Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Tuesday, March 27, 2007: CA125 = 380!

Kristi's CA125 level is down to 380...right on track

2300 - 782 - 380 -??

Tuesday March 27, 2007: Chemo Round 2

Chemo days suck. I hate 'em I hate 'em I hate 'em. We tell our kids never to use the word 'hate'. Well, guess what... I HATE 'em...chemo days, not the kids...just to clarify. We arrived at the chemo clinic about 8:45AM. Then for the next 6 hours I just sit and watch as poison is poured into her veins. They say this is helping her. I'm sorry, this just seems like cruel and unusual punishment. Kristi sleeps most of the time. I wish I could say she sleeps 'restfully', but it usually isn't. Her body has a reaction for usually the first hour where she has convulsions and her whole body twitches. She doesn't seem to notice, but I do. Then she just makes a lot of different faces, like winces. I usually just work on my laptop. I switch between my journal and work. There's a TV in the room but it never gets turned on. I usually just play music for Kristi - well, more for me. :)

Tonight it’s parent-teacher conferences, led by the students. Ashley is very excited about this. Hopefully Kristi will be up to going. We got our new CA125 level…380!!!!! This makes it seem a little more tolerable knowing the chemo seems to be doing something.

Yup, Kristi was able to go to conferences tonight. She was tired, but she did great. Everyone was sooo excited to see her.

But wait, there's more!! Just when you didn't think it could get any better...we get to take the class gerbil home for Spring break!! Oh goodie!!!!! The rodent wasn't home for an hour and Rosie (our cat) pushed her cage off of the dresser and smashed it into a thousand pieces. Oh, such a joyful time. Time to go to Walmart and buy a new cage!!

In her words...

03/27/2007 10:08 PM

Hi everyone,

Round two went about the same as the first. After the pre-medications before chemo I fell asleep and stayed that way for most of the time. I am doing well, just a bit sleepy. I was excited that I could make it to parent/teacher conferences tonight and the kids are doing great.

We were able to get my CA125 level back (the level of cancer). Originally before surgery it was 2300. At my first chemo it was 780 and at today’s chemo it was 380. After one treatment the level was cut in half! This is a very encouraging sign and we were thrilled. Well, Brian was . . . . unfortunately I was heavily drugged and it took me a while to realize the importance of that number.

The kids will be doing a lot of coming and going to friends houses for play dates and sleepovers over spring break and are very excited. I am hoping that this beautiful weather sticks around for a while. Here’s some prayer requests to end with:

*able to tolerate side effects – extreme fatigue and aches – and that they will be minimal
*kids will do well and stay healthy – safe travel
*I have pain in my right knee that comes and goes (I’ve had it since way before all this). After the last chemo treatment I had a lot of pain especially when I am laying down and it keeps me awake. Please pray that pain will be less this time
*huge praise for the CA125 level!!!!!
*day to day focus – I have been struggling with this lately

Thank you for all your prayers. I don’t know what I would do with out them. I was thinking about all the people this goes out to and all the people they send it out to and so on. If we put all of you into a room it would be packed! That thought reminded me of the commercial for the cell phone company with the network all standing behind the person on the cell phone. You are all my network! That is a great word picture for me on the days I’m feeling all alone. Thanks for being my awesome prayer warrior network!


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Wednesday, March 21, 2007: Update From Kristi

03/21/2007 12:02 PM

Hi Everyone,

Sorry for the delay with this update. Yesterday went much longer than expected. It looked like I was going to be spending the night but fortunately I was able to walk around a bit and ate some food so they felt comfortable letting me go home around 8:30. I shared a room with another patient who was rather chatty so I was thrilled to be going home and able to get a good nights sleep.

The surgery went well. The doctor was not happy with all the scar tissue that he found though from the previous surgery. The port was put in, however, I will only be receiving chemo in my chest port next week. The following week I need to go to the hospital and have dye put into the stomach port and then have a scan or ultrasound to find out how effective the port is with all the scar tissue that is in the way.

I am in quite a bit of pain today. They said it would feel like someone kicked me in my ribs but they forgot to mention that it would feel like that person kicked me repeatedly! Other than the pain though I am doing quite well. Just a bit sleepy. I am so grateful to all our friends and family who have taken the kids for us the past few days so that I can have recovery time.

Please pray that this pain will go away soon and I will recover so that I am ready for the round of chemo next week. The kids seem to be doing really well. We have even seen an improvement in Nathan’s attitude. Unfortunately Emily has come down with a cold. Usually that means some difficult nights for us. Please pray that she will kick it soon.

