Friday, May 25, 2012

I feel like my new motto is, "Keep calm and carry on." That's really all we can do. The last five days have been crazy. Full of tension, tears, questions, and insecurity. But more importantly they have been filled with a lot of prayer because He is more powerful than it all.

On Monday, Pete called to ask if a copy of his CT scan report was available and it was. He headed down to pick it up. Upon arriving back home I immediately asked him what the report said. He threw the dreaded red folder down on the desk and through a quivering voice said, "Nothing good." My worst fears had been confirmed. The cancer grew, despite the chemo, despite the prayer, despite the hope, despite the dietary changes, despite the chemo, despite the chemo, despite the chemo! It's so hard to believe the chemo didn't work at all. In fact, it did the opposite, it allowed the cancer to grow. The new scan report showed evidence of growth in all of the tumors in the lungs as well as evidence of new tumors forming, and new metastases to the liver. The cancer is taking over his body.

The next couple of days were filled with angst. We began searching for the best possible non-conventional treatment option for Pete. Finally, we felt we had been led to one and decided it was the best route to pursue however, lag time between Dr communication and arrival of supplies has caused us to second guess our decision. I told Pete today that I feel like we aren't doing something right. I don't know what it is but I just feel off. Maybe it's lack of faith or maybe it's the fact that I can't see the future, but it's difficult not to feel like we're making the wrong choice. Especially when there's so much money on the line. Of course, no amount of money is worth my husband's bleak future in the event we chose to do nothing. All we can do is try because if we didn't, we could never live with ourselves.

In the midst of it all, we can still see God's hand working. He is faithful and if we didn't have His love and support we would be lost. He is the great physician so we will choose to believe he is going to work a miracle in Pete in some form or another.

This vacation to Kauai couldn't come at a better time and it's obvious God knew that all along.

Thank you Lord Jesus for your everlasting provisions. Thank you for walking beside us. And thank you to family and friends who have been His hands and feet during our time of struggle.

With Love,

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Little Things......

I think this picture speaks a thousand words.

When I posted this picture to Facebook my mom commented, "I believe the smile on Pete's face will work as well or better than the chemo." I think she's right!

Sunday, May 20, 2012


(Transcribed from Tuesday, June 15th journal entry... and again a week later after Google deleted the whole damn thing.) Alot has happened just since my last chemo round that inspired this post; CT scans, a change of heart as far as treatment options, but that'll all come in a later post soon, this is the background for it all so without further adieu...

We shouldn't be made to feel the worst anyone has ever felt in his or her life by the treatment that's supposed to make us better. I can't explain it absolutely to most people, unless they've been through it themselves and we can commiserate, which I've had the unfortunate pleasure of being able to do with a handful of people. More than I would like really, that means it's so devastatingly prevalent. In different circumstances, you would never read this post. I'm usually not so forthcoming with my feelings, being the introvert that I am. I would usually only go so far as to maybe write them in a journal, think about maybe posting them, but probably never doing so. This has been a great therapeutic outlet however; a chance to be brutally honest with myself, and with others. To share my deepest unreserved anguish, frustration, refocusing efforts, perspectives and yes, anger. That being said, today sucked.

