Monday, December 31, 2012


Last night, Derek came down with a fever and vomited once.  We assume it is whatever has been going around.  So we had to cancel Avastin treatment this morning and the physical and speech therapy appointments we were going to have this afternoon.  Please pray he can recover.  He is resting comfortably.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Well, I finally got the temodar today and took the first dose at lunch.  Within a few hours I started feeling a tad sick and threw up by 4:30.  A couple fortunate things.  One, I was working from home this afternoon and that's a better place to be sick.  Second, I had some of my anti-nausea medicine around from when I took radiation so I took one of those and am feeling better.  Tomorrow I'll try the anti-nausea an hour before the chemo and that is supposed to help.

We also went this morning to a chiropractor to evaluate my walking/lower back.  He said my best bet is more of a physical therapy approach that might be able to improve my gait.  So later next week I have a referral for that.

For prayer requests, right now if feels like we have so many needs.  That I not get too sick, that the temodar works and my chewing and swallowing improves, and mostly that I can keep an upbeat attitude.

I was reminded again this week as I sat getting my chemo on Monday that I wouldn't trade places with anyone.  A couple older ladies there who had been fighting cancer for years, telling me some of their life experiences.  Lets just suffice it to say that I'm thankful for the parents God gave me.

Thanks again for all your prayers,
Derek & Leann

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Picture

I'll start with the easy part.  In past years we've often sent out a Christmas card or picture and some details of what's been happening.  We figured this year that there's too much to report from the year, and most of you have been following it anyway, so we don't need a letter.  We decided to post a picture on the blog of our family that we just took Sunday.  Hopefully that will suffice for everyone.  I'm sure a few won't see it, but if we were to send out cards, it would take many hundreds of them to reach everyone we know and the many new friends we made this year.

On the health front, I'm still waiting to get in with the local doctor and get started on the Temodar.  I call every day to see if they've received the info, etc.  You know how local medicine goes, it's not the same as Mayo.

I wanted to share with everyone what a blessing it was on Sunday to spend time in church.  The last couple weeks has been hard.  I feel myself wear out more quickly, and I'm less able to do things around the house for Leann.  It's hard on me, I'm used to working hard and getting a lot done.  Once again I realized (for the umpteenth time) that I was focusing on the future instead of the day at hand.  I was violating Christ's instruction "don't worry".  As I talked with others Sunday, I was open and just shared what I had been feeling, and I just felt a lot of encouragement from others.  The minister mentioned being in a meeting with someone using crutches who had a small cross on his belt.  He asked the man why he wore the cross and was told it was to remind him that he needed God more than the crutches, and he should give thanks for God  giving him cancer.  This just really touched me.  I'm still walking without a walker or cane but I'll have to admit I've thought about getting one a time or two.  I could just identify with this man.  And I realized, yes, I do have much to be thankful for.  I can sit and lay down without pain.  I can sleep through the night.  I can still be with my family and go to work.  So even though it's slow eating and slow walking, I still have lots to be thankful for

Thanks to everyone for the prayers we have felt in the last week.  It is really appreciated and has given us much strength.

Derek & Leann

What I'm Learning from Cancer #10
Share – be willing to open up.  This might find you disagreeing with me, as this one seems to be culturally difficult for many around us.  But, I think there are a couple reasons why we have felt so much support and so many prayers for so long.  First, I am young, I have a young family, so I understand others will worry about us more than they would an older person in need.  The second reason I feel is that we have been very open about what we are going through both medically, as well as spiritually and emotionally.  Because of this, others know what to pray for very specifically.  It is more difficult to pray for someone when you know very little of what to pray for.  So I think because we shared on our blog what was happening, we received more prayers.  The other reason I say to be open is that when I look back at my life, how I responded to Leann or the kids at different times, I wish I had close friends that I could have asked for detailed advice.  We had rough spots in our marriage that could have been easier if I had been more humble, willing to share a few details, and ask for some help.  James 5:16  Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.  The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.  We’ve been open with the world.  How many people you are open with will depend upon the situation at hand. Some problems are harder to share, and maybe not appropriate to share.  But at least be really open with a few people who will be able to help you.  And in general, be open with more people than you are today.  I think we are too private of a people in general.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Mayo results

First of all, thanks for your prayers this week, we could really feel them.  It was quite a process getting ready to leave as Wesley was throwing up tues night, and Whitley was throwing up we morning, and Lexi threw up at M&D Stollers after we left.  I feel a little funny today myself but thankfully made it through the scans without issue.

The scans look good.  The tumors are either stable or slightly shrinking from the last scans.  The unexplainable thing is the symptoms I am having.  In the lumbar area of the scan, Dr Hammack sees a very faint shadow on the nerve roots.  She's wondering if this could be causing the walking problem.

The last week I'm having symptoms in my tongue as well, it's harder to chew and I've bit my tongue every now and then.  She doesn't see anything on the scans that would suggest this.  She is wondering if there is microscopic disease that she can't see on the scan.

She is suggesting that I start on a second drug in addition to the Avastin.  Temodar is the name of it, and it is an oral pill.  Supposedly it is low in side effects.  We haven't talked about it specifically yet but I assume we will do that.

Interestingly, a couple weeks ago when we scheduled this appt, I had a dream that we were meeting with a group of doctors and they recommended that I start on Temodar.  I don't have many dreams so it must not have been a coincidence.

We could tell that dr Hammack is really surprised by how well I am doing.  She again called it a miracle.  Thanks to all of you for your prayers, theres nothing else to attribute it to.

So while it's definitely not the best news we could have hoped for, it was better than we expected and we are thankful for that.

Derek & Leann