Thursday, October 25, 2012


“There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something tomorrow.” – Orison Swett Marden

Tommy had his six month and things are continuing to look good, lymph nodes smaller, white blood cell counts in the low normal range.  He is still in remission!  Praying the good news continues!

Couple events that have happened recently got me to thinking about hope.  One is Tommy’s dr. telling him that while he’s in remission now, recurrence from this particular cancer, as with any, is possible.  Which, we know, but it was something about it that just struck an ominous chord with me; it felt very defeating – like a rug pulled out from underneath us.  And while the doctor tried to be reassuring, noting all the new and different treatments out there, it still left the question of not if, but when.  It took away a good portion of the hope that life will become normalized sooner or later.  That nuclear scans and the endless poking and prodding will eventually be a thing of the past, let alone the hours in the infusion chair.  Hope that the bone pain, nausea and other side effects from chemo will never have to be considered again seems to unlikely.

Psychologically, this has done a number on both of us. Physically, the ongoing stress of work and then getting knocked upside the head with this news has made Tommy literally sick. The only answers I can give him, is the fear is normal, the wondering if it’s coming back is normal.  But even in remission, especially with the low white blood cells to fight off the infections, you are going to get colds and stomach flu’s.  While vigilance for the signs is important, it is also necessary to keep perspective.

Right now, instead of focusing on the “when” and the “ifs” a perspective change and looking at the positive will go a long, long way.   The good news is he’s in remission. 
And we can start moving forward with our tomorrows that we are dreaming about, and all the positives that is being mapped out in our lives.

Hope is very powerful-- sometimes it is all a person has. We will still cling to the hope we have – that the cancer is gone, and it will stay gone.  

“Let your hopes, not your hurts, shape your future.” – Robert H. Schuller

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remembering 9/11/01

This, like every year since 2001, is a very solemn time spent in reverence for those we lost on 9/11/01.

This past Saturday Tommy participated in the Texas Firewalkers Memorial Stair Climb.  While he was not able to do the climb since he was recovering from having his chemo port removed; it was a deep honor to help, and extends humble gratitude to those that participated in the stair climb.

Prayers go out to those still hurting, still mourning and still grieving 11 years on.

Never Forget.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Mark You Calenders

Saturday, September 8, 2012  Tommy will be participating in the Austin stair climb to honor the 343 Firefighters murdered on Sept. 11, 2001.  Information on the stair climb can be found at Texas FireWalkers .

Last year, while going through chemo, Tommy was able to complete 55 stories.  While still not back to 100% from his chemo, hoping to increase the number of stories climbed.

Please take a moment to check out the Texas FireWalkers page.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Brotherhood & Sisterhood In Action

Donate to help get Sara L. Jones the Cancer Treatment she needs! 

We've joined up with to help get Sara Jones the cancer treatment she needs.  All proceeds will go directly to Sara Jones, who is fighting stage 4 cancer.  Her last PET scan showed it had spread to bones and liver.  Donate now to give her this life saving opportunity, any amount is tremendously appreciated.

Thank you!

Friday, April 13, 2012

"The Game Changer"

Worth a watch

Saturday, March 31, 2012

March 30, 2012

Today has been what one could call an emotional roller coaster from Hell....I lost my Dad three years ago today to cancer and now I am fighting it. My mind is such a mess it is hard to write this. So if I ramble I apologize. First let me say I went for a CT Scan yesterday to see where I was at with my treatment...

So, I went for my scan on pumped with contrast into my port and then it was "Breath In", "Hold it", "Exhale"...I hate that damn machine...the voice, the little pictures of what to do. If you have been there you know what I mean, if not..I hope you don't have to. It is not like the tunnel that I was scanned in before, where people tend to freak out. That never bothered me, it was confined space....been there done that and without a Scott Pack...So they did the scan and then I was done, now I waited for the results..
Further Info:
My Daughter was married on March 28, 2009...such a great day for a proud father but also there was some own father was gravely ill from the cancer that had taken over his body and so he, my mom and most of my family was at his bedside awaiting the worse and unable to attend the wedding As we celebrated the joyous union and tried to "stream" it so Dad could watch, he was slipping further away.I was to fly out on the 30th to be there but alas I was too late. An early morning call from my brother to say Dad had passed and I was off to Florida to bury my Dad...My Dad who was a Navy Vet, a past Grand Knight with the Knight's of Columbus and also served on the state board, along with being an officer with the Ancient Order of the Hibernians. His wake, funeral and internment was attended by three color guards. A Man who gave much to his Country, his Church and his Heritage....Thanks Dad for what you instilled in me and what I have tried to pass on to others...

