison #7, with a vitamin B-12, and steroid chaser.

CT results were stable.

Lung Functionality is down.

That is about it time to head to the apartment and sleep.

farwell Charlie

This post is not about me it is a tribute to a fallen member of our transplant support group that ran out of time as he was not able to get his much needed transplant. I am posting my farewell and my condolences on my blog as I will be unable to attend the life celebration for Charlie Stockley. Charlie and I never got to meet each other and hang but through the stories his family, friends, co-workers have shared I was able to know the man, the humanitarian, the musician, that was Charlie Stockley. I hate that Charlie ran out of time while waiting for a donor because everybody deserves a chance at life.

For more information on Charlie please visit his website

For more information about organ donation please visit this site

Rest in Peace Charlie, breathe long, breathe free, breathe deep

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Last year and Today

Happy New Year. Out with the old and in with the new. My thoughts and some long overdue pent up feelings about 2006 along with hope I have for 2007.

2006 was filled with the good, the bad, and the ugly but; through it all I can’t complain because I am still vertical, upright, breathing, and my family is healthy, happy, and provided for. The sickness that blindsided me and my family was unexpected but we are dealing with it and hope in 2007 I can get a transplant.

The sicker I become, the more I see the two worlds that I am existing colliding (the world of a terminal cancer patient and the world of the not sick who pressure you about stuff that in the grand scheme of things is not that serious). I am torn as from the time I graduated from college up to now I did everything I could to benefit my career; a career I do not fill will ever get back on track again. I however am not sad to see my career take a backseat for you have to find a balance in life and prioritize the major things in your life. The things that are important to me are being able to wake-up and see another day, my GOD, and my friends and family. I still have a lot of my engineering savvy, and training but I can’t waste my time worrying about professional administrative things that I can’t control, I fight for breath daily that is my concern. I struggle to keep my family afloat daily, I struggle satisfy the heartless creditors that demand their payment regardless of what is going on in your life. I can’t control the direction my career takes from this point on since I will be nervous in the future working around others especially working around the office super hero’s we all know that come to work sick rather than burning sick leave.

I still hold a lot of anger toward the office of my former primary care doctor’s office. I have learned that lung cancer is a hard catch for the professionals that engage in the practice of medicine. I am disappointed that I was mis-diagnosed for so many years, and that the symptoms that I was experiencing fell on deaf ears as they never really heard the words that came out of my mouth. The incident that angers me the most is that after I was diagnosed and had switched to another primary care physician I placed a call to the offices of my former primary care physician at All Saints City View and got one of Dr. B’s physicians assistant. I simply asked given all we know since I was diagnosed do you think you did everything you could medically speaking. The answer was yes (expected because they were being legally correct) I was hoping for a human answer that would have expressed the fact that medically they could have done a better job at diagnosing my condition by running more test outside of their patient profile protocol, or just saying they are human they aren't perfect and that they will learn and try to improve their medical practice from my situation.

My New Years Resolutions are as follows
1. Live to see 2008
2. Find a way for my family to be together
3. Promote organ donation and break the stereo types associated with lung cancer
4. TBD
5. TBD