Thursday, September 27, 2012

We had a good appointment yesterday with Dr. Lin. He spent a lot of time with us. And, while he didn't really give us any different news, it was good to talk through things.

Harv completed the first of three rounds of chemo. He received pre-meds to help with nausea, some Avastin and some Irinoticin (sp?). I think it's too soon to really say, but so far his major reaction has been fatigue. I am praying that that will be the only side-effect.

Dr. Lin believes that it'll be better to try to handle all of the liver surgery as one surgery because of the danger of causing the (my word) floating cancer cells to move around too much. He compared it to digging a hole and there's almost no way not to drop dirt when you do that... So, he believes you limit the spread if you make fewer cuts. Surgery, however, won't happen for a while. Gotta get through these three rounds of chemo and then have a CT scan to see where we are. He said it's best to wait for surgery until the patient has been under chemo for a year. That'll be around January-ish.

Harv's CEA count is still pretty good -- 3.0 -- so we're keeping the cancer aware of our attacks. And, he's gained a bit of weight which is also good. 

I'm hoping that his having some time to get stronger this summer will be helpful as he receives these rounds of chemo.

We're planning to take a weekend trip to Portland to watch the girls in a cross country meet this weekend. I am praying that he feels good during that trip. Fatigue is pretty easy to manage on a trip. Anything else would be inconvenient.

Every day we thank God for our support. All of you have supported us in many, many helpful ways --an AMAZING gift in a less-than-ideal time.

We love you.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tomorrow is first of three rounds of heavier duty chemo... Praying that we kick that cancer outta his liver.
Pray with us.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A week from today, Harv and I will go back to Seattle to start the first of three infusions. He's been "lucky" for a few months 'cause he's only had to take the oral chemo. The last time we went, they gave him an infusion of a more easily tolerated drug called Avastin. Next time we go, he'll be receiving two infusions -- both of which he had at the very beginning.

All in all, he tolerated his chemo well at the get-go, but I'm a little bit nervous this go-round. We've been so fortunate in his response to the chemo. And, truthfully, at the beginning my biggest fear was his reaction to the chemo and how that would affect the rest of us. I'm a little bit concerned this time, too.

You know, the part of cancer that scares me the most is the crappy way the patient feels during treatment. I do NOT want to lose Harvey, but I also don't want to see him feel bad. 

For some reason, within the past week, he's been having mouth sores. And, in particular, he has a big one on his tongue that makes it difficult to talk. He has a week without any chemo (oral or otherwise) so hopefully, he can get those cleared up before the "big guns" come out next week.

I know that we don't get to choose everything that happens in this life. I also know that it doesn't hurt to ask God for what we want 'cause sometimes it really does make a difference. Please begin now praying that:
  • his mouth sores heal
  • that his response to the combo of drugs for the next three times will be dramatic and swift
  • that he will have VERY MINIMAL side-effects from the additional chemo
  • that I will be helpful and pleasant and loving in spite of my extreme annoyance that there is cancer of any kind in anybody... (If I think about it more than a second or two, I get pretty angry.)
Thank you, friends, for your support. I can't get over how much y'all do for us.

We love you.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”
  - Gilda Radner

(P.S. Stop it, you silly Northrop Grumman-ers!!! ♥)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

This morning Harv and I went to Seattle to meet with Dr. James Park, a surgery specialist at UW Medical Center. Harv met first with a physician who thoroughly reviewed his medical history. Then, we were given about a 2 1/2 hour break while the team met to discuss Harv's case.

When we met Dr. Park, he basically said the same thing that Dr. Lin told us two weeks ago; that there would need to be more chemo before surgery is an option. He's of the opinion that an additional chemo should be added to really knock the remaining cancer out. He will talk with Dr. Lin and we'll see what specific changes there will be to the chemo plan that is currently in place.

Right now, Harv is scheduled to go back for a round of Avastin in two weeks. It's possible that they will add Irinotican (sp?) which is one of the 3 original drugs he was given in January.

And so, we continue... (I kinda feel like saying "UGH!") But, it's not bad news...just people being careful to make sure we get rid of all that evil stuff -- which really is a good thing. I just wish we could have a break from medical appointments. (Seriously, it's fine. I might be a little bit tired.)


