Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I'm not sure it was realistic, but I was hoping that Dr. Lin would tell us today that we would be finished with trips to Seattle for a while. I was hoping that the only thing Harv would have to do was to continue the meds he's currently on.

No such luck.

Harv's CEA count is still within normal range (3.8), but Dr. Lin wants to kick the cancer that's still in the liver outta there! So he's giving it a big push. Harv will have treatment with Avastin (one of the infused drugs he's had before) through the end of October and continue with the Celebrex and Xeloda.  After the treatment with the added Avastin, he'll see where we are. 

But we're planning for surgery (which we've been told can be done laproscopically) after the additional chemo to get rid of any potential risks in the liver. The surgery will only be able to take place after he's been off of Avastin for at least six weeks. The Avastin can sometimes cause bleeding problems.  We will wait to hear from the surgeons at UW and probably schedule a consult soon.  (And, just for some fun information... the liver is starting to regenerate normal stuff... The areas that once were cancer ridden are regenerating healthy stuff! Woo hoo!)

But, first! We'll head back down to Seattle next Wednesday for a little time in the infusion room. (Kinda wish all this wasn't happening right when school begins, but c'est la vie!)

We continue to be thankful for the care that we're receiving. 

And, we continue to be thankful for AMAZING gifts of time, talent and treasures that you people KEEP SHARING with us!!! Goodness gracious! I think you're going overboard. ♥

Please pray for all the people all over the place who are not as fortunate as we are.  It grieves my soul every time I go to SCCA and see people who really don't feel good.  

Many, many blessings to you all.
We love you.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Harvey is doing very well. He has been affected a little bit with side effects from the increased dosage of his chemo, but, really, life is going pretty well. And, he's using this time to get stronger and healthier. Not traveling and not worrying about the stress of work has been a good thing for him, I do believe.

He's been hiking a lot and is almost finished with his goal of hiking all of the trails of Galbraith Mountain. Raney has enjoyed helping him out with his goal.

Sarah and Hannah have had a good summer. They took driver's ed and scored very well on their final written test. "Highest scores in the class." Right this minute they are with their friend, Anna, at their annual Camp Friendship. This year it's on Vashon Island for a few days. I am thankful that they have special traditions with their life-long friend. It's a gift. All of it.




Celeste is getting settled in with her job at Sprint and her second class at Whatcom. She stays busy and seems to be doing pretty well overall. She might also add that she's continuing to adjust to (and, perhaps occasionally enjoy) life in Bellingham with the 'rents and the sibs. ☺

Not to minimize what anyone else may be feeling AT ALL, but I continue to struggle. And, it finally hit me yesterday that my life has been full of BIG, unwanted events since 2008. Deaths, illnesses and extended family struggles...which also feel like loss to me. Every year since 2008, there has been some form of loss -- either a loss that directly or indirectly affected me. EVERY DADGUM YEAR.

I expect myself to be absolutely fine and pleasant and cheerful. It may be that I'm expecting too much from myself, too soon.  A friend told me once that her counselor had told her that it takes about a year to go through the grieving process -- and when you add more loss to that, you must also add more time to the healing process. Ugh.

While that information may not sound so great, it IS helpful for me to realize it. It helps explain the way I've been feeling and allows me to give myself a little grace.

That is all for today... Just thought I'd share a little of what's on my heart. As always, your prayers are appreciated...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Earlier this week, we received a box from the mail-order pharmacy where we get Harv's chemo. We didn't open the box because we (incorrectly) assumed that it had the correct amount of pills -- the 14 that should've been added to his earlier prescription + the new prescription.  He opened the box today and we found out they had only included the 14 that should've been added. 

So I called the mail-order pharmacy to investigate. It's sort of complicated to relay it all, but just try to imagine ominous music building up slowly in the background as I discovered that they were waiting for a pre-authorization from the doctor (WHO PRESCRIBED THE DAMN PILLS IN THE FIRST PLACE!). The calm, lovely, patient Carrie turned into MEAN LADY. Long story short, the pills are on their way. (ugh!)

Why do drug companies do that?! Dadgummit! Every call we receive from the mail-order pharmacy is a recording. You'd think that if someone were ordering CHEMOTHERAPY that it would be important enough to have a REAL PERSON let them know that the order was not approved. (I better stop. My blood is starting to boil again.)

Anyway! Thankfully, we got that resolved.

In other news, Harv and the girls (and Raney!) are on a father/daughters camping trip...and Carrie is enjoying some time alone in the house. (I can't believe that Raney went, too.) I haven't done very much -- counseling, cleaning out the (amazingly disgusting) food recycle bin, a craft project, ran a few errands, etc. 

But today (with the help of my counselor) I realized that all my control-freakism and impatience and frustration and anger all come from fear. Fear. 

If I say I'm afraid, then what does THAT mean?! I don't WANT to be afraid. I've tried so hard not to be in denial, but I've been holding back the fear... And, if I'm afraid does that mean I don't have hope? And, if I don't have hope, then what happens? 

I'm still processing it all...

But, for now -- we are thankful that Harv is doing well -- though, I think the increase in the chemo dosage has increased a few of the side effects (tired, perhaps a mouth sore or two). He's been hiking 6-8 miles on Galbraith 5-6 days a week. He found out there are between 98 and 100 trails on Galbraith and he and Raney have hiked all but about 15 of those. Pretty impressive, wouldn't you say?!

Thank you, friends, for continuing to pray and for loving us. I sure wish we hadn't started down this road, but you people have certainly helped make the journey easier.

We love you.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Arndell's Came for a Visit!

A few months ago, one of Harv's friends from work called to let us know that he and his family were gonna be out this way for a family wedding. So, they added a little bit onto their trip and wanted to come see us.

Harv was thrilled 'cause he likes Jim. They enjoy hangin' together when  they go on work trips. I was thrilled 'cause I've heard stories about Jim for a while and I've heard his voice on speaker phone when Harv's been on conference calls or other work-related calls. He's always seemed nice and I can tell he's a good friend to Harv.

I've also heard Cindy's name and Connor's name. And, even though I hadn't met any of the family, I was pretty sure that I was gonna like 'em. (Turns out I really DO like 'em all.)

When they arrived, one of the first things Jim said to me was: "I want us to make sure we take a picture before we leave. We came all this way just so we could be in the blog."  

Made me feel pretty special that people (well, maybe just one person) aspire(s) to be featured in the blog I'm writing. 

And, so, I obliged! 

We had a really good visit, they're all very easy to be around and I'm VERY thankful that I could meet them.  I look forward to more times hangin' with the Arndells...