Thursday, January 26, 2006

January 24, 2006

We met with Dr. Whisenant today to discuss the results of the CT Scan and plan for the next round of treatment. He was pleased with the results of the scan. The large tumor on my liver had shrunk by one-third. One of the smaller liver tumors was gone. There were no new tumors and no evidence that any tumor had grown. The fluid in my abdomen was also gone.

This coming Wednesday I will have a PET scan to view the cancer activity (or lack thereof) in my body. On Thursday I will begin my next round of chemotherapy. The chemotherapy will be the same.

Keep up the prayers of support. Cancer is a smart disease and it will make adjustments to try and beat back the treatment this time. We are excited about our good start in this battle.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

CT Scan - Monday, January 23, 2006

We heard from Dr. Whisenant last night. We don't have all the details, but we want to shout the good news.
It's shrinking!
We don't want to jinx anything by posting too soon, but I can't imagine the doctor would have told us the good news if it wasn't pretty definite. We'll get the final details on Thursday when we meet with Dr. Whisenant. We'll post the rest of the details then.
Thank you all for your prayers and Thank you to our Father in Heaven for this blessing.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Friday, January 20, 2006

When Mark's feeling good it's hard to post, because we get so busy doing things and just enjoying the fact that he feels good. On the other hand, when he feels bad it's hard to post, because it's very depressing for him and me. It hasn't been too good since Mark's last post. The pain and nausea have been getting worse every day.

He did have good blood work results yesterday when he went to chemo. That is the last chemo before his CT scan on Monday the 23rd. Please pray for good results. This is truth time and WE need it to be good news. If it is good then we can assume that the side effects are a sign that the poisons are working on the tumors. It will also mean we know that we can keep moving forward with the same regimen of drugs.

This week we also celebrated Tess' 7th birthday. She had a great friends party at Build-a-Bear on Tuesday. On her actual birth day we had a family party. It wasn't until late in the evening and even though I could tell it was hard, she patiently waited to get her presents. She's very much in to "Littlest Pet Shop" toys, and from Christmas and Birthday she has accumulated quite a barrage of little pets. Mark and can handle these kinds of pets.

We can't say enough times THANK YOU to everyone who has been so kind to us. We are so blessed. We pray every night for your lives to blessed because of the service you have given to our family. Try to love and appreciate each other every second of every day. I know it's not always easy, but I can guarantee one thing - You'll never regret it!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

January 14, 2006

We had a good visit with Dr. Whisenant on Thursday. We e-mailed him several questions in advance, he reviewed them in advance which made the visit run smoothly. The key is that we have a good plan in place regardless of what the CT scan shows on January 23rd. Also, all of my blood and liver tests are normal. What that means is that other than having stage 4 cancer, I am pretty healthy.

Stacie, Marianne and Lucas came to the appointment and the chemo that followed. Since many of you have asked what chemo is like, we included the above picture. The chemo room is made up of several recliners. I pick out an open recliner and the nurse hooks up my medicine through my chest port. Sometimes it takes only about ninety minutes to complete the treatment and other times it takes about three hours. My friend Bob Simons picked me up Friday morning for chemo and my mom showed up later to relieve him and take me home.

I was quite worn out the rest of Friday from the chemo. I also have the weird side effect of cold reaction to my fingers and throat. Anything cold stings quite severely and can take my breath away for a short time.

Marianne and I have been eating better and shopping at organic food stores. I am getting used to all of the extra fruits and vegetables. My sisters and mom have also been preparing organic dinners for our family. The kids have been doing quite well in eating with us. We have also had good neighbors who have brought us organic foods and recipies.

We remain so grateful for all of the notes and prayers. They continue to give us hope and keep our spirits high. We received a fun message from the family Patrick and I home teach, the Fotheringhams, and thought you might like it.

Friday, January 06, 2006

January 6, 2006

Hey everyone! This is from my two month (Jan 3) photo shoot. I've had requests to show my handsome face, so here I am.

We're all doing pretty good. My dad (you know, Mark) has been having great days. On Thursday he went in for a Nadar (sp?) visit. They checked his blood to make sure he wasn't getting sick or too low on white and red blood cells. He passed with flying colors, so that was great news. He's been kind of down because the pain from his liver has been getting worse, and he has to take more pain medicine than he was before. The future plans are that next week on Thursday he'll go in for Gemzar and on Friday he'll get Oxaliplatin and Avastin. On the 19th he'll go in again for Gemzar and then on Monday the 23rd he will have a CT scan to see what is happening to the tumors. They better be shrinking! That's what we're praying for. If they are, then he will most likely go through another round of chemo with these same drugs. If not, then we will try the next set of drugs and see what they do.

I guess one thing about {cancer} is that it made us realize what's most important

We are spending much more time with each other, and realizing how lucky we are to have these relationships. We are working on making these relationships even stronger.

I'm so excited. Before dad starts the next round of chemo, we are going to Disneyland. I've heard that it's my mom and dad's favorite place to go, so it's great that we'll get to make some memories there together!

My mom wanted me to tell you that the PRESENT dad gave her was the most beautiful new wedding ring. Back when mom and dad were talking about getting married, there wasn't much surprise. Mom went with a friend to help her pick out an engagement ring, and mom ended up picking out her own. Dad tried to at least make the getting engaged part be a surprise, but mom ruined that too. This time, it was a surprise all the way. The ring is a "Past, Present and Future" setting. Dad said beautiful things to mom before he gave it to her. They were both crying. One of mommies friends said, "look to the largest stone representing the 'future'. I'm sure it wasn't an accident." That's our biggest prayer and hope. That our future will be long and full.

Monday, January 02, 2006

January 2, 2006

Happy New Year!

It was great to see so many friends and family at the Open House. The overwhelming support and encouragement is a great strength to our family. We were so happy to see so many of my Dad's family, including those who travelled from Idaho and many who have supported us through letters, e-mails, gifts etc. but whom we had not been able to see in person. Although I had been to chemotherapy in the morning and the day was long, I felt fine throughout the evening.

The evening was particularly nice for Marianne. Several of her cousins, high school friends, college friends and friends she has made over the last several years attended. It did not suprize me at all to see so many come to support her. If you have met Marianne, you like her. That is just the way it is. She has a way of making everyone around her feel important and worthwhile. I am lucky.

As for my treatment. I have chemotherapy on January 12th and 13th and then again on the 19th. A week or so after the final treatment, I will have a second CT scan with the same machine to determine whether the first round worked. Whether it "worked" will be a matter of discussion. If the tumors are progressing, we will immediately move to a new type of chemotherapy and start pounding away again. If the tumors are shrinking, we will keep going with the same treatment. If things are the same, we will work with Dr. Whisenant on what comes next. Pray for a good result around the end of this month.

Also pray for me to put some weight back on my body. It is a struggle. I am exercising regularly and eating a good diet but I need the pounds. The pain and nausea have been minimal lately as have the chemotherapy side effects. We will keep you posted.