All cancer sucks.  Stomach cancer delivers some especially deadly statistics, but if you know anyone that has been diagnosed with this unwanted news there is Hope for Stomach Cancer.

Listen to the road trip we took to help fight the disease in this episode of iDriveSoCal.


Recorded February 6, 2018

Welcome to iDriveSoCal, the podcast all about mobility from the automotive capital of the United States – Southern California.

I’m Tom Smith and in this episode we’re trying something different.  I’m not interviewing anyone, there’s no script, just me, a microphone and a few bullet points I want to cover about a recent road trip my wife I and took with our son.

A couple weeks ago we drove from Los Angeles to San Francisco for a conference.  It was our first road trip with our new son and it was my first time ever making the drive.  The few times I’d been to San Francisco I flew.

  • The conference we were going to attend was for Gastrointestinal Oncology – I’m not a doctor and neither is my wife.
  • She and I started a stomach cancer patient advocacy organization.
  • My father-in-law was diagnosed with late stage stomach cancer in in late-2013.
  • There was very little chance that he’d survive.
  • Being an on child, my wife dug-in and became my father-in-law’s full-time caregiver.
  • They made a deal – my father-in-law would fight the disease and my wife would deal with everything else including;
    • Health insurance.
    • Finding and making sure he received the best care.
    • Scheduling appointments
    • Taking him to appointments.
    • Taking notes at the appointments.
    • And so much more.
  • Many nights I’d wake up to my wife crying at her computer.
  • She’s a researcher and was scouring the internet for information, any resources she could find and hope. And unfortunately she was finding very little to be optimistic about.
  • My father-in-law’s treatment wound up being a full gastrectomy – meaning stomach removal – followed by chemotherapy and radiation.
  • Turns out, yes, you sure can live without a stomach. I know because my father-in-law is still with us today and doing well.  All things considered.
    • It’s a struggle, it’s tough for him to keep weight on.
    • And if you’re unlucky enough to know cancer at all you know the treatment comes very close to killing you if the disease doesn’t.
    • That was the case for my father-in-law as well.
  • But my father-in-law is still with us. And he’s NED – no evidence of disease.
  • So that gastrointestinal conference that we drove up to San Francisco with our son for… well that was to represent the non-profit that we started as an effort to pay forward the blessing of still having my father-in-law with us.
  • Hope for Stomach Cancer is my wife’s full-time job outside of taking care of our son, me and our K9 best friend. I just help with the administrative stuff.
  • This was the first opportunity I had to tie Hope for Stomach Cancer into iDriveSoCal.
  • I’ll move on in just a moment – first these details:
    • Stomach Cancer – like all of them – sucks.
    • It’s the 5th most common cancer in the world
    • It’s the 3rd deadliest cancer in the world.
    • About 26-thousand cases will be diagnosed in the next 12-months.
    • Almost 11-thousand of those cases will result in death within 6-months.
  • One of the reasons stomach cancer is so deadly is because it’s often misdiagnosed and almost always caught very late stage.

For more on stomach cancer go to – that’s all spelled out.  You can also go to that will get you to the same place.

Okay, now that the public service announcement is out the way let’s talk about that drive to San Francisco!

  • It was my first time making the drive – we took the non-scenic route of Interstate 5.
    • It would have been nice to shoot up the coast but we didn’t want to keep our little guy in his baby seat any longer than necessary.
    • Plus we were a little pressed for time overall.
  • A few things surprised me about the drive:
    • It the middle of the state of California is really flat!
    • Being from the Midwest I wouldn’t have guessed how flat California can be!
      • It was so flat in a few areas that I could have been convinced I wasn’t in California at all but somewhere in Iowa where there happened to be no corn fields.
    • Another thing that surprised me… or didn’t is all the Tesla charging stations – seemed to be at every stop we made.
      • But I think they had a black Model S staged at every stop too… because I never saw anything but a single Model S charging at each location.
        • And no one was around the car!
  • And he’s what was shocking about San Francisco.
    • Let me preface this by stating that we were at a conference with a bunch of doctors and pharmaceutical companies.
    • So we were staying at a nice hotel…
      • But $77 a night to valet park! Are you kidding me????
        • No way – I drove a block and self-parked at a shopping mall. But even that cost me over 30-bucks.

The conference went great.  The ride home was smooth and our little boy did great in the car.  Slept the whole way.

That’s it for this episode.  California is surprisingly flat in some places.  San Francisco is shockingly expensive and stomach cancer sucks but is there if you need help.

For iDriveSoCal, I’m Tom Smith.  Thanks for listening.