Back to the present...

 As stated my day started like crap. I was feeling very down and had looked at the Mass Cards and photos of my Dad, it was hard to believe it was three years since his passing. After crying for a bit, then a shower I was off to work with a heavy heart. I went through the motions and tried not to let my feelings get in the way of my job. As I have told and been told many times, "check your feelings at the door, the costumers don't care". Late in the day my phone rang, it was the Drs. Office and I answered...What I heard next almost blew me away...."Tom, we got the results from your scan, you are in the clear". Wow, I was on cloud nine as they say...I had bought lotto tickets for the gazzilion dollar drawing, but as far as I was concerned I had won a lot bigger prize already!! Time to start making some calls...the first was to my Mom and we agreed for such a dismal day, this was great news and agreed Dad was looking down from Heaven and was smiling upon me...then there were calls to my kids, my Aunt and some special friends that had been such a part of my battle. Then there was another way I could pass on this news, social I posted the great news on Face Book and also let some folks know in a "shout box" that I frequent....The outpouring of congrats was very humbling.

I can't begin to thank everyone enough for their thoughts and prayers over the last year. You all hold a very special place in my heart. I still have to have the IV port removed from my chest and will still go back for checks and scans, but for now the worst is behind me.

I started this blog so that I could help those that were going through Chemo understand what it was like and also to let people know to NEVER GIVE UP!! The question now is where do I go from here? My "Admin" here and I are looking into other ways that this blog can help others and any input would be appreciated. Please leave a comment here or on The Firefighter Battles Cancer Face Book page.

Once again, a big THANKS to all that have followed me through this fight and please, Take Care, Never Give Up and Never Forget!!

aka "Tex"
aka "@tommyhark on twitter

The Last Day of Chemo, but Not the Last Day of the Fight

Today s a very emotional day for last session of Chemotherapy!! Without the help of my Dr. and the staff of Texas Oncology, I am not sure this day would have come. I am now sitting here in my chair and a stream of well wishers have stopped by. I have looked forward to this day for a long time and over a year ago I never thought I would see this day.
The day here started as it usually..first it was the blood draw and the an office visit with the Dr. As happy as I am, I could tell he also was very happy with the outcome. We have discussed where will be going over the next months. Blood draws will continue every few weeks to monitor the levels in my blood. In a month I will get another cat scan to make sure that we have slayed this beast know as cancer. This was written a month ago and I forgot to post it....oops...coming up...the results

Friday, January 20, 2012

Life By the Drop

 Hello my old friend, not long ago it was till the mind is aching, Lord it won't stop...that's how it is livin' by the drop. Some words by Stevie Ray Vaughn that came to me as I sit and get my Chemo drugs today. The drip of the IV can be a little hypnotic at times or is it the Benadryl? Either way I get about six hours of time to myself to reflect, think and give my mind a break from everyday life. Ya, I am surrounded by people in various stages of their treatments and I can honestly say I have been there and done that. At times I feel that old feeling of callousness for lack of a better word creeping back in my life. As I did on so many calls that I prefer not to remember, there are times here I look around and take my mind someplace else. I then step back and start to remember that this is not what I want or how I should act. People are scared here and they need and want answers. The call for help has been made and someone needs to answer once again, I place myself "back in service".This post is a little late and I want to apologize to all that have been following. I need a kick in the ass or just knowing that this might be reaching someone, up, what can I do?

Today is the second to last treatment for me and it is time to start planning where I will be going from here. I am still faced with having blood draws, scans and quarterly meetings with my Doc. I do need to some thinking about how I can start giving back to those that are in need

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