Well …. when I was leaving the Gonzaga campus at the end of my freshman
year I thought I had pulled a muscle in my back and that it was no big thing. Well after flying back to Denver with my Dad
this pain was getting worse, so on Mother’s day I went to Urgent Care and then the Emergency room at the hospital to
get my back pain figured out and hopefully fixed. Well as it turns out this pain was telling my body that I was about to begin
the biggest battle of my life.
On May 11th I was diagnosed with testicular cancer which was a total shock and
surprise to me. Since the cancer had already spread through my body it was quickly decided that I would be operated on the
evening of May 12th to remove the source of the cancer. This was a scary experience to be operated on for the first
time in my life. The operation went as expected and I then spent the next 6 days in the hospital recovering from the operation
and having the doctors managing the severe pain caused by the tumors in my body pressing on nerves in my back. We then got
that to a manageable level with a lot of help from really strong pain meds. Then on Monday May 19th I started my
first round of chemo which consisted of chemo being administered into me for five consecutive days. Each day’s session
lasted about 5- 6 hrs during which they put multiple drugs into me via an IV. During these five days I was still in the hospital
and got great care and support from the doctors and the nurses. They were great!! I know everyone wants to know how the chemo
was. Well, it really does not hurt when they are shooting it into me, but as the days progress, there were many times when
I felt sick to my stomach, really tired and just like I have a bad flu. While I was in the hospital for all this time I had
my family visiting and staying many hours with me which really helped me a lot. Also, I had many friends from Regis and Gonzaga
coming to see me and that was great and really boosted my spirits.
Having got through the first round of chemo I was finally sent home on Sunday
May 29th which felt great to get out of the hospital and back to my house. Unfortunately that did not last long,
due to increased pain in my body, nausea and significant shortness of breath; I was admitted back into the hospital on Wed
May 28th due to blood clots that had developed in my lungs. I was told these were caused by the combination of
the chemo and the tumors in my lungs. Well this was really serious stuff, so I was put on blood thinners and closely monitored.
At the same time, this is when my body really was impacted by the chemo and white blood cells reduced significantly (which
is part of the chemo thing). So the doctors and team did a lot of stuff with drugs to help my body through this challenge.
The white blood cells have bounced back and we have the blood clots under control, so I was finally released from the hospital
on Wed June 4th. Yes!!!! That felt really good and I am now resting my body and trying to make it stronger to start
Round 2 of chemo on Monday June 9th! Keep the prayers and positive thoughts flowing. I really need them to continue
my battle to beat this thing! Obviously I have had a lot of time to sit around to think, worry, and pray about my cancer,
but here is how I look at this whole thing. Life is like a baseball game and this battle I am in against my cancer is JUST
ONE INNING! We will win the game!
First of all thanks to all of you for your prayers
and words of encouragement! These really keep me going as I proceed through this battle! I just
completed the second round of my chemo and it went pretty well. I was able to go each day to the cancer center where they
administered the chemo for about four hours each day Monday through Friday. This place really is a big room with many recliners
where you sit while they hook you up to the medical pumps that shoot the chemo drugs into your body. So each day I would get
there and settle into one of the “primo” spots in the corner of the room. The nurses
there are great and made sure I was getting everything I needed. I made some friends with fellow cancer patients who were
there being treated at the same time. This helps to see and to know that I am not the only person going through the battle
against cancer. At the end of each day I would head home to rest, eat, be with my family & friends. Let me tell you that
this is 10 times better than being in the hospital. I am feeling pretty good and with the help of a lot of drugs, we have
been able to control the nausea. Next week is when my white blood cells will go really low and I have to get a shot each day
to help increase the production of these cells. I get really tired now, so I get to rest a lot which is not so bad. Well I
am half way through my chemo sessions and I continue to battle through this inning with the help of my primary
coaches (Mom, Dad, Danny, Bridget & Meaghan) and you all, My Fans!
June 28, 2008
Since my last update I managed
through the 16 days after the 2nd round of chemo. It pretty much went as expected in that I had my days of not
feeling great and my white blood cells decreased significantly. I went to the Cancer Center each day to get a shot to boost the
white blood cell production and to closely monitor the blood thinners that I am on. The good news is that those days I did
not have to be in the office too long each day. In preparation for the start of the third round of chemo, I have
been walking a bit each day and eating to attempt to bulk up. I got a long way to go on the “Bulking Up”. The
family and friends continue to provide me with great support and I really appreciate all of your thoughts that you are leaving
in my guest book. Your notes are a medicine for me and help keep my attitude strong for the battle. I was able
to attend a party that my friends were having last weekend and it was fun to see everyone to catch up and laugh a bunch. During
the party I was overwhelmed by the support of my friends. As you can see in one of the pictures, they all shaved their heads
to provide support for me. This was really special for me and I will
never forget the feeling of that support, so thanks to my Regis brothers! During the last two weeks we did do the tests to monitor the progress
of the tumor markers and they continue to head in the right direction. So on this coming Monday, I start round three of the
chemo and it should be the same routine. I will go in each day, do my thing and then head back home. I know what to expect
and will do my best to get through it with no new developments. Thanks once again for all of your support as I continue through
this inning and on our way to winning the game.
