Thursday, June 3, 2010

Last Post

I've really enjoyed meeting some of you over the past few days and have also enjoyed hearing stories about my dad. I have never known much about his life outside of our house, so it's been nice seeing what an impact he made in so many lives. I can tell he was a good friend. I know many of you had to work on Tuesday and weren't able to attend the funeral but just know it was beautiful. There was a great turnout and everything went perfectly. He would have really enjoyed watching the firetrucks/motorcycles and have been honored to have so many people attend.

When my dad was diagnosed with cancer we decided to start this blog to update you guys. He was so excited about it and knew he'd be in remission soon. Well, we all thought he'd be in remission because he was doing so well. That was his personality though. He would get so determined about things that you couldn't doubt him. He said he'd be in remission and we believed him.

He could barely login to check his email, so we decided it would be best if I kept the blog up. Every night we'd call one another and plan out the entry. He'd have a thought or subject matter he'd want to discuss and he'd explain it to me. Many entries took over an hour of us going back and forth. He was so proud of this blog and I'm so happy I got to do it with him. He always said when he went into remission he'd get the blog printed into a book and help other cancer patients cope. I really can't express how much this blog meant to him and as a result hugely impacted me. This blog forced him to express himself in ways he'd never done with me before. I got to hear his thoughts for the first time. I will truly always treasure the time we had together creating each entry.

Overall, I wanted to thank you for all of the prayers and for keeping up with him. Each email or comment you left really made his day better. The prayers truly worked. When he was first diagnosed he wasn't given much hope. Instead, he lived several good months and was able to come to Christ. That alone is the hugest blessing of all. We now know for a fact that my dad went to Heaven!!! I can't express to you what a relief that is for me. Even at the end of my dad's life you could feel God's presence. I know it's hard to look at death as a blessing, even for me, he was my dad, but he was in so much pain. His last couple of weeks were terrible. Instead of struggling for days on end God took my dad quickly and painlessly. We will never know why my dad was chosen at such a young age to leave us, but I do know my dad impacted a lot of people. Maybe my dad fulfilled his duty on Earth earlier than most of us? He was always an overachiever.

I'm definitely not going to delete his blog, so if you ever miss him feel free to come back and read some of his thoughts. He really was special and I'm having a hard time figuring out where to go from here. What I do know is he was strong and certainly a fighter, so I plan on being the same way. I can almost hear him lecturing me right now. I can also take comfort in the fact that he is in Heaven. I feel so thankful that he dedicated his life to Christ in his final months.

*My dad was adamant that he'd end each post with scripture. Although I have no idea what he'd choose in this situation, I thought I'd leave you with my favorite verse.

"And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." Romans 5:1-5

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Visitation and Vigil

There was a great turnout last night and we really appreciate you coming out. There was a steady flow of people from beginning to end. Broussards felt like around 500 people were there. Dad would have enjoyed visiting with all of you. The flowers were also beautiful. We especially liked seeing his fire uniform. We had never seen any of that. Last night during the vigil Gary said my dad never boasted and that is true. I never even knew he was captain until I saw his helmet. I also never knew about most of the award he won. To us he was just dad and he never talked about all of that stuff.

Also, we found the link to the article about my dad and I thought I'd share it with you. Just copy and paste this into your browser.

Sunday, May 30, 2010


I forgot to mention that this Friday we were surprised to wake up and find an article about my dad in the paper. It was a really nice article that he would have really enjoyed. If you haven't read it you might want to get your hands on one. We weren't able to find it online or I'd link you to it. Also, today his obituary will be in the paper. You can also find it online at I believe his obituary will also be in the Tuesday paper.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Thank you Forever Yours Florist

While making arrangements this morning we found out most/all of the local florist would not be able to deliver flowers for my dad's funeral. I never realized florists took several days off in a row for a holiday weekend. We weren't sure what to do and Forever Yours Florist stepped up and offered to help. Thanks for helping us out in our time of need!!!!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Picture Hunt

If you happen to have any pictures of my dad playing the drums, doing aikido or just hanging out feel free to email them to me at We are trying to gather photos for a slide show. Thanks a bunch!

Official Funeral Arrangements

A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated 2:00p.m. Tuesday, June 1, 2010, at St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica, in Beaumont with burial to follow at Forest Lawn Memorial Park under the direction of Broussard's, 2000 McFaddin, Beaumont. A gathering of his family and friends will be Monday, May 31, 2010 from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. with a Christian Vigil at 7:00 p.m. at Broussard's.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The end and the beginning

Tonight around 10p my dad was welcomed into heaven. He went peacefully and is no longer in pain. I will keep you posted on all of the funeral arrangements as the week progresses. Thanks for the continued prayer.

One thing my dad always mentioned is he didn't want his funeral to be sad, but wanted it to be a celebration. With that in mind, feel free to leave a comment of your favorite memory with him.

Although my brain isn't functioning enough to remember a specific memory from my life, I will say that my 4 year old son will always remember his dates with Pappy. Every time we came into town my dad would take O to eat and to bounce zone. Even though O is still young I have no doubt that he will always treasure those memories.

The Latest

I've been sitting here for about an hour debating on the appropriateness of this particular post. I know that some of you are my dad's close friends and want an update, but the truth is the update isn't good. We found out today that he can no longer live without life support. His organs are failing and his body is septic which means poison has taken over. As far as I know he will remain in an induced coma until the end. I'm not sure how long they plan on keeping him on life support, but I do know that many of us (myself included) are trying to get there to say good bye. I will not have my computer with me and won't be able to post for a couple of days. I suspect the next post will be after the fact. Although this is saddening news I feel so thankful that he is no longer in pain. The past month or two has been terrible and I know he is going to a much better place. He will be able to leave this world in a peaceful manner and join his parents in heaven. We will all have a new angel watching over us. Thanks again for your continued prayer because I know my family will need it.

ICU day 2

We still haven't spoken to a doctor, but the nurse says he's about the same. Last night when he entered ICU he needed 100% help with breathing and now he's down to 50%. That seems to be a good improvement. Other than that he is still in a drug induced coma. I'll keep you posted if there is any change or if we speak to a doctor.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

ICU Update

My mother still hasn't spoken to a doctor, but the ICU nurse was awesome and gave her a quick update.

1. Most importantly he FINALLY feels no pain, or at least we don't think so. He is heavily sedated and his body is finally resting. Mom said his color is good and he looks like he is sleeping (which he is I guess).

2. He is on a ventilator. Wikipedia defines the ventilator as a machine designed to mechanically move breathable air into and out of the lungs, to provide the mechanism of breathing for a patient who is physically unable to breathe, or breathing insufficiently. Although I haven't spoken to a doctor I assume he is on the vent because he isn't breathing sufficiently. My friend who is a respiratory therapist said that after patients aspirate it is usually hard to keep their O2 level up. I would think he is breathing some on his own.

3. They stuck a tube down his throat that goes into his stomach. Bile and fluid are now steadily flowing out of his stomach. Finally, it's getting drained!

4. They have placed "lines" into main arteries throughout the body. From my understanding each have a different purpose. For one, they needed more IV access than just his port. Also, one of the lines will continuously monitor his blood pressure and vitals. His blood pressure has been low tonight.

5. As a reminder, he is type 1 diabetic. A normal sugar level would be low to mid 100s (don't quote me on that). Right now his sugar level is approaching 400. They have him on an insulin drip and intend to check his sugar every hour.

I'll let you know when we hear from a doctor and how his night goes. Thanks for the prayers.


Well, after radiation my dad went into the recovery room. While there he vomited and aspirated, meaning the fluid went into his lungs. We know he stopped breathing for a bit, but aren't sure if his heart actually stopped. Luckily my mom was sitting next to him and realized he wasn't breathing. She was able to call for help and he was quickly assisted. He is now in ICU. From my understanding he is stable but heavily sedated. My mom hasn't spoken to a doctor to find out what exactly is going on or what they plan to do for him. I'll let you know when I find something out.

Patient Advocate

Well, today was another frustrating day.

1. My parents have been told that once he gets his stomach drained it will improve many things. First, his nutrition level. Hopefully he'll be able to eat more and vomit less. Second, the swelling in his body will go down. Third, his kidney function should improve. We also found out that draining his stomach is directly related to radiation. I'll explain that in a minute.

2. You won't believe this. Today the same doctor (Dr. M) who forgot to schedule his appointment on Monday walked in today and said, well, I canceled your procedure today!!! My parents were shocked!! Why? was their first question. The doctor didn't have a good reason to cancel it. After my mom started explaining all the reasons to have the procedure the doctor started back tracking and said she'd reschedule. The next doctor walked in and said Dr. M said someone canceled the procedure. My mom was sure to inform him that SHE/Dr. M canceled it. Apparently Dr. M is now acting as if it wasn't her decision. Dr. M. then disappeared and left the building for the rest of the day.

