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Cancer Update: Treatment Is Working!

March 2, 2020 Featured, Steve Patterson Comments Off on Cancer Update: Treatment Is Working!

I first disclosed my cancer diagnosis last Halloween, on this blog’s 15th anniversary. Updates followed at the end of November and December.

To catch you up, I have stage 4 kidney cancer — which means it originated in a kidney but has spread elsewhere. I will never be cancer-free, treatments are about preventing the growth of tumors and further spreading.

My treatment isn’t chemotherapy or radiation, it’s immunotherapy.

Immunotherapy, also called biologic therapy, is a type of cancer treatment that boosts the body’s natural defenses to fight cancer. It uses substances made by the body or in a laboratory to improve or restore immune system function. Immunotherapy may work by:

  • Stopping or slowing the growth of cancer cells
  • Stopping cancer from spreading to other parts of the body
  • Helping the immune system work better at destroying cancer cells (cancer.net)

My treatments are two different drugs administered intravenously, one after another, now every four weeks. As part of a clinical trial I also take a 3rd drug orally every day — though it might be a placebo.

In early February tests revealed my first three treatments managed to stop the growth of my tumors. Today I’ll be back at Siteman Cancer Center, receiving my 5th treatment.

Side effects have varied, but minimally invasive. The worst has been increased fatigue. I’m fortunate to be on disability, not have to work. Initially I was too cautious, thinking I couldn’t do what I’d been doing. I’ve realized now that other than needing an extra nap, my life continues as before. My life just now includes one day with IV treatments every 4 weeks.

Reduced appetite is another, losing weight which is not something my doctor wants. I now eat throughout the day, every day. The dietician encourages me to consume as many calories as I can. This is the opposite of how I’ve been living in the 12+ years since my stroke. Last July, after a year of going to the gym, I managed to get below 200lbs. I went from being obese to overweight. Now I’m on the verge of going from overweight to normal weight.

I’m grateful for Food Outreach, where we get prepared food every two weeks. I still grocery shop and cook, but having frozen foods in small portions enables me to eat 5-6 times per day. I have salmon nearly every day now, a little too often.

When I’m at Siteman Cancer Center I’ve noticed just how busy it is. It’s clear that cancer impacts every part of society. Fellow patients represent all races, ages, economic classes, and geography — some drive many miles to be there, I take transit. We’re all treated equally, those with lots of money wait with a buzzer like the rest of us to be called back to a treatment pod.

Selfie on Saturday driving back home from a Target trip, the day after my 53rd birthday. I only drive about once a week.

Last month we did our annual trip to Chicago for the Chicago Auto Show, my first overnight travel since diagnosis & treatment. It went well enough I’m planning my first bucket list trip next month. In April I’m going to do a two week solo trip to Chicago with a side trip to Milwaukee, WI. This extended time will allow me immerse myself in Chicago and visit the state of Wisconsin for the very first time.

In Milwaukee I plan to see where a freeway was replaced by a boulevard, the Bronze Fonz, try their frozen custard, and ride their modern streetcar & a couple of bus routes. A future bucket list trip will include returning to Wisconsin to tour Frank Lloyd Wright architecture throughout the state.

My current treatment plan will continue as long as it is working. Once it stops, my oncologist will try another. In the meantime, I’m trying to enjoy the passage of time.

— Steve Patterson


Sunday Poll: Should Some City Schools Close or Remain Open?

March 1, 2020 Featured Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should Some City Schools Close or Remain Open?
Please vote below

The superintendent of St. Louis Public Schools, Kelvin Adams, wants to close more schools.

Up to 20 of the district’s 68 schools could be considered for consolidation or closure. Adams said Saturday he has not yet identified any schools for the chopping block and doesn’t anticipate having to lay off teachers and staff.

Adams said the key factors in deciding which schools to close are low enrollment, academic performance, building condition, residential and business development and population trends. (Post-Dispatch)

This is the subject of today’s poll.

Today’s poll will close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson


St. Louis Board of Aldermen: Week 34 of 2019-2020 Session

February 28, 2020 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: Week 34 of 2019-2020 Session

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen meet at 10am today, their 34th meeting of the 2019-2020 session. As previously noted, they have the first two meetings labeled as Week #1, so they list this as week/meeting 32.

Because we’re so close to the end of the session, today’s  agenda includes no new bills. It does include “perfecting” a bill to put it to a vote to reconsider reducing the size of the board from 28 to 14.

The Board of Aldermen meeting begins at 10am, past meetings and a live broadcast can be watched online here. See list of all board bills for the 2019-2020 session.

— Steve Patterson


Readers Happy To Have Professional Football Back In St. Louis

February 26, 2020 Featured, Popular Culture Comments Off on Readers Happy To Have Professional Football Back In St. Louis

Professional football is back in St. Louis and many couldn’t be happier.

