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