3. Last night they were suppose to have a tube placed in dad's nose that went to his stomach and drained it. We were told last night this tube was for his stomach procedure. The person trying to place the tube couldn't get it to work and decided to quit. She assured my parents that this would in no way affect today's events. Well, my parents received a call today saying my dad could no longer receive radiation because without the tube he'd be a liability. My dad asked to be wheeled down to radiology anyway and to speak with the anesthesiologist. It turns out that having his stomach drained is a crucial part of radiation (another thing Dr. M didn't mention or know). Without the stomach drained the anesthesiologist is worried he will asphyxiate on the table. It is against their policy to put someone to sleep in my dad's condition. Also, Dr. M was suppose to order an ultrasound on my dad's leg to make sure he didn't have a blood clot. Without the ultrasound radiation didn't want to work with him because if he did have a blood clot it could move to his lungs while they were working on him and he could die. The anesthesiologist was really great and helped my mom and dad a bunch. First, she called Dr. M and gave her a talking to. She told Dr. M that if she didn't get his stomach procedure rescheduled she would be to blame for him not getting treated. The anesthesiologist then went outside of protocol and treated my dad anyways. My parents had to sign a waiver acknowledging all of the risks involved. Also, the anesthesiologist called a patient advocate for my family. My mom left a message and hopes to hears back soon.

4. Today the radiologist mapped my dad out for radiation. It takes a great deal of planning and the first session always includes mapping. He didn't actually receive radiation today but hopes to tomorrow. Radiation is scheduled at 9a tomorrow morning. If he doesn't receive the stomach draining today he will not be able to get radiation tomorrow. Please pray that Dr. M. can fix her mistake.

5. The doctors keep telling my dad he can't receive chemo because his nutrition levels are so poor. It's interesting because without his stomach drained his nutrition can't improve. What's even more interesting is Dr. M keeps putting in Dad's chart that he is only allowed clear liquids or no food/drink at all. It's usually related to the fact that she has a procedure scheduled, but in the end she seems to never follow through with the procedure. Today my dad was really weak and had a terrible day because he hasn't had any food in at least 48 hours due to this doctors scheduling conflicts.

6. I just found out they are doing the ultrasound on his leg right now. Hopefully we will find out if he has a blood clot soon.

7. The anesthesiologist suggested my parents talk to the patient advocate about getting my dad the pain medication dispenser that dispenses medication when he presses a button. Right now it takes sometimes 1/2 an hour to get pain medication because they have the drugs under lock and key. They must wait for the nurse that can open the drug cabinet.

8. On a positive note, the nurses are great!

*I'll let you know if anything productive happens. Please pray that his stomach gets drained tonight!!! Without it we are at a stand still.

I'm trying to speak the facts without getting too frustrated. Doctors are only human. My parents say Dr. M is really nice, but unfortunately hasn't made the best choices. Hopefully she can correct everything and my dad can get things moving. Each day he doesn't get something accomplished is another day he can't receive chemo. I'm scared to think where the cancer may have spread while we've been waiting for doctors to decide a treatment plan. It's been almost 2 months since chemo!!! Thanks for the prayers!!!

The Schedule

Yay!!! We finally have a schedule for the day. Around 1 they are suppose to pick him up, make him happy and do radiation on both his neck and back. From there he will go into the surgery for his stomach. After leaving surgery they will do a scan on his leg because it has been bothering him. The scan will check for blood clots. Today has been a particularly antsy day for him. Please pray it all goes smoothly and that God gives him peace and comfort. I'll post this evening and update you on all of the procedures. Thanks!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Unproductive Day

Well, today was suppose to be a big day for Mark, but instead it proved to be unproductive and frustrating. I'll quickly post what happened.

1. The doctor who was suppose to order the stomach tube forgot! So, even though there were orders in his chart to not let him eat or drink she had forgotten to put the orders into the department that performs the procedure. Needless to say, it didn't happen today and hopefully it'll get done tomorrow. They did go ahead and put a tube in his nose going to his stomach hoping to drain a lot of the fluid out before the procedure.

2. Radiation didn't happen either. It turns out that they need him to lay down on his back for radiation. He hasn't laid down since he was diagnosed last fall! He usually sleeps in a chair. When he went to lay down it caused him so much pain it was impossible. The radiation team wasn't prepared with pain medication and had to send him back to his room. After looking at his scans they realized the tumor on his back is in between 2 vertebrates. When he moves, specifically to lay down the tumor presses on the vertebrates causing intense pain. They hope to go in tomorrow and hit both his back and neck with radiation and plan on having him heavily drugged while doing so.

3. The stint in his kidney didn't happen either. The urology team decided to hold off on the procedure thinking that maybe once his stomach is drained his kidney may start functioning properly. Hopefully his kidney function does improve without the procedure because if not and they have to do the procedure later it worries me that it'll postpone chemo even further. I'm not a doctor, but I assume a non-fuctioning kidney could affect your blood work.

4. All of these procedures are happening not only to reduce his pain but hopefully enable him to receive chemo. Without chemo the outcome will not be good because his cancer is so aggressive. Since he did not have any procedures done today chemo was inevitably pushed back. For example, without his stomach drained, he can't eat and improve his nutrition levels. Also, without radiation the tumor in his neck can't shrink and allow him to eat.

5. They increased his pain meds today and haven't been able to give him medication for his belly rubin because it only comes in pill form (as a reminder, he can't swallow pills because of the tumor). The good news is his belly rubin has stayed within the normal range even without the pills.

6. As a side note, he has a new found love for popsicles and sprite! Luckily both settle in his stomach well.

Obviously, there are tons of prayer requests that come with this scenario including healing, comfort, God's peace, no pain, chemo, etc. I thought I'd also ask you to pray for the doctor's wisdom in his treatment and my family's patience while we wait for treatment. MDA is one of the best hospitals in the world and we know he is getting great care, but sometimes it's hard to remember when the doctors continue to change their minds, back track on decisions and never discuss treatment plans with one another. Each day a new doctor (sometimes several new doctors) comes in and reverses the medication choices and treatment plans the doctor the day before set into motion. I'm not sure how well you know my family, but we are a feisty bunch! We are definitely in a situation where we are not in control and have to trust God and the doctors at MDA. God is always faithful though and I feel comfort in the fact that He hears our prayers.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Monday will be a big day for Mark.

1. They will place a stint in the ureter of the kidney to help it function properly
2. They will place a drainage tube in his stomach that exits his side into a bag. It will drain all the fluid build up and bile into the bag, so they won't have to continue draining his stomach.
3. The tumor on his neck goes from his earlobe, down his neck, along his shoulder to the end of the shoulder. It is so large that he is now having trouble eating, drinking and swallowing pills. They are even talking about thickening his liquids to reduce choking. He's mainly sticking with ice chips these days. They are also having to crush his pills.
4. Since the tumor on his neck is so big the radiation team is meeting on Monday to review his case and hopefully begin treatment the same day. They will do radiation everyday for 10 days. We hope he can stay in the hospital while being treated because he can have the treatments consecutively without taking a break over the weekend. Also, we're afraid the daily travel back and forth would be intense.
5. Dr. Phan plans on reviewing his case on Monday and hopes to begin chemo Wednesday or Thursday. Lets pray his levels are good.
6. Today they wrapped his legs in cotton gauze with netting hoping to reduce swelling.

Friday, May 21, 2010


Today he had an ultrasound done on both his neck and kidney. We haven't found out the results yet, but we do finally have a plan. The lymph node in his neck is so swollen that he his struggling to swallow so they plan on doing radiation on it tomorrow. Unlike the radiation on his back, it will not affect his chemo treatment. It is also likely that he won't be able to talk once the radiation begins. It won't be permanent but will last a while. Also, on Monday they intend to start doing spot treatments on certain spots until his levels rise and he's able to receive chemo. If they give him chemo prematurely they could do permanent damage and they don't want to do that. Also, the fluid in his stomach continues to come back because of poor nutrition. From my understanding it escapes his blood vessels and makes him sick. I'll verify that fact later. I'll be honest and say things don't look amazing. Please pray for healing and a miracle! Also, he is still unable to receive calls and would love your emails. Thanks.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Today he had the scope procedure done to see if the stint was working properly and to check for blockage. We were relieved to find out he did have!!! Apparently a piece of lettuce or something similar was preventing the stint from working. That would explain why he had bile in his stomach, why he was vomiting bile and why nothing was working. Thankfully they fixed it and hopefully he will start feeling better. There is still a chance his kidney has some blockage so tomorrow they will do an ultrasound to see if it is still swollen. If the kidney is still swollen he will probably have another procedure done. He was able to keep down a milkshake today which is great. He is also pretty drowsy from all of the medication. Hopefully now his levels will start to even out and just maybe he can finally get chemo??? I'll let you know how tomorrow goes.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Today they have him a bit more comfortable. They have him on something stronger than morphine which seems to be relaxing him a bit. He also seems to be vomiting less but still has an occasional episode. He wasn't able to eat or drink anything until about 5:30p because he was having his stomach drained again. The doctor was sure there was a lot of fluid in his stomach because it was so distended, but unfortunately that was not the case. This indicates there might be a problem with his liver or bowels. Whether it is blockage or something else we aren't sure. His belly rubin and liver count are also elevated which again points to the liver or bowels as the culprit. Tomorrow they will do a procedure on his liver that tries to locate the problem. Other than that, his blood pressure is doing better and his white blood count is still elevated but not rising. Also, if you have any specific questions feel free to leave a comment and I will try to find out the answer for you. Thanks.

