Monday, April 30, 2012

He's home!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Yesterday I was pretty wiped out for most of the day, but I just napped on the extra bed in Harv's new room. I didn't have the energy for much at all. In fact, against my normal self, I called out to a friend and said "can you get me/us some Thai food?" And, she did! (And, extra goodies, too!) Thank you, friend!

Harv was much more like himself yesterday -- did the crossword, read the paper, checked out Sarah and Hannah's pinhole camera that they made, took a couple of good walks, ate more food (but still not a ton of food), and napped a bit. 

I "woke up" at about 4:00 and stayed at the hospital until about 8:00-ish. And, even after a very nappy day, I went to bed before 10:00 and didn't wake up until 6:30-ish.

Not much more to report... continued prayers for us all are appreciated.

Thank you to all of our friends and family who have cared for us in so many different ways. Thank you for being available for Thai food runs and sushi runs and grocery store runs. Thank you for listening to our stories. Thank you for praying for us. Thank you for taking this journey with us. It's easier 'cause you're along for the ride.

Here's hoping today brings even more healing.

Love you.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Harv texted me at about 6:30 this morning with a "morning, girl". It was nice to get such a cheery text.

He told me he felt well-rested and was slow moving, but didn't feel sick at all.

Got here around 10:00 (could not move fast enough). He was looking good and sounded better. His throat is still a little sore from the intubation, but less sore than last night.

We watched a video on how to deal with a colostomy bag. :-) He no longer has a catheter. He and the girls are going to go for a walk soon.

While I am so thankful that he feels so much better and that this new adjustment seems less overwhelming than it did at first, I am TOTALLY wiped out. I slept hard last night, but waking up hasn't come easily today.

Please continue to pray for healing and quick & thorough recovery.

Thank you to all the people who have helped in very practical, tangible ways. Thank you to all the people who have been praying. Thank you for loving us.

Have a happy Saturday! (I might take a nap today.)

Friday, April 27, 2012

I'm whooped.

It's been a good day. Friends came to sit with me and Celeste when Harv went to surgery.... And they brought sushi!!

Harv did have a little bit of relief overnight, but not a significant amount and after discussing with Dr. Pietro, we decided to go ahead with surgery. He was scheduled for surgery at about 1:00, but it didn't really start until after about 2:00.

Dr. Pietro came out about and hour or so ago to tell me the following:
- the surgery went well
- able to do it all laparoscopically
- they successfully removed the tumorous part of the colon
- he looked around in the abdomen and didn't see any evidence of other tumors
- the margins around the tumorous part of the colon looked good
- he removed lymph nodes
- the tumor will be sent to the lab to see how cancerous it is
- the colon should be happier in a couple of weeks
- he may want to eat jello tonight and tomorrow might feel like solids
- he'll need to stay in hospital until he's able to handle colostomy bag by himself, etc.

I am thankful for lots of things.... Today, I am thankful for doctors who know what they're doing, nurses and support staff who try to make our lives easier, coffee, wine, sushi, friends who support me, Celeste, Sarah, Hannah and Harvey.

Haven't seen Harv yet. Think it will be soon. Am hoping to get home before too crazily long.... I think I'll sleep pretty well.

Love you, people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'M NOT KIDDING!!!!!!! Mwah! Mwah! Mwah!
Surgery @ 1:00.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

So, here's the deal:

Harv still has air in his colon -- not as much as yesterday, but still too much. He's uncomfortable again and still is having trouble getting rid of it.

So, the doctors (McCullough- GI doc, Lin- oncologist, and Pietro- surgeon) all discussed the options to help Harv. 

The very best option is for Harv to get rid of all that air so there is no longer a blockage.  In that scenario, he would naturally feel relief, and Dr. Lin would have Harv undergo radiation to shrink the tumor even further and then SOMEDAY perhaps have surgery to remove the tumor. 

The other option is to have surgery tomorrow to remove that part of the colon where the tumor is (and the blockage). There is greater risk for the surgery because of some of the chemo he's been on. This surgery would involve him having a colostomy bag which would be a permanent thing. The colostomy bag would need to happen because one of the chemo drugs he's on slows the healing process and if they tried to reattach the colon, there is a possibility that it wouldn't heal properly and there is a risk of leakage into the abdomen -- which could be fatal. So, the colostomy bag is part of that package -- no negotiations.

Dr. Pietro has ordered an x-ray for tomorrow morning to see if there is still significant blockage. He's also going to schedule surgery for later tomorrow afternoon with the hopes that it can be cancelled if the blockage has disappeared.

For all of you who pray and believe in miracles, please pray for Harvey to be totally healed. Pray that he would find natural relief in his colon and that he WILL NOT have to undergo surgery tomorrow. THAT is our number one prayer.

