Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Goodness of Hawaii

Harv and I got here on Tuesday. Unbelievably lovely. We rented a nice condo and have eaten most of our meals here.
Our days go pretty much like this:
- Get up when it's still dark out and drink coffee.
-Eat a little breakfast.
-Dress warmly and sit by the shore until the sun moves past the shade tree.
- Enjoy the sun until it's too hot.
- Go inside and eat lunch.
-Sit on the lanai and stay out of the crazy hot sun.
- Maybe take a nap.
- Go sit by shore with a nice beverage and watch the sun go down.
- Eat dinner.
-Sit around.
- Go to bed so we can do it all again the next day.

The exceptions to that have been the day we drove to Hana and this morning when we were on the sunrise whale-watching boat.

Now, I'm by the shore watching for more whales and feeling SO thankful.

Like I said once before, there is DEFINITELY something to be said for the sunshine and the tropical air. Six days might be too short. :-)

Love you people!

Monday, January 14, 2013

It's lookin' like our little trip to Maui is gonna happen...

Harv's been feeling extremely fatigued, but Hawaii might not be a bad place to be "nappy." And, the warmth will feel good, too.

Please pray for a safe, uneventful flight over and six days of refreshment and warmth. Please also pray for things at home that all goes smoothly here, too.

We are thankful that we get to go. We are thankful for "HOME" too.

And, (can I say it enough? I think not.) we are thankful for all of you.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Harv's been experiencing quite a bit of pain from the neuropathy which is caused from the chemo... If his hands get cold, it feels like shards of glass in his hands. And, his fingers/hands don't work quite as well...difficulty opening jars, buttoning, etc. He also has a sharp pain in his jaw when he takes his first bite of food. And, he's very fatigued.

We still have a couple of days to decide about Hawaii. I'm a little torn. The warmth will be good, but he is really lacking energy...which I suppose is okay if all we're gonna do is sit around. And, so... I just don't know.

Prayers for relief from the neuropathy would be great. (Anybody out there have any suggestions for what might've worked for you?) And, prayers for me to be able to focus on stuff would be good too. (My brain seems to be a bit cluttered.)

I don't think we're in BAD shape, but this is not what I would call an EASY phase.

Thank you, friends.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Pondering the "Benefits" of Cancer

Yesterday, as I was waiting for our visit with Dr. Lin, my mind wandered and I got a little panicky and a little pissed off at cancer.  So, I posted the following question as my Facebook status:  

Just wondering if y'all can help me make a list of the GOOD things that come with cancer. (Not counting loving family & friends... I KNOW THAT part ♥)