Monday, May 17, 2010


I thought I'd give you one last update for the night. Right now they have him on an IV antibiotic hoping to bring down his liver count. They also plan on draining his stomach again tomorrow. Since his stomach filled up with fluid within a 3 day period they plan on keeping him on diuretics to hopefully prevent fluid build up. After testing the fluid last week they discovered it is caused by cancer. Lastly they plan on checking his stint/bile duct for blockage. He still hasn't been able to eat or hold anything down. Also, they haven't figured out the right dosage of medication to relieve his pain. I'm not sure if you noticed, but the past week or so he hasn't been up to talking. Instead of calling, feel free to email/post comments and I'm sure he will get back to you once he is feeling better. I'll continue to update you on the blog!!! Thanks for the prayers!!!

Back in the Hospital

Unfortunately he was not able to get chemo today. The doctor decided to admit him to the hospital and get him stable with hopes that he can eventually get chemo before being released. His blood pressure was so low that the doctor didn't trust him to walk and has decided he needs to be transported by wheel chair until that improves. Also, he has been REALLY swollen and they hope that will improve as his blood pressure does. His kidney function was low but should improve with hydration. Also, his liver count was a bit high, so they are going to make sure his stint is working properly. One of the main goals of this hospital stay will be pain management. As stated earlier, he is in LOTS of pain. Since his last hospital stay his symptoms continued to increase as well as the pain, but the pain medication was no match for what he was going through. Maybe if they get that under control he will have a better chance of keeping food down. Please pray for comfort and the ability to eat. I will keep you posted!

Chemo is a MUST!

Well, he's on his way to MDA and we are PRAYING he gets chemo today. I'll be honest and say he's in a lot of pain and his only hope for any relief is chemo. He can't keep food down and the swollen lymph nodes are pushing up against all of his organs causing everything to hurt. Please pray his levels are good today. If not, it'll be bad news bears. Thanks.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Quick Update

He is on his way back from Houston right now and had a successful appointment. They drained over 1 liter of fluid off of his stomach. He was pretty much out of it during the procedure so it didn't hurt. Afterwords he was able to stand up for the first time in a few weeks and no longer had to walk hunched over. Hopefully by morning he'll be able to eat and start feeling better. Chemo is still scheduled for Monday but of course that is dependent on good blood work. Pray his levels are all perfect so he can move forward with his treatment. Thanks!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I'm Back!

On Wednesday I went to MDA for chemo and found out these things.

1. I could not receive chemo because my white blood count was low. They think it's probably related to the week before and all of the stuff my body went through.
2.. My nutrition level and protein level were a little low. They want me to start eating and trying to keep food down.
3. I found out the cancer in my lungs and on my spine is still stomach cancer. This is good news because I'm still only fighting 1 cancer.
4. I am now getting my stomach drained on Friday.
5. Chemo is now scheduled for Monday.

The fluid in my stomach area is still making it hard to breathe and eat. It also keeps me up at night.

"Once again today...God has a will for your life, Christ has a Word for your life, and the Holy Spirit has a way for your life. Nothing is impossible." Beth Moore

Monday, May 10, 2010


After a week and 3 days he's finally home. He began the morning with an ultrasound to determine if he needed to drain fluid off of his stomach. In the end, they decided not to drain the fluid in hopes the chemo will take care of it. He's glad to be home! Chemo will resume on Wednesday. Pray everything goes according to schedule and his liver enzymes stay down so he can start fighting his cancer again.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Originally he was suppose to have the fluid drained off of his lungs Monday at 9a, but luckily a woman randomly showed up today and said she was there to drain his lungs. She brought an ultrasound machine in, turned him on his belly and stuck the needle in. He said it was uncomfortable at times but never hurt. Overall, she got over a liter (some said it looked like a gallon) of fluid off of his lungs. He is breathing much better and actually said he feels like he is breathing too well. He looks forward to tomorrow because they are suppose to drain the fluid off of his stomach and he potentially can go home. Chemo is still scheduled for Wednesday.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

MDA Saturday part 2

The doctors evaluated him and they don't consider the fluid an emergency, so he'll get the procedure done on Monday. They will first go in and drain the fluid on his stomach and then drain the fluid surrounding his lungs. Right now his oxygen is a little low averaging around 90 with 100 being the best. They feel like his breathing issues and cough are directly related to the fluid on his lungs. To be clear, the fluid is on his lungs and not inside. The doctors also feel the fluid around his stomach is the source of the fluid everywhere. It is likely the IV fluids he was given when first admitted caused all of these problems. There is no way to be sure though because cancer cells also produce excess fluid. When he first entered the hospital his belly rubin was at a 4 with 1 being on the high side of normal. Right now his belly rubin is teetering at 1 so they have him on IV antibiotics to keep them normal. Today all he has eaten is the diabetic version of Ensure mixed with sugar free icecream. Hopefully after the procedure he will be able to eat. Oh, and in case you were wondering he won't be able to return to work as soon as he was hoping.


It looks like he won't be going home today either. He has fluid on his stomach and his liver enzymes are still high. They are hoping to do a procedure today that drains the fluid off of his stomach. When that happens they hope his cough minimizes and maybe he won't be as nauseous. The rumor is yesterday he only ate pudding. Hopefully the procedure will make him feel better.

Friday, May 7, 2010


Well, he was hoping to come home today, but it turns out he'll be staying at least another night. His liver counts are back up and he still can't keep food down. I'll let you know when he starts feeling better and is able to come home.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Diagonosis

Today he finally saw his doctor and she was able to interpret all of his scans. Let me warn you, it's not the news you were hoping for. The original lymph nodes that were swollen months ago and had shrunk are now back and bigger than ever. The lymph nodes actually keep pushing up against his liver and kidney causing his bile duct to close which led to his stint. Also, his spine does have cancer. Right now that's not the primary concern, but they will eventually do radiation. The last bit of news he found out was he has 2 spots in his lungs now. His cancer has always been very aggressive and it's obvious the 4 drugs he was on are no longer working. On Wednesday he'll begin chemo with a new drug and hopefully it will work. He should come home Friday or Saturday. Please pray for peace and comfort for my family. Also, that my dad starts to feel better and is able to eat. I feel like he'd do better with chemo if he had good days in between. Thanks.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


I really don't know much, but I'll tell you what I do know. They did a biopsy on his spine today and he'll find out the results in a few days. Also, they did a 3rd catscan today. All three have been a bit different and today's involved adding contrast through his IV. He still hasn't seen his doctor so nobody has been able to read any of his previous scans. My aunt did talk to another family staying in the hospital and they reassured her that this is very normal for MDA. He said the last time his daughter was in the hospital after several days of testing she was released with no answers. Days later she had an appointment with her doctor and he reviewed all of the tests and started treatment. My only assumption is that while in the hospital they do the research, try to get you comfortable/stable and then release you to continue treatment. The doctor will then have more information than before and decide what to do. Lastly, he is still not able to keep food down. They are trying a new nausea medication hoping to get him to eat. Oh, and the Lasiks did successfully drain the fluid off of his body. I'm not sure if his lungs look better but I do know his swelling has gone down. Thanks for the prayers.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tuesday at MDA

Today could have been a bit better. Mark/Dad started feeling worse and was experiencing tons of swelling and coughing. Mid-afternoon they found blockage in his bile duct and put a stint in to open it up. The procedure caused him some pain because they went through the liver. From my understanding he spent the majority of the day vomiting. They still aren't sure what caused the blockage and hope to find out soon. There are a lot of theories but all of the specialist haven't met to discuss their thoughts. They also did a chest X-ray and discovered he has fluid on his lungs. They started giving him lasiks and that has relieved some of his pain. Tomorrow he hopes to see his doctor because she's the only one authorized to read his full body scan and able to update him on the status of his cancer. Also, they didn't do the biopsy on his spine today and hope to do that in the morning. He won't know the results of the biopsy for about 3 days. Hopefully tomorrow he will have more information after meeting with his doctor (if she stops by). I'll update you if I hear anything. Prayers are good!!

Prayer Request

Hi. This is Tiffany, Mark's daughter. I just wanted to give you a quick update on his progress. The last couple of weeks he has been in a lot of pain. On Friday he ended up in the MDA ER. He is still in the hospital and they are trying to figure out what's wrong. He's gone through many tests and there are several different possibilities. They did find some "spots" on his spine yesterday. Today around 2p he'll have a biopsy done to see if it's cancer. Also, he will be having a procedure done to see if there is blockage in his liver. Overall, it's a pretty stressful time. The good news is he seems to be feeling a bit more comfortable. Please pray all is well. I will try to update you when we know something. Thanks.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

No Chemo

Yesterday I went to receive chemo and found out 4 our 5 of my liver enzymes were high, so they sent me home without chemo. I found out the liver can cause back aches, stomach aches and vomiting. I've been experiencing all of those symptoms and feel kind of relieved that I know why I've been feeling bizarre. They aren't sure what caused my liver functions to go high, but feel like it's built up chemo. I also took lots of antibiotics last week and that could of caused it or it could be cancer. MDA is suppose to call me today with a plan. I'll either wait a week and do blood work again or go ahead and do the catscan. I'd prefer to do the scan and see what's going on, but I'll have to wait and see what they decide.

