My Cancer Story

In November 2015, I was diagnosed with intestinal cancer, sending my life down a path I never anticipated. These are my attempts to chronicle the story as it evolves.

Note: if you are new to this journal, scroll all the way down to the bottom to start from the beginning of the story. The most recent post is at the top.

In Memoriam – Michael Slater 11/15/55 – 6/19/16

Michael’s Memorial Michael’s memorial service was held on August 21, 2016 at the Glaser Center in Santa Rosa. Michael’s wife, Irene Stratton, shares the video… Read more »

The End Game….

Irene here to finish the story:  Michael’s last post was June 9th, when he went on hospice, choosing to be sent home from the… Read more »

Transition to Hospice

This is a short post so I can update everyone without more delay. With anemia and an assortment of pain meds, it has become… Read more »

Back in the Hospital Again

For the past few days, my pain level has been a little higher and I had some mild on-an-off fevers. Then, Friday morning, I… Read more »

How Am I Feeling?

As someone with a serious disease, a question that I’m frequently asked is “how are you feeling?”. There are many ways to answer this… Read more »

Six Months and Still Kicking

Today it is six months since my cancer diagnosis. I am grateful to still be here! The chemo and radiation have enabled me to… Read more »

Chemo Again?

The news from last Friday’s CT was not what we had hoped for. There are two issues: The original tumor’s overall size has increased…. Read more »

Living and Dying

Venture Beat recently ran a story about me titled, A dying entrepreneur puts his tech business up for sale. Irene and I both had… Read more »

Side Effects Fading Slowly — But Life is Good!

It’s been longer than usual between posts about my cancer for a good reason: there hasn’t been much new to report. When I had… Read more »

Going Public: the Decision to be Open

Today I posted for the first time on social media about my cancer. The response was swift and heartwarming. I received personal messages from… Read more »


This week it was five months since a CT scan showed I had a large tumor with metastases: a stage 4 GI cancer. At… Read more »

Done with Radiation!

Today I had my last radiation treatment. This is quite a milestone, because it may well be my last treatment of any kind. Other… Read more »

An Evocative Poem: Threshold, by Newton Smith

I was sent this beautiful poem by my friend Denise, who got it from, where Larry Robinson posted it. I am grateful for… Read more »

The Radiation Routine

Today I got my fifth dose of radiation, out of a total of ten sessions. Half way done! With treatments 5 days a week,… Read more »


Our weather this year has been just what we needed — some good drenchings, enough to stave off the immediate drought, and then sun!… Read more »

Welcome to the New, Unified Blog

For the past 3 months, I’ve been writing two separate blogs, one public and one private. Most of my writing has been about my… Read more »

PET Scan Shows Growing But Focused Tumor

Yesterday was a big day for me and radiation. I had a PET/CT scan in the morning, and my first radiation treatment in the… Read more »

UCSF’s Clinical Trials

Yesterday Irene and I went to UCSF to meet with the clinical trials folks. Overall, we were impressed with the doctor, who explained things… Read more »

Next Stop, Radiation?

Earlier this week, I saw my primary oncologist, Dr. Peter Brett, and he recommended radiation as the next step. It feels a bit like… Read more »

My CT Results

Until last fall, I thought of CT scans as providing clear, unambiguous, 3D images. As I’ve learned over the course of 6 CT scans… Read more »

Next Stop, Clinical Trials

Today I met with Dr. Ko at UCSF, who specializes in GI cancers. Irene drove me down through two hours of pouring rain. Dr…. Read more »

November 6 All Over Again

It had already been a rough week, with yet another visit to the ER with a fever to get IV antibiotics. Thursday I had… Read more »

Cycle 6, and Then a Break

Today was infusion day (as I described in an earlier post) for cycle 6. It was one of the harder infusion days, with more… Read more »

Fever, Revisited

It was another one of those crisis weekends that have become a curiously normal part of my life. Saturday morning I walked into town… Read more »

Remission, Cure, and Uncertainty

One of the hard things about having cancer is the uncertainty about what the future holds. Of course, life is uncertain for everyone. At… Read more »

Cycle 5 Under Way: A Day in the Life

Here’s what a chemo infusion day is like. I am writing this as a sit in the oncology office, waiting for the infusions for… Read more »

Yet Another Hospital Adventure

Last week, I was doing fine on Wednesday, feeling a bit tired on Thursday, and completely exhausted on Friday. For the first time in… Read more »


It’s been a rocky few days, but today I am on the mend. I woke up feeling pretty well on Sunday, and went for… Read more »


There’s no doubt about it, having cancer sucks. This blog has been, so far, mostly a litany of problems and challenges. What’s been most… Read more »

Cycle 4 … This one feels harder

This week I did my fourth chemo cycle. After 10 days of feeling pretty darned good after the end of cycle three, it has… Read more »

Chemo is Working!

Following my third chemo cycle, on January 7 I had a breakthrough day. I actually woke up and felt like getting up, instead of… Read more »

A Surprise Twist: Septicemia and a New Stent

At the end of my first week of chemo, I was feeling very tired but not terrible. I even went to a doctor visit… Read more »

Starting Chemotherapy

Once out of UCSF hospital, we all felt we could no longer wait for their oncologist who specializes in these types of cancers to… Read more »

My First Stent

Friday afternoon, we checked into UCSF emergency, and thus began one of the most tedious, frustrating parts of my ordeal so far. What sent… Read more »

What Exactly Do I Have?

Monday morning we were back home, returning to “real life” in whatever form that is going to take. Little new info from the doctors… Read more »

What Now?

Our weekend in Mill Valley was both lovely and very difficult. I felt some pain but had plenty of energy. I didn’t think twice… Read more »

The Day My World Shifted

In early October, 2015, I had a nagging but low-grade ache in my belly that I ignored for several weeks, assuming it was something transient. By… Read more »

A New Focus

I have been blogging somewhat erratically for more than 10 years. I’ve written about the businesses I’ve started, tutorials on Ruby on Rails and… Read more »