Update: July 10, 2008
Round 3 of chemo is completed and I am feeling really good! Last week I went in each day for my treatment
and yes even on the 4th of July. I was reminded by one of my nurses that there are no holidays for cancer. Everything
went as planned and no new medical surprises developed so that was really good for me. Early last week I received the results
of my second Pet Scan (this is an advanced cat scan which clearly identifies all of the cancer cells in the body) and this
was the BEST news of my journey to date. The test revealed that no new tumors have grown and that all of the existing tumors
have reduced in size. I believe that the combination of the medical treatments, all of the prayers and
positive thoughts from all of you produced this positive news. Hearing that good news from the doctor was the same positive
and exciting feeling as hitting a homerun. My appetite has been really good and almost normal, so all of the anti nausea medicines
are really working. One night I went out to dinner with my family and I actually ordered a huge prime rib
dinner and I finished it all. It has been awhile since I have felt like doing that and I really enjoyed it. Physically I have
been feeling great. I am still walking each day, lifting some weights and I actually played some golf with one of my friends
this week. The next 10 days is once again about controlling my white blood cell count as they reduce significantly to the
point where they are almost eliminated. I need to be real careful about the risk of developing any infections. I know you
all have been sending tons of prayers and positive thoughts my way, but now it is my turn to help out. My brother Danny and
all of his friends at Regis recently lost one of their “brothers” to a sudden death. So I am redirecting some
of those positive thoughts and prayers to Danny and his friends which will help them
get through this tragic loss. Thanks for all of the support and I will keep on battling hard to come out on top at
the end of this inning.
Update: July 25, 2008
This past Monday was the start of Round 4 of chemo and I am
ready for this to be the final round of this stuff. Last week I felt really good and while my white blood cell count was really
low I did not encounter any new issues. Rally good news from last week was that I gained back 15 lbs. which has been a big
goal for me! The doctors were encouraged by my weight gain and status of the tumor markers continue to head in the right direction.
I had a great surprise last weekend in that 2 of my cousins from Boston came to visit for a few
days. It was great to see them and hang out with them. I actuially went to the Mile High Music Fest one day with my cousin
to see the headliner band….Dave Mathews. It was awsome! Several of my friends, my cousin a I ended up standing about
40 feet from the stage to watch the concert and that was unbelievably fun. Well today I finished my last day of the this 5
day cycle of chemo. I pray and hope this is the last time I need to do this. We will have all new tests done in two weeks
and that should give us an exact determination on the status of the cancer. I continue the battle with
all of the suppport from you all! I can see the end of the inning and we just need to finish strong. Remember “Never
Stop….Living the Dream!”
First of all I apologize for not updating this earlier, but I got distracted
by new medical developments with my battle to beat this cancer. As you all know by now I finished my 4th
round of chemo the first week of August. At the cancer center when you complete your planned rounds of chemo they make a big
deal and you are a King for the Day! The best part is the crown I got to wear! I was glad to spend that time with all of my
family, friends & the fantastic staff at the cancer center. We thought that this would be the end and I would be able
to declare victory and an end to this inning of my life. Well …. that is not what happened because one of my tumor
markers was indicating that we had not killed all of the cancer. So, my doctor contacted the “guru” of testicular
cancer (Dr. Einhorn in Indianapolis, IN) to consult on what we should
do next. So off I went with my mom to see Dr. Einhorn on Aug 11th to get a second opinion. He and his staff were
great, but they quickly determined that we are not done with the battle. There is still some cancer in my body and we will
need to attack it through aggressive & specialized chemo treatments. What that means is that I have to complete two more
rounds of chemo and it can only be done at Dr. Einhorn’s center. Each round will be about 3 weeks, so I leave tomorrow
for Indianapolis to start the first of two rounds. I have to admit I am really bummed out that
because of this development I will not returning to Gonzaga to start this semester, but I gaurantee that I will BE BACK AS
SOON AS I AM ABLE!!!!! So, I have a tough 7 weeks ahead of me, but as you know I will battle hard and I am determined to win.
