Friday, August 19, 2011

Catch Up

Well I know it has been a while since I last blogged. We are wrapping up a week long stay in Houston that quite simply hasn't been fun. We have been here since last Sunday. The weeks leading up to the trip were crazy to say the least. School started for all three kiddos, so you can imagine how busy we were, (okay how busy Rebecca was) getting them ready for school. During most of that time I was sick, really sick. I ran a fever, had terrible nausea, and was throwing up. Along with all of that had zero energy. My blood pressure was running consistently around 95/45 and all I did was sleep. I ate maybe once every other day and lost about 10 pounds. Not fun at all. The tumor under my arm continued, and continues to grow, causing quite a bit of pain.

The trip to Houston was to be tested for a new clinical trial. And when I say tested, I mean tested. One of the things they found was that I am very anemic, which is part of what was causing me to be so sick. They gave me two pints of blood in a transfusion on Wednesday and so far it has helped a little bit. On Monday we were at the hospital from 9 am to 9 pm. I had meetings with the doctor and nurses, had a bone scan, had blood work, and had CT scans. We were off on Tuesday which was great because it was my birthday. Wednesday was much of the same, being at the hospital from 8:30 am to 10:30 pm. Thursday was 9 am to 4:30 pm and Friday was all morning with and upper GI. And I can say that not only do I feel like a lab rat, but a pin cushion as well. I have never been stuck with so many needles in all my life. I was tested in every way possible, and it absolutely wore me out. The good news, I guess, is that I qualify for and started the new medication. It is in the second phase and they don't know much about it and don't have a lot of results to go off of. What it does in theory is stop the blood flow to the cancer. Cancer likes a lot of blood flow and cannot survive without it. But being so new we simply don't know what to expect. I have to do a lot more work with this drug. I have to keep a daily log of when I take it, and keep a daily journal of how I am feeling and any side effects. I also, for the first six weeks, have to return to Houston every two weeks for check ups. One of the side effects that they watch closely is that it can cause your blood pressure to go way up. So we will see what happens.

I think we would all agree, we each know our bodies pretty well. In the weeks between the last dose of drugs in Nashville, and this trip to Houston, I knew things were changing. The tumor under my arm was growing at an alarming rate, plus not feeling well, I suspected in the back of my mind that the cancer was moving and growing again. When we met with the doctor on Wednesday my feelings were confirmed. The cancer is spreading and growing again. There is new cancer in more lymph nodes under my arm, there is now cancer in my chest cavity, and there is quite a bit more in my lungs, especially my right lung. It's called metastatic, or in transit. And it is quite a bit more. They noted that my liver and spleen are swollen, but show no masses. As I stated above I am very anemic, and am having some other problems like the nausea and vomiting, which they cannot figure out. I have very little energy and not much of an appetite. I have a lot of pain from the tumor under my arm and deal with it the best I can.

We have been doing this long enough now that when we get bad news like we did in the doctors office we handle it a lot better, at least in the moment. I sat down yesterday and read the report again and it finally sank in that the cancer is moving again, and it hit a little harder. Thankfully it has stayed out of the rest of my vital organs, but knowing that it is moving and growing again, fast, worries us. We hope the new drug will do it's job. And I have to be honest, I am tired. I mentioned in a blog a while ago that this was turning into a marathon and I was right. The other thing I don't like is not being able to do the things I was able to not long ago like mowing and weed eating, working in my shop, playing golf, and working around the house. Most days I am relegated to the couch or the bed. And that is tough for me. Some day's I have to dig even deeper to find the strength I need. But, as always we have only one choice, keep going. Not giving up or giving in. We continue to do our best to put one foot in front of the other and deal with whatever comes. I turned 40 last week and turning 40 is usually a big deal, but for me it was and even bigger deal. Much more meaningful. When all this started two years ago, I didn't know if I would still be here to celebrate it. But I am, and now I am old. Or at least that's what the kids say. And I don't know how old I feel, but I feel old! So we embark on our next phase in this journey, not knowing what lies ahead. But we will continue to try and keep life as normal as possible, and fight with all we have. Next week will be a reminder how life doesn't stop. The kids have soccer practice Monday and Friday, Tuesday and Thursday, and Tyler has football everyday after school. We haven't quite figured out how we are going to pull it all off, but it will be fun to say the least! (And it will be that way for months until soccer is over!) Thank you again for all your thoughts and prayers. We need them now more than ever. I will try and do a better job of blogging and keeping everyone updated.

Remember everyday to put one foot in front of the other, drink a lot of water, and don't forget to breath......................


  1. I am glad they have another treatment you can try. do you know the name of trial? I know its hard to stay strong-and I know those days when you cant do anything when you were just weeding a couple of weeks ago is so hart=I have that too and it is so frustrating. These trials work on so many people though its amazing! Stay Strong. randi (just in case you want to answer)

  2. So many are praying for you, Andy. We know you are a very strong person to have gone through all that you have gone through. We love you, and call us if you need help with the kids. Grandma Day

  3. What a heavy load. Thinking of you.

  4. Reading this brings into perspective how we all are doing much better than we deserve! Which is why I don't know how a person could read this & not cry. I don't always understand God, but I know it's what's best for me. Your & your family's love for God is such an inspiration to me! Thank You for being you! Your wonderful mother-in-law has been keeping us on FB updated about you. HAPPY 40th BIRTHDAY! WHAT AN AMAZING ACCOMPLISHMENT! Let me leave you with this thought & verse. When I am being stretched in my faith, usually through a medical ordeal, I love to read the last part of John 9:3 "...but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him." (NASB) This is how I get my focus back on God instead my "storm". Bless your pea-pickin little heart! Take care,Andy & Rebecca. I'll continue to pray.
    - Kammy