Saturday, February 28, 2015

Good morning, y’all…

Harv’s had a pretty good week all around, I’d say. The fatigue is starting to catch up with him; he’s been sleeping a lot over the past two or three days. Fortunately, he has some new meds for his shoulder/neck pain and it seems to be working.  Two good things about that are that he only has to take it once a day and it makes him a bit drowsy…so he takes it at night. He has had about three days now where he hasn’t used the heating pad or the menthol ointment at all during the day…or night, for that matter. 

I was a bit worried about him sleeping so much and just called the pharmacist to see if she thought the new med is making him sleepier during the day or if it’s most likely the radiation. She thinks it’s the radiation… I’m kind of amazed that he’s sleeping this much, but am hoping that means his body is healing.

He’s also had less of an appetite, but he’s still eating. I’m also trying to keep him hydrated… a little bit of an issue sometimes. My sister, Laura, said it’s so hard to drink as much as they tell you to… And, I’m sure that’s true…but I keep pushing it anyway.

There really isn’t much else to report for now. 

Thank you, again, to all of you who have driven or will drive next week. Three more treatments to go! Yippee!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Sometimes I'm just mindin' my own business doin' stuff around the house and all of a sudden it'll hit me...
People are amazing!
We've been doing this cancer crap (pardon me) for over three years now... and throughout this time, people have shown love in so many different ways. They've cooked for us and cleaned for us and prayed for us and given gifts to us! They've followed my updates on Facebook. They've walked my dog-child for us. They've gardened for us and played with us and traveled with us. They've listened to us and laughed with us and cried with us. 

Some of them have been people who love Harvey and know him better than they know me. Some of them are MY friends who are loving all of my family well 'cause they love me.

Isn't that astonishing?!

Sometimes the world is so full of yucky stuff...stuff that could tear people apart...but there are STILL so many people out there who want to make a difference when their friends need help.

And, when I think about it, it really makes me tear up. 
It is a breathtaking source of strength. 
It is love in action.
It is a gift.

And we are more grateful than you will ever know.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Day 3

Today was the third day of radiation.

My observations:
- It is really exhausting. He's pretty wiped out when he gets home.
- It has caused some queasiness/nausea.  -- Today, he couldn't keep it in when he got home.

I was kinda hopin' that since it was a fairly "low-dose" that it would be easier for him, but it seems to be wipin' him out.

HowEVER! Maybe if it's wipin' him out, it is also wipin' out the cancer that is 'causin' all this ruckus.

Please pray for him to figure out how to manage the queasiness/nausea. And for me to know how to help him.

I am so thankful for those of you who have driven and those of you who have volunteered for other days. It really helps me.

'Preciate you all so much!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Just a few minutes before we got in the car to go to Seattle, we received a call from the radiation oncologist... They are postponing radiation until tomorrow because of some Q & A they have to do -- which, for some reason, can't be done today. They're trying to save us having to drive down there an additional day. I would have loved to have known that yesterday, but we are thankful we hadn't gotten out the door yet.

Thanks to all of you for your prayers and love.

Happy Wednesday!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Carrie, Feminist

I am a girl who has never really given much thought to "Women's Lib" or other feminist movements. Not that I didn't agree, but I never really thought about it nor did I really care much about it while I was growing up. 

I grew up in a church whose stance is that women have just as much right -- and ability -- and giftedness to be in positions of leadership as men do. I remember people leaving the church when the official stance was taken. People (even women) believed that men should have the leadership roles in the church.

I don't know when I started noticing how much of a man's world this is. I guess I've noticed before but I don't think I really paid attention until recently. Have you noticed how much attention sex trafficking has gotten lately? I've started learning more about it and the typical way that men get young girls involved in sex trafficking is that they find a girl who's vulnerable and they pay her lots of compliments and pretend they're gonna be her boyfriend and then she wants to follow him wherever he goes. If he suggests that she oughta start working at a strip club, she does it to please him. He moves from the strip club idea to sex with other people idea...and it goes even more downhill from there. One of the ways he traps her is by gettin' her hooked on drugs... Then she needs a fix and he's got all the power.

