Thursday, March 28, 2013

Turns out Harv does have to have another round of chemo...and he's not very happy.

Please pray that he gets refreshed and renewed during our spring break trip. 

Please pray for some SERIOUS cancer-killin' action with few or mild side-effects. He's got some things he wants to accomplish before surgery and would like to have energy to do those things.

Please pray for peace for him and peace for me...and the girls.

OH. MY. GOSH. We are ready for a break!

We are thankful for our family. We are thankful for our friends. We are thankful for our doctors and medical team.We are lookin' forward to gettin' rid of cancer!

Need some rest and renewal. Need positive energy.

Happy  springtime to you all.
Love you.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

We've heard from Dr. Park's office. A pre-op appointment has been set. We have been told that the norm for hospital stay after this surgery is five days. Dr. Park needs to confirm with Dr. Lin, but most likely there will be no more chemo before surgery.

Please begin now to pray that:
(1) the chemo that is currently in Harv's system is seriously kickin' some cancer butt
(2) the tumors that are there are shrinkin' like crazy 
(3) there's a really nice margin around the tumors so that it easy for Dr. Park to get all
     of the cancer
(4) that Harv would heal quickly and thoroughly after surgery 
(5) things would run smoothly at home while we're in Seattle

We are excited and nervous about this surgery. Liver surgery is a big deal. But we are hopeful and happy at the prospect of a long, happy future!!!

Thank you, friends and family, for all of your support.

We love you.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Mary Englebreit

SURGERY IS SCHEDULED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

APRIL 25th!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Thursday, March 21, 2013


Saw Dr. Lin a little while ago.  He sounded encouraging about the surgery. He said that he hopes to have it done sooner rather than later. Of course, that is not solely his decision. But he said that Dr. Park believes that Harv is a resection candidate. Just need to shrink the tumors a little more.

He sounded like this combination of drugs being infused might be tough -- which I've been concerned about. He lowered the dose of Oxaliplatin a little more which, hopefully, will help with some of THOSE side effects. He said that the infused 5FU might cause more mouth sores.

He also said that, even though he scheduled four infusions, we may end up having fewer if these infusions do a good job of shrinking the tumors.

Please begin praying RIGHT THIS MINUTE that (1) the side effects will be minimal and manageable (2) that they really do the trick of shrinking tumors and (3) that surgery can happen soon, soon, soon. (4) that surgery will also make a difference and that Harv (and the rest of our family) will begin the next phase of life -- without cancer.

Truthfully, I'm a little bit tired. (I think I've mentioned that before.) Wouldn't it be fun if we could go for a WHOLE MONTH without a trip to Seattle?! Dang! I sure would love that!

This will be a long day, but we are hopeful that it will make a difference in gettin' rid of the cancer in Harv's body.

Thank you for praying with us.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Our schedule

We received the schedule today for the next few rounds of chemo... Looks like we're booked for four rounds and then a CT scan.  That means we go to Seattle every two weeks 'til the middle of May. 

We'll arrive early morning and the infusion that takes place at the hospital lasts at least five hours. :-P Then he'll get hooked up to the pump for some more infusion for 48 hours. A nurse will then come to our house 2 days later to disconnect him from the pump. 

One of the days that has been scheduled is during our Spring Break trip to Kalaloch. (Look it up if you're not familiar with it... It's on the Olympic Peninsula in Olympic National Park.) We love to go to Kalaloch -- even if it IS cold and gray and often drizzly. It's peaceful and quiet and all we do is eat, sit around, go for a beach walk and repeat. Very rejuvenating.

ANYWAY. I have asked if we can reschedule that day (which might affect the other infusions) and I think we'll probably be able to work it out.

I also am scheduled to go to Georgia for a week in April. I think all of that will work out, but just another thing to think about. (May have to hit some of you up for giving the girls rides to school or for checkin' on the dog...Beware!)

My brain is overloaded, but I believe things will be fine. Scheduling things is somewhat nightmarish... 

Please pray that Harvey responds well to the new protocol. (It's not new medicine, but it's being administered differently and it's a different combo...though he's had all three meds before.) Please pray that the Oxaliplatin does not cause the side effect that makes him feel like he's having a heart attack. He has experienced it all three times he's had it, but it's pretty uncomfortable. Also, please pray that the side effects from the 5FU will be no different than when he takes it orally.

And, while you're praying for all of that, please just ask God to make the cancer disappear completely. 

Thank you, people!!
Love you.

A little bit more info....

I received confirmation yesterday that there will only be one drug infused for the pump infusion (which is an infusion that lasts 48 hours). It's the 5FU (same as the Xeloda he's been taking). The difference in taking it orally and infusing it is that one travels through the circulatory system and the oral drug travels through his gastrointestinal tract.

Our nurse also said:
Just note that a different route of administering a drug orally versus circulatory means it disperses through the body at a different rate. So with oral drugs we need to take it more fequently since it is absorbed via GI system and metabolized (hence taking Xeloda for 14 days), whereas via bloodstream, it will remain in the system for a longer period of time (hence 5FU for 48 hours).

As for side effects:
side effects are the same with 5FU and Xeloda, but he might notice a side effect that was more prominent with Xeloda for him might not be so prominent and vice versa.

One big, fat drag is that this regimen is gonna be every two weeks instead of every three weeks. (Little bit concerned that it's gonna encroach on our personal family time, but onward we must go...)

