Tuesday, May 14, 2013

My brain is pretty full, but I'm gonna try to relay everything I can remember... Bear with me if it's not in order.

We left home at about 5:45 this morning so we could get a cup of coffee before going to the appointment. Harv got in and out of his blood-draw pretty quickly and we waited a little while for our appointment with Dr. Lin.

Dr. Lin said that CEA was 5, I think (but to tell you the truth I can't remember if that was the previous one or this one.) Either way... it was pretty good. 

Also, when Harv was in the hospital, his hematocrit (red blood count) was 19... which is VERY low. Normal is between 30 and 40. There was a time when the doctors considered giving him a transfusion, but they figured out that since he had lost a lot of blood during the surgery, and since they were taking blood every 6 hours -- it was hard for his body to make it up fast enough. So they decided to only take his blood every 24 hours and let it re-build on its own. Guess what it was today (3 weeks later)?  Go on, make a guess!

THIRTY-SEVEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Uh huh! (Harv's always tryin' to excel at stuff!)

Dr. Lin said he needed to confirm with the pathologist exactly what portion and position he was looking at when he gave the report, but it appeared that there was a "positive margin." 

"Positive margin" is like pulling a dandelion weed instead of digging all around the root to remove it all ("negative margin"). Sometimes the placement of the tumor makes it difficult to remove EVERYTHING all around. 

So it appeared that there might be a positive margin. He was gonna confirm with the pathologist and with Dr. Park before making further recommendations.

He wanted Harv to start with the oral chemo (Xeloda) again and said that we might possibly begin radiation, too, to ensure that those cells were dead. If radiation, that would be daily for 3 weeks. (That could  be challenging logistically, but if it means Harv would be stickin' around longer, then, oh well!) 

Dr. Lin has said before that there comes a time when the infused chemo no longer does anything to the "intrenched" tumors... But, he has had success with Xeloda + Celebrex keeping things under control. If we can keep the current tumors from growing and potential tumors from feelin' all high and mighty, then that's what we should do. So, tomorrow Harv will start with the Xeloda + Celebrex for 2 weeks, then off one week, then start again. We'll see Dr. Lin in four weeks and there will be a CT scan that day, too.

When we got home, we weren't sure about whether there would be radiation, but were thinkin' it would happen.

I received the following email from Dr. Lin after we got home.... 
Dr. Park says that he did more resection at the site and secured the negative margin. Thus, we do not need more radiaiton. He did say that he did not touch left lobe lesion.
Let us let his liver regenerate and we will see if current Xeloda will do the trick given that bulk of his tumor burden already reduced significantly.
So... I'm just gonna say that my heart has slightly less burden than it did before we went to the doctor....and perhaps even less than it did when we got home this afternoon....  

I'm feeling so relieved that I'm tempted to get a puppy! I mean, heck! If Harv's only on oral chemo (which he has tolerated quite well for a long time) and he's not gonna have radiation, then why not! (I'm not REALLY sure (and I know it's a little bit insane), but I sure am tempted!)  (Don't get too excited or all up in arms -- a decision hasn't been made... I just keep thinkin' about it.)

And so... tonight we will rest a little easier. And, we will continue to be thankful for so many good things in our lives.

Many, many blessings to you all.
Sleep well, my friends!
Love you.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Tuesday Harv and I go to see Dr. Lin. Harv will get blood work done and we'll meet with Dr. Lin to see what he thinks the plan should be. 

While we are hoping to start chemo soon, we are not necessarily lookin' forward to it. We're not sure what Dr. Lin will recommend but Dr. Park believes we need to really blast some chemo at the liver so that we can get rid of anything that might be thinkin' about growing and so that we can keep the tumors that are there from getting bigger. 

Dr. Park said that in a best case scenario, Harv will be ready for surgery again in  3 - 4 months... So that means August or September.  He also said that if there is any cancer in the newly grown liver, surgery will not be an option. 

So... Harv is doing everything he do can to get stronger and ready for more chemo. He's been taking some good walks lately and he's not needing to nap quite as much.

We are praying that Harv's liver refuses to accept any new cancer and that the cancer that is there will not grow -- so that Dr. Park can cut those uglies out.

Wouldn't it be SO.MUCH.FUN. to be able to have a party after the second surgery to celebrate the removal of the uglies?  

Let's plan on it... Start thinkin' late fall, people.  There aren't enough parties then anyway! 

And, please continue to pray for complete and total healing.

We love you.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Harv had a follow-up appointment to see Dr. Park today. He had 40 staples removed from his incision. I left the room.

Dr. Park was pleased with Harv's activity level. Said his color is much better. Turns out they removed Harv's gall bladder while they were cuttin' away the liver.

Bottom line: Harv needs to get started on chemo again so that the tumors in the liver don't have a chance to regrow. Best case scenario, chemo works well, tumors remain stable or get smaller and another surgery can take place in 3 - 4 months to remove the uglies. Dr. Park said that surgery could not take place if there's not enough healthy liver tissue -- tumors in the new liver. 

So... we need healthy new liver. We need chemo to work on the uglies. We need Harv to be ready for surgery in 3 - 4 months. And, we need a relatively normal life again.

Most days are good. Harv is doing pretty well. He's making progress.   

Some days I've just had enough of "not my normal." Today I'm havin' one of those days. I'll get over it, but some days I'm just tired.

Reckon it's on those days that this makes sense:

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Word on the street is that some of you are anxiously waiting for an update on Harv's health status... Some of you may have just started tuning in to the posts... I want to reassure everyone that no news is good news.

We got home on Tuesday afternoon.  Harv's been moving slowly and gradually eating more and more. By Thursday he was really ready for a big meal: steak, baked potato, salad, corn on the cob. He didn't eat a TON but he ate some of everything.

He's been walkin' in the driveway and trying to increase the number of laps.

I could tell that yesterday he was beginning to feel better, though I would definitely say he was still  weak.

Today shaving and showering were his main morning exercise. Kinda wore him out. But he's looking and acting like he's feeling closer to "normal."

The weather in Bellingham is BEAUTIFUL(!) today and that makes walking outside a bit more fun.

Oh! And the photos above are of what the "Chute Home Beautification Fairy" did while we were in Seattle. Someone made it possible financially. Someone did the arranging of the beautification and someone came and made it all happen. And, it looks GREAT.  We are very thankful for all who had a part in showing us love this way.

We are doing pretty well.  Just trying to get sleep and grow a liver and take care of each other. :-)

We love you.
Have a wonderful weekend.

P.S. Remember... if you don't hear from me, then things are goin' pretty well.