"Faith is not believing in my own unshakable belief. Faith is believing an unshakable God when everything in me trembles and quakes." Unknown

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Weird Week

The past few days have been pretty weird. I've had an intense cough that is keeping me from sleeping, drainage, and potential food poisoning. I've also been vomiting almost daily and of course that starts to make me worry. Also, my back and stomach had some intense pains for a couple of days and that concerns me as well. In the end I just have to have faith that God is healing me. He has been so amazing to me during this time and I know he will get me through this experience.

Tomorrow I go back to MDA for my LAST chemo before my next body scan. In about two weeks I'll get my scan done and hope to hear good news.

"Faith never denies reality but leaves room for God to grant a new reality." Jim Cymbala

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Getting Stronger

On Friday I came down with a cough and lost my voice. The cough was preventing me from sleeping, so on Monday I went to the doctor and they gave me a shot, cough syrup and antibiotic. Even though my voice isn't back to normal at least I can sleep better. Right now my focus is getting ready for work, so I've started a work out regiment. I run in place for 20 minute to keep my heart rate up, do 100 sit ups a day, and work out with a band 3 times a day building up my arms, chest and back. Hopefully my body will be back to normal soon. I even try to stick to my work out program on the bad days.

Also, In the past 3 months I've lost 7 pounds and the doctors want me to gain weight. I started drinking something similar to Ensure but for diabetics called Enterex. It is high in protein, vitamins and calories. If you put it in the freezer for a while it becomes slushy and actually tastes OK. I've also started eating a protein bar daily which will hopefully add on some pounds. My blood work is still normal and hopefully soon my body will be too.

"Father God according to Your Word, without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to you must believe that You exist and that You reward those who earnestly seek You (Hebrews 11:6). Lord, I want to please You. Build faith in me so my life will honor the life of Your Son." Beth Moore

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Headed Back to Work

I had chemo this past Wednesday and it went well. I was actually feeling better than I had in the past until about noon. Then, the vomiting and nausea set in. Tonight I even kept down my supper which is always good. I only have 1 more chemo treatment! This will complete 3 rounds of chemo or 12 chemo treatments/24 weeks!

The only other news is I'm going back to work May 10th on light duty and hopefully my body can handle it. By May 10th this round of chemo will be complete. They will do another body scan to determine if I'm in remission or not. I feel confident that I will get great news and that's why I plan on returning to work. If not, I may be going to work while doing chemo, so it should be interesting. I'm actually looking forward to returning to work because I'm going stir crazy. Even on my bad days I miss making decisions. It's getting to the point where my mind is working against me instead of with me. It's time to get my life back to normal.

"{Not in your own strength}for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you {energizing and creating in you the power and desire}, both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight." Philippians 2:13

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Have Faith

I've been reading a book called "Healed of Cancer" by Dodie Osteen and I thought I'd share her story with you.

In 1981 she was diagnosed with liver cancer and was given only 2 weeks to live. Chemo wasn't even an option. The doctors told her they didn't know where the cancer came from, so they could do an exploratory surgery just to see what was going on. This surgery wouldn't provide a cure but may give them some answers. Dodie's husband said that surgery was not an option and he was taking his family home to pray. He told the doctors they believed in miracles and the doctor told him that it was a good thing. While at home she fought intense pain, but believed in her heart that God would heal her. She had churches all over praying and she knew healing was her only option. Dottie then saw Jesus in a dream. He told her that prayers from others would help, but what would heal her was her personal faith in him. From that point on she knew she was healed. She didn't think he WOULD heal her, she knew she was healed. She started ignoring her pain and focused on actions that she did before she was sick. For example, she quit taking naps and focused on sleeping like a healed person. Nights were tricky because the devil would come to her and she would doubt her healing. After a while she realized that the devil would get in her head, but not in her HEART. Dottie then pulled 40 healing scripture from the bible and read them all day long. She read the scripture and prayed continuously. Even though the doctors gave her no hope, her faith in Jesus saved her life. Some people may claim she was misdiagnosed, but that's impossible. She went to both Texas Medical Center and MD Anderson and both hospitals proved she was covered in cancer. Dottie avoided doctors for years because she didn't want them to tell her something that would distract her from her faith. Eventually she did go to the doctor and have a scan done. She found out she was cancer free thanks to God.

"I will not die but live, and proclaim what the Lord has done." Psalms 118:17

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Prayers Needed

I found out today that a well known young man from the blending plant and the refinery passed away from cancer recently. He has 2 young children and a wife. He was also a trustee at the Union Hall, had tons of friends, and made a great leader. All and all he was a great man. He will truly be missed. Also, I heard that the people from the refinery supported the family throughout the entire process. It really is great to work at a place where everyone is so supportive. It's much more like a family than a place of business. Please pray for his family during this difficult time.

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die..." John 11:25-26

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


This weekend I felt good and was able to enjoy my Easter celebrations. I felt blessed to wake up every morning and have my family there and a grand baby to keep me company. On Saturday we went to my brother's house for lunch and an egg hunt. It was nice to sit around and catch up with my family. Then, on Sunday I went to my sister-in-law's house for lunch and another hunt and really enjoyed visiting with everyone there as well. Holidays really mean more to me now that I have cancer. I feel completely blessed to just be there. Overall, I was able to enjoy visiting with everyone and even felt good enough to enjoy the food. It was a great weekend.

Also, this Easter took on a special meaning in my life because it was the first time I understood the meaning of the holiday. I've celebrated the holiday in the past, but have never reflected on it's meaning. I can't imagine watching my son be born and know that in years to come he would take on the world's sin, endure ridicule, intense pain, and even a cruel death. Then, as my son was being put on the cross having the will power to let it happen so the world could be forgiven of their sins. I truly can't imagine the sacrifice God made that day. I'm so thankful he is stronger than I am because now we all have a path to heaven. It's also amazing to think about the events that led to Jesus' death and resurrection. This entire weekend represents promise, hope, and sacrifice . I'm so thankful to be a Christian! Without God's help I wouldn't be here today and thanks to his faithfulness I'm being healed and able to appreciate him more and more each day.

"Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus." Romans 6: 8-11

Thursday, April 1, 2010

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger

It's been a while since I updated you, so I thought I'd tell you a little bit about my week. Monday and Tuesday were great and I felt normal. Wednesday was another long chemo day. So far I feel much better this time than I did two weeks ago. By this time two weeks ago I couldn't even take a sip of water without vomiting. Hopefully this round continues to be easier.

For now, I thought I'd tell you about the new drug I'm receiving during chemo. Remember, this is an experimental drug for stomach cancer and I'm one of the first to take it for this particular cancer. Also, this is the 4th drug I receive on Wednesdays. I still receive the original 3 chemo drugs and now receiving Avastin as well. All together it takes about 5 hours to receive chemo. Below you will find information I received from MDA on my new drug Avastin.

"Avastin is a monoclonal antibody that inhibits the growth of new blood vessels that provide nutrition for cancer cells. It is used alone or in combination with other cancer fighting medicines."

The Side Effects
-High Blood Pressure (My doctor has now put me on blood pressure medicine to counteract this side effect. Also, during infusion they check my blood pressure constantly.)
-fatigue, lethargic and sluggishness
-Increase risked of blood clots (Now I'm on a blood thinner to counteract the blood clots)
-Decreased heart function
-low white blood cell count (My blood work is still good)

It's like all drugs, they have a list of side effects and it just depends on how your body handles the drug. I'm not exactly sure what effects it has on me because I'm taking 4 drugs at once. I'm not sure which drug causes my symptoms.

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!

"Praise be to the LORD my Rock,
who trains my hands for war,
my fingers for battle.

He is my loving God and my fortress,
my stronghold and my deliverer,
my shield, in whom I take refuge..." Psalms 144:1-2

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Nick's Story

Today I woke up feeling down. I didn't want to talk to anyone and thought I may hideout all day. As easy as that would have been I know my family would have been irritated if I went missing so I decided to sulk around the house. I was tired of being sick, feeling sick, and thinking about being sick. I also missed work, the union and basically my life as a whole. Then, Kay showed me an inspirational video that put me in my place. It's about a man who was born without legs or arms who has a great attitude and is just happy to be alive.

Here is Nick's Story:

*Just copy and paste the link into your browser or go to and type in "never gave up."

Anyone who is feeling down should watching this video and get off your butt and move on with life just like I did.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Philippians 4:5

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Back to Chemo

Sorry it's been so long since I've updated the blog, but my blogger was out of town! I'll go ahead and update you on the happenings of the past few days. Last week I woke up with a small knot on the side of my neck. By the next day it was a big knot. I went to my regular doctor and they did an ultrasound. They determined my lymph nodes were swollen, but couldn't tell if it was my cancer or just an infection. I was concerned and eager to visit my oncologist at MDA. She said she wasn't sure what it was, but if it was cancer the chemo would knock it out. If it were an infection and it didn't go away I may end up on antibiotics. As of now, the knot is still there. I think it's probably an infection, but it made for an intense week.

On Wednesday I had my first chemo with the new drug. Before chemo was done I was already nauseated. Thursday, Friday and part of Saturday were rough. I couldn't eat or drink without vomiting. By Sunday I was feeling better, just tired. I'm not sure why I got so sick this round. Maybe it was because I had a break from chemo or maybe the new drug didn't settle well? Either way this round was not fun.

The only other thing that I've noticed since my last blog entry is my nails are changing color and texture. Some people say your nails can even fall off! I sure hope that doesn't happen.

