Saturday, July 29, 2006

July 29, 2006

Yesterday we received a fax report from the Radiologist regarding my latest scan. Because the details from these reports are not always easy to follow and because we have not yet been able to speak with a doctor to better understand, I am just going to type in parts of the report. We will provide the detail on Tuesday after we meet with Dr. Whisenant.

The report is great and states as follows:

"Impression: Decreased activity involving the two liver lesions discussed above, consistent with positive response to therapy. No new metabolically active metastatic disease is identified in the chest, abdomen or pelvis. Findings are consistent with a favorable response to the current chemotherapy regimen."

The report states that the large tumor in the liver shrunk and the other identified tumor at the anterior of the liver is now "metabolically silent." The report further states that "CT images show decreased or almost completely resolved fluid around the liver" and "no new metabolically active liver lesions."

We are very happy and grateful for the results. We are thankful to all of you for the many prayers and well wishes. We also continue to enjoy the notes and e-mails offering encouragement and support. They always seem to come at the right time. We love you all and look forward to providing more information as soon as we can.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

July 25, 2006

Sometimes my life used to be predictable if not mundane or even boring. That changed for the most part when I was diagnosed with cancer. Now I sometimes search for the predicatble or for the quiet moments that might seem boring to some.

I have not felt very good the past two days. The reaction to my chemo occurred almost exactly as it had following the prior chemo session. This is a good thing for me. I will trade a series of good days for a particular yet planned set of difficult days.

Tonight, the neighborhood gathered outside our yard to shoot off fireworks for the 24th of July celebration. Patrick was not there because he is at Especially for Youth at BYU/Idaho. It is a program for teens to learn more about themselves, the gospel of Jesus Christ and their struggles cares and dreams of those of their friends and peirs. This is Patrick's third year and he loves it.

I was too tired to attend the fireworks by the time the festivities got underway but I did enjoy the sites and sounds from inside the house. Chase bought some fireworks and helped with the show.

As things were winding down outside, I felt a small, warm body snuggle next to me and give me a small peck on the cheeck. It was Tessa. She has been doing this quite often lately. She had stepped on something outside that hurt her foot. As I was comforting her, the newscaster broke the news that Destiny, the five year old girl who has been missing in Salt Lake City, had been fould dead in a neighboring basement. Tessa and I then spent several minutes together that I will never forget talking about what had happenned and about life and death. I am amazed at how much she already knows. This was a special bonding/teaching moment that I will not forget. (She also reminded me that it was time for our Daddy/Daughter date. I better get some close to fit for this date because she is taking it serious. We may go beyond McDonalds this time.)

At times of good health I have wondered what I would do with my life if I suddenly fould out I only had a short time to live. I now know the answer. I would spend as much time as possible being with and listinening to the ones I love and care about. I would watch them and perhaps reach out to them with advice or comfort if needed but try to keep this to a minimum. I would try and set an example that would inspire. I would try and bring joy to those who need it. I would learn how to do this by watching my wife. She has surely been blessed with the gift of charity.

Blood work tomorrow morning, followed by chemo in the afternoon and then my scan is sceduled for Wednesday. The results from the various tests and scans should be back within two or three days so we may know by the end of the week how I am doing. Thanks again for all the prayers and well-wishes. They give us strength.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

July 22, 2006

It is Draper Days in our town and we live next to the Equestrian Park. Although I am allergic to horses, I decided to go to the horse pull with Marianne, Diane and Tessa. It was fun. I have noticed that both my allergies and asthma have cleared up somewhat with the chemo therapy I have been taken. I was told this is not uncommon. We had a fun time. Tonight they will shoot off fireworks that explode just above our home. The view is beautiful.

I have been feeling really good since the last round of chemo on Monday. One of the things the boys have been asking me to do is take them fishing. We have never really done that before as a family and I guess it is time for us to do some of the things I put off way to long. A few weeks ago we stopped at the store and picked up fishing equipment. Chase and I went fishing on Thursday on a small lake near our home called Tibble Fork. Chase caught the first and biggest fish before I even started. In fact, he had his limit before I started.