We also got a note from the surgeon yesterday which said:
Reviewed the CT scan from 3/12.
Certainly a surgical resection candidate.
Depending on the state of the liver, would decide intra-operatively whether a staged operation (i.e. left-side first, recover, more chemo, then right-side next) is needed or if all lesions can be addressed at once.
Agree with a little more chemo first.
Thanks, Jim 
To which I replied:
Thanks so much! We are hopin’ for much progress with the chemo… Lookin’ forward to gettin’ rid of the cancer in his body!
To which he replied:
I will be praying with you. Jim.
I kinda like the idea of the person who is gonna do surgery praying for my husband and our family.

Thank you, people, for praying for us, too.
Love you.

Monday, March 18, 2013

This week

Just heard from SCCA. Dr. Lin has made arrangements for Harv to get an infusion called Folfoxiri.

Folfoxiri stands for 5FU (which is the infusional form of Xeloda), this will be infused over 48 hours in a pump that Harvey will take home with him that fits in a fanny pack. The rest of the regimen includes Oxaliplatin and Irinotecan.

What I don't know is if ALL THREE drugs will be infused over the 48 hours or just the 5FU (Xeloda).

We're a little nervous 'cause this will be a new experience... 

Please pray that (1) the side effects are minimal, (2) that this method will really make a difference and (3) that if any side effects are present, we can deal with them quickly and effectively.

Oh, how I want cancer out of his body...and our lives! Oh, my goodness gracious!

Thank you for your support.

If you haven't heard about the bike ride I'm doing, check this out: Obliteride 2013.
Let's put an end to cancer right away!!


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Totally whooped. Got up at 4:45 for our 7:30 appt. this morning... Had to kill about 3 hours between CT and doctor visit.

Basically, the tumors are being stubborn. They're not growing, but they're not really getting smaller.

Dr. Lin would like to remove the right side of the liver 'cause that side has more bad stuff on it. Then let it regenerate so that the tumor on the left side can be removed later. He's not sure if the surgeons will think the liver is clean enough to do that so if they don't, he wants to give Harv a pump with a mixture of chemo that would be released over a period of 48 hours.  Maybe two or three rounds of that...and then hopefully the tumors in the liver would respond enough for surgery.  Possible radiation in there, too...

All of this has been said before...and we keep waiting for the liver tumors to neaten up.

Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyybbbbbbe, the surgeons will think they're clean enough. We don't know that part.

What I do know is that I'm kinda tired of driving to Seattle. I'm thankful we have a good doctor and I'm thankful that Harv has responded so well so far. But I would like to stop driving to Seattle. I would like to stop having to remind Harv to take pills, or drink water, or eat, or go to bed at a decent time or whatever other things go along with caregiving (which I think Harv might call nagging). I would like to feel like I can plan a few things into the future without wondering if doctor visits/surgery/etc. might interfere.

I would love to have a little bit of "old normal." 

I wouldn't say that we're discouraged at all. Pretty much just tired. 

We are thankful that the tumors aren't growing. Now, we just need the damn things to get smaller... Seriously! 

Thank you for standing with us. Thank you for your support. 

If you haven't read about my bike ride, read the previous post. I'd really like to get the cure for cancer taken care of right away. We can ALL be a part of that. 

Love you people!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Bike Ridin' = Saving Lives

I did it! I signed up for the 50 mile ride in Obliteride. My hands are shakin' 'cause it's a big, fat deal. But it's not quite as scary as facing the monster called cancer. And, it is SO great to me to be part of the research that is currently saving lives and will continue to save lives. 

And the thing is... helping solve the mystery of cancer helps EVERYONE. Most everyone I know has been affected by cancer in one way or another. Imagine how great it would be if it just wasn't even out there anymore...

I'm ridin' for my sister...and my husband...and all the cousins and aunts and uncles and friends who have had cancer during my lifetime. I'm ridin' 'cause I believe that Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has made a REAL difference in Harvey's life and in our family's life, too. I'm ridin' 'cause I am sick and tired of finding out that someone else has gotten cancer or because we've lost someone because of cancer. 

It is time to put cancer in its place!

Cancer touches all of us - half of all men and one third of all women in the U.S. will get cancer in their lifetime. These figures are shocking, but, I believe we can change the stats by funding lifesaving research at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

All of us participating in Obliteride will come together August 9-11, 2013 to tell cancer we're not gonna take it anymore. And here's where I need your help. I've made a big commitment to make a statement against cancer. And I hope you'll make a statement, too. With 100% of every dollar donated going directly to cancer research at Fred Hutch, we can make a direct impact on research to save lives faster. I hope you'll donate as much as you can because you believe in me, what I'm doing and that together, we can defeat cancer.
If you'd like to support me in this ride and if you believe that it's time to kick cancer in the butt click here to make a donation and make a difference....   100% of all money donated goes directly to research. 

(Please find out if your company has a matching gift program. The process is simple and quickly doubles your generous donation and gets me closer to reaching my goal. Once you make a donation, contact your HR rep or your employer's matching gift rep to submit the paperwork to Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Please make sure that the matching gift includes my name AND Obliteride, so Fred Hutch knows who should receive credit for the matching gift. Thanks so much!)

Friday, March 1, 2013


For those of you who are interested in the science of what's happening with Harv, read this. It's got a little bit of SCCA marketing attached, but I don't care... If it's gonna help my husband live a longer, better life, then market all you want to...