The St. Louis BattleHawks kicked off their XFL home schedule in style Sunday, blowing by the New York Guardians 29-9 before an inspiring crowd of 29,554 at The Dome at America’s Center. (Post-Dispatch)

Football fans parked as far north as 7th just before Cass Avenue during the first home game.

Here’s a more colorful quote:

After some 1,530 long, excruciating days, St. Louis football fans were finally able see their sport of choice at the Dome again, no thanks to the NFL or a certain toupee-sporting team owner who shall remain nameless.

Yes, February 23, 2020 will forever be remembered as the day Ka-Kaw Nation was truly born, thanks to St. Louis’ new XFL franchise, the mighty BattleHawks. As early as 8 a.m. beer-thirsty Hawkamaniacs were setting up grills and rolling out coolers; by 9:30 a.m. the parking lots and even the top levels of some of the parking garages located around the dome were filling up with rowdy tailgaters. (Riverfront Times)

Those who responded to the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll were generally enthusiastic.

Q: Agree or disagree: I’m excited the St. Louis BattleHawks are playing their first home game today.

  • Strongly agree: 5 [27.78%]
  • Agree: 2 [11.11%]
  • Somewhat agree: 4 [22.22%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 5 [27.78%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 0 [0%]
  • Disagree: 1 [5.56%]
  • Strongly disagree: 1 [5.56%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 0 [0%]
Event workers outside the Dome during the BattleHawk’s first home game.

I’m glad to see the Dome getting used, and compensated. It appears, initially at least, that promoter Vince McMahon has a modest hit with the reboot of the XFL.

Week 4 will be important. The NFL has taken back the news cycle with the scouting combine happening this week. The XFL is getting to the point of the season in which the novelty has worn off, yet it’s too early to hype up a stretch drive for the postseason. It will be a real test to reverse the ratings decline.

The XFL is doing better than expected through three weeks. The numbers still compare favorably to other options on the sports menu. But the challenge will always be to retain most of the audience that has had only three weeks to get used to a new football league. (Yahoo Sports)

Hopefully for the St. Louis fans the XFL will do well enough to continue.

— Steve Patterson


Turn Left at Georgia’s Way (aka 6th Street)

February 24, 2020 Featured Comments Off on Turn Left at Georgia’s Way (aka 6th Street)

Until recently we used to rename streets to honor people. Every person/business on that street suddenly had a new address. Since its founding in 1764, St. Louis street names have changed over the years.

For example, Morgan became Delmar, of which 9 blocks became Convention Plaza (Broadway to 14th). The early 90s expansion of the 1977 Cervantes Convention Center occupied two blocks, 7th to 9th. That same expansion built a new indoor football stadium, but not a football team.

A team arrived when Georgia Frontiere (1927-2010), a St. Louis native, decided to move the Rams from Los Angeles.

Lured by incentives like $20 million in annual profits from guaranteed season-ticket sales, personal seat licenses and a favorable lease at the $280-million Trans World Dome that was already in the process of being built, Frontiere transplanted the team to St. Louis in 1995. During the deal, Frontiere also agreed to give up 40% of her ownership to Stan Kroenke, who became a minority owner in the team. (She had bought the 30% of the team she didn’t own from Carroll’s children in 1980). The NFL, which had decided that the city was unsuitable as a football market, initially voted to block the Rams’ move to St. Louis. However, when Frontiere threatened to sue the league under antitrust laws, the league relented and approved the move with Frontiere casting the deciding vote in a 23-6 decision (The Giants, Jets, Steelers, Cardinals, Bills and Redskins remained no votes, while the Raiders abstained).

Though fans in Southern California felt scorned, the city of St. Louis welcomed her after losing the Cardinals franchise to Phoenix, Arizona in 1988. After the announced move, the city hosted a rally downtown and thousands of fans chanted “Georgia, Georgia!” Later Frontiere said, “St. Louis is my home, and I brought my team here to start a new dynasty.” (Wikipedia)

Frontiere was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, she died in January 2008 in Los Angeles. She was 80. Her late husband’s two children inherited her 60% share of the St. Louis Rams, they hoped minority owner Stan Kroenke would buy their stake.

The NFL gave approval for the sale in August 2010, Kroenke bought half of their interest in the team — giving him controlling interest.

A month later a portion of 6th Street immediately south of the dome was honorarily designated Georgia’s Way. This would’ve been started before Kroenke obtained controlling interest in the team.

In 2005 Frontiere had waived the team’s right to get out of the dome lease if it wasn’t top-tier. It wasn’t, the team got cash instead.

By the time Stan Kroenke became the majority owner it was time to begin preparing for the 2015 lease negotiations. As you likely know, the team left as soon as they could exit the lease. Their 2015 season  was played in California.