Whatever the case, please pray that everyone make the best decisions for Harv and for our family. 

We are a bit weary, but we are hopeful. 

As a wise woman once said: "GoFightWin!"

Was reminded of this verse and I like it:
Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope. My comfort in my suffering is this; your promise preserves my life.              
-Psalm 119:49-50 

***** I get to take Raney to visit Papa (Harvey) at the hospital tomorrow morning!!! They're both gonna be so happy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's gonna be GREAT!!! *****

Love you people!
Don't have a ton of information but it looks like surgery is imminent and Dr. Lin thinks its fine to do the surgery here.

Waiting to hear back from Dr. McCullough re: surgeon availability and the specifics of surgery, etc.

Please pray for a smooth surgery, minimal discomfort for Harv and a positive outlook regardless of whatever inconveniences we might face.

Pray for our communication with the girls and their understanding & acceptance of things.

Please pray for me, too. The weight of this week kinda hit me first thing this morning and it's been hangin' around all day.

Please pray that we will all be at peace.

We are thankful for the shrinkage of his cancer. We are thankful that this complication was caught before it was too late. We are thankful for good medical care.

We are thankful for you all.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The decompression tube did what it was supposed to do and Harv felt immediate relief. They're hoping he continues to feel even more relief overnight.

It is not definite, but it looks like they will do surgery soon. Don't know how soon "soon" is. And, we're pretty sure that surgery will take place in Seattle.

We don't know whether we'll go to Seattle to see Dr. Lin sooner than our scheduled appointment (this coming Tuesday) .

We are thankful for the immediate relief that he felt today. We are thankful for all of your prayers and for the answers.

G'night, sweet friends.
Harv is downstairs in surgery having a decompression hose put in with the hope that the air can escape that way. They did an X-ray earlier and it appears that his tumor area is inflamed from the earlier sigmoidoscopy and it's not letting the air out.
The hope is that he would feel relief almost immediately.
Praying that this is true and that no new complications result from this procedure.
The girls and I are hanging out in the room. We all ate dinner together and we're just waiting for his return.
Send a bunch of GFWinning thoughts his way!!!
Harv is very uncomfortable. His colon is full of the air they used in the sigmoidoscopy. and, for some reason he's had difficulty expelling it.

Please pray for some serious relief. He can't really eat and doesn't really want to drink much. He's pretty miserable today.

And, I suppose it's the meds, but he doesn't think I've been here very much.
I kinda see things a little differently. :-)

Thank you, friends!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

It continues to look like it's chemo related... A few more tests, needs to eat more and get rid of the air that's left from the sigmoidoscopy.... Hasn't been experiencing much pain today...but now needs to walk around more and eat more...
He is having it way rougher than I am, but I will say that it is not fun being on this side. He does and does not like me being here. I drive him a bit crazy, but he still wants me here. :-)
Relief... Healing... Answers and more healing...
I'd like to have "regular" Harv back, please.


When I left yesterday, Harv was heavily medicated with narcotics and leftover anesthesia. Wasn't really pleasant for me 'cause he was hallucinating a little and it reminded me of when Papa had Alzheimer's. I wasn't totally comfortable leaving, but I needed/wanted to see the girls.I had them put the bed alarm on 'cause I was afraid he'd try to get out of bed and he certainly wasn't steady.Came this morning to find that he seemed a little more "with it" but still not exactly himself. He's sleeping now (pain meds help with that). He's a little swollen in the stomach area, but the doc thinks that's just air left from the procedure that he hasn't been able to pass. He's not eating real food yet and they don't want him to for a while so that his intestines can heal a little.We're not expecting any results from the biopsy until at least late today...and so, it looks like we'll be here another night at least. Please continue to pray for answers, his comfort, and overall TOTAL healing. And, please continue to pray for all three girls. Peace, joy, hope. Thank you, friends!!!!P.S. I am not at my regular computer and I'm finding it difficult to format this post.... I find that annoying, but can't do anything about it... Please try to figure out where the paragraphs are supposed to be. :-)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Just got out of colonoscopy. In recovery. Dr. is mystified. Doesn't look like ischemic colitis, but the colon is very ulcerated. They biopsied the ulcerated areas to see if there is some kind of infection. Has been sent to pathology, but probably won't know until at least tomorrow. Dr. McCullough wants to wait until he has more information before he calls Dr. Lin. He says it's no wonder that he's been having diarrhea and has been in pain. So now, please pray for clear answers and direction. And, while you're at it, please pray for relief for Harv from his pain. Healing. That's what we want. Healing.
Having a colonoscopy now. GI doc spoke with Dr. Lin. Very encouraging, but can't remember the whole thing right now. Will give more info when I get back to room. Probably won't go home until AT LEAST tomorrow. We continue to be impressed with the coordination of the doctors and rest of medical support team.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Well, they said he has an inflamed colon -- which is not associated with the cancer. They're pretty sure it's a side effect of the chemo.
They're going to do some more tests and the on-call gastroenterologist is gonna check things out to make sure they're doing the right thing. They don't want to treat with antibiotic unless they definitely decide that he needs it. There is a risk of another infection if he doesn't really need an antibiotic.
Looks like he'll be here at least until tomorrow.
I am thankful that he's getting fluids and help with his pain. And I (we both) really have been pleased with his care. You don't ever know for certain, but it really feels like they're being thorough.
And, his CT scan confirmed his dramatic positive response to his chemo treatment.
Please keep praying. Pray for comfort for Harv and clear answers and a solution to this problem. Please pray that he'll feel more like eating and that the fluids do their job.
Pray for the girls that they feel a peace and that they have good sister bonding time. (And, I know it's a bit weird, but pray for my dog-child too. I think she knows somethin's up.)
So amazingly thankful for our friends and family.
We love you!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