I'll have chemo again a week from tomorrow.

"He who has the son has life; He does not have the son of God does not have life." 1 John 5:12

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Great Concert

I love music. I've been a drummer just about my entire life and have played in bands since I was 14 years old. I've also traveled all over the US listening to live music including some of the greatest bands such as BB King, DMB, ZZ Top, and Tina Turner. None of these experiences compare to the concert I saw this past weekend. My sisters and I went to a church to see Casting Crowns. In all my years of seeking out live music, I have never seen a Christian band before. It was awesome! There was an energy to this place that I've never experienced before. The entire concert was like a church sermon. The band members spoke about God continuously and prayed often. Each band member was either a youth minister or music director for their church. They told their testimonies and encouraged the kids to press on even if school is a struggle. About 85% of the audience were teenagers and it was so neat to see kids celebrating the Lord. You never see teenagers loving the Lord on the news, you only see vandals. It was refreshing to see. This concert was so emotional and powerful. If you didn't come to tears at least once while watching the crowd then there was something wrong with you. Overall, it was an amazing sight to see so many people worshiping the Lord in one place.

Also, I receive chemo tomorrow. This will be the first chemo with the new drug. I have no idea how it'll affect my body. Also, I'm the first person they are trying this drug on for stomach cancer. I'm the guinea pig! It's been proven successful for breast, colon and lung cancer. They feel like it will work and I sure hope so! I'll update you in a couple of days and let you know how everything went.

"I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory." Psalms 63:2

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Whole Lot of Doctors

As a cancer patient you would think that the only doctor I'd see would be my oncologist in Houston, but that's not the case. She's in charge of my chemo, but it takes several doctors to maintain my health.

Eye Doctor-When I had my PICC I was taking Heparin which is a blood thinner. I had to make frequent trips to the eye doctor to make sure there was no bleeding behind my eyes. Even though my PICC is gone I still have monthly appointments with him.

Diabetic Doctor-The chemo makes my sugar level rise for several days after each treatment. This doctor makes sure my diabetes doesn't go out of control while I endure chemo.

Oncologist in Bmt-I'm seeing an oncologist in Bmt who takes my pump out for me after each treatment. This prevents me from having to drive back to Houston when my chemo runs out.

Family Doctor-The new drug I'll be taking is suppose to make my blood pressure rise. My family doctor is in charge of maintaing my blood pressure through medication.

Medical at Refinery-I keep in touch with the Medical department at the refinery so they know my status.

Insurance Nurse-A nurse from my insurance calls regularly to check on my status.

Nurse from a wellness program at work-He calls weekly to check on my status.

Oncologist in Dallas-you heard our story the other day!

Not only do I visit these doctors frequently and discuss my health on the phone with several nurses, but I also am a regular at my pharmacy. I go so often that they know me by name.

I really feel blessed to have so many great doctors looking after me, but I must admit that I sometimes get tired of sitting in waiting rooms.

"Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name.And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased." Hebrews 13:15-16

Thursday, March 11, 2010

We are signficant!

Today started out stressful. I began to get antsy about my chemo treatment. I still hadn't heard if my insurance was going to cover the treatment ($10,000 for this new drug per treatment/$40,000 total) or if I had an appointment scheduled yet. I continued to call MDA, but never heard back. I'm use to relying on myself to get day to day things accomplished, but I realized I don't have to anymore. Instead, I stopped and asked God to help me. I prayed that he'd take care of the details. He's gotten me this far and has almost healed me, why wouldn't the rest fall into place? After lifting my worries up to God almost instantly they were all fixed. The calls starting pouring in. First, I found out my insurance would cover the new chemo! Whew! Then, I received my new chemo schedule, had an appointment time set up and was ready to go. Praise God. It's amazing how everything can fall into place when you trust God. On a side note, I also received a call from my plant manager today. It turns out I received an OSHA award at a conference for mentoring other groups in safety. Although my day started out discouraging it turned out to be great. I was reminded of God's power, the importance of trusting him and the power of prayer.

You know, many of us stay busy at work and maintain a feeling of success or significance. Personally, on any given day I could receive 20-30 union calls while maintaining my normal job. I could be fighting to save someone's job, and also responding to a life or death emergency. My job gave me purpose, made me feel needed and as a results even gave me a feeling of importance. Now that I'm not at work and don't have as many daily responsibilities I begin to feel insignificant. I'm sure some of you have days that you feel down as well.

Today I was reading a book by Max Lucado, "A Cure for a Common Life." This book answered my doubts and made me feel better. Just in case you are in a similar situation I'm going to share some of his thoughts with you:

Lonely people fight feelings if insignificance. What do we do with such thoughts? No one knows me. No one is near me. No one needs me. How do you cope with such cries for significance? Some stay busy; others stay drunk. Some buy pets; other buys lovers. Some seek therapy. And a few seek God. He invites us all to. God's treatment for insignificance won't lead you to a bar or dating service, a spouse or social club. God's ultimate cure for the common life takes you to a manager."

"I am with you always," Jesus said before he descending into heaven, "to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:20

"Search for restrictions on the promise; you will find none. You won't find "I will be with you if you behave when you believe. I will be with you on Sundays in worship at mass." No, none of that. There is no withholding tax on God's "with" promise. He is with us. God is with us."

If you ever doubt your significance try to remember that you are important to God and he is always with you.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Act of Kindness

I want to tell you about a kind doctor who befriended me in October when I was first diagnosed. A friend's mom, we'll call her Ms.G works with a cancer group in Dallas and this doctor is one of them. He happens to be an oncologist surgeon who specializes in stomach cancer. Ms. G sat down with a few of the doctors and discussed my case with them. After hearing my case he became interested and continued to check on me through Ms. G. Before long, the doctor started calling me personally to check on me. He also gave me all of his numbers so I could reach him if I ever had a question. Every once and a while I would need clarification on something MDA told me and he would clear it up. He'd call me in between his surgeries to check on me and to find out how my doctor appointments were going. He genuinely wanted to know about my progress.

Before continuing, I'd like to stress the fact that I love my doctor at MDA and I'm not second guessing her. The Dr. in Dallas never contradicts what she says and is just following my case as a friend. I must admit that it is comforting to know that if my cancer ever spreads to the point of no return that I have a 2nd doctor willing to take my case.

The Dallas doctor has been encouraging me to visit him and review my case in person. I've never felt well enough to travel, but with my recent chemo break I decided to take a road trip to Dallas. The doctor met me at his office on a Saturday and opened it up just for me. He reviewed my case, did an exam and spent about an hour with me. I want to clarify that he is not getting paid! Out of the kindness of his heart, he took a special interest in my case and decided to help me. Following the exam I went to lunch with the doctor and got to know him better.

This doctor feels like I'm a prime candidate for remission because I was in good shape and that I can eat again. He feels like this new drug can work and that MDA made a good call by choosing it. He has used it on colon cancer and has seen great results.

It's really unheard of for someone to take time out of their busy schedule to help a stranger. He had never met me and went out of his way to get to know me and check on me. As an oncologist surgeon I know his days our full, but that didn't stop him from going to the office on a Saturday for free. Amazing!

I must also thank my two friends for driving me to Dallas and stopping along the way to let me rest. I'm still tired from the trip!

"Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it." Hebrews 13:1-2

Sunday, March 7, 2010

What Not to Say to a Bald Cancer Patient

This past week people have really said these things to me:

-I didn't recognize you.
-Oh, your bald.
-Your face is wrinkled.
-You look old.
-If someone saw you on the street they'd look at you and say he looks sick.
-You look terrible.
-Man, you always looked so much younger than me. I always thought you were about 35, but now you look about 60.
-It's coming back all gray.

*These comments didn't hurt my feelings at all, I just thought they were funny.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Thank You Lord

Yesterday I met with the oncologist to receive my P.E.T. scan results. I found out that my tumor is dead and no longer has cancer cells! That is great news! The lymph system still shows traces of cancer. Three spots in particular are "hot" and those are located near my clavicle bone, neck and my stomach. Because there is still cancer in the lymph system she can only assume there are still cancer cells throughout the system. She also concluded that the chemo is still working because the cancer hasn't spread and there are no new tumors. Although the chemo is working it looks like it's not as effective. We were hoping that the 2nd round of chemo would put me into remission, but it didn't which tells us the chemo is not working as well as it did in the beginning. To make sure the chemo is working the best it can the doctor is adding a 4th drug. This drug will attack only the cancer cells and leave the good cells alone. This drug is experimental and hasn't been approved by the FDA or used for stomach cancer. She feels that by adding the 4th drug I could go into remission. Right now I get to take a week or two off from chemo and give my body a break. The insurance company will likely fight paying for this drug, so the doctor needed a few days to get it approved.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed because I was hoping I'd be in remission. The great news is the tumor is no longer feeding the lymph system, I can eat, I can exercise, and I overall feel better. God definitely answered my prayers! If you remember, every time I took communion I'd pray that it would heal everything it touched and it did. My health is definitely in God's hands and he will heal me on his time. Overall, 5 months ago the doctors didn't give me much hope and thanks to God I'm feeling much better. The truth is my body could not have responded to chemo at all and I could be in a much different situation right now. I will continue to focus on all the positive things in my life and not think about the negative. I will also continue to praise God, study his word and grow closer to him.

