Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Still Here

It's been almost a month since the last update, and several people have asked for an update.

Tim has had two more rounds of chemo since the last post.  The first one was fairly uneventful.  He was in a room on the backside of the infusion center where it was extremely quiet and he was able to sleep through the entire 4 1/2 hours.  There were few side effects other than nose bleeds and fatigue.  

We saw Dr. Nelson before his second infusion.  He was said Tim is doing really well as far as handling the chemo.  The nosebleeds are a common side effect of the Avastin and not to be concerned unless we couldn't get them stopped.  His labs were all good and he was given the go ahead for chemo on Friday, the 6th.

This appointment would prove to be very different than any of the previous ones - Abby was on chemo duty.  She drove him there and home and handled the infusion process very well.  This round, though, did make him sick. He was rather nauseous and light headed throughout Friday and Saturday. He's slept a lot and feels like he has the flu.  This is all to be expected - we just never know if it's going to affect him this way or not.  Some times it does and some times it doesn't. 

He has one more round on the 20th and then is scheduled for a scan on the 27th to see how the cancer is responding.  We are most concerned about the lesions on the liver that appeared to be growing on the last scan.  Please pray that all cancer is responding (all pelvic lesions, liver, and lungs) and that his body continues to tolerate the chemo.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Still Hope

Catching up from last week --

Tim had an MRI and a CT scan last Wednesday and we saw his oncologist for the results on Thursdays. In some ways, it was a mixed bag of information. His lungs show no growth in size or number and it even appears that some of the lesions are responding to the chemo. The rectal tumor and associated areas appear to be stable. However, there is at least on new lesion on the liver. For now he will continue with four more cycles of his current chemo regimen and then rescan again to assess the liver and consider other treatment options. I asked exactly what this meant as the liver surgeon had previously talked about ablating any future spots. Dr. Nelson explained that he would switch Tim back to Folfox which is a combination of chemo drugs that includes oxaliplatin - the drug that he was on prior to the liver resection that caused the most severe side effects. He would prefer not to do an ablation at this time because it would mean going off of chemo and his fear is that the other areas will grow. He saw both surgeons yesterday and everyone appears to be on the same page. We are thankful that the entire team is working together and there are still options to manage his disease.

Some days you wouldn't know Tim's body has been invaded by this awful disease and others he struggles to get out of the recliner. He is trying to learn his limits and not overdo it, but the energizer bunny doesn't really know when to stop until he runs out of batteries. This last treatment did not go as smoothly as the one before. He was sick Friday evening through most of Sunday and slept quite a bit. The newest development is frequent nosebleeds which is a common side effect of the avastin. This means they will likely be monitoring his platelets and his susceptibility for anemia. Pray that we adjust to some sort of normal life and that we don't take anything for granted.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Yes, It's Been a While

It's been over a month since my last post, but there honestly hasn't been much to say.  Tim's infusions have continued every other Friday and weekend with only one minor hiccup.  We never know how he is going to react from one infusion to the next.  His last treatment he experienced almost no symptoms, while the one before that made him extremely sick.  Before his last infusion, he began running a fever and we were at the point of having to go the the MD Anderson Emergency Clinic down at the medical center.  Luckily, he had an appointment with the oncologist the next next day and because there were no other signs or symptoms of infections, they continued with chemo as scheduled.

He's seen the nutritionist twice in the last month and any of you who know Tim very well know that he did not like the changes they want him to make.  It's definitely a slow process, but he is trying new things - wheat bread with seeds, green vegetables, and WATER!

Moving forward - Tim had an MRI and CT today, sees his oncologist tomorrow, chemo on Friday, and then sees both of the surgeons on Monday. Pray that the cancer is reduced or at least stable - NO GROWTH! More to come after Monday.

Friday, April 27, 2018

No New News

Today was another infusion day. They added back in a targeted therapy drug that works with two of the chemo drugs and he slept through quite a bit of the infusion. It seems that the new anticipatory medicine knocks him out and helps a little with side effects. Although not as sick as the treatment before last, he has been nauseous and vomiting. Hopefully, his two meds will kick in soon to alleviate it.

To set the record straight with facts - despite a rumor going around, Tim has not been given any prognosis on life span. We are unsure where this false information originated, but know it has upset the kids and we are working to alleviate their fears. We are continuing to live our life as normal as possible and have even made plans for the next year. What we have learned is not to take for granted God’s blessings. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow. Only the Lord knows the number of our days.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

The verdict is in...

This week was somewhat of a roller coaster.  Cooper had a cold, Abby played in the district golf tournament, and Tim spent three days at MD for doctors’ appointments.  We left at 4:30 Monday morning to get to the medical center for blood work, an MRI, and an appointment with his rectal surgeon. When we finally headed home we were both a little thrown off  his surgeon recommended consulting with his oncologist and a radiation oncologist about going on preoperative radiation and chemo to see how his body responded.  If he did well - meaning the cancer in the lungs didn’t grow and nothing returned in the liver - then he would be a candidate for surgery to remove the rectal tumor.  However, he was very upfront that it would be a major surgery that might alter his everyday functions.  We didn’t know what to think and decided to pray and wait.

We didn’t have to wait long. When he saw his medical oncologist on Thursday, he learned that all of the doctors had consulted and decided at this time going off of the chemo he is on right now is too great a risk for growth in the lungs and regrowth in the liver.  So the verdict is .... he continues on chemo every other week. They will be adding back in another drug next week now that his liver incision has completely healed. Praise the Lord! For now they seem to have found a combination of anticipatory drugs that are keeping the side effects well under controlled.  The biggest thing he seems to deal with is that he gets tired really easy. But we are blessed that he is able to be home and rest as he needs to.

For now we pray that his body can tolerate chemo for the long term and adjust to our new normal. We are blessed and thankful for an amazing support system and the many people who are praying with us.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Keep On Keeping On

I know I haven't posted in a while - I just haven't really known what to say.  But after several people have commented that I haven't posted in a while and asked about Tim, I decided it was time.  Tim resumed chemo on Friday, March 16.  I was off for Spring Break and was able to go with him.  That particular infusion made him extremely sick from the very beginning.  There weren't any new meds involved, but his body just didn't tolerate it well.  At his next appointment with the oncologist, he was prescribed an additional medicine to try to help manage the nausea and vomiting.  He can take it in advance and they give it to him through his port just before the chemo infusion, as well.  It's more for sensory and neurological control, but it has really seemed to help and he didn't have any adverse effects from chemo last Friday.  We did have a bump in the road last Tuesday.  His incision from the liver resection has still not closed completely and he noticed tissue coming from it.  After contacting his nurse, we were told to rush him to triage at the colorectal center.  Once there, they discussed packing it versus a wound vac, but they ultimately just pushed it back in and put a bandage over it.  At this point, he just keeps it covered and waits. They've said that being on chemo will take it longer to heal and it could take up to a year to fully close.

In the meantime, we just keep on keeping on.  We were all four able to get away for one of Abby's golf tournaments in Longview a couple of weeks ago and, Tim felt good enough to serve at church on the Thursday before Easter and in the preschool department Easter Sunday. We are trying real hard to find  joy in the small things and to not take anything for granted.

So what's next -
1) Right now he's scheduled for chemo through the end of May. It's the same schedule as before - infusion in clinic every other Friday and home with a pump through Sunday.
2) He has multiple appointments on Monday.  We will leave the house at 4:30 a.m. for an MRI and to see the rectal surgeon where we hope to get an updated plan for surgery.

Pray that he continues to tolerate chemo and that we get a good plan going forward to remove all of the cancer form his body.  The sooner the better for us.

More to come after Monday -

Friday, March 16, 2018

Chemo Round Two Starts Today

Today is exactly six weeks post liver resection and the first possible date to start chemo, so here we are checked in and awaiting drugs.  This round - at least today - will be shorter than previously as they have removed two drugs while the liver and incisions continue to heal.  He’ll still go home with a pump for the weekend and I’ll play nurse on Sunday.  Praying that side effects are minimal.