They spoke to SCCA doc. He said that the the swelling of the intestine is a side effect of the chemo. So they're gonna hold off on antibiotics until they can get a stool sample. They want to keep him overnight for fluids, etc. most likely will go home tomorrow.
He seems to have an infection in his intestine. They're gonna talk to the SCCA dr. and he'll be admitted to the hospital here for probably antibiotics...maybe a scope of his intestine.

Back in ER

Harv's cramps haven't really subsided, he hasn't eaten much nor has he had enough to drink.

At about 6:00, I thought he felt hot. Temp was 102. Called SCCA and, just like I thought they would, they sent us to the ER.

He's had his blood drawn, is hooked up to IV for fluids and is on his way to get an x-ray and CT scan.

We would both like to sleep in our own bed tonight. And, we would like him to kick whatever is wrong out of his body.

Please pray...& please pray for the girls. I think they're okay, but I also think they're concerned. Peace is what I want for us all.


Throughout the night Harv had bad cramps and upset stomach -- which included a little bit of blood.

I called the on-call oncologist and as we discussed symptoms, it was decided that he should stop taking the Xeloda (oral chemo) -- which he was due to stop on Monday anyway -- and watch  the other symptoms. He thought that since Harv hasn't had dizziness or light-headedness or elevated heart rate, then there probably wasn't too much bleeding, but we should keep an eye on it. If it doesn't improve over the next day or so, he should be seen by a clinician.

Harv got up around 7:00-ish and took his anti-nausea med in anticipation of his first dose of chemo for today. But, he didn't have to take the chemo. He ate a whole bowl of cereal -- which was great. He then sat up for a couple of hours and "goofed off." And, now, he's sleeping.

I, for one, am happy he doesn't have to have any more chemo this round. And my dream scenario is that Dr. Lin will see him on May 1st and say that he doesn't have to have anymore rounds of chemo (until the possibility of maintenance chemo). I'm not so sure that's realistic, but I'm kinda prayin' that he'll see how great Harv is doing and decide that we've killed all the cancer we can with all the previous rounds of chemo. 

I really don't like cancer. And, I don't like that my husband has it...and that there's nothing I can do to ease his pain or make the cancer get the hell outta dodge! I am, however, thankful for a good doctor and patient nurses and on-call doctors who never seem to be impatient with my questions or concerns and they listen for as long as I need them to listen. And, then, they give me practical advice about ways to help.

I am also thankful for friends and family who faithfully read this blog and pray and do practical things to help us get through this season. 

Here's to a wonderful Saturday for us all. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

This has been an unpleasant week.

We sort of got the nausea thing whipped until just a few minutes ago... Sometimes the stomach cramps come on and it makes him nauseous and if he's not quick enough with the anti-nausea meds then he can't help but throw up.

He only has seven more doses of the oral chemo... Please pray that he will feel better in the meantime so that he can eat more. He's done BETTER, but just not really good. And, he's drinking more -- which is good, but I'm pretty sure it'd do him a world of good to have more food and more fluids. Please pray.

Someone has graciously offered their beach apt. for me to get away next week. I am tentatively scheduled to go for two nights. However, I KNOW that I won't be able to relax if Harv still feels like this. So... I am also selfishly praying that he feels better so I can have a little bit of alone time.

It really stinks to watch someone feel so awful and not be able to solve that problem. (I know that some of you know exactly what I'm talking about...and now I understand a little better just what other people have gone through. And, I'm very, very sorry that anybody has ever had to and will ever have to be a part of this hellacious journey.)

