Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Here We Go Again - MRI Next Week

I’m not sure where the last seven weeks have gone since Dennis’ last MRI.  Next week Tuesday, he will have another MRI.  This is the first one since the end of treatments so it adds a new layer to the stress of these.  We will get the results on Wednesday.  Please keep us in your prayers this week and next as we approach this evaluation.  Dennis has had no increase in symptoms to make us think anything is going wrong but with brain tumors, you often don’t know there is a problem until it is well established.  

Overall Dennis is doing very well.  He continues to be plagued with fatigue.  This is the problem that over rides everything else he attempts to do.  When he is feeling OK and sets out to do something, he often finds that his energy is gone very quickly.  It is frustrating for him as he would like to be able to do more and hopefully get back to where he was prior to the cancer.  We are daily adjusting to this new “normal”.  We are learning all the time how to plan in order to accomplish priority tasks without totally exhausting him. 

We have been exploring options on how Dennis can get out of the house.  We had considered a scooter with a sidecar for Brooke, but after seeking the advice of some brain tumor survivors and people that work in this field, we decided it was too risky.  So, that moved us on to other options.  The goals were some mode of transportation that would not expend too much energy and fatigue Dennis, would allow him to get into town and also allow for him to take Brooke along.  After some shopping and investigating, we settled on an electric bike.  This will allow him to get the exercise he wants when he is up to it and also have the ability to not expend energy just getting to a location when he needs to preserve the energy he has.  It also allows for him to pull a child carrier for Brooke.  Because it is at a slower speed than a scooter would have been, it greatly reduces the risk for Brooke to go with him.  The bike should arrive sometime in the next two weeks.
Please keep us in your prayers in a special way in the next seven days.  Pray for our peace as we wait for results and for those results to show no regrowth. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Happenings at the Hierls

Being done with cancer treatments has been a mixed blessing.  On the one hand, we are glad this phase is over but on the other, it is a bit scary that nothing is being done to fight it.  By all external appearances, Dennis is the same.  Of course, until his next MRI at the end of the month, it is impossible to know what is going on.  Dennis still struggles with fatigue.  He has days that are better than others but overall he tires easily.  He is finding that when he is in noisy environments or carrying on conversations he tires very easily.  He does what he can when he feels up to it and rests as he needs too.  We are also learning to plan for this.  Mostly that means not to plan too many things or long things into one day.  

One of the biggest challenges has been Dennis’ inability to drive.  We understand this restriction.  The type of cancer Dennis has has a high probability of returning and often the first indicator of the return is a seizure.  If Dennis were driving when that happened, it could be a risk to himself, his passengers and anyone else on the road at the time.  This has left Dennis largely home bound.  Just recently the doctor has approved Dennis to drive a scooter as long as he wears a helmet.  This reduces the risk of him hurting others if he should have a seizure while driving.  We are hoping to work out the details of him getting a scooter that would allow Brooke to go places with him as she will be home with him during summer break.  We have been working with a scooter shop in Madison on this and are close to having all the questions answered.  This will give them some mobility.  It will allow them to get to the pool for swimming lessons for Brooke, to the library, out for lunch, to a park…  Brooke is out of school at the end of May so we would like to have this ready to go by then.  If this does not work out, we will be back to considering an electric bike.

Brooke goes to AWANA and one of the events they do in spring is a pine car race.  Dennis and Brooke engaged the help of our friend Dennis Stewart and built her car together.  I’ve seen the video they took of the day they built it and it looks like they had a great time.  The race is on Wednesday.