Wednesday, June 26, 2013

On our way home tonight yet

We got out of ER in time to get to our appt with Dr Buckner.  He showed us the MRIs and the cancer spots have grown.  There is a spot on the lung that is 3/4" in size which is alittle larger than april.  The brainstem and spine also show growth of cancer in a few areas.  Nothing that warrants immediate attention but its not good news either.  His plan is to see what changes from today forward 6-8 weeks.  The reality is that a large portion of this time I was on nothing as have only been on Zolinza for 2 weeks.  I haven't felt any side effects to the Zolinza as of yet.

Thanks for your prayers.  I would just summarize this visit by saying its a reminder to take one day at a time.

Derek & Leann

Released from ER

Dr. Wigle (thoracic surgeon) released us from the ER.  He is saying that because Derek is not having symptoms like shortness of breath or chest pain, he would not do anything at this time with the pneumothorax.  He didn't know if the pneumothorax was getting better or getting worse with just a one-time snapshot.  The upper lobe is still fully inflated, but the partial collapse of the lower lobe is what showed up on the CT.  Derek's case is unique, because most people don't walk around with a pneumothorax of this size.  Dr. Wigle doesn't want to jump into a surgery or another chest tube without Derek showing obvious signs of distress because of everything he has been through with his lungs.

We are to follow-up with a chest x-ray on Monday, July 1, at home.  Thanks for all of your prayers!  We'll keep you posted.  Right now, we are in the waiting room of Dr. Buckner (medical oncologist) awaiting results of yesterday and today's MRIs of brain and spine.

Pray... Pneumothorax is back, we are in mayo ER

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Starting Zolinza

Lot's been going on in the last couple weeks.  I finally started on a new chemo drug on Thursday.  It took a while to sort things out and I had some blood work to do before I could start.  So far I have not gotten sick from it but I did not feel as energetic today.  The last couple weeks I have been feeling a little better and getting up earlier in the morning.  We hope that continues and this new med doesn't change that.

Last weekend we went to Indiana for the visitation and funeral of a friend who had cancer and two young kids.  We were both glad we went, as it was overall encouraging to us.  You probably think I'm nuts but it seemed more like a celebration of victory than a sad observance of death.  I think when it's a believer and we have had time to say our goodbyes, we can look at it more that way.  We met a number of people who we had never met before but knew of us because they had been praying for us.

This weekend we are in Kansas visiting friends.  The week after next we go to mayos again for routine scans and followup.

Thanks for your continued prayers.
Derek and Leann

Saturday, June 1, 2013

May update

The month of May went pretty good and flew by.  The feeding tube is working well and I've gained some weight.  People around me say I continue to look better.  I am feeling a little bit more energetic, and don't nap as much.  The next challenge is to get out of bed sooner.  I have continued going in to work in the afternoons.

We just got back from a week on the east coast.  We took the train out to Connecticut for my cousin's wedding on Memorial Day.  The train was a good experience for the kids.  We were in a family sleeper from   Chicago to D.C.  They had lots of fun playing on the bunks up high.  Leann compared it to camping.  We took the train because I wasn't comfortable flying yet.  My lungs have been doing good the last  month or two.  We also spent the weekend in Rockville and left the kids with Leann's cousin while we went to the wedding.  It was good to have a couple nights just as a couple.  I'm glad we made the trip.

On the medical front, the genetic testing that Mayo's did showed some genetic mutation and leads them to a certain drug as the next step.  They are currently fighting this out with insurance and we are just waiting.  I'm not too anxious to start another drug as I'm enjoying the chance to recuperate.  So for the moment I am not doing any chemo.

Thanks to all who have helped us in various ways.  Thanks for all your love and prayers!
Derek & Leann

What I'm Learning From Cancer #14
Appreciate your wife & children more – It’s amazing how when it looks like you are coming to the end of your life, it’s much easier to forgive minor faults and be thankful for the big things.

I know this one is short but it really doesn't require a lot of explanation.   Just be forgiving and kind to those around you and you'll surprised how well things go.