Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Time is Precious

Has it really been eight months already since we learned of Dennis’ brain cancer?  There are times when it seems like our world turned upside down yesterday and others when it seems like it has been forever since life was “normal”.  I desperately want time to drag by right now.  The further out we are from the initial treatment, the more likely it is that this awful cancer is coming back and frankly, unless Dennis would have a major change in symptoms, there is no way to know if anything is happening except for an MRI which he has every eight weeks.  So, every time he is tired and has trouble finding a word or just finds it hard to think, it makes us stop and wonder if something is going on again.  I want to hold onto right now; to cherish every day.  And yet, the days, weeks and months speed by.  In a few days we will flip another page on our calendars and I can’t help but think, “Where did that precious month go? “  

We have learned to live in the new normal for the most part.  It does present its challenges.  Simple things like dropping a car off for a repair is not so simple when there is only one driver in the house.  Or, for Dennis, passing days when he is house bound, and this looms even larger as he finishes up treatments in a month.  Granted, two days a week heading to a hospital is not fun but at least he sees other people along the way.  For those of you who have been his drivers for these appointments, you are much more than a source of transportation.  You are encouragers and friends who have lightened our load in more ways than being a ride to an appointment.  We can’t begin to express our appreciation to you.  

And so, we are heading into another change in the weeks ahead.  Next week Dennis will have his last round of chemo and on February 28th will complete the last cycle of the other medication he is on.  An MRI will done on March 4th and we meet with the doctor on March 5th for results and information on what happens after treatment.  We do know he will have MRIs every eight weeks to monitor him.  We are hoping and praying that once he is off of the medications that his MRI remains clear and that the side effects he has been living with go away.  From what we have learned the fatigue he is experiencing may or may not go away.  Only time will tell if this is permanent or not.  A lot of what happens in the months after treatment will be determined by this.  

To be honest, we have very mixed feelings about the end of treatment.  On the one hand, it will be so nice not to be having all of these drugs and the fatigue it causes be part of our lives. But on the other hand, there is a sense of security that every week there are chemical warriors attacking any cancer cells that may be remaining.  In addition, there is the unknown of what will remain of the struggles Dennis faces from the surgery and treatment.  We really will not know that until he has been off of the medication for a while.  

Please keep us in your prayers as we move forward into yet another new normal.

Prayer Requests:

  • That the five remaining weeks of treatment will totally eliminate any remaining cancer cells.
  • That the MRI on March 4th will be clear.
  • That all side effects will disappear after Dennis is off of the drugs.
  • That we will have peace when faced with the various unknowns on a day-to-day basis as well as the long-term.
  • That the doctor will clear Dennis to drive again.
  • That we will continue to see God’s hand in all of this and that he will use us in the lives of those we come in contact with. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Dennis' Update

It has been a crazy week at our house.  Tuesday afternoon Dennis had the MRI and Wednesday we got the great news that it is still clear.  The days leading up to MRIs are especially difficult.  They pervade our thoughts and disturb our “healthy denial” that we live in.  They make us face again the reality of Dennis’ diagnosis.  I will say that I have never been this calm leading up to one of these as I was this time.  Thank you for all of the prayers for our peace during this time.  In addition to learning that Dennis’ MRI was clear again, the study coordinator also told us that the five people they have on the trial drug are all doing well.  We see this as a positive note in the midst of so much negative information on GBM tumors.  Dennis said this week, “I have to stay off of the internet.”  What you find on the internet in regards to GBM tumors is pretty bleak.  It can easily cloud our hope and thinking.  We were encouraged this week by the good news and continue to trust our heavenly Father as we continue down this path.  On a couple of occasions this week I have said, “God’s grace is with us right now and will be with us down the road when we need it there.”  

Dennis started the fifth round of chemo on Wednesday.  He will finish it on Sunday.  His last round will be in February with the trial drug also ending at the end of February.  He will have an MRI in early March and then every eight weeks for a while.  

If you haven’t seen Dennis in a while, you would be surprised at how good he looks.  Everyone comments on this.  He still struggles a lot with fatigue.  He will feel good and a few hours later be totally exhausted.  We suspect this is related to the medications but won’t know that for sure until he is off of them for a while.  

In addition to Dennis’ health issues, my Mom has been having some as well.  She was diagnosed with influenza a few weeks ago; in spite of the fact she had the flu shot.  Then on Thursday morning she had a heart incident.  She had every symptom of a heart attack but it was arterial fibrillation. (a very rapid heart rate)  She got an ambulance ride and some time in the ER.  Thankfully it resolved itself and she was able to go home later in the day.  Life is defiantly not boring around here.  

Prayer Requests:
Keep praying for full healing and no regrowth of the tumor.
Pray for Dennis to have increased stamina and less fatigue.
Peace on the difficult days – we both struggle from time to time with all of this.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Good News

Dennis' MRI was clear again. He will have the next one the first weeknof March. We are thrilled about this.  Keep praying.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

MRI Week

Tuesday Dennis has an MRI.  He has an appointment with the doctor the next day.  Eight weeks ago when he had an MRI, the doctor called him later in the day on Tuesday to tell him the MRI looked good.  We don't know if we will get a call on Tuesday this time or have to wait until the appointment on Wednesday.  Please pray that the MRI is still clear and for our peace as we wait to hear.