And, this is the "conversation" that followed. I found it encouraging. (Bear with the whiny me that you'll see in the conversation.) I still struggle with cancer (or any illness that brings suffering). I don't understand why my father had to have Alzheimer's. Don't understand why the massive heart attack Mama had didn't kill her right away and instead she "suffered" (or what looked like suffering to me). But, I still find comfort in the words of my friends (and family) who contributed to this "conversation." Perhaps you will, too.
  • Ann Starr Jones The chance to share your journey with others traveling the same road and offering support to those you meet along the way.
  • Karen Oglesby Perkins Immediate reaction is how GOOD you and Harv are.....and how many people are being touched by your lives...You Chutes are the honest to goodness real deal!
  • Ann Starr Jones The gift of loving and living each day to the fullest, and not taking anything for granted.
  • Cathy Gray Fosaaen Leaning on God more--learning His care in the small things. Especially in this fallen world.
  • Cindy Wescott Peterson The opportunity to see God at work. I see Him building my character and that of my husband and kids. I see Him provide tender care for my son. I see Him provide answers from old college friends that "happen" to read my posts and hear about the excruciating pain my son is experiencing and lets me know how it can be done differently because she had been through cancer with her daughter 15 years before me.
  • Carrie Hall Chute (Reading Anne Lammott's book "Help Thanks Wow" and it's making me cry... Just finished the Help chapter... And your answers make me cry, too.... Can't we just learn all those things without cancer, though?)
  • Cindy Wescott Peterson I wish I could say that I am always looking to see where God is at work but I'm not. C.S. Lewis said, "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world."
  • Shelley Knebel I have a podcast on my iPod from a few years ago that I listened to a few times after one surgery by ken Hutchinson... I will see if I can find it online...he called cancer his discipler:-)
  • Terri Suwwan Taught me that I could do what I thought I couldn't, surrounded me with love, brought me closer to God than I had ever been. But still, Carrie, I.HATE.CANCER.
  • Shannon McColaugh Waterman It has drawn the girls closer to each other, as they've walked this road together. It's created a special bond between all three of us. We're stronger, perhaps more compassionate...I hate cancer and death, but love my little family.
  • Laura Bass Laffoon Sometimes in the midst of it all we cannot see the reason or the good...but when we come thru the other side we have clarity. I always wondered why my daddy had to have all the challenges he did but I can't tell u how many people I meet that grew up with sick parents and my story has helped them....Soooo may be your girls will have a story that will effect many? We never know!
  • Cat McAlister I LOVE all the wisdom your friends have shared, (and I agree with them)
  • Laura Elizabeth Hall Not counting loving family and friends....well, I don't think it has made me stronger I just figured out I was stronger than I thought. Also, it has made me get my "stuff" in better order for my children. This is a really good thing for me! I do probably appreciate just the little things more than I use to but some of this may be my age. But I guess aside from the not counting stuff you mentioned, my favorite part is using my cancer card when all else fails. Telemarketers and other solicitors don't ever know what to say to me when I say well I have cancer and can't answer or afford at this moment to think about donating to whatever it is. Also, sometimes you get to go in line first and other things like that. (Really, I don't like this kind of stuff...especially people feeling sorry for you, unless I am just fed up with everything...then out comes the cancer card☺) Since you are a caregiver you can do the same sorts of things. You might just have to adjust the wording a little.
  • Cindy Wescott Peterson Though I am grateful that God has chosen to bless others with our story, given the choice, I would never choose cancer. If I am honest, I'm very selfishly committed to my own and my family's comfort. (That is not said with pride).WE HATE CANCER!
  • Laura Bass Laffoon None of us want the story...I wanted a dad who could run and jump and walk me down the aisle....but God had a different story for me.
  • Carrie Hall Chute I try not to wallow, but sometimes I feel kinda like a kid having a temper tantrum with God. Then I "LIGMO" (term coined by Laura Elizabeth Hall which means "Let it go. Move on.")
  • Betsy True It made me treasure every minute I had with my dad more...times I would have taken for granted otherwise. Thinking of all of you, Chute family!
  • Sandy Melow You know Carrie, God never tells us to figure these things out. There is no "good" rhyme or reason to it. He just tells us to trust Him because He already has it all figured out.
  • Christie Yarbrough Bumgardner I believe that cancer (rather, the cancer my daughter endured), gave me more opportunities and made me bolder to share Jesus with others. Before, I felt like I really had no powerful testimony of my own.....nothing earth-shaking to tell platform. Now, I can boldly tell people what God did through Weslyn and how He worked in our lives as a family because of her illness. We can help and encourage others who are going through it now. I wouldn't have chosen it, no. But since it happened, finding the good in it is the only way I can make any sense out of it. Now that she is cured, we give Him all the glory, and look forward to seeing how He will use this in His plan for Weslyn's life in the future!
  • Molly Hayes The love and support you have felt over the last year are not because of cancer. You established that foundation. It has always been there. Don't give cancer credit for that! I believe it is okay to feel like there is nothing good about cancer. Make a list of all the great things happening in your life because YOU made them happen. You decided that you would put family first. You loved three girls, gave them a fabulous foundation so that they could support each other during times of hardship and celebration. You decided to spend time at home and away from home with your family. You built friendships that have been a support for you over the past year. You made delicious meals that fed your family. You made time for yourself. Cancer didn't make you do any of those things. You did them. Then put that wonderful list right where you can see it. In a nice frame or on the fridge. Then write cancer on an ugly old piece of scrap paper and throw it in the fireplace.
  • Brenda Belcher-Winters I love this string and these women and I don't even know them. And now I'm crying too. . Life is so precious
  • Stephanie Zimmerman Kuhn So appreciate the comments... and I so appreciate where you are Carrie... one major thing Jesus taught me when I thought Mike was dying in front of my eyes was that all my religious jargon about His Sovereign, good control began to take root in the deepest part of my being...I cannot for a minute believe God wants pain to mold us, but He sure is there at the darkest hour.

I know people who don't really see the benefit of Facebook. This, to me, is an example of a community of friends supporting each other and learning from each other. There ARE times when cyber "hugs" can truly be felt.

♥♥♥Many blessings, to you all! ♥♥♥

    Thursday, January 10, 2013

    It's 5:30 p.m. and I'm whooped...probably mostly from the stress of not knowing and the fear of what we might learn. But things aren't so bad...

