Wednesday, May 30, 2012

May update

Sorry that it has gone so long since I wrote.  The month of May really flew by.  I know many of you have been wondering how things are going for us.  In general it has been a pretty calm month with not much happening medically.  I have been going to work about ½ time, and working on little projects around home the rest of the time.  The kids finished their school for the year about the first of May. We went to Mayo’s May 1st and then the next week we went to Florida for a week on vacation.  We had good weather there and a relaxing time.  Since returning, we are in full-blown "nesting" phase as we prepare for the late July arrival of our baby girl.

My Mayo oncologist had recommended that I begin chemo (Avastin) when we were there the first of May.  She said the side effects of it are pretty benign and it’s really not that bad of a chemo drug.  I did a little research online to see what comments patients who have used it had.  The general consensus seemed to be that it gave them some really good months.  But then it seemed there’s a belief that if you stop using it, the tumor grows really fast after that.  I talked yesterday with the IU oncologist, and she said that Avastin can affect MRI scans so tumors look smaller than they really are, and suspects that is the cause of the supposed “fast growth” after stopping chemo.  As for tumor testing from Boston, that turned out to be fruitless.  For some reason they didn’t have enough tumor sample to get the test completed.  They won’t know anything for several more months, so we won’t be waiting on them to make our decision. We decided it would be worth talking to an oncologist in Peoria to learn more and try to decide what we should do.  We have an appointment set up for June 14 with Dr Gomez.  As far as how I feel, in general I have not felt too bad the last month, but it seems like I’m having more pain in my back lately.  I don’t know for sure whether it’s because I’m more active, or if it’s because the tumor is growing.  Pray that I won’t have too much fear or worry, and that when we meet with Dr Gomez we can have a peace about what our plan should be with chemo.

Thanks to so many of you who have continued to pray for us daily.  We definitely don’t feel worthy of it, but know it makes a difference and appreciate it.

Derek & Leann, Lexi, Wesley, & Whitley

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Mayo follow up visit

Thanks for all your prayers over the last couple days. The radiologist report said the tumors looked the same as January before surgery. The oncologist Dr Hammack feels like they are slightly larger now than in January. I agree with her assessment seeing the images myself. None of this is perfectly definitive because each scan is not positioned identically. We felt better though in that Dr Hammack seemed very positive that we were in the boat of trying to decide if it grew. There was almost a month between the January scans and the start of radiation, so the growth we see now could have happened before radiation. She even used the word miracle in regards to my status. She recommends that I start chemo soon, particularly since I have felt more pain and stiffness the last couple of weeks. The drug Avastin she is recommending has very low side effects, and doesn't sound unbearable. We want to wait until we have the testing results from Boston before we decide for sure. From the surgeons standpoint, he feels like everything has healed remarkably well. I will always have to fight some level of weakness and pain in my back as a result of the surgery they have done. We are coming home encouraged. It is obviously good to be reminded that this cancer is still with me, and I still have to depend on God for each day here. Love, Derek & Leann