I am feeling quite sleepy and the Vicodin is still making me groggy so I’m going to grab a nap now. It’s a great dreary and rainy day for a nap! Thank you for keeping all of us in your prayers.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Tuesday March 20, 2007: Port Number 2

Today Kristi gets her intra-peritoneal port (I/P port). We’re hopeful the doctors don’t find any tumors larger than 1cm. The I/P port chemo treatments don’t work on tumors larger than 1cm. They will also do exploratory surgery today to see if the cancer has spread. So a very anxious day for us. We had to be at Blodgett Hospital at 7:55AM! We checked in and everything went per schedule. We met with Dr. Downy before surgery and he reviewed what he was going to do. At about 8:30 the anesthesiologist gave Kristi her “happy medicine” and off she went. Denny waited with me in the waiting room the entire time. After about 2 hours I became very fidgity. Finally, after nearly 3 hours Dr. Downy came out after surgery and met with me and Denny. To say I was a wreck was an understatement. I was shaking and felt like I was going to throw up. Dr. Downy looked at me and asked “are you OK?” Dr. Downy’s demeanor was very downcast. I thought he was going to drop another bomb on me. Just the way he walked up and started talking I was waiting for the bomb to drop. The conversation was very unusual. He seemed very annoyed. Apparently there was a lot of scar tissue that may hamper the effectiveness of the I/P port. Was I supposed to be sorry for this?! The port went in, but we won’t know if it will work until they do a distribution test in 2 weeks. According to Dr. Downy, there was an “excessive” amount of scar tissue. It was so excessive it fused together some of her intestines. What may happen is that the chemo might “pool” up in some of these pockets. This stuff is so toxic that that would be a bad thing. So, they have to do this distribution test for a “trial run”. Dr. Downey also removed the nodule that formed in the spot of her laproscopic surgery port.

Kristi came out of the recovery room at about 1:00PM. Denny stuck around long enough to say ‘hi’ to Kristi, then he took off. It looked like we were going to spend the night. Because of the amount of scar tissue, Dr. Downy said Kristi would be quite sore and probably require and overnight stay. Unfortunately, they stuck us in a semi-private room. Yes, we had a roommate…and a very chatty one at that!! Kristi rested most of the afternoon, but by 5:00 she wanted to get up and walk around. Dr. Downy came in about 5:30 and met with us again. This time he was much more cordial. He didn’t really have any more news for us. He just elaborated again on how much scar tissue she had. Overall, he seemed happy with how the surgery went. He said if Kristi was up to it we could go home. Kristi didn’t even hesitate…”let’s go!” Here's a picture of Kristi waiting to get discharged...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Thursday, March 15, 2007: The Day After

So the kids saw mommy today without hair. They did OK. Ashley wanted to see her bald head. Nathan did not...so we didn't force the issue. Ashley did OK. It will take some getting used to. It doesn't bother me too much. I think she looks kinda cute!! I won't make any Demi Moore or Sinead O'Connor comparisons to avoid getting into trouble, but...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Wednesday, March 14, 2007: She's Bald

Her last picture with hair

Well, tonight we waited until after we put the kids to bed, then I shaved my wife's head. Talk about depressing. Imagine grabbing a razor, put a no. 2 adapter on it, then shaving your wife's hair off. It didn't stop there. Next we walked over to the kitchen sink and as Kristi bent over the sink, I bic'ed the rest of her hair off...down to a shiny cue ball. Kristi's hair was hurting her. It was falling out in chunks at this point. It was only a matter of a week or so and the rest of it would have fallen out. So she asked me to shave it off hoping this would help with the pain. When we were done she went to the bathroom to dry off. Of course there were tears. Lots of them. Why wouldn't there be? This sucks.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007: Update

Hi everyone,

We had a doctors appointment this afternoon to find more out about my surgery next Tuesday where I am scheduled to have my stomach port put in. It will be done by laparoscopic surgery. They will also look around for any signs that the cancer has spread. We are hoping that they will find nothing. If they find small spots they will still go ahead as planned. If they find larger spots or any tumors, they will not put the stomach port in. The chemo they put through the stomach port will only work on spots that are one centimeter or smaller. As of my first surgery, all the spots that were bigger than that were removed and hopefully that is still the case.

On another note, my hair is falling out very quickly. It started a little bit Sunday night and has gotten worse. Simply running my hand through it pulls out clumps. I am going to have Brian buzz it off tonight. I hate to do it but it is driving me crazy and it is also painful at the roots right now. Ashley is having a very hard time with this. I told her tonight that when she sees me in the morning my hair will be gone but I will have a hat on. I am struggling with this as well. I’m sure in time me being bald will be normal but right now it is the next big change.