Lord God, How thankful I am for Your Book, Your Word, that lives and abides forever. Thank You for the way truth comes to life when we see it as print on the pages of the Bible. Thank You for the power of your Word that transforms lives and mends broken hearts and strengthens frightened hearts. May we, in the process of time, begin to feel more and more at home in Your Word, so that the life of another becomes ours and the truth another provides becomes a principle for us to live by. Thank You for coming to our rescue again and again by Your grace. And for those who are most afraid, I pray they will know Your peace and relief from anxiety as they turn to the promises in the Bible and there find hope to go on.
In the all-powerful Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Source: Charles Swindoll

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

P.E.T. Scan and Prayer Request

Today I left home at 4a to get to my 6a P.E.T. scan appointment at MDA. I thought I'd tell you a little bit about the test and about my experience.

P.E.T Scan information:
P.E.T. is a technology that combines the fields of medicine, computer science, chemistry, physics, and physiology to study the function of organs such as the heart, brain, and bone. It is different from conventional imaging methods such as x-rays, CTs, ultrasounds or MRIs, because P.E.T. images provide information about how tissue functions. The other imaging methods show what the tissues look like. Luckily they were able to see me immediately and the scan took about 2 hours. The P.E.T. scanner looks similar in shape to a CT or MRI scanner. The bed on the scanner moves during the exam so that each area of the body can be imaged. The P.E.T. scanner makes no noise.
Source: MDA brochure

My P.E.T. Scan experience:
Like many tests, I wasn't able to eat 6 hours before or inject insulin into my body because it could affect the test results. I was concerned about this because usually if my sugar level is low I eat a snack and if my sugar level is high I inject more insulin. Long story short, I did have some issues with my sugar level and was forced to snack in the middle of the night. Also, when arriving at MDA my sugar level was high, so I feared they'd reschedule the test. Luckily it all worked out and I was able to have the scan done.

They did a complete body scan from my forehead to my thighs. They were looking for cancer cells that may be in my body. The scan also examined the tumor and found out if the cancer cells are dead. If the cells aren't dead the scan will then find out how deep the cancer cells go into the body tissue.

First, they put an IV into my arm and put a small amount of radioactive material into my body. The radiation only stayed in my body for a short while and had no lasting effects. Once the radioactive material is administered they take out the IV, put me in a room by myself, and asked me to rest while the material spreads through my body. I rested for an hour and then they took me to the scan. The radiologist told me that the length of time the test would take depended on my height and the reason for the test. The test itself only took about 30 minutes.

I get the test results back tomorrow at 9a. Please pray for good news!!! I'll keep you posted!

"I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17: 19-20

Sunday, February 28, 2010

What a Difference!!!

I've always been told that change is the spice of life and with this change in a 3 month period I should be pretty spicy!!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

What is Cancer?

I've compiled thoughts on cancer from several different sources including books and brochures.

"Cancer is a general term for more than 100 diseases characterized by the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells.

The cells in your body are constantly dividing and multiplying to replace old, damaged cells. Sometimes, cells began to divide unnecessarily, forming excess tissue known as a tumor. In most cases, tumors are benign, meaning they are not cancerous.

Malignant, or cancerous tumors, can invade and destroy surrounding normal tissue. Cancer cells from the tumor can spread through the blood stream or lymph system to start new cancers in other parts of the body. When cancer spreads from its original site, the process is known as metastasis.

In the United States, over 1.2 million new cases of cancer are diagnosed every year, with half of them occurring in the lung, prostate, breast, colon and rectum. Cancer can strike at any age, although it is most common in people over 50."
Source: Julie and Ben Rogers Cancer Institute

"No two people respond in the same way. You can't compare one case with another. Even cancer statistics are not very helpful in predicting what will happen. Statistics look at averages of large groups of people. Your doctor is the best person to help you understand your cancer."
Source: Alere Brochure

"There are studies on the activities of immune cells (including NK cells and white blood cells targeted against cancer cells) show that they are at their best when our diets are healthy, our environment is "clean," and our physical activities involve the entire body (not just our brains and our hands). Immune cells are also sensitive to our emotions. They react positively to emotional states characterized by a sense of well-being and a feeling we are connected to those around us. It's as if our immune cells mobilize all the better when they are in the service of a life that is objectively worth living."
Source: Anticancer: A new way of life.

Cancer can attack your body, but don't let it take your heart, mind and soul.

Jesus replied, "What is impossible with men is possible with God." Luke 18:27

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Just a Reminder

For those of you who may have forgotten, I'm kicking this cancer's butt and will be back to do normal soon.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Don't Make Church an Option

There is only one word to describe Friday and it's Yee-Haw. It was one bad, nauseous day. Saturday and Sunday are usually bad days as well, but this round those days were much better.

A few days ago I shared with you that attending church has not always been on my priority list. I've been trying to figure out why and this is what I've discovered.

1. My week has always been so busy that on Sundays I enjoyed resting. I liked the fact that I didn't have to rush some where or leave the house.

2. I felt uncomfortable in church as if I didn't belong.

3. I'd see hypocrites in church. These people acted like Christians on Sundays, but at work on Monday were buttheads.

4. I thought I could just pray at home.

I'm not sure if you have ever struggled with these excuses, but I relied on them for years. What I noticed the past few months is I was wrong.

1. Church only takes a few hours out of your day. You can always rest when you get home from church. You have to make it a priority and a habit. If you get out of the routine of going to church you won't continue going. Treat it like you would working out. Set a time, get in the habit and go.

2. I found out that I do belong. I've been reading and now understand what the Priest is preaching. The examples he uses in his sermons are no longer foreign to me.

3. I realize that people who go to church really participate all week long. I went to a church function the other day and it was packed. Also, what does it matter if hypocrites go to the church? They are just people. I should be more worried about growing in my faith and less worried about everyone else.

4. I may pray at home, but when I go to church I give God my undivided attention for the length of the sermon. I know that when I pray at home I may say a little prayer but quickly get distracted by the TV and phone. Also, it gives me the opportunity to listen to an expert explain the bible. I may have read a story in the bible and understood it, but the Priest is always able to bring up a point I never thought of before. I always leave church with a new understanding of an old story.

Going to church helps me grow in my faith, gives me the opportunity to fellowship with other believers, and most importantly, praise God. How could I not go to church?

"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:24

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

1 More Chemo Closer to Remission

Today I went to MDA for chemo. All of my blood work came back great including my white blood cells, red blood cells, and nutrition level. With such a great report I was able to receive chemo. I was a little nervous today because they were going to stick the needle in my port for the first time. During my last chemo session they did use the port but had prepped the port for chemo during surgery. This week they punctured the skin in my chest to get to the port. Thirty minutes before chemo began I put Lidocaine/Prilocaine on my chest and then covered it with Saran Wrap. This cream deadened the skin and made the injection pain free. I did feel the needle go in and hear a click, but it was not painful.

Now after chemo, my chest is a little sore but I think it's because I still have stitches. Also, I'm already feeling nauseated and exhausted.

I am now scheduled for a petscan in two weeks. From my understanding this test is more detailed than a catscan. The petscan can see the individual cells in the tumor and give the doctors a better picture than a catscan can. I'll give more details on the petscan as I learn more. This test is really important because it determines whether or not I continue chemo and gives us an idea of what's going on.

"Man does not see what the Lord sees, for man sees what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7

Monday, February 15, 2010

What is this funny feeling?

Throughout my childhood I went to church every Sunday and as an adult I began floating in and out of the church. I'd get in the habit of going and then not step foot into a church for sometime. Recently, it had been about 10 years since I regularly visited a church. Even though I didn't attend church I believed in God, miracles, and that Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins. With that being said, I never let my guard down or developed a dependence on God. I'd sometimes pray when things were bad but never remembered to pray when things were good. Life and my busy schedule got in the way of me ever developing a relationship with Christ.

After I was diagnosed with cancer I decided it was time to focus on what was important and that was my faith in God. I had never really given it a chance before. I began praying, reading the bible, reading books, and eventually went back to church. Then, I attended a sermon and it was as if the Priest was speaking directly to me. As I was listening to this sermon that was prepared especially for me I felt a warm feeling in my heart. It brought tears to my eyes and I didn't understand what was happening. At first I thought my cancer was making me over emotional, but over time I realized that wasn't the case. When this feeling occurred again I realized something much bigger was happening.

Later I was reading my Yearly Devotional book and they explained what I was feeling.

The moment you trust in Christ, you receive the Holy Spirit, who constantly encourages you in your hope in God.

After reading that quote I realized that I had received the Holy Spirit in church that day. For the first time in my life I had stopped, and listened to what God had to say. If you never stop and allow God to take control of your life you may never experience a meaningful relationship with him.

"You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ." Romans 8:9

Friday, February 12, 2010

1 More Chemo

This week I've noticed the effects of the chemo have lasted longer than usual. Even last night when I drank something cold my lips tingled. That sensation is usually gone after 4 days, but this time it lasted 10 days. I assume this means that the chemo is still in my system which is great. The only down side is I won't get a break in between chemo sessions. I was getting use to having 4 or 5 normal days before the next treatment.

