It’s been more than 4 ½ years since I was diagnosed with kidney and prostate cancer, and two years since I last penned an open letter to our business community about my health. My cancer journey has been generously documented and shared through our local media (KEYC, The Free Press and Radio Mankato), as well as our own CaringBridge site (https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/jonathanzierdt), my earlier letter/blog post and the Jonathan Zierdt Cancer Fund . So, if you are interested in the bulk of that history I’d invite you to visit any of those sources.
MOST RECENT DEVELOPMENTS, DIAGNOSIS & TREATMENT:
Today, I want to share with you the most recent developments related to my cancer, and prepare you for some departure from my normal routines and interactions.
In the 19 months since completing my prior chemotherapy for metastatic prostate cancer (my kidney cancer continues to remain in remission) I have continued monthly anti-hormone injections, blood work and oncology visits. And even after surgery, multiple radiation therapies, chemotherapy and anti-hormone treatment my prostate cancer has remained; and shown itself to be relentless and resistant to prior treatments.
Over the past few months, we have been monitoring a slow rise in my PSA as well as the development of significant pain radiating from the former prostate bed. And in the last few weeks, through a multitude of tests and scans, our medical team has identified a new, relatively sizeable prostate cancer mass in my former prostate bed. That new mass has essentially filled the void in my prostate bed following my prostatectomy and has not only encompassed the bundle of nerves contained there, but has invaded the walls of the rectal cavity and at minimum is pushing against the bladder with the possibility of microscopic invasion.
This new prostate cancer mass cannot be removed surgically, and radiation is no longer an option since I’ve already received the maximum amount allowed to the area. So, the palliative option for treatment includes a new round of chemotherapy treatments potentially followed later by pill form chemotherapy; with the goal being to shrink the mass enough so I may be a candidate for cryogenic surgery to freeze the tumor not yet intertwined within the wall of my rectum or bladder. That must be allowed to remain, or we risk destroying one or both.
This new round of chemotherapy treatments will begin on Tuesday, June 19th and are planned to be repeated everythree weeks for a total of four cycles spanning the summer and coming to conclusion by the middle of September.
SO, WHAT ELSE SHOULD YOU KNOW:
Active cancer treatments do take their toll, so many of you have witnessed my dealing with “hot flashes,” fatigue and a more particular diet during my present treatment; however, chemotherapy packs a much bigger punch. I don’t want you to be overly concerned if you see some changes in me physically over the course of the next few months, or if I’m not present for everything you would typically expect to see me at. That is all normal as I work to cope with the adverse impacts to my body, and work to protect a compromised immune system.
That said, you can take great confidence in knowing organizationally, Greater Mankato Growth, Inc. consists of some of the finest professionals and volunteers a community-based business development entity could have. Day-to-day our people will continue to deliver on our mission and work tirelessly to help our business community and economy thrive. For my part, whether in person, remotely or virtually, I will give you my very best every day.
As I said in my open post a couple of years ago…if you want to know more just ask. My wife Ginger and I have shared openly and will continue to do so. Our CaringBridge site is always the most up to date and authoritative voice, and will help you share accurate information – you have our “permission” to do so.
Thank you for your care, and interest in my health and well-being. With immeasurable gratitude,
Jonathan G. Zierdt
President & CEO
GMG includes four business units – Greater Mankato Growth, Visit Mankato, City Center Partnership and GreenSeam.