Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Decisions, decisions

Just yesterday Pete received a call from the oncologist to inform him of the general consensus reached between herself, the surgeon, and the radiation oncologist. First and foremost, he has been granted another week free of chemo. Woohoo! Secondly, they have decided to continue with the systemic therapy (chemo) but they will be administering it in a different way. Instead of the IV infusion he will have a port installed sometime in the next week which will be placed under the skin on his chest. This is an easy way for them to administer the chemo drugs, draw blood and run tests without having to prick him every time. In addition he will be given the drugs over a period of 48 hours therefore eliminating the pill form of chemo he was once taking every day for two weeks. He will also be on 2 week cycles of of a lower dose of chemo in place of the standard 3 week cycles.
So, this is the plan for now. We are still heavily pursuing various clinical trials which seem very promising. Please pray that we would find the right treatment plan for Pete. Whether it be a clinical trial or standard treatment we are anxious to find something that works. 

Thank you all for your continued love and support. 


Chemo Break

The past two weeks have seemed like a bit of heaven-on-earth compared to the last few months of chemo. At the last appointment the oncologist decided Pete was in need of a "chemo break" in order to catch a break from the nasty side effects he has been experiencing during his rounds. This brief reprieve has been such a blessing for all of us. And despite the looming stress of pending treatment decisions, this break has been an opportunity for us to reconvene as a family. As part of this break we have decided to enjoy more of California. So, yesterday we decided to take a trip up to Burney Falls.

Izzy wanted us to know that there were bears up ahead. LOL!

And little Lucas

Hope you enjoyed the pics. The kids were stellar travelers. I think I foresee more road trips in our future!

With love,

Monday, February 27, 2012

Answers...or Lack There-of

So we met with the local surgeon today and unfortunately didn't get the answers we expected. The following is a short-hand explanation of our 1.5 hour meeting:

- Surgery to remove the primary tumor is not the best option at this time.
- Dr. believes primary tumor has slightly decreased in size and that CT scans are not always great indicators of size and placement of tumors. This gives us hope!!!
- Radiation followed by surgery on primary tumor may be an option if the radiation has an affect on size of tumor however, we run the risk of cancer growing and/or spreading if we focus on only one area and take our focus off the systemic disease (whole body).
- Dr. thinks lungs are primary area of concern due to the fact that lung nodules are spread throughout the lungs therefore making them difficult to remove surgically. In addition, they cannot use radiation as a treatment option for the lungs. Chemo is our only hope for attacking the cancer in the lungs.
- Dr. feels continuing chemo is the best option at this time but is willing to consider and research other paths.
- Dr. will confer with oncologist and radiation oncologist to determine next steps.
- Dr. feels cancer vaccine trial down at City of Hope medical center in Duarte, Ca is a great option. Pete has an appointment for an initial exam to determine eligibility on March 15th.

As always, we are overwhelmed with information. Pete is scheduled for his 4th chemo session on Thursday and despite our best efforts he'll receive his infusion.

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers. And as always, thank you for your continued love, support, and prayers as we face this head on. These next few weeks will be spent seeking second and third opinions and we're hoping for some better answers.

With love,

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Test Results are IN {And there's no change!}

    Many of you have been anxiously awaiting an update on the pending test results from last weeks scans. Our time away in Yosemite was intended to keep our minds occupied while the results were made available and that it did do; until our drive back. The drive home was filled with anxiety as Pete awaited a call from the oncologist to discuss the results but the call never came. I think I may have asked him every 10 minutes if his phone had rang or if he wanted to call the office again. He may have been slightly annoyed :( Anyways, the call never came and by the time we got home it was too late to request a report from imaging. We went to bed with heavy hearts as we prayed before God asking Him to calm our nerves as we awaited an explanation the following day. prayers were answered. My anxiety was lessened and I slept very well. So well, that when Pete woke up and announced he was off to the imaging office to pick up a copy of the scan results, I realized it had completely escaped my me.
    So, the results weren't at all what we had hoped for but in a way they confirmed what we had been feeling; that there's been no change over three rounds of chemo. You might be wondering what this means. We're not really sure. For now Pete has postponed his fourth chemo treatment which was originally scheduled for tomorrow. We are going to meet with the oncologist tomorrow afternoon to discuss possibilities for radiation and surgery before doing more chemo. And of course, we are going to continue praying. We are going to pray  God would give us the wisdom to make the right choice for Pete's health and for our family. And we're going to pray for the hands of the physicians as they decide the best path for continuing treatment. Please join us in praying for the same and we will keep you updated as information is made available. 

Yosemite {In awe of God's creation}

   A few weeks ago when Izzy's teacher announced in embarrassment that she had never been to Yosemite, I tried not to let my face reveal that I shared the same dirty little secret. As a native Californian, I had never been either. So, when I spied an amazing Groupon deal on Yosemite lodging I begged Pete to give it a try. Not to mention the fact that we had been looking for a way to thank my father-in-law for his tireless work over the past month. Pete agreed and we were able to book the dates we desired hoping it would be a great opportunity to keep our minds off the pending test results.

     Although it didn't end up to be the relaxing time I had hoped it would be, we did enjoy our time away. And I was left with two very intense thoughts as I gazed in awe at the infamous El Capitan. 