I will need you all to keep up those great positive thoughts and prayers. They really help and it is a big part of the daily
medicines I need to take to win. All of my friends from Regis, Gonzaga and New York have been
unbelievable with the support…..so THANKS!!!!!! The power of family has been demonstrated to me through all of this
& I can’t even begin to thank you for everything you have done so far and all that is still to come. Look for updates
from Indiana! As I go on the road to finish this inning, there may be
some cancer left in me, but there is something else inside me which is a BIG TIME DESIRE TO …. NEVER STOP LIVING THE
August 31, 2008
Since arriving in Indy on Aug 17th, I have done a lot of medical stuff as you can imagine.
Once I had the port inserted into my chest, we quickly moved to the process of having the stem cells harvested from my body.
In order to get my body ready they gave me a lot of medicine to increase the production of white blood cells. That step combined
with some new pain being caused by the cancer caused my body to be in significant pain. The actual process used to harvest
the stem cells is not painful just a long time laying there as they extract the blood out of your body. Once they had enough
the immediately froze the cells to save them for putting them back in my body about a week later. The 3 days of chemo started
right up and I knew going into it would be much stronger than what I previously had done. Well it absolutely was and I felt
pretty bad right way! I am a lot more tired, bouts of getting sick to my stomach and a lack of desire to really eat much.
In general I feel like I have a really bad flu that will not go away. For the first nine days of my stay in Indy, my Dad and
I would go to the hospital each day for about 6 hrs and then head back to our apartment. I would try to eat something, sleep
, get sick, sometimes go for a short walk and just try to get comfortable to rest. It is not bad place
with 2 bedrooms, a kitchen and room to watch TV. In the process now, I have no white blood cells left in my body so I have
to be really careful not to get sick. I get a lot of antibiotics every day at the hospital. The chemo can cause a lot of things,
but two key areas that have reduced significantly are the potassium and magnesium in my body (this is very normal).
So yesterday I decided with my doctor that I would be admitted into the hospital so I can get round
the clock IV’s of the meds for all the stuff that needs to be adjusted. Actually I am staying in
a brand new cancer center that is really nice. The people here are great and continue to give me the best care. I am really
fortunate to be able to be out here to get this medical care and I thank my doctor back in Denver for making that happen.
Well….the battle goes on and it is much harder this round, but I have not taken my eye off the goal which is to beat
this cancer completely so that I can close this inning and move to next inning which is back to my life
as a college student at Gonzaga. Keep up those prayers and support and make sure you….not just me….Never stop
living the dream!!!
Wow!! The days following my last update were a lot
tougher than I thought they would be. As I mentioned last time I was in the hospital for the treatment of my nausea, potassium
and magnesium. A day into my stay I was also put back on pain meds to treat the severe pain that developed in my stomach.
The pain was caused by the chemo’s impact on my GI tract, so needless to say I really struggled trying to keep any food
down but it was even more painful trying to get it in. So they put me on IV nutrition to make sure that I was getting the
stuff my body needed. Even though I was getting “fed” that way, I was actually starved for real food and would
dream about eating different things…..even twinkies one day! My mom was there throughout my stay in the hospital and
that really helped so thanks Mom!! I was the first patient to use the room I was in and it was really NICE as far as hospital
rooms go. About 5 days ago my white blood cells started to come back which is exactly what was supposed to happen in this
process. Even better news was that my tumor markers have reduced again and that is exactly what the chemo is targeted to do!
Now on top of all of this I developed a rash (which is pretty common with patients like me) and it was a major frustration
to me. Yes it was the type of rash that itches and it covered a lot of my body. They tried medications and creams, but to
be honest nothing really helped that much. I felt like I had a thousand mosquito bites all over me. This
past Sunday I was released from the hospital and I was excited to go outside to smell fresh air, see the sun and to not have
to sleep in a hospital bed. As long as I can start eating and keep it in me I should be good for awhile and not have to go
back to the hospital for about a week. The next step in the process is to start my first day of round 2 of the chemo on September
17th. Right now I do not what to even think about that! I just want to get back to some level of normal so maybe
I can go out for a meal, do something fun or maybe even go home (Denver) for a few days. This was a tough phase and a lot
harder than I thought, but I have not lost sight of my goal. I am battling as hard as I can to “kick the crap”
out of this cancer. All of the support and prayers you are sending my way and it keeps me going. Thanks Again! I am going
to hopefully rest this part of the inning, so that I am ready to go to finish this thing off.
September 21, 2008
On Thursday Sept 11th my mom and I flew back to Denver, which felt fantastic
to be out of the hospital and on my way home! I spent five days at home and was able to hang out with my brother and sisters.