This Wednesday I was suppose to having another catscan to see how my body has responded to the last few treatments, but it's been rescheduled. Now, I'm getting another treatment of chemo and the scan will be in another 2 weeks. With MDA you never know what your schedule will be, so it would be a good idea to check it online before leaving your house. Of course, I haven't set up my account yet, so I get my schedule when arriving at MDA. A lot of the time my schedule is completely different than the one they gave me 2 weeks earlier.

What I have come to realize is it doesn't matter. I'm usually at MDA all day so it doesn't matter if my schedule has been pushed back by a few hours. You have to be flexible and realize there are more important things in life.

"But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently." Romans 8:25

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A New Man

Cancer has changed me inside and out. When I look in the mirror I don't even recognize myself anymore. My hair is starting to grow back GRAY and kind of unruly, I've lost muscle tone, I've lost weight and even have new scars. Aside from my appearance, I've also noticed my body is physically weaker. I don't have nearly the stamina I use to and my body demand naps to get through the day. I've even lost control of my life, mainly my independence. I'm consistently depending on others whether it's for a ride to Houston or help prepping my arm for a shower.

Sometimes I fear that one day I'll look in the mirror and not see myself at all. I will put up a good fight to make sure that doesn't happen though. I'll continue to exercise so I'm physically strong, but most importantly I'll continue to study God's word so I'm spiritually strong. Like I said, this disease has changed me inside and out. It's made my outer body weaker, but made me internally stronger. Never in my life have I felt as close to God and I plan on continuing to build that relationship. Hopefully soon my physical strength will catch up with my spiritual growth and I'll be a brand new man!!!

"And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you." Romans 8:11

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A New Goal Met

In life people set and accomplish many goals.

For example:

1. Run a 26 mile marathon
2. Win a triathlon
3. Climb Mount Everest
4. Run and jump from the highest bridge
5. Water raft down the Colorado Rapids
6. Win championship cage fighting
7. Become an Indian Chief

This past week I was able to accomplish my goal. I showered without depending on someone to wrap my arm. This accomplishment may not seem like much compared to climbing Mount Everest, but to an independent person like me this was huge. I even took 2 showers today just because I could. As my grandson says, "Today is a happy day."

"Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise." Jeremiah 17:14

Sunday, February 7, 2010

What a day!

Friday I woke up feeling nauseous. I had a terrible taste in my mouth and it made the thought of food disgusting. Also, everything tasted awful. This feeling stayed with me all day long. The feeling just built and built until I vomited and then it repeated itself. The nausea medication they prescribe does help, but the feeling doesn't go away. On top of that I was exhausted! This made my trip back to MDA intense. I'm lucky because some people feel like this for days, but I only feel sick for a couple of days. Saturday I was still nauseous but nothing like Friday. Overall, today has been pretty good. I was able to take a ride with a close friend and didn't get too sick. I must say it did make me tired though. I could barely keep my eyes open after a while.

"Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all." 1 Chronicles 29:12

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Successful Surgery

Yesterday was a long day. We left home at 4a and got returned around 8:30p. The surgery was a success! They put in my port, took out my PICC and administered chemo. While at MDA I receive 4 hours of chemo and then they place a pump on my hip that distributes chemo for the next 48 hours. Usually a friend removes my pump, but now that I have a port I must return to MDA to have the pump removed. So tomorrow night I'll head back to MDA to have the pump removed, flush the port and remove the needle. Surprisingly I haven't gotten sick but my neck and chest are sore.

"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong." 1 Corinthians 16:13

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Power Port

Today was a long day at MDA. By 8:00p I was giving blood and from there I met with the anesthesiologist. As soon as the anesthesiologist found out I was diabetic and wore a pump they sent me to an internist because I was a high risk patient. The internist decided to call in a endocrinologist (a diabetic specialist) to discuss what to do with my pump while in surgery. I have had surgery before and knew what the doctors should do with my pump, but they thought they'd double check. Of course, I was right! After we made a written plan I had to visit the surgeon who will be placing the power port in my chest and his staff. From there I went back to the anesthesiologist and firmed up my plan with him. It was 5:30p before I left MDA.

I also thought I'd give you a little information about the power port that I will be getting tomorrow. The power port is a device placed under the skin in the upper chest below the collar bone. The port is used for chemo therapy and other IV treatments. This device is placed completely under the skin. When looking at the port you can only see a small raised bump.

The port has 2 parts to it. The first part is a reservoir disk. This is a small disc with a raised center which is made with a self-sealing material. The center of the disk is where the needle is inserted. The 2nd part is the catheter. This is a small flexible tube connected to the disk. The catheter may go into a large vein in your neck or your chest. Mine is going to a vein in my neck. The medication you receive will be delivered into the disk, carried through the catheter and into your bloodstream.

After the port is inserted it's ready to be used and can be left in your chest for years. Only special needles called a Huber Needle can be used in the port. One hour before a needle is put into the port you can use a topical anesthetic cream to numb the skin. To take care of the port you can't lift your arms over your head or lift more than 20 pounds for 3 weeks. You can't put it under water for 4 weeks but can shower within 48 hours. When the port is not in use you have to flush it every month with Heparin and Saline. You also have to flush it after each use. You are given a medical alert card you must keep on you at all times. This card includes information about the port, the brand name, type of port and lot number. After 6 weeks you are released to do all activities.

Tomorrow I have to be on the road by 4am to be at my 6 am appointment. My surgery is scheduled for 7:30a and will last about an hour. I should be in recovery for another hour and then I have an appointment with my oncologist. When I see her I'll review my blood work and receive chemo for 4 hours. Tomorrow they will also be taking out the PICC and using my new power port for chemo. It'll be a long day!

Here's a picture of the power port.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,[a] who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Remission is around the corner and here's my plan...

1. Run through MDA naked.
2. Get someone to bail me out of jail for running through MDA naked.
3. Walk around outside in the cold w/out shoes on.
4. Take icecream out of the freezer without gloves on.
5. Eat the icecream.
6. Play the drums until I fall off the chair.
7. Run 5 miles without taking a nap after walking 1 mile.
8. Go to Ruth Chris's Steak House and eat the biggest steak on the menu.
9. Go see the big trees in California.
10. Go to the union hall without being sent home by the secretary treasurer.
11. Drink a Diet Coke.
12. Take a shower without having to have someone wrap my arm.
13. Eat all meals without throwing up.
14. Sleep in the bed w/ ease and no pain. Hell, I may sleep on the floor.
15. Grow my hair down to my butt.
16. Buy hair dye.
17. Drive a vehicle w/out a throw up bucket sitting next to me.
18. Thank God. Thank God. Thank God.

"I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free." Psalms 119:32

Friday, January 29, 2010

Trust in God

The doctors tell me that there is no cure for my cancer. They say I have the opportunity to go into remission, but I'll never be cured. I think they are full of baloney. God can heal anyone! When I'm receiving chemo I begin the process by texting several different people. We all pray at the same time that the chemo is working. Then, as each drug is administered I imagine the Holy Spirit touching each of my organs and lymph nodes and healing them. Because I've seen my body scan I can easily picture the cancerous spots and consistently pray throughout chemo that the cancer is disappearing. Then, on Sunday when I take communion at church I picture it healing everything it touches as it enters my body. It's up to God to determine when it's your time to join him in Heaven, but while on Earth you can trust in him. The doctors may have told you your time on Earth is limited, but it's up to you on how you live it. You can waste it away by moping around or you can enjoy it.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not rely on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and he will direct your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Doctors and God Work Together

I've been reading "God's Created Power for Healing" and thought I'd share some of the authors thoughts with you.

This book is written for people that are struggling with their physical health and includes thoughts on spiritual healing. It isn't discounting the importance of visiting doctors for medical care or taking medicine, but they are stressing the importance of God's healing power to your spiritual body.

"Just as you would take medicine in your physical body to aid healing by physical means, so you must receive God's word concerning healing in your spirit for supernatural healing."

"God's word is supernatural medicine. It works through the human spirit and is a spiritual cure, but like any other medicine, it must be applied on a regular basis. You must speak God's word to your individual circumstances or situations-someone else can't do it for you."

"When God's words concerning healing takes root in your flesh, it becomes greater than the disease and healing is the result."

"Doctors may have told you there is no hope for you medically, but you can always find supernatural hope from God's word."

"If you're sick, you don't deny you are sick: yet, on the other hand, you don't want to always be confessing your sickness, for that will establish your present circumstance to you. Denying sickness won't make you well. But mixing faith with God's word, you are calling for the promise of God to be manifest in your body. This will cause you to be fully persuaded, and healing is the result."

I am thankful for the treatment I'm receiving at MDA but ultimately God gets all the credit. He gives the doctors the wisdom they need to take care of me and he also chooses the outcome. Not only has God been physically healing me, but he has certainly healed me spiritually. I've never felt this close to God and I'm enjoying building a relationship with him. Spending time in his word each day has brought me peace.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Thanks to the doctors

Today I thought I'd explain why I chose to go to MDA for treatment. It all boils down to feeling comfortable and having complete confidence with the care you are receiving. Even if someone in your family or a close friend doesn't have faith in your doctor it can put doubts in your mind. It's best if everyone is in agreement on which doctor you should see. This way you know you've done everything you possibly can to fight the cancer.

