Friday, July 27, 2007

July 27

These last couple of days are a blur. Treatment #10 is as far as I go for now. My blood pressure shot up past 200 during this last treatment so we had to stop one of the drugs. I went on to have the other three, but boy oh boy, am I feeling it. I've slept alot since Monday. Stomach stuff, fever, etc. I will see Dr. Neville next Friday to discuss taking a break and what the plan during that will be. He's in favor of the break, so I feel good about that. My 'tumor marker' (blood CEA level) is still at 2.3 which is good.

In the meantime, I will be seeing a natureopathic doc (Dr. Weizer) through the Providence Cancer Center in Portland on Monday. He himself is a cancer survivor. He mainly treats cancer patients, particularly with supplements and nutrition, so I look forward to building my body back up and feeling good again, for, Lord willing, as long as I can. Hopefully, as I build up my immune system, my body will have a better chance of fighting. Should I need more chemo down the road, my body will at least be stronger to handle the side effects.

The one thing I like about this ND is that he works with a team and there is also an MD on staff, so they seem really balanced. Plus his fees are half of what I was going to pay down in Ashland, so this is more do-able for us. Dr. Neville was surprisingly OK with this and is interested in what Dr. Weizer recommends for me.

Friends and family, don't fear. I will track closely with Dr. Neville through this whole process. He will check me regularly (not sure how often yet), and I certainly have not closed the door to more chemotherapy or even more surgery should I need it in the future. But for now, I really, really need a break.

Fall plans: Doug will proceed with nursing school come September. Daniel is going into the welding program at LBCC (pray he gets a grant!). Amy will start her Sophomore year at CV, I will keep working as much as possible. And we'll keep praying for God's will and sustenance through this all.

Please continue your prayers for peace in our home and hearts. Every step in this process brings questions and what ifs. Pray we keep our focus and not be derailed by the uncertainties, and live each day to it's fullest.

Thanks again for your caring support,

Saturday, July 14, 2007

July 14

Finished up treatment Tuesday. It went better than the day before. They monitored me closely at first. No glitches this time.

I am definately feeling more of the side effects, and have also been rather depressed these last few days. I think it's due in part to the steroids they give me along with treatment. Also, I am so impatient because I want to be out doing things and have such low energy right now. My blood levels have started to change a bit (chemo reaction) so should I go for the next 3 treatments I can only imagine what I might be feeling like by the last one (ugg). I just don't know if I'll be able to psyche myself up enough to finish all 12 cycles. If you asked me today, I'd say no way.

But, this is not a day to make decisions.

Please pray for me to know when to say 'enough' or if I should go the full 12 cycles. Of course, it will depend on how I'm reacting, too. I don't want to wimp out on treatment, but I also don't want to break my system down. I keep telling myself it's only 6 more weeks.

As I finish up chemo, I will need determination to eat well and do the things that are going to help me stay healthy. Please pray also that I am led to the people who can help me get on track and suggest the things I'll need for my particular health needs.

Thanks to all, hope you are having a good weekend.

Monday, July 9, 2007

July 9

Things have settled somewhat this week, thankfully. Amy started blueberry picking today and I think this will serve as a good distraction for her (though understandably she's complaining that it's hard work, little pay).

I went to have treatment #9 today and ran into a snag. They are not completely sure why but right after drug #2 started, I got very dizzy, sweaty, my blood pressure dropped to 70. The nurses are really on top of things, I have to say. About 4 of them came in the room. They stopped the drugs, hooked up saline, layed me flat, gave me oxygen, kept checking my BP, and gradually it came back up. I was having some intestinal pain and they said it could have been due to a nerve that's attached to your intestines. If there's a problem, your BP drops. Anyhow, it was scary but thankfully it passed without too much complication.

So, we called it a day, but I go back tomorrow and see if I can finish the treatment. I'm sure they'll be watching me closely at first.

Anyhow, I had a terrific motorcycle ride on July 4 with Melinda (went to Independence, saw the preparations for their big 4th celebration, then headed through Kings Valley and on home. Then on Sat. I went by myself to the coast via Hy20, stopped at Ona Beach for a bit, then headed home through Waldport up Hy34. It was a great ride, and I was pooped when I got home.

I think I try to pack too much into my 'good days' but it's so hard when the weather is nice and I know I have only a few days in which to do stuff. It's doubtful that I'll be able to make it to family camp this weekend (I'll miss seeing the 'family').

I hope you all are fending well in this warm weather and that you are having a great week.

Thanks for all your prayers. God is leading and guiding, even amidst making some pretty tough decisions. I do so cherish your support! Please pray I get through this treatment tomorrow successfully.


Monday, July 2, 2007

July 2

Ok, drum roll please....

I've definately decided NOT to have the surgery at this time. I can still be a candidate at a later date should the disease not progress outside the abdominal cavity. So, surgery went to the end of my 'options list' for now.

I'm thinking I'll do treatment #9 next week then take a break, or at least ask the doc if I can spread them out a little more (at the suggestion of a friend). The side effects are definately building up.

I'm researching nutrition (serious nutrition!), cleansing, etc. and reading some interesting cases of those who have benefitted from a stringent regime. This will be my next challenge! To be diligent about what I'm putting into my system, detoxifying, taking this very serious. Please pray that I will muster up the energy and determination to follow through. And if you know anything about this, I'd love to hear from you.

Other requests for this week:
- Doug and Amy are taking a motorcycle trip to Christmas Valley tomorrow and Wednesday. They need the time away, but I'm trying not to be anxious! Please pray they have quality time together and for safety, and for me to not worry.

- Amy is very concerned about me (projecting too far into the possible future) and is going through a very confusing time right now with other things as well (lots of tears lately). Please pray for her peace of mind and that she can sort through her feelings. I have to say that my daughter is the most precious thing on this earth to me. I want to tell her that everything is going to be ok, but who can say? I try to stay hopeful in our conversations, but it's hard for anyone, let alone a 15 year old, to live with this type of uncertainty.

This whole disease is such a strange, surreal process. With this first course of treatments coming to an end, I'm stepping once again into unknown territory and frankly, the reality is sometimes overwhelming. There are so many emotions that I too, am sorting through, to find amidst the clutter, the place of peace, rest, and faith. I know it will come, I get glimpses of it, but what a roller coaster ride this is. God's word comforts:

"Immanuel, if I could go into space, you would be there with me. If I could go to the bottom of the ocean, you would be there with me. No matter where I am, I cannot be out of your presence. No matter where I go, your hand will guide me and hold me tight." Psalm 139:7-19

With all that said.... Happy 4th!! Go Celebrate!!