I actually felt well enough to watch Meaghan run cross country and watched Bridget and Danny play lacrosse. Also, some of
my friends had not left yet to go back to school, so I was able to hang out with them and that was good fun. On Sept 23rd
my Dad and I headed back to Indy for the start of the second round of my chemo and stem cell transplant. I felt much better
going into this round and was able to eat probably the most I have in the last 4 weeks. This past Friday I completed what
I hope is the last time ever that I have to have chemo injected into my body. So far so good and I continue to feel pretty
good…..eating & sleeping well. On Saturday I had some friends from Regis who go to school at Notre Dame and Loyola
Chicago came to visit with me! This really helped me out and it was great to see them and to hang out for a few days. Also
my girlfriend Caitlin flew in from Gonzaga to see me and that was the best medicine I had all week and it took my mind off
the chemo! Thank you to her and the Notre Dame group!!!! I will get my stem cells transplanted back into
me on Monday and then I will get lots of antibiotics and fluids to help my body get my white blood cells back to a normal
level during the following 14 days. I hope I will be able to stay out of the hospital this round and finish this thing strong!!!
Keep all those positive thoughts and prayers flowing, because I know you understand how much they are helping me through this
October 6, 2008
Yes! Yes! Yes!!!!! I finished up in
Indy and was able to return to Denver this past Saturday. The second round was not as tough as the first which allowed me
to only have to spend 5 days in the hospital this time. My sister Bridget and brother Danny came out to visit which lifted
up my spirits even though it was the day I got admitted into the hospital. I really appreciate them coming out to visit and
thanks to the Regis friends that raised money for their trip. The good news about this round was that I really did not feel
that bad and never got the nasty rash that I got in the first round. The only new thing that I did develop was a reaction
to one of the antibiotics which is called “the red man syndrome”. Like the name states I got really red all over
my body even my eyes and they quickly treated it with Benadryl. I was allowed to leave Indy a few days earlier than planned
because my white blood cells and the other critical factors returned to the required levels. Now for the great news….my
tumor marker is now at the lowest it ever has been and that is exactly where Dr. E thought it would be at this point in the
process. Each week I will now get my tumor marker checked and the expectation is that it will continue to slowly drop to normal.
I will return to Indy at the beginning of Nov for a checkup. So I will keep you all posted on the progress. I am really excited
because I am about to jump on home plate and declare victory on this tough inning in my life. As I have said before I would
not be here if it was not for all of the prayers, thoughts and support from all of you. So keep it going!
October 29, 2008
As the saying goes, “It ain’t over till
it’s over!” Unfortunately I was unable to jump on home plate last week, because the tumor markers started to rise
again which is not what we needed to happen. As a result of that change I started a new type of chemo last week which I will
get it once a week. The doctors have decided on this protocol with the hope that it will eliminate the remaining cancer cells.
Compared to the chemo I have had already, this type is a little easier for the body to handle. I feel pretty good right now
and have been eating everything I can and gaining weight. Since I only have to go to get chemo once a week, I am looking into
potentially getting a part time job and maybe taking some classes while I am home. I am amazed and so grateful for all of
the prayers and support that you all are focusing on my battle. Keep the prayers flowing and I will do my part to focus all
of that positive energy on beating this cancer.
ago, I completed the last day of chemo for the first round of this new chemo we are doing. Unfortunately,
I spent five days last week in the hospital because my blood levels were all pretty low and I developed a fever. Whenever
you have a fever when you are in that condition you are immediately put in the hospital, so that the doctors can “rule
out” any infections that may have developed. The good news is that I was pumped up with antibiotics round the clock
for 5 days and I had no infections develop. It is good to be back home because no matter what they think you cannot sleep
in a hospital. All the nurses that took care of me when I was first in the hospital here in Denver were there and glad to
take care of me again. Thanks to the whole team! I started the first day of the second round of this chemo today and we need
to keep on going, because the tumor markers went down again from the weeks before and that is encouraging. We need to keep
them going down and hopefully eventually snapping them back to a normal level. Even with all of this I still feel pretty good
and I keep on eating and hoping to put on more pounds. I am absolutely convinced that all of your prayers and the special
services I went to at church are really pushing this game to conclusion! Thanks again and keep them going and I am not sure
how I will ever pay you all back for the prayers and thoughts, but believe I will do my BEST!