    We saw pictures of what Dr. Lin described on the phone yesterday. The inside of the tumors are dead, but the outsides appear to still be alive and kickin' (Damn their hides!).  

    Dr. Lin did a gene study of the tumor that they removed from the colon in April. And he had those results to discuss today too.  I think it must've been very complicated 'cause he didn't get into EVERYTHING, but he said they discovered that there are several different mutations of the colon cancer in Harv's system -- which  makes it a little bit more challenging to treat. But he did not make us feel less hopeful.

    After thinking out loud for a while, he decided that Harv should be infused with Oxaliplatin (common side effects: sensitivity to cold, neuropathy in hands and feet and the typical potential stomach upset and nausea, etc.). We are hoping that since he hasn't experienced much of the stomach issues before that he won't this time either...and we are praying that the other stuff is minimal.

    Dr. Lin thinks that it will be fine for us to go to Maui and if Harv is gonna have a reaction, we would notice it within the next few days.

    So, we're hanging out in the infusion room and I'm dreaming of something unbelievably delicious for dinner (while eating chips and drinking water)... We decided to stay down here for the night.

    I think everything's gonna be alright --- at least for now. 

    Thank you, friends and family, for being so good to us. 

    We love you.

    Wednesday, January 9, 2013

    Dr. Park and Dr. Lin each called this afternoon. The scans showed that the tumors in the liver are not "clean" (my term) enough to do the surgery now. There are still residual positive tumors. There are tumors around the rim of the liver. The response to the treatment has been good, but tumors in the liver remain active.

    Dr. Lin is still thinking about the best way to attack the cells that persist with their fight. He said that there are a few options and each option has pros and cons. It is pretty definite that the chemo plan will change, but he's trying to determine exactly what that will look like. We'll discuss our options tomorrow.

    And, because of the unknowns about treatment, we are not sure about Hawaii. I, personally, don't want to go to Hawaii if Harv starts a new kind of chemo that he's never had before. Not really interested in being that far from home if he has any problems with it. However, if it wouldn't change the outcome of his treatment, maybe it'd be nice to go before we start a new kind of chemo. ??? Just not sure.

    I think the NOT KNOWING exactly where the course is gonna go is the worst part. And, the fear that a new kind of treatment may be a little bit more difficult to handle is also a concern. 

    What I want is for Harv to have the best quality of life for as long as possible. And, I want our family to have a good quality of life, too. You know, doin' what we do -- sit around, watch movies, take walks,  take a few trips to the beach, eat good food and just chill.... I want NORMAL. 

    Our appointment tomorrow is late afternoon. Which means it will be late when we get home...or, we might just spend the night down there depending on how we feel. (And, now, I've heard crazy things about the weather forecast!)

    When I know more I will let you know. Thank you for your support.

    Tuesday, January 8, 2013

    We believe that today is the day that Dr. Park (the surgeon) meets with a group of doctors to develop a surgery plan for Harv. Please pray for wisdom for them to make the right plan for surgery with the greatest success. 

    While I was looking online for a photo of Dr. Park, I found this article  (Inside a UW Medicine O.R.: Robotic-assisted liver resection surgery) which I thought was very interesting and hopeful...

    As the surgery day draws closer, the enormity of it all kinda hits me.

    Thankful for Dr. Park and for Dr. Lin.

    Go, team, go!

    Thursday, January 3, 2013

    Harv and I are going to Seattle early tomorrow morning so he can have a PET/CT scan. He was on a high protein/low carb diet today and can't have anymore food until after the scan tomorrow. He couldn't even walk the dog today. 

    We're hoping that his strict adherence to the guidelines will give very clear results. We're also hoping for definite boundaries between the good and the bad which will make removal of the tumors easier.

    The scan will be reviewed next week by the surgeon and a team of doctors which will include Dr. Lin. Harv's currently scheduled for a follow-up appointment and potential chemo on the 10th.

    And, then! Harv and I are going to Maui for six nights. This'll be a very nice rest before his surgery -- which is tentatively scheduled for January 24th. I say tentative because it all depends on what the doctors believe is the right next step after reviewing the scan results. (And, in case I haven't been clear, this surgery will be to remove the tumors in his liver...And, hopefully to remove the cancer completely from his body -- FOREVER!)

    Please pray that the scan results are clear. Please pray that the tumors have shrunk and that the doctors have clear direction on the best surgery plan for Harvey. 

    I will update more when we know more.

    Thank you so much for all that you do for us.
    I love you people. (I'm not KIDDIN'!)
    Oh! And, Happy New Year! ♥