Wednesday, November 14, 2007

November 14

Well friends, things have moved fast since the last blog update.

I am sorry to report that the PET scan did indeed show cancer activity.
It is showing in several areas in my abdomen, at the initial site, as well as spots around my liver, which is hard to say the depth of them from the scan alone. This, of course explains why I've been feeling the way I have. Even though my blood work still looked good, it's obvious that the CEA level will not be an accurate guage. He told me all along that it can be an ambiguous number.

I found out Monday evening. Doug and I went to see Dr. Neville yesterday. He had me start chemo today.
One bright spot is that I won't have the drug that causes neuropathy and the cold sensitivity. That was the most irritating side effect last time. They are replacing it with a different one, which comes with it's own side effects which I hope will be more manageable than dealing with neuropathy.

The current plan is that I have 4-6 treatments (2 week intervals) then another scan. If it goes back into remission I will more than likely do the IPHC surgery we were going to do last May. We've already contacted the doc up there and he concurs that we do chemo first and get it in remission. My being a candidate for this surgey will be particularly dependent on the cancer not being in any other organs. Only the liver appears to be involved at this point.

For those who forgot what IPHC is, it stands for Intra-Peritoneal Hyperthermic (heated) Chemotherapy. So they go in, cut out any remaining cancer that's visible, then flood the abdominal cavity with heated chemotherapy, which is supposed to kill cancer cells better than the room temperature stuff. But, we're a ways off from that decision. If you really want to know about the surgery, just type in IPHC and you can wade through the webpages.
Please pray for peace in my spirit. I've been so distraught. Also, for my family, kids. It's hit everyone pretty hard. I have to say that I can already feel the strength in your prayers. I woke up this morning not with dread, but with a sense of resolve to do whatever it's going to take to prolong my life. The treatment went well today. My blood pressure stayed down, and thus far I'm feeling ok.

I want you to know how valuable and powerful prayer is! I'm more and more being blown away by God's love that is pouring through you, dear ones. You have truly been His hands.

We will keep you posted. If not before Thanksgiving, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday with your families. Savor these moments. Make them unforgettable.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

November 10

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." - Serenity Prayer

Hi to all,
Well, it's been a while. I had a great October. My sister-in-laws were kind enough to treat me to a 4 day cruise to British Columbia! We had a great time. The highlight for me was whale watching and saw many orcas, even some dolphins! Doug and I had some great motorcycle rides too, but haven't been out for a few weeks now.

As life has it's many demands on us, I am finding it's taking pretty much all my energy to just get to work and keep up with the house. With Doug as a full-time student now, I am currently the main breadwinner in the family, which is stressing me. The better I was feeling, the more I was working. Things were going OK but then I started feeling not too tip top these past few weeks. I realized that I was pushing myself again. I came home from work this week with rather severe stomach pains. The doc thinks it's acid reflux or something like that, and is treating it as such, but I was unable to work for the rest of the week, and that stressed me out again!

I requested an early PET scan (were going to do one in December). So I had one yesterday (Friday) and should know the results by mid-week. My blood tests still look good. The CEA level went up some (2.5 - it was 1.9) but is still in the normal range. The doc said it can fluctuate alot at these low levels.

Doug and I both realize that I am still in a healing process, and the future of my health is too uncertain at this time to bank on my being able to work enough to 'make the rent' and carry the health insurance. We are reevaluating the practicality of him staying in the nursing program versus him quitting the program and getting a job, or deciding if we can survive on him having a part time job and stay in school. I really don't want him to quit, he's come so far. And the Trade Act is paying for his schooling. Should he decide to return to nursing school at a later time, we'd have to cover the costs ourselves. The other key will be if he can find a job that pays well enough to cover what I can't, and one that will allow him to stay in this area. In all honesty, we have both been depressed and confused.

God has provided thus far through many generous friends and family members. But the question of what the 'right' thing to do is still rolls around our heads. And I wonder if we're not trusting enough or if indeed, we are being led in another direction and need to go that way for a time.

I want to trust that when it's time to make that decision, we'll have more direction.

We would sure appreciate your prayers as we travel through this phase. I will let you know next week what the scan shows.