How did I get here…

In 2008 I started Blackbird Catering, and in 2013 we opened Columbia County Brewing, since then both have grown and become successful. In February 2017 I was having trouble swallowing and I was diagnosed with stage 4 Esophageal Cancer. The cancer had spread to my Liver, Bones, and Lymph nodes. The prognosis isĀ that I have 18-24 months of life left. I’m halfway through my Chemo regiment, the cancer has shrunk by 10% and it turns out my body producesĀ a rare protein called HER 2, this allows me to receive Herceptin, which is rare in men and normally used in breast cancer patients.

How Herceptin Works

Cancer cells grow in an uncontrolled fashion. Herceptin works on the surface of the cancer cell by blocking the chemical signals that can stimulate this uncontrolled growth.

Genes are like instruction manuals that tell each cell of our body how to grow, what kind of cell to become, and how to behave. Genes do this by ordering the cell to make special proteins that cause a certain activity — like cell growth, rest, or repair.

Some cancer cells have abnormalities in genes that tell the cell how much and how fast to grow. Sometimes the cancer cells have too many copies of these genes with abnormalities. When there are too many copies of these genes, doctors refer to it as “overexpression.” With some forms of gene overexpression, cancer cells will make too many of the proteins that control cell growth and division, causing the cancer to grow and spread.

Some breast cancer cells make (overexpress) too many copies of a particular gene known as HER2. The HER2 gene makes a protein known as a HER2 receptor. HER2 receptors are like ears, or antennae, on the surface of all cells. These HER2 receptors receive signals that stimulate the cell to grow and multiply. But breast cancer cells with too many HER2 receptors can pick up too many growth signals and so start growing and multiplying too much and too fast. Breast cancer cells that overexpress the HER2 gene are said to be HER2-positive.

Herceptin works by attaching itself to the HER2 receptors on the surface of breast cancer cells and blocking them from receiving growth signals. By blocking the signals, Herceptin can slow or stop the growth of the breast cancer. Herceptin is an example of an immune targeted therapy. In addition to blocking HER2 receptors, Herceptin can also help fight breast cancer by alerting the immune system to destroy cancer cells onto which it is attached.



5 thoughts on “How did I get here…

  1. Your explanation of the science behind your treatment was easy to understand. I love reading your thoughts Trent. You are making an impact in the hearts and minds of so many people! Keep fighting!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for the cooking lesson too. Who would have thought mayo could be a good marinade. I am definitely going to try that. I wish I could join you at your first wake, but you will be in my thoughts, as you are every day. Keep kicking cancer’s butt.


  3. Trent,
    I just discovered this and your diagnosis. Thank you for sharing your skills and recipes. I will forever refer to what we do as “grilling” rather than BBQ. Thanks for setting me straight. I look forward to many more posts and tips. My prayers are with all you guys.


  4. My thoughts go out to you and your family. Now I understand when the dr told me 10 years ago, if you have to have cancer Thyroid Cancer is the one to have. I wish no type of cancer on anyone, but the way you are documenting this will and does help others going through it. We love dinning at CCB watching your Granddaughter grow up, we feel as we are part of the family. My husband and I are not able to eat crab again as we have been spoiled by the smoked crab you do. and many other spectacular unique dishes. Prayers of strength as you fight the fight.


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