Probably most of you have figured this out, but the reason those evil men do that kinda thing (well, it's probably multi-layered) is the sense of power they get from it. And, I believe the reason they like it is 'cause they're insecure. 

That's my theory. Men who feel THEY are smarter or stronger or better-suited to a job or should make more money than women or should be "the boss" over their wives are afraid & uncertain of their own worth. 

I am thankful that I had a father who was confident enough in his manhood to allow my mother to be who she was. My mother was a pretty traditional mother, but my father never tried to "put her in her place." He respected her and honored her just as she did him. They didn't have a perfect marriage, but they treated each other as if they were both of equal intelligence and worth.

I am also more thankful than I can even begin to say that I married a man who does the same. He encourages me and loves me and would support me like crazy if I wanted to do ANYTHING. And, what I appreciate about that -- even more than simply because it makes me feel good -- is that he's comfortable enough in his manhood not to have to be "lord" of the household.

My dream for my girls is that they find people who love, encourage and respect every single part about them -- their intelligence, their creativity, their beauty inside and out -- EVERY. SINGLE. PART. OF. THEM. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Radiation Coming Up

Hey Folks...

I'm just goin' for it... 

Harv's radiation begins next Wednesday, Feb. 18th. He will have 10 sessions of radiation. Sessions are only Monday - Friday. So... if any of you are interested in spending a little time with Harvey, there are at least six opportunities available. :-)

The session begins at 10:20 and they say that it lasts about 20 minutes. I believe we should just round way up and think of it as an hour (just in case). He'll most likely need to leave here at 8:20 to add a little cushion in case there's some traffic. HOV will be available 'cause there will be at least two people in the car, so there's that bonus!   

We were told that the side effects will be minimal, but he could experience fatigue and possibly some nausea. So, if you're uncomfortable with the possibility of nausea, you might want to sit this one out. He'll have some anti-nausea meds so it's unlikely that it will be a major issue. 

I'll list the dates that are available and if you'd like to spend time with Harv (I'll be staying at home on days when others are driving), just let us know. We can make things work either way, but if you're available and interested, that'd be great. 

Wed. Feb. 18 -- Carrie
Thurs. Feb. 19 -- Carrie
Fri.   Feb. 20 -- Roger
Mon. Feb. 23 -- Chris & Brad
Tues. Feb. 24 -- Melissa & Leigh 
Wed. Feb. 25 -- Celeste
Thurs. Feb. 26 -- Erika
Fri. Feb. 27 -- Doug & Laurie
Mon. Mar. 2 -- Teri
Tues. Mar. 3 -- Gini
Wed. Mar. 4 -- Carrie

Thank you for all the love... All the little pieces of our friendship puzzle make a beautiful picture.

Have a happy day!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


Quick update:

Talked to Dr. Kim. Looks like it'll be two weeks of radiation...M-F. We have extended our appointment today so he can go through the planning appointment part -- which means that we won't have to come back for that. They said it usually takes about a week to get things set up just right... So HOPEFULLY, we'll be able to start next week or the week after. 
The doc said that the exhaustion that comes with radiation is gradual so it might be that Harv can drive himself -- at least for the first little bit. We'll see about that part. 

We like the doctor and appreciate them working hard to get things moving.

Looks like we might start next Wednesday... 10 days of treatment.

We'll be here for a while this afternoon.

More info later.


Monday, February 9, 2015


Tomorrow we go to Seattle to have a consultation with the radiation oncologist.  Here are my hopes for the meeting and after:

  • That we would arrive on time and be seen right away. There have been times in the past at UWMC where we've had to wait a long time. Our appt. isn't until 1:30 and it's supposed to last about an hour... Which will be heading right into traffic time. So.... there's that.
  • That we would clearly understand what's in store and that we can make a plan to start soon.
  • That the kind of radiation that would be done at UWMC would be able to be done in Bellingham. I think I've said it before, but we want to go where there's most likely to be the greatest success with this treatment. I'm hoping that the radiation is pretty straightforward with little room for variation from one place to the next 'cause if he's gonna have to go every day it sure would be nice to only have to drive 15 minutes instead of 1 1/2 or 2 hours. However, if, for some reason, the radiation is kinda tricky and it's best for UWMC docs to do it, then we'll go there.
  • That Harv will not experience severe side effects and that it won't be AWFUL. I've heard that nausea & extreme fatigue can be issues.  Fatigue isn't fun, but nausea is worse. So... we want to stay ahead of that and make this as pleasant an experience as it can possibly be.
Some of you have offered to help with driving if we end up going to Seattle and I really appreciate it. And, while asking for help is kinda hard, I'm probably gonna take you up on it. When we know the schedule, maybe I can post it and those of you who would like to spend a little time with Harv :-) can choose a day that might work for you.  I've been told that the appointments aren't very long -- maybe 15 or 20 minutes (not counting our appt. tomorrow which will be longer.) but we'll know more after that.

We've been pretty fortunate these past few years with the success of Harv's treatment and are hoping this is just the KICK that cancer needs to get the heck outta dodge. 

I'll update you when we know more.

Thank you for loving us. 
Lots of love to you all.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

New Direction-ish

We saw FOUR eagles on our drive home.
I LOVE seeing eagles. I'm pretending that they're good luck.

Early start today and lots of rain and traffic...which meant that we arrived late to our appointment... but everything went pretty smoothly once we got there.

When we saw Dr. Lin it was shortly after the CT so the written report had not been prepared, but he had the pictures and some of the data. CEA is at about 11 -- which means it's creeping up. The tumors in and around the liver appear to be the same size by just lookin' at 'em. They're not dramatically different, but they're obviously not shrinking.

Dr. Lin thinks that the next best step is radiation -- external (not the internal targeted kind that had been talked about before).  He thinks it will help shrink the tumors and that it might also help alleviate what we believe is referred pain in Harv's neck/shoulder area. 

The unfortunate part about this new regimen is that, most likely, it will be Monday through Friday every week for three weeks. So, it could be that Harv will take the Bolt bus again, but we don't know how he's gonna feel doing that. Or, he might end up driving -- but we don't know how tired he'll be. Maaaaaybe I'll end up going with him every day. We'll kind of just have to see.

But we are hoping to get the radiation taken care of soon so that we'll be finished in time for a fun Spring Break trip to Orlando to see Harry Potter and the gang! :-)

So... If you'd like to throw up a prayer or two, here are some thoughts on what you can be praying for:
  • that Harv would get good sleep and feel rested and feel a bit more like himself
  • that the radiation can get started quickly
  • that all the transportation parts of that will work easily
  • that the radiation will work to shrink the tumors and relieve the pain in his neck/shoulder area
  • that I will do and be the right thing for everybody - including me. :-)
I'm sure there are other things to consider and if you think of 'em, feel free to pray for those, too. 

This old lady is kinda whooped -- mostly emotionally, but a little bit physically, too. I think it's part of the package of having a family member who's in pain and not actually sleeping well. And, I'm sure I'll get over it. Perhaps even tomorrow after a good sleep tonight.

Harv is also kinda whooped -- mostly physically, but a little bit emotionally, too. I think THAT's part of the package of not sleeping well, being in pain and having a wife who's kinda grumpy. 

I think all the girls are okay. I think it helps to have lots on the schedule...but they may not mind if you say a prayer or two for them, too. :-)

Love you people... Thanks for walking with us.

P.S. Sarah Elizabeth Chute took this picture a few years ago at Camano Island. It's pretty doggone good, isn't it?!

CT Scan today

Going to Seattle today for a CT scan and to hopefully find a good way to solve the problem of pain in Harv's neck/shoulder.  

He had chemo last Wednesday and is starting to feel some relief from that after a week, but the shoulder/neck stuff is still an issue. He started taking a new drug that I believe made a difference, but it also made him feel dizzy and tired. He was taking that drug during the time after chemo when he just generally felt yucky, too, so it was kinda hard to tell exactly what was what. I DO think that the drug made him dizzy, though. 

So, he didn't take it yesterday or maybe the day before either. And, the shoulder/neck pain appeared to be more noticeable during the day to me. 

I am hoping that Dr. Lin can suggest a relatively easy solution that will solve the problem. 

Will update when we know more. 

Lots of love to you all.