Monday, April 30, 2007

April 30

It's Monday (night). Had my 5th treatment today. Usually first day is not too bad, though that neuropathy is kicking right back in. My legs are even kind of tingly this time. We'll see how the week progresses.

I'll have one more treatment on May 14. I am scheduled for a PetScan on the 18th, and get results on the 23rd (which is Doug and my 20th wedding anniversary!) Hope we get a good anniversary gift that day!

All my blood levels are doing good at this point. The CEA level (kind of a cancer 'marker') was down to 5.5 today from 8.5 last time, so that's a real praise!

Now, I'm beginning to feel like the rubber is really started to meet the road as I near the end of this first go. The doc's perspective is that this will not completely go away with chemo only. Chemo is viewed as palliative care (keep it at bay as long as possible, keep the patient comfortable). I may still not be a good candidate for that surgery if there are still spots on my liver and lungs, but he will talk to the doc in Seattle after he reviews the scan. Plus, that surgery is sounding more and more invasive. Gee, do I want to do that? I am going to bring up the subject of radiation again, but they say it's not really an option. I need to find out more about that and why. Of course, we'll get all the details should we head in those directions.

It's possible they can do some zeroing in on the liver, but we have to wait and see. If there has been a change, decrease and it seems I'm responding well to the chemo, then I will probably be looking at more cycles of that. I am looking at some of the natural options more and more and at some point, will try those as well.

I would appreciate concerted prayers from now to PetScan date that we will see a significant change for the better, if not completely clear! The doc said "well, best case is we look and it's all gone." Even though that would be unusual from his standpoint, wouldn't it be a wonderful testimony to the power of prayer! I would love to stand before that doctor, and be able to tell him how mighty and faithful is my God!! He's my 100%.

In any event, we shall see what we shall see.

I just have to send you a couple of pictures. I had two great rides this weekend, one I wandered
off by myself (which I love to do) went about 60 miles. Then on Sunday, Doug and I went through Kings Valley and meandered around to I20 then back to Corvallis. So, that was about another 50-60 or so. Had a great time and feel I can settle into this treatment week a happy camper (or rider, as it were).

Hope you all have a great week.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

April 26

The cave? Well, I feel like I'm poking my head out. I am now in what have typically been my 'good days'. I do have more energy since yesterday but the neuropathy is still here pretty much, maybe has subsided a bit. The nurse told me these side effects are accumulative and I can attest to that this week... But despite how my hands feel, I am going to try to take a cycle ride sometime in the next couple of days and see how it goes. You can say right now I am 'living to ride'! It brings me such pleasure and a sense of freedom.

I've been at work this week working on our newsletter and program, so am putting in at least some hours there. It feels good to be doing something productive and to be among my co-workers. They are such awesome people!

Sidenote: If you think about it, this might seem a small thing, but I'd appreciate prayers to know what to do with one of my cats, Shanzi. She is what I would consider my 4th child, and she's very sick. It's strange, but she started to go downhill right afer my surgery. The vet thinks she might have cancer, if you can believe that! But, of course, we don't have the resources and it's just not feasible to do any tests on her. She's 12 years old. She weighs 4 pounds, is virtually skin and bones, and her care at this point is wearing on us. It's hard to know what to do because she doesn't seem to be in pain, she's still mobile and eats ravenously (she's in a constant state of hunger), but if I feed her too much, then it comes right back out... enough details.

Thanks, have a great weekend!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

April 21

Well, I'm in what I can only describe as the 'chemo cavern'. It's hard to find words to describe what this stuff feels like coursing through my body, but pretty much all my senses are affected (taste, sense of touch, smell, fatigue, overall sense of 'yuckiness'). I don't mean to complain, mind you, but, for the most part during treatment week I feel like I crawl into a sort of cave... hard to explain. So far, thankfully, the nausea has been kept at bay with the meds, though they make me sleepy.

But the upside (thank God for upsides!) gradually, things will start to feel 'normal' again, energy comes back, and I feel like me again. Most importantly, the end goal is that these drugs are doing what they are meant to do. A very strange journey indeed.

I've gained back some weight, (don't want to gain too much!) but this has made the doctor happy. With all the wonderful meals and treats friends have been showering upon us, it's no wonder! What a blessing you all are!

I am looking forward to next week (my off week) and perhaps having enough sun breaks to take a cycle ride or just get out and enjoy Spring.

So, two more treatments (April 30 and May 14) providing all my blood counts and organ functions are still good). After that, we'll do another scan and go from there providing what the results are.

Thanks once again for all your prayers and support!!


Friday, April 13, 2007

April 13

Hello on today, Friday the 13th. (glad I'm not supersticious!) This is one of my good days, heading into the weekend before next treatment on Monday. Thankfully, I've been given a ton of articles to proof-read next week, so I can do this at home and take breaks when I need to. What a wonderful job God has provided for me with wonderfully flexible working staff and pastors!

Here are a few quotes and thoughts I've come across in the last few days:

"A day dawns, quite like other days; in it, a single hour comes, quite like other hours; but in that day and in that hour the chance of a lifetime faces us." -(from the web, by Maltie Babcock)

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord
And whose trust is the Lord.
For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
That extends its roots by a stream
And will not fear when the heat comes,
But its leaves will be green,
And it will not be anxious in a year of drought
Nor cease to yield fruit...
Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed;
Save me and I will be saved, for Thou art my praise.
Jeremiah 17:7-8, 14

We are not called to trust blindly (though granted, sometimes in darkness it feels that way). We need to be proactive in what time and slice of life has been given to us. We are created in the image of God, and He is a creative, powerful God. So, we too are called to be creative, wise, discerning, powerful in the spirit that He has breathed into us. Because of this, I believe God has called me to begin each day in newness, strength, and healing.

He is guiding me to let go of the past, not to worry about my future, and mostly to enjoy each day resting in His care. He is my 100% surety in a life of chance and uncertainty. Until He tells me further, and because up to now, He hasn't told me otherwise, I believe I am to consider myself to be healed on this day, not by my strength or sheer determination alone, but by the same power that created the heavens and that raised Christ from dead flesh. Yes, my life can be extended through many supplemental means (i.e. treatment, nutrition, etc.) and my human survival instincts lead me to these measures, and these things in and of themselves, are good. But in the end, I'm convinced, that He's the only one who knows the exact number of my days, whether they be just one more, or 40 more years. (I've asked Him for 40 because I'd like to live to see my nineties!)

Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed;
Save me and I will be saved, for Thou art my praise (trust, anchor).

Thanks again to all for your caring support and prayers.

Have a great weekend. Let's hope for some sun breaks!

Friday, April 6, 2007

April 6

Ok, I'm catching up now. This is day 5 of treatment #3. I don't feel too terribly bad, except tired and the neuropathy seems worse this time. I worked a few hours this week, which is something I haven't been able to do so far during week one of treatment. Thankfully I can work some from home doing web updates and such.

The CEA level was checked this week (kind of a marker). It was up a little bit, but doc said not to be concerned as this happens in about 1/3 of patients during the first few treatments, as the dead cancer cells get released into the bloodstream. It will be checked again in another 4 weeks. Hopefully by then we'll see a decline.

I should be doing better next week in terms of energy. I have 3 more treatments to go then we'll do the scan. From there, we'll have to see what's up.

I hope you have a great Easter weekend and celebration.