December 14, 2008
I know it has been awhile since my last update, so
here we go. On Dec 2nd, I completed the regimen of chemo I was on since the last update, but unfortunately that
type of chemo was unable to “finish” the job against my cancer. What that means is that my tumor markers shot
up again and that led to more doctor visits and analysis and the conclusion was that I needed to try another type of chemo
which we started just this past Tuesday. So I continue on with attempting to find the “right stuff” to beat this
cancer. Now on the exciting news side of things, I had been planning for about a month to return to Gonzaga U. for last weekend,
so that I could see all of my friends and to attend a formal dance with Caitlin. Well on the morning of Dec. 4th
my doctor gave me the final clearance to jump on a plane that night so I could get to Gonzaga. It was fantastic and great
medicine for me!!!! It was great to see everyone and to hang out in my dorm room. Oh and I forgot to mention that it was a
surprise to almost everyone when I showed up, so they were shocked when they saw me on campus. That was way fun! I
am really looking forward to seeing my friends over the Christmas break and celebrating with my family. I am as focused as
I was on the first day of this journey to beat this thing, so keep on praying and I am will keep on playing this inning and
soon we will win!
January 8, 2009
I hope everyone had a great Christmas
& Happy New Year! I had a good time with family and friends. My grandparents, two aunts & uncles plus their kids all
came to Colorado and that was great! I have also been able to hang out with my friends that were all home from school and
I am enjoying every minute of that! Everyone got to experience one of those McGann New Year’s Eve Party and I think
everyone had a great time. As a result of several requests, I have added some pictures from my visit to Gonzaga, so enjoy!
On the medical front I have experienced another setback with the battle. The chemo I have been getting here lately has not
worked to reduce the cancer activity, so my tumor markers have shot through the roof to levels that I have never experienced.
So, just yesterday we started a new regimen of chemo to try to get things under control. I hope this one can get it done.
I will get it once every 2 weeks so I will keep you posted. If you see in the new pictures I actually grew back some hair,
but this new chemo will take it back down to the bald look again. No big deal and we can save on the shampoo expense again.
Well… I continue on with the battle & we all need to keep up the positive thoughts and prayers, so thanks again.
January 29, 2009
The Inning is Over for Jimmy & the Game Continues for Us
by your Dad
We all were hoping, we all were praying and we all believed that Jimmy would beat this terrible cancer
and we anticipated the day when Jimmy would update this site with the news of winning this Inning. Unfortunately
that is not what happened, since Jimmy passed away on Jan 13, 2009.
the day Jimmy was diagnosed with advanced Testicular Cancer, he amazed us with his composure and determination to beat this
thing. As we all know he fought as hard as we can imagine anyone doing, but he did it without complaining, self pity, anger
or selfishness. That is what we all need to learn & thank Jimmy for as we continue to move through our lives. Jimmy loved
to live life and demonstrated that every day from grade school through his shortened stay at Gonzaga University. Everybody
he knew and that he called his friend was so important to him. The friends in NY, the Regis Brothers and the Gonzaga Group
he loved you all and always smiled as big as possible when he saw you or talked about you. It is crazy how this happens, but
until somebody leaves us here on earth we never have enough time to tell our family members how much we all mean to each other.
To Danny, Bridget and Meaghan, I can tell you that Jimmy was SO VERY proud of you guys! Even though he
would never do this when you could hear him, he would regularly “brag” about you guys to friends, doctors, nurses
& fellow cancer patients. He loved you so much and I know he will continue to watch over you and guide you. Now we just
need to continue on and make him even prouder and I know you guys will do it. To Mary Kay or Mom….Jimmy was so thankful
for the constant round the clock care you provided to him. He knew he was so lucky to have you caring and constantly being
his advocate through this crazy journey, because he witnessed that not all cancer patients were so lucky. You did everything
possible and then some to help Jimmy through this battle; he would never want you to second guess anything. So Don’t!
We added a few more pictures,
which demonstrate how Jimmy would want to be remembered. Like that Irish Stud, having fun in the outfield, dancing in the
New Year (just 13 days before his death), hanging out on the Gonzaga Campus and having fun with his BEST Friends – Danny,
Bridget & Meaghan!
Now I say goodbye to my
son which is harder than anyone can imagine. He was an amazing young man who taught us all something &
he continues to teach us. My love for Jimmy will never end & I miss him so much. I will need his help to get me through
this loss and I know that he is already helping. This is when it gets
hard because we are all waiting for Jimmy to walk into the room, join a conversation or respond to a text to tell us (with
that huge smile) “It is all good!” Since the reality is that this is not going to happen, we
need to smile, convince ourselves that it is all good and keep on Living Our Dreams! Why???
Because that is what Jimmy taught us to do and that is what he would want us to do.Thank you Jimmy for being who you were & forever being an Angel in our lives!!!