Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Prep for Round 7

This past weekend was really quiet for me. I just got some errands done, did a little babysitting for a friend and made a little progress on a bench (see picture below) that I've been working on for months now. It's not exactly what I've been imagining (anyone who knows me well, knows that the wrinkle you see in the fold below is driving me NUTS! :) ) but it doesn't collapse when you sit on it and for that alone I'm proud, haha.

Tim went on a Mancation for the weekend down to Fripp Island with my dad, uncle, some of their friends and one of Tim's friends. From what I understand they had a great time although they really didn't catch anything and had to go out to buy their dinner rather than eating what they caught. All-in-all I think it was a nice little break for Tim as the 18 rounds of chemo seem to have caught up to him at this point.

Yesterday we had another doctor's appointment to go over Tim's results and the plan for this next time. Poor guy has had his rash return and its has spread a little further this time than the last although it isn't a severe as it was before. This time the worst of it is on his scalp which makes showers painful for him but it is also on his arms, legs, back, stomach, shoulders, face and within his ears and nose. He is also developing some canker sores which makes eating a difficult procedure. He applies some Canka and has about 5 minutes to eat before it wears off and he has to reapply. Dr. Edenfield prescribed the magic mouthwash for him yesterday so we're hoping that might give him the respite he needs.

Even though the rash is back we are still taking it as a great sign. I told one of our ministers today that although I think Tim's doctors have done great work and our change of lifestyle (technically more his since I've been sneaking McDonalds hot fudge sundaes and worrying about coming home with chocolate on my breath) has contributed greatly to the success so far I really think this incredible network of support that is you all and prayers from you all that we have been given is what has given us the success we have seen so far.

Dr. Edenfield was very positive yesterday but is going to hold the Vecitibix on Wednesday to allow Tim's skin to ease back down. Once that happens he is going to switch him to Erbitux which is essentially the same as Vecitbix but requires a weekly infusion rather than bi-weekly. So technically he will still get chemo every other week but we will go in every Wednesday for this additional drug. He is hoping that maybe Tim won't get the rash like we've been seeing with him (although again, it is a great thing) but will still get the benefit the drug provides.

Everything is still up in the air for what happens next but there are a couple of different options on the table right now, its still just a wait and see game at this point. We are both extremely excited for what is in store over the next week (chemo not being included in that). We both love seeing our friends and family together in one place so the golf tournament, silent auction and dinner will be such a much needed good time for us. We also have our first anniversary the following weekend to celebrate. Its so crazy that it has already been a year, time seems to be speeding by but we're enjoying every bit of it despite the current circumstances. :)

Hope you all have a great week, we will follow up later and hope to see many of you on Monday!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Round 6 Done, Chemo - 2, Tim - 3, Tie - 1

Well I have finished round 6 and we are halfway finished with this round of treatments, well at least of the scheduled part. I was put back on Vectibix for this round. I thought that I was going to get away with the rash not coming back too bad but the past 2 days it has come back but not nearly as bad as the first time (knock on wood).

I did get some good news again this past Wed while getting my treatment and that is I will be receiving a dozen of the doughnuts from Abbeville this coming wed. We have found the location but were told we can have a dozen delivered to us as long as we let them know by Tuesday so I will be making a call.

In other news, we also found out that my CEA is now at 3.1 which is the lowest its ever been. Jenny and I are both excited about the news but I guess we're just waiting for the bad news because it always seems to come at some point.

The Brightlife crew has informed us that the golf tounament has filled up and that people are still signing up for the dinner and silent auction. Seems like things are really coming together. I am getting really excited for that monday to hurry and get here so I can see everyone again. It should be a really fun week since I don't have chemo and Jenny's & I's 1st anniversary is the Sunday after the golf tournament.

It has been a quiet week for Jenny and I with not too much happening. I played 12 holes with my dad and brother on Sunday which is the earliest I have ever been able to play golf after a treatment. I paid for it a little later that afternoon but I was good come Monday. She has been building a bench for the end of our bed so her dad and I got suckered into helping a little with that the other night.

I left late yesterday afternoon to take a short man-cation with Jenny's dad, his brother Robert, Ken, Lee, and my friend Ern. We were lucky enough for my co-worker Laurens to let us use his house this weekend down at Fripp to do a little fishing. It has been a long 12 weeks so far with treatments so this short weekend down here will be extremely relaxing and just a little of what I really need, a vacation from everything.

I am hoping that next week's treatment will be pretty smooth like last week's so I will be able to have a good Monday at the tournament. I hope that everyone has a great week this week and look forward to seeing people on April 4th.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Prep for Round 6

Almost halfway done (well with what was originally scheduled anyways). Tim's blood-cell