Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dennis' Doctor Visit Today

We met with Dennis' doctor today.  Some of the news was hard to hear so I'll get that over with first.  The tumor has returned at the original location and there is also a small tumor at another location.  That was especially difficult to process but it not unusual in this type of cancer.

So for the rest of the news:
There is a test drug that Dennis will start tomorrow.  He will also be back on the chemotherapy he had been on before.  This new drug (ABT-888) works by enhancing the effectiveness of the chemo.  This trial is about to close as it has the number of patients it needs for this phase II trial.  We are thankful it was still open.

If this drug does not work for Dennis, there are many other options that will be explored.  That was encouraging.

Dennis will have another MRI in eight weeks.  Please pray with us that there will be no growth in the tumors. That is the goal in brain cancer.  Tumors rarely shrink or go away as the brain does not easily remove dead tissue.

Our doctor had told us this drug has been showing some good results but he was not real specific on what that meant.  After we had met with the doctor and Dennis had some blood work done, we were waiting for an elevator to go down to have some lunch at the cafeteria.  We ran into the doctor who had done Dennis' radiation.  He remembered Dennis and commented on how great he looked.  We told him where we were at and he wondered what drug he would be starting.  He told us, "We have seen some very good results with that drug."  Wow, we felt like God placed him there just to encourage us about where we are heading.

We anticipate that Dennis should do well on these drugs as he handled the chemotherapy well last time.  The most possible side effect would be lowering of blood counts which could make bleeding more likely and/or he could be more likely to get infections.  They will do blood work every week to keep an eye on these possible side effects.

Please keep praying for Dennis as he starts this new drug.  We are discouraged by the regrowth but encouraged by what we were told today.  We are thanking God for the good doctors and hospital we have right here in Madison.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Regrowth on MRI

Dennis's MRI results were not what we had hoped for. It shows some regrowth. The doctor told Dennis that he will restart the chemo he was on and add another drug to it. Please keep praying. We believe God is able to fully heal and restore if that is His plan. As we talked with Brooklyn about this, we reminded her that God's ways are best even when they are not what we would desire. We firmly believe that. Thanks for your prayers. We will know much more after seeing the doctor tomorrow.

As I got ready this morning, this song was going through my head.  I had not thought of this song in a very long time but God knew I needed this message for what we would learn a few hours later.  

What though the way be lonely, and dark the shadows fall,
I know wher'er it leadeth, My Father planned it all.
I sing through the shade and the sunshine,
I'll trust Him whatever befall;
I sing for I cannot be silent, My Father planned it all.

There may be sunshine tomorrow, Shadows may break and flee,
Twill be the way He chooses, My Father's plan for me.
I sing through the shade and the sunshine,
I'll trust Him whatever befall;
I sing for I cannot be silent, My Father planned it all.

He guides my fal'tring footsteps, Along the weary way;
For well he knows the pathway, Will lead to endless day.
I sing through the shade and the sunshine,
I'll trust Him whatever befall;
I sing for I cannot be silent, My Father planned it all.

A day of light and gladness, On which no shade will fall;
Tis this at last awaits me , My Father planned it all….
I sing through the shade and the sunshine,
I'll trust Him whatever befall;
I sing for I cannot be silent, My Father planned it all."

Monday, June 24, 2013

Waiting for MRI Results

Leading up to MRI weeks in some ways is becoming routine.  We can actually have “normal” days and not be totally obsessed with the pending MRI but then the day arrives.  Today as I sit at work, I feel the dread, stress, grief…not sure any of those words actually capture the anticipation that accompanies waiting on the results of the MRI.  It just lingers in the back of my mind on  my heart as we wait. 
Even though I am convinced that we will hear that the MRI is clear again, it thrusts me back to the very first MRI that started this year long journey.  What if this MRI is another turning point in this battle?  And then I remember that even if it is, God will walk along that road with us too.  We have seen Him provide abundantly this past year in our lives and will continue to do so in the days ahead.  
I continue to pray for full restoration for Dennis not just that this monster never returns but restoration of his stamina, short-term memory and language skills.  Our God is able to do way more than medical science sees possible and even more than we can imagine.  In God’s grace, He may choose to fully restore Dennis or He may not, but what he chooses will be what is best for all of us.  We believe that with every fiber of our being. 
So, as you pray for us this week, pray for our sense of God’s presence during our wait on the MRI results as well as our peace regardless of what those results may be.  Mostly, pray with us that God will be glorified in and through our lives. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

MRI on Monday, June 24

Dennis has an MRI every eight weeks.  The weeks between MRIs go so quickly.  He will have his next MRI on Monday, June 24th.  The doctor generally calls us the following morning with the results.  Dennis will see the doctor on Wednesday.  We hate the days leading up to an MRI week.  Each time one of these roles around it is harder than the one previous.  You’d think they would become routine but that is not the case.  Since the recurrence rate is so high – almost 100% - with this type of cancer, the further away we are from the surgery and diagnosis, the more we feel like the odds are stacked against us.  With that said, we find great comfort and peace in knowing the outcome is not dependent upon medicine but on the sovereign will of God.  Please keep us in your prayers as we approach the MRI and results next week. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

It Has Been a Year

Today is the one year mark from Dennis’ diagnosis.  I can’t believe how quickly time flies by.  In two weeks Dennis will have his next MRI.  Seems like only a few days ago we were waiting on the resultof the last one.  Dennis is doing great.  Last week we had a 50th birthday party and one year cancer victory party for him.  We saw so many friends and heard from others in emails and cards.  Dennis was exhausted after it but had a great time.  Thank you to everyone who made this special celebration possible.  Here are a few pictures.

Monie and Brooklyn making punch.

We got the call that changed our lives on June 8th and on June 11th Dennis had the surgery that removed the tumor.  It is hard to believe it has been a year and yet at times, it seems like the longest year of our lives.  During that year we have seen God work in marvelous ways. We don’t know what this year will hold but we trust the future to God’s hands. 

Brooklyn is out of school.  The electric bike Dennis got is working well for them to get around.  The local bike shop was able to attach a kids Burley to it so Brooke rides in that.  The health club is about 1.5 miles from our house and they have been there for her swimming lessons.  This gives them some ability to get out and allows Dennis to use the bike in full electric mode if he gets tired.  Not the greatest form of transportation if it rains but it gives them many days when they can get out.

Brooklyn has been learning a lot since school got out.  She now can ride her bike without training wheels and is doing great with her swimming lessons.  She is also reading more and doing it because she wants too. 

Please continue to pray for Dennis.  His next MRI is June 24th and we have an appointment with the doctor on June 26th.  Usually the doctor calls us the morning after the MRI with the results so we should get the report on June 25th.

We will pass another major milestone in our family on June 28th – our 10th anniversary.  It is hard to believe it has been 10 years.