I have been feeling pretty good these days. I still get tired quicker than I used to and I have aches and pains occasionally. I am still enjoying my surgery free days though. Here’s a new list of prayer requests for you:

*that we will all adjust soon to my new appearance
*I am especially worried about Ashley lately. She is having a lot of tears with me and said she doesn’t want to talk to anyone else about it. Please pray that I will have the right words to comfort her.
*We have had a lot of germs through the house lately but they seem to be on the way out – yeah!! Pray that I will continue to stay healthy.
*my surgery is scheduled for 8:30 AM on Tuesday, the 20th. Pray that no more cancer will be found and that the procedure will go well and I will heal quickly.
*as always, continued focus on the day to day

Thank you so much for your continued prayers. The support we have still continues to amaze us. You are awesome friends and family!!

Love & Hugs,

Friday, March 9, 2007

Friday, March 9, 2007: Stop Worrying!!

03/09/2007 03:03 PM

Hi everyone,

It’s been a while since my last update so I thought I’d better catch everyone up! This week has been a great one. I am able to do almost anything – even my lifting restrictions are done today. I still don’t have all my energy or stamina back but am pretty close. My next surgery (for my stomach port) is on 3/20 so that means I have ten more days of feeling normal! I have to go in for blood work every week but that’s no big deal now. I used to be afraid of needles! The thought of IV’s still horrifies me but blood draws are a piece of cake!

We are fairly germ free in our house right now. Ashley has a sinus infection but is finally starting to get over it. My immune system is very low right now because of the chemo so I have to be careful this weekend. Brian is sweet enough to be bringing the kids to the Fun Night at their school tonight. If you haven’t been to a Fun Night, they are anything but fun! Well, except for the kids. Emily and I are having a girls night at home. I am enjoying being able to do so much now with the kids. I felt so useless when the chemo knocked me down. I had about four days of extreme fatigue but couldn’t sleep, aches and pains and a heavy fog hanging over me. I can’t say I’m looking forward to that again but I’m glad that I’ve been through it once and know that the tired time will eventually end.

I am so thankful for all the help we have. I am especially thankful for Brian with all that he has taken on especially on my down days and he does it with a smile. Our friends and family have been amazing and jumping in to help whenever we need it. I still get cards in the mail every day (which are a wonderful offset to the bills!). I still continue to be amazed and humbled at the many people praying for me – people I haven’t even met before. I can honestly say that having cancer has had a very positive effect on my life. I know it sounds crazy but I have grown so much in the past six weeks and our family has too. We have grown so much closer.

I know there are a lot of you out there still worrying about me. Please don’t worry! I am in good hands and continue to believe completely that I will beat this illness. I have no doubts. It will be a long and bumpy road this year but I will come out of this a brand new shiny person. I know a lot of people have said that they feel helpless and don’t know what to do for us. Just know that the thing we need most is prayers and if you’re doing that for us – you are doing a lot! Speaking of prayers – I’ll end with the specifics.

*I will continue to enjoy this "normal" phase that I am in right now and appreciate every minute of every day.
*that we will continue to stay healthy
*I continue to have "sticking" issues with my bag but it is getting better
*my hair will be falling out within the next week or two - the kids are having a hard time thinking about this and the closer it gets, the more I struggle with it
*that I will continue to get stronger so I am ready for the next surgery
*that all the people that I care about will be able to feel the same peace about this cancer that I do

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!

Love & Hugs,

Friday, March 2, 2007

Friday, March 2, 2007: Zzzzzzzzz

03/02/2007 12:36 PM

Hi everyone,

Just a quick update to let you know I need some prayers. I am extremely tired today (and was yesterday as well). This is normal and is a crash from the steroids that they gave me. Hopefully it will be better tomorrow. It is very frustrating feeling so useless. So rather than continue my pity party, I am asking that you pray that my energy will come back and my appetite as well.

I would also like to share how wonderful my husband is. Not only did he get all three kids up and ready this morning, he even had time to sit on the couch with them and read a devotional! When I get the kids to the bus stop it’s absolute chaos! Also, he fed them supper last night and got them all showered and tucked into bed with out my help. He gets the super-dad award from me! Please also keep him in your prayers as even super-dad’s need God’s help!

Sorry to keep this short but I am just so sleepy and the letters are starting to blur.

Thank you for praying!

Love & Hugs,