When we got back from Seattle, we had an early family birthday celebration 'cause Harv's gonna be FIFTY!!!  We celebrated with a cake that marked some important milestones for this year. (I didn't make it, but isn't it lovely?!) And, Harv got a cider press and a bag for his netbook!!! Woo hoo!

We are very thankful for all that has been accomplished in 2012. WHAT A YEAR!

We love you.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Many thanks

There are SO MANY people who have helped us throughout this year... in MANY, MANY ways.  Sadly, I haven't written thank you notes to each of you, but I hope that you'll accept my public "thank you." The Southerner in me feels like it's really wrong not to do it individually, but the reality is my brain sometimes gets overloaded.

Though I am STUPENDOUSLY thankful for ALLLLLLLLLLLLL of the many gifts (time, food, money, love, prayers, thoughts, words, etc.) that you have given, today I want to say thank you to Northrop Grumman.

Those of you who work at Northrop Grumman know why I'm saying thank you. And, Amy Caro, you in particular, understand why I'm saying it.

All of you have made lots of things possible and have made our lives easier in many ways. You have definitely let us know you love us. Now, stop it. (I say that with LOTS and LOTS of love and appreciation in my heart.)

We are doing well. Harv's taking it easy and I believe it's helping him heal. He's been able to concentrate on getting stronger and healthier... 

But, truthfully, we don't need anything right now. There may come a time when I need to give a "shout out" to friends and family, but right now, we're doing well.

Harv will celebrate the big 5-0 next Sunday (Sept. 16th). We're gonna have a family celebration and we are truly going to give thanks for 50 wonderful years... almost 20 of which I've been able to be a part of.  And, we are going to give thanks for all of the friends who have made the last year so much easier and hopeful.

We love you all.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Turns out Avastin isn't traditional chemo (less hazardous & we were told it's a "biologic") & is usually very well tolerated. It cuts off the blood supply to the tumor. He still needs to GFW! 'cause his CEA count was 4.8 today. Hopin' the Avastin does it's magic.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Quick note: Tomorrow is the first of four chemo infusions for Harv. He's had this drug (Avastin) before but it's been awhile. Please pray for minimal side effects and dramatic results for what's left of the tumor in his liver.

We leave here at 6:00. Appointment at 8:30.

The girls have their first XC meet tomorrow. Hoping that all goes quickly and smoothly so we can get back in time to see them run.


Monday, September 3, 2012

This is a blog entry that I wrote last year as my babies were heading into high school... I'm praying the same things again this year as they head into 10th grade.

Dear Heavenly Father,

A "minute" ago, my little babies were heading to kindergarten. Our worlds changed and grew and got more interesting and scary and happy. They loved learning and they made good friends and had wonderful teachers.

And, they took a step or two away from me.

Tomorrow they start high school. 

I pray, Father, that their worlds change and get more interesting and a little happier. I also pray that they'll have opportunities to grow -- sometimes in ways that they wouldn't choose so they learn how to adapt and move on. 

I pray that they learn a lot and that their minds grow. I pray that the teachers they have will stretch them in good ways and help them to become all that they can be as life-long learners. I pray that they will learn to work with teachers --- even if they may not "click" completely. I pray that you will teach them how to resolve any conflicts they may have and that you will give them the gift of diplomacy and a quiet, gentle spirit when dealing with others.

And, Father, I pray that you will surround them with good friends. Friends that build them up and encourage them. I pray for friends that may think differently, but have strong, healthy values. I pray for protection for them -- even if they might make bad choices. I pray for wisdom and kindness and trustworthiness for them and for the friends they make.

I pray that they will love high school and that they will each -- separately -- find their niche. That you will guide them now towards the things that they will do later in life. And, I pray that you will give them lots of successes with just a sprinkling of disappointments to keep them balanced and real.

I pray, too, Father, for me and Harvey. I pray that you will give us wisdom, kindness, diplomacy and a quiet, gentle, supportive and loving spirit. 

What blessings you have given me in these sweet "little" girls. Please help me to be just what they need in a mama as they start high school and throughout their lives.