1. Nothing is too big for God. As I stood in amazement looking at the beauty around me it was not difficult to fear our Father. If His hands are capable of creating such beauty, the surely He can handle our situation. 


2. We need to live every day as if the pending test results are going to come back clear. This situation should not be an opportunity to wallow in self-pitty or disbelief. We need to take control and move forward. This is an opportunity to prove to our Savior that we trust in Him completely; believing He can work a miracle. 

If you haven't been to Yosemite, I urge you to go. It's stunning!!!

And a silly one of the kids in the tree with Dada and Grandpa :) 

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Countdown

It's impossible to explain the mixed emotions we feel as the scan day approaches. Most of my blog posts have served as a reminder that God is doing something bigger in the midst of all this but I'm afraid to report that my hopes for the coming scans are not very high. I'm not sure if this is a defense mechanism or if I am simply doubting God. Whatever it is, it's not helping the morale around here.

Much of the past few weeks have been spent in an attempt to remind myself that it's okay to admit this situation is hard. I have tried to be a steadfast cheerleader for Pete but it's difficult to remain constant when  it seems his trademark fighting spirit is diminishing by the day. On the other hand it's tempting to keep your head in the clouds in an effort to forget about the severity of the situation at hand. However as the scan day approaches, ignorance is not an option. We will soon be confronted with reality whether good or bad.

The other night I plodded into the bedroom after an exceptionally difficult few hours with Lucas and I immediately began pleading with God. As the tears started to fall I begged him to cure Pete. I then admitted that the situation was out of my hands. But I also openly wondered how much one person can take before they break. I mean, it's not that I've ever wondered aloud, "Why me?" However, this attitude was in a round about way asking that very question. And in the midst of all this I was reminded that it's okay to plead with God. In fact, that's one thing He desires from us; a relationship in which we maintain an open dialogue. Although I may never get the answers I desire, just a quick chat can leave me feeling as though my burdens have been lifted.

I am constantly reminded of Amy Grant's beautiful words:

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts

Are better than a hallelujah

And it's important to note that by crying out to God we are not admitting defeat. We are just admitting we cannot go at it alone. We need Him.

As the day approaches we are sure God will be with us. Psalm 91 is a poignant reminder of God's plan for His children:

1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
   will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
   my God, in whom I trust.”
 3 Surely he will save you
   from the fowler’s snare
   and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
   and under his wings you will find refuge;
   his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
   nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
   nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
   ten thousand at your right hand,
   but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
   and see the punishment of the wicked.

 9 If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,”
   and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
   no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
   to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
   so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
   you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

 14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him;
   I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
   I will be with him in trouble,
   I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
   and show him my salvation.”

With this Psalm, the Lord reminds us that even in the darkest of times, He will protect us when we call on Him. I hope it speaks to you as much as it speaks to me.

Thank you again for all your prayers, love and support. 

With Love,


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Loving Our Future: Pete-A-Palooza

I started this blog by explaining the events leading up to Pete's diagnosis and wondered aloud how we might begin to move forward after enduring such devastating news. Well, I am once again left speechless. Only this time it's a "good" speechless.

A few weeks ago we were informed of the Pete-A-Polooza fundraiser created by a few of Pete's coworkers over in Abu Dhabi. The fundraiser was a HUGE success. We are beyond blessed by this demonstration of support and are left wondering if there are any words sufficient enough to truly thank you for this act of love.

Please know that the funds raised through this fundraiser are much needed. They will be used to not only pay medical bills but to purchase food and other essentials for our family over the coming months. And although thank you seems so inadequate it's all we can say. So, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts.

With love,
Pete, Alysha, and family

Loving Our Future: Erika

In creating the Loving Our Future campaign, my first thought was to be more intentional in the way I demonstrate love to others. Unfortunately I have had little energy to genuinely love others outside of my immediate family. And I must say, with all the stress, intentional love for my family can be difficult to come by most days. We can't all be perfect, right? So, I have decided to share with you a demonstration of love I feel perfectly mirrors the intention of the campaign itself.

 I had not seen my friend Erika since I was eight months pregnant with Izzy. We met because we had a mutual connection to the Air Force. Knowing what it was like to be the wife of a deployed military service member, she took me under her wing while Pete was away; consoling me during some of my most emotionally taxing months of pregnancy. She was a true godsend to me at that time.

But alas, those same forces that once separated us, brought us together again when her husband informed her of the latest news buzzing around the squadron. It was that of Pete's diagnosis. She immediately contacted me and and offered support. We vowed to get together as soon as things calmed down a bit.

When it finally came time for us to meet she not only offered to bring lunch but also to drive the hour and a half to our home. I must say that when she first offered to bring food, I was a bit skeptical; wondering how the food was going to fit into my new found standards for nourishment. Well, she completely blew me away. Not only was the food amazing, but it was all vegan. Erika was very aware of our dietary changes and made sure to incorporate them when planning the meal. She even treated us to an amazing chocolate mousse torte.

It was such a pleasure to visit with Erika and catch up after so many years. She has such a caring spirit and readily offered to help if ever we are in need.

Erika, thank you for your generosity and for your willingness to serve others. You are truly a blessing to those around you and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you have done. Thank you for loving our future. We'll be sure to pay it forward. God bless!

With love,