Chemo round 7, number 4 on this regimen (FOLFOX). Each of these new rounds have hit me harder, sooner, with each progressing round. Same side effects, quicker onset. Today, getting ready to leave the infusion clinic and on my way out the door, I had to stop in the bathroom to throw up. Ironic since the first two hours of the infusion is a barrage of pre-meds, anti-nausea medication, a combo of 4 of them, supposed to last a few days. I felt sick before the chemo bag was even done dripping. I accepted it for what it was, knowing and anticipating that something would kick in sooner than last time. Time to power through. I ran a couple quick errands before going home, pressure breathing as I drove to abate my roiling stomach and to focus my resolve. I rested at home and found the ceaseless joy that comes from watching my children play and affirming my daughter's wild imagination by indulging requests (demands) for stories about pink fairies, dragons and even one about our dog Sassy and how she used to be able to fly as a puppy. "Sure honey. So there I was..." "No Daddy, you're not in this one!" "Oh, sorry..." So after getting Izzy to pause her movie about butterfly fairies in peril, we made a trip to Home Depot to replace our recently departed lawn mower, a task that should have taken 5 minutes; in-and-out, but got dragged out by giving into 25% off by signing up for their credit card. Sure, we come here enough, why not. Nausea mostly at bay but feeling just generally crappy, we waited and made it home in time for baths, and Dad running to the sink in the garage as to not throw up in front of the kids. Damn this! I'm sick of this! I hate it! I broke down. I'm not ashamed to say it, I cried, while dry heaving. Washing my face in the kitchen sink, Alysha came to check on me. I let go again and we just stood there as she held me. That's what I needed. Right then, in that moment, nothing else in the world mattered but the love, support and encouragement from my incredible wife, my best friend, my caregiver. "I hate this. I don't want this to be our life," I whispered through tears and sniffles. "It won't be," she replied softly and encouragingly.

What I was really thinking at that moment and wanted say, and knew absolutely that she herself was inferring in her simple reply was: there's a better way. We had been discussing it intensely over the previous week, heck, since my diagnosis 5 months ago! We've researched alternative and even complimentary (in conjunction with traditional medicine: burn it, poison it, cut it out) treatments. My case is peculiar in the fact that right now chemo is the only option the experts(?) can prescribe. But it's beginning to push me over the edge of principle logic. The bullshit flag is coming out, red caution lap to assess practicality of continuing...

We've been exposed to various cancer retreat programs, even a clinic in Mexico, outlawed in the U.S. because they're the only ones bold enough to state the fact the pharmaceutical companies and therefore the entire cancer industry (yes, it's an industry, just another business) doesn't want us to hear: 'Our treatment will cure cancer!' I've been reluctant to buy into any of the dozens of overwhelming methods that are claimed to work, but it's illogical against my campaign of logic to deny the truths that i'm bombarded with in Alysha's campaign to inform me and empower us to radically change our lives, our diet and our outlook in order to truly fight the cancer with an effective weapon, not to break down my body and my spirit rendering both incapable of fighting it the way they're intended to naturally. We've been doing alot by eating right, for the most part, but need to truly buckle down and follow a strict regimen that will eventually make a difference. Supplements and vitamins and green smoothies are now routine, but it's not enough. I had CT scans on Friday and results, good or bad, growth, shrinkage or stable, I need a change. Some people, especially the close family and friends that want to see me still be around in 5 years. They won't understand the choice of straying from the paradigm of conventional medicine, that taking a break to at least give something else a chance to see if it makes more of a difference and maybe indefinitely if future scans show improvement where so far, doing chemo has shown none. My most recent labs showed that the tumor blood markers measured the highest level yet! This measures proteins in the blood specific to different types of cancer and the activity in the body. Somethings not working like it should if they've continued to steadily rise. We decided that paying anywhere from $4-15k to go to a retreat where they prescribe their own method of natural healing is not the answer. We've learned all that we need to do. There are countless options, but we also need some professional help in finding the right combination for me. We can start our own treatment plan from home with a little help. Even thought the retreats offer more than just diet and supplement regimens, we can make the essential changes in our lifestyle to intentionally seek and make an absolute priority spiritual wholeness and strength, better routine exercise and time for personal reflection even if it means time away from the family to seek solitude and maybe even indulge in a climb when my body can match my strong drive and desire to attain the lofty heights that make my spirit whole. I can't do all of this in my current state since it all requires a sound mind, body and spirit. The toxins and poisons of chemo need to be cleansed from my system and given time to dissipate. It's time for another break, whether it's a temporary break to resume traditional treatment again later based on empirical results, or breaking the cycle, for good. I need to regain command and control of my life, though i'll never be the one in complete control; there is another One.

Thanks for listening, thanks for caring and showing your endless support, love and prayers to help us go on. It really is a boost to hear your replies when we need a kind word to brighten gloomy days like the ones we've struggled through recently. I love you all!