Thank you for your prayers. Please don't stop.

We love you.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

For those of you following the saga of the cancer in our lives:

Harv has been fighting heartburn which makes him feel pretty bad. He woke up early this morning to take some Maalox. When he got up "for the day" before he could eat, he vomitted. He then forced himself to eat some toast with peanut butter (his morning standard.)  That did okay, I think.

Then the oven repairman came so Harv hid out upstairs and then ended up napping... which I don't think is a bad thing. He napped for about 3 hours...

In the meantime, I decided that I'm gonna throw this cancer cooking junk out the window for now and encourage him to eat whatever "crappy" stuff he wants. (We'll re-institute honest-to-goodness good food when he gets better.) So, when he woke up, I offered him a smoothie. The one I made wasn't exactly the way his taste buds wanted it so I went to the smoothie place to get him a "better" one. 

That one didn't really do either.

While I was out, I bought Campbell's Chicken and Rice soup which sounded good to him, but it really wasn't. Ginger ale and Bugles were also offered.

Since then, he's thrown up again. I gave him some nausea meds and now he's asleep. 

I'm guessing that he's lost some weight over the past few days. His pants are extremely baggy, but I don't know if that's loss of muscle or some weight loss thrown in there, too.

Please pray that he can/will drink enough fluids and that his appetite will return at least for crappy "good" food that perhaps has some protein.

Thank you for the love...

Monday, April 16, 2012

This round of chemo has been the hardest for Harv (& me). The day of chemo -- during infusion -- he felt nauseous. That's never happened before. And, since then, he's felt very fatigued and he has a metallic taste in his mouth when he eats sometimes. And, he's been experiencing heartburn.

All of that is enough to affect the mental/emotional side of things for him (& me).

Please pray that he will feel better and that I can find things he will want to eat that are also good for him and taste good.

We've been so lucky not to have more side effects and we are thankful. But, we'd love to find some healthy solutions to the things that aren't working right now.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

I struggle.

I struggle with being what everybody needs me to be. I struggle with providing delicious, nutritious food that actually tastes good to people other than ME. I continue to struggle with my unsatisfied need for space and alone time while still loving my family like they need me to love them. I continue to grieve "the way things were" before cancer knocked on our door.

And yet, I know that I can't go back.

So, my real desire -- and real struggle -- is to accept what IS instead of longing for what was. Even though cancer sucks, I KNOW that there have been and will continue to be blessings in the midst of it all. 

I'd like to notice those more often.

And learn to love my life EXACTLY as it is RIGHT THIS MOMENT.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Our appointment this morning wasn't until 10:30, but we left the house a little early to get a delicious cup of coffee from Caffe Adagio first.

And, we STILL ended up getting to Seattle about an hour early. So, we killed some time in the Fred Hutchison cafeteria before the blood draw.

Dr. Lin was busy today and our appointment with him was short and too the point. But, basically, he said what he always says: that Harv's counts are good and he seems to be responding well to treatment. I love that analysis -- even if it is repititious. ☺

Then some good friends drove up from Portland to meet us for lunch. It was a lovely, but quick visit before we headed back upstairs for chemo.

A little bit sadly, we got a room today without a bed and comfy chair. This time Harv's in a recliner and I'm in a regular chair. (If that's the worst of his treatment, I think we're doing pretty well, though!)

But guess what we found out?! Even with an extra week off, his CEA count is REALLY, TRULY almost normal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Remember that normal is 0-5.)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Blood work looks great. White cell count normal. Planning to still go to Seattle as scheduled. Will know in a couple of days whether it's a viral infection or not. Will alternate Tylenol and ibuprofen until no longer needed. Please pray that fever goes away. Thx!

This morning after Harv got up, he felt dizzy and weak. Said he had chills.

He lay down on the sofa and rested.

We went to church and he felt dizzy there, too. Didn't stand for all the songs.

Got home, took his temp and it was 102.8.

Called the hospital. Am waiting for them to call back.

Please pray.

We are scheduled to go back to SCCA on Tuesday.

Thank you.
Happy Easter!

2:30pm update:
P.S. In ER. They're gonna do blood work and decide whether he has to get IV antibiotics or can take them at home. We would really love it if chemo is not delayed.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Yesterday we returned from our trip to the Grand Canyon.

We flew into Las Vegas and took a quick trip to Valley of Fire State Park. Really beautiful.

Then we drove to the Grand Canyon.

It was beautiful and huge and very different terrain than Bellingham.

When we flew back home, I kept thinking that even in the very dry places, there is life.