When I first had prostate cancer I actually trusted my doctor in Beaumont but the reason I choose MDA was they had the equipment necessary to preform the DaVinci Surgery. The doctor in Beaumont was only able to cut the cancer out by hand while MDA could do it robotically which has a faster recovery time. Actually, MDA has an entire department dedicated to the DaVinci and a separate department dedicated to doctors who still perform the surgery by hand. MDA provided options. Also, because I was an existing MDA patient they were able to quickly get me in to see a surgeon when my cancer returned.

One of the things that I appreciate about MDA is they are so specialized. My oncologist ONLY treats people who have stomach/esophagus cancer. Their doctors focus on one type of cancer and become experts. Even the doctor who is putting the power port in my chest specializes in power ports. MDA even has an experimental drug department that is highly sought after. People from all over the world fly to MDA for treatment and I'm blessed to live 1.5 hours away. I find it comforting that the doctors treating me know their fields so well.

Overall, you have to feel comfortable with the doctor you are seeing and trust them. I'm not saying one doctor is better than another but just feel strongly that you need to have confidence in the treatment you are receiving. With that being said, I know that God is my true healer. I thank MDA for their expertise and the treatment that I'm receiving, but God is the ultimate healer and the one who determines my fate.

"My son, pay attention to what I say;listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight,keep them within your heart;for they are life to those who find the and health to a man's whole body." Proverbs 4:20-22

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Treat Your Body Like a Temple

This round of chemo affected me a little more than usual. My sugar level was crazy and I was nausea/sick all weekend. Finally, last night I started feeling a bit better.

Over the past few weeks I've been thinking about what caused my cancer and how I could change my lifestyle to prevent bringing it back. Unfortunately, stomach cancer isn't like other cancers. If you smoke and get lung cancer you know to stop smoking, but it's not that black and white with stomach cancer. I asked the doctor what she thought contributed to my cancer and she feels there's a good chance it's the environment I've worked in for so many years. I do know that when I return to work I'll change a few things and protect my body when going into the field. I'll make sure I wear proper equipment at all times to protect my body from chemicals.

I've also been concerned about the food I put into my body. For example, I use to be a huge Diet Coke drinking, but I'm hesitant to drink it again for fear that may have contributed to my condition. I've always eaten relatively healthy because of my diabetes but never worried about where the food came from or how the food was processed. My goal is to speak with the nutritionist at MDA and to also read books and become more educated on foods I should and shouldn't eat. Hopefully this will put my mind at ease as I get back to normal.

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Take That Cancer!

Yesterday I had an appointment with my oncologist which means you either see her or one of her two assistants. This week I requested to speak directly to her because one of her assistants said something last time that has been bothering me. I asked the assistant if there was a chance that I could go into remission? Would I ever get to stop chemo? The assistant told me that I could maybe stop chemo for a couple of weeks for a holiday or something but that was about it. Since then I've been worried that for the rest of my life I'd have one good week and one bad week.

So, yesterday while waiting for the doctor I was complaining to my friend. I was concerned that I would never be able to go into remission and overall anxious to talk to the doctor. I then opened up my daily prayer book and this is what it said:

"Father, I love you, and I lay my life before you. Take me and use me for your glory and your purposes. Forgive me when I complain and do not see all the wonderful things you do for me, things I take for granted like being able to wake up today and see the beginning of another day. Give me strength to worship you, encourage your people, and speak your name to a lost world.Amen."

A few days ago I told you about my prayer book and how it always relates to my life. Again, the book baffled me and put me in my place. I immediately stopped complaining!

My conversation with the doctor went great! She said a few things...
1. It is a fact that my lymph nodes and tumor have shrunk in half. She plans on shrinking them to where you can't visually see them in a scan. Once this happens I'd be in remission. She said it could be months or even years (hopefully never) before the tumor returned.
2. My blood work is good. On one hand my blood work is great because I can continue chemo. Most of the time people who have received the amount of chemo that I have must take a break. Their blood work shows poor nutrition levels and overall their body is worn out. At the same time, my blood work has never shown that I have cancer. Blood work is not an absolute way to test for cancer. Sometimes the cancer does not show up. So, they can't do a blood test to see if my cancer is returning. They'll have to do a body scan.
3. I've gained weight and she's happy that I've kept my nutrition levels up. Both chemo and cancer stifle your appetite. If I'm able to eat that means my body is tolerating the chemo and the cancer is loosing the battle. Having an appetite is a great sign.
4. On February 3rd they are going to put a power port in my chest. The port lays under the skin and can stay in for years. When anyone needs to access the port they just stick a needle through the skin. This means I get to take my PICC out! Unlike the PICC, the port doesn't need cleaned and I can return to a more active life style. With the PICC I wasn't allowed to sweat, it needed weekly cleanings, I couldn't get it wet, I couldn't work out or work. With the power port I'll be able to begin working out again and hopefully return to work soon there after. The reason they didn't put the port in my chest to begin with is she wanted to see if the chemo was going to work. She didn't want to put me through a minor surgery if it wasn't necessary.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Don't Waste Your Life

My daughter was telling me the story of a young lady who is probably not even 30 yet. She is married with 2 small children and recently found out she has stage four cancer. After chemo, radiation, surgery, and experimental drugs MDA has told her there is nothing else they can do. They gave her 2 months to live. We don't know this girl personally but it's heartbreaking. Young moms, dads and children are being diagnosed with cancer every day and not always receiving good news.

For some reason, my prognosis is going in the opposite direction. The chemo is working and it appears that God may spare me. God has a plan for me on Earth and I plan to live my life for him every day. I won't sit around and waste it. If you are able to wake up each morning, then God has a plan for you too. God gives us all gifts or talents that he plans for us to use to bring him glory. I challenge you to use your gifts and live for him each day.

"Many, O LORD my God,
are the wonders you have done.
The things you planned for us
no one can recount to you;
were I to speak and tell of them,
they would be too many to declare." Psalms 40:5

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Getting Your Problems Off Your Mind

I've always been an active person and usually don't spend much time sitting around. While undergoing treatment I've had to spend A LOT of time at home. While my mom was still around I'd go to her house every day and hang out with the family. My daughter and grandson also spent a great deal of time in Beaumont over the past few months. After the holidays my siblings returned to work since we were no longer looking after my mother and my daughter had to return to her life as well. Without these daily distractions my life has been pretty boring. I've been spending more time alone than I ever have. This week my friend and his father came by the house and picked me up to go on a drive. It was so nice to get out of the house and visit with someone. It was a great distraction from my mundane, daily schedule. Time away was good for my mind, body and soul. If you know someone who is spending a lot of time alone feel free to give them a call. There's a good chance they'd like a distraction from their life too.

"Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble." 1 Peter 3:8

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

An Anxious Look About You

I'm feeling pretty good today except tonight I've been having pain in my stomach. That's a good sign though because the doctor says that's the chemo fighting the cancer. Other than that things are pretty normal.

I've been thinking about the waiting room at MDA where you get your blood work done and have made some observations.

You can categorize the people into 3 groups:

1. Just diagnosed with cancer for the first time. Waiting for the blood work to see how bad it is.
2. Waiting to find out if they have cancer again.
3. Currently in chemo waiting on routine blood work.

While sitting in the waiting room your eyes automatically scan and notice the bald people with PICCS in their arms. There are all different types of cancers and stages of cancer being represented. Some people are moving well while others are in wheel chairs. Then, you notice the other people in the room who look healthy. They still have hair, but they have a certain look about them. Those who have had cancer before are contemplating, look worried and frightened. They know what to expect and are thinking about their past experience and worried about their future. Then, you notice the people who look completely frightened, almost panicked. Their eyes are wandering around the room and fixate on the sick people. On several occasions I've had people eye balling me. They look me up and down, stare at my bald head, and focus in on my arm. Never do they look away, but I don't take offense. They are in their own world worried about their future. You can almost read their thoughts. "Is that what I'm going to look like?" and "Am I going to loose my hair?" and "Will I have that thing in my arm?" It's weird because in my experience nobody ever talks about their diagnosis. No one asks questions or compares stories. Sometimes I feel like I should stand up and ask, "Who here is waiting to be diagnosed? OK, let's go talk and leave here feeling OK about our situations." I really hope that each of these people have the same support as me. The prayers, emails and phone calls have helped get me through this experience. Lastly, I hope they have a relationship with God because without his strength beating this disease is near impossible.

"Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

Monday, January 11, 2010

Friends For Life

Over the past few weeks I've experienced my hands and feet going completely numb when exposed to cold temperatures, and today I found out my nose does the same thing. When on a walk, my nose went so numb that I couldn't even tell if it was still attached to my face. I had to go inside to defrost it.

I've been thinking about the unexplainable bond cancer patients have. They understand what it's like to hear the terrible words, "You have cancer." They know what it's like to have to ask "How bad is it?" and "What's my prognosis?" and "Is it curable?" They also know what it's like to deal with the fear and doubt that overwhelms us. To then wonder what we did wrong to deserve this. During this time our minds wonder and sometimes think the worst. It's interesting because people you'd never imagine being a close friend with instantly bond because of their shared cancer experience. Before you know it, you're checking on each other daily and praying for one another often. You keep up with doctors visits and anxiously await results with each other. You even find yourself being happy when they get good news and you don't. Through this disease you become life long friends.

"Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:
If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!" Ecclesiastes 4:9-10