Month: July 2011

Just waiting…

The scariness of the treatment has been alleviated since Monday!  Yesterday I, Cathy, went to MD Anderson for my radiation ‘orientation’.  It was a little different than the last orientation I went to…my freshman orientation at college, but the people involved were just as nice AND a sweet woman walked around offering  freshly baked cookies!   I had an ‘education’ time which was very helpful and a ‘simulation’ time where I went through a practice drill. I even received three small tattoo marks for the radiologist.  I forgot to ask if they could  give me three flower tattoos in a pretty blue.  Bummer.

My chemo/radiation will start Tuesday, Aug 2 and I am stockpiled with things I will need to remain comfy during this treatment.  Our fears of the potential DPD deficiency were also lessened…the nurse said in the 21 years she has worked there, she has only seen 2 cases of this.  With that info, we decided not to pursue the expensive time consuming test.  Tomorrow is a PET scan and then it’s just waiting for the kickoff!

We are continually encouraged by your sweet notes and reminders that we are being prayed for.  We feel blessed.

Saw Two Cancer Doctors Yesterday

Doctor with a stethoscope

pic by jonnyabbas8 on Flickr.com

We met the remaining two cancer doctors yesterday, an oncologist and a radiation oncologist. Neither of them changed the prognosis or overall treatment plan, but both of them gave us new details of what the next 9 months might look like. The details are a bit sobering.

Cathy gets oriented to the radiation process and machines tomorrow and then on Monday begins the radiation and chemo treatments. The chemo will be in pill form and shouldn’t make her lose her hair, but the radiation won’t be so benign. Over the next five or six weeks Cathy will have a gradually building fatigue, radiation burns, and discomfort – if things go normally. If things go abnormally it will either be a walk in the park for six weeks or an immediate disaster requiring a change in treatments.

If Cathy is deficient in an enzyme called DPD, the chemo treatment will create an immediate disaster. She said she would appreciate all your specific prayers that she would not have this deficiency.

Each new batch of information we get takes a day or so to sink in, and then we move ahead with God’s peace. At no point have we been afraid or angry so far, something that is obviously God’s grace in our lives. Cathy would normally react to something like this with anger, and I would react with fear. Instead we have both had God’s peace, and we have no doubts it is because of people praying for us.

But at this point the next six weeks look challenging. We value your prayers!

Home Today, Doctor Tomorrow

We arrived home early in Orlando, as planned, from our CCCI/Cru Conference in Colorado for appointments with cancer doctors tomorrow. God’s peace has been with us the last two weeks along with an abundance of encouragement and prayers from friends and family. We are so grateful. It is an amazing thing to be showered with God’s blessings like this.

Cathy feels better now than at any other time in the last few weeks. The tumor causes no pain, she is eating as healthy as ever (nearly vegetarian, and as cancer-friendly as possible), and she has had nothing but encouragement and love from everyone.

The next few weeks are really unknown to us. We think we will find out more information tomorrow from the doctors about what to expect, but in the mean time we are keeping our plans very tentative.

Thank you for praying for Cathy!

Treatment Plan

Dearest family and friends,

For those of you who want to be updated on my ‘new situation’ we finally have some news. It only involves the next few steps, but that’s just fine with us…too many big steps at one time is overwhelming!

This morning I had an ultrasound to determine at what stage the cancer is. Turns out it has gone past the colon wall (well, rectum wall … but the word colon sounds so much better!). It hasn’t spread to ANY lymph nodes so is considered Stage 2. This was great news!

In order to have a smaller mass to surgically remove later, I will go through some chemo and radiation to shrink it. They’ve said 5 weeks of this…Monday through Friday! Yikes, that’s a lot! But they can do both at the same time. Not sure if this is good or bad yet…sounds exhausting to me. We’ll meet with the oncologist and the radiation doctor on the 25th and will have more details then. Our surgeon was very optimistic about things. She said after the chemo/radiation she should be able to get it all during surgery, no permanent colostomy and I’ll enjoy living for the next 50 years : ) Now… that does have me living until 97…hmmmm.

The reason we’re waiting until the 25th is because we got the all clear to travel to Colorado! This was wonderful news as well! We won’t stay for the entire conference, but we will get to attend most of it. We felt it was wise to come home early and get this treatment show on the road.

We want to thank you so much for your prayers and all the encouraging notes and emails we’ve received. I recently told a friend that if you want to feel super loved, just get cancer! We have truly felt loved and blessed beyond measure. Thank you all so very much.

We will keep you posted as we go along, as we covet your prayers. To make things a bit easier for us, we’ll post updates here on the blog. This way, you can also read entertaining news of our neurotic dog, Annie.

Much love to you all,
Cathy