Patrick had to work on Thursday but wanted to go fishing on Friday. I was tired in the morning, but we went. After a slower start, we caught our limits -- Patrick also caught a water snake which he now has in an aquarium he set up in his room. The snake is very docile and likes to play with the kids.

We are praying for the good days to continue. My scan is scheduled for next Wednesday the 26th in the morning. We are desperate, hopeful and prayerful for a good result.

Marianne's sister Diane and kids Danielle and Morgan are here visiting and providing so much help to our family. We are lucky to have two sides of the family that are good to us. Marianne's sister Lynda and brother Bruce (along with much of his family) came for a visit and dinner this week. Bruce offered to help us with a building project in the basement about which we are very excited.

No matter what, our family is just going to push ahead with hope and prayer that good things are ahead

Monday, July 17, 2006

July 17, 2006

Marianne and I apologize for the long delay in posting. We were having computer issues but we think they are solved now. We have also had company visiting us from Arizona. Marianne's sister Diane and daughters Danielle and Morgan have been staying with us and helping take care of everything. It has been a blessing to have them here.

I have been feeling good lately. From the low point where my weight sunk into the 120's, I have been able to steadily increase my weight and correspondingly the way I feel. We are very grateful for the good days. I hope to be somewhere in the 140's when I report for chemo tomorrow.

I will be in chemo for most of the day tomorrow. We are going to ask Dr. Whisenant tomorrow if we can move up the scan to the end of this week or the beginning of next week. We really feel that if this new chemo regimen is working we should have solid evidence by now. If it is not working, we do not want to waste more time.

The chemo I am taking is giving me a terrible rash right now. It is like a severe case of teenage acne with a little bit of itchy chicken pox mixed in. I did not have acne when I was younger so perhaps this is justice. My head, face, chest and back are covered with the rash. As I probably stated in an earlier post, the medical people tell us that the worse the rash, the more effective the treatment. I hope they are right.

One of the problems I am having is that the side effects from the first chemo regimen (the freezing, pins and needles feeling in my feet and hands) has actually intensified after I quit that treatment. This is normal but battling the side effects from both chemos can, at times, be difficult. Hopefully these earlier side effects will go away soon.

Marianne, Stacie and I spent some time last week with a doctor in Bountiful discussing alternative treatments for my cancer. As the doctor explained to us, chemo is treating the cancer I already have in my body -- I also need to treat the cause of the cancer. We need to figure out why my body produces cancer cells instead of healthy cells like most other people's bodies. We thought it was a productive two hour meeting that left us with much to ponder. We do not want to interfere with my chemo treatment, but we also do not want to wait until I am too weak or until it is too late to try other methods that might help.

This and the results of the upcoming scan will be the focus of our prayers over the next few days. Sorry again for the long delay in posting as we know this causes many to worry. We are going to do better.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

July 4, 2006

It is early but I am having trouble sleeping. Yesterday was my "big" chemo day. We were gone from 10:30 a.m. until after 6:00 p.m. My mom was kind enough to watch Lucas during that period and Lucas was kind enough to sleep through much of it. Chase and Tessa came for a portion of the chemo visit but were quite pleased when Granda Ray showed up to take them to lunch.

I think things went well during the day. I was able to eat -- Marianne brought in my favorite Italian sandwich from Granato's. She bumped into a friend at Granato's who isisted on paying (thank you again). I am now hooked up to a pack that slowly delivers medicine for the next 48 hours through the port in my neck. It does not hurt or have any feel but it is a nuisance to fuss with the cabels and cords during the night. Maybe that's why I can't stay asleep. I weighed in at a whopping 136 pounds. I will finish this cycle in about four weeks and then take another scan to see if the new regimen is working. I feel confident but continue to pray to increase my faith. We are definitely going to need help from above to get past this.

As I type this message I am realizing that I feel pretty good and that this is going to be a nice holiday. We are going to meet family later tonight for dinner and then go to the fireworks in Pleasant Grove where Marianne and I grew up. I will let Marianne look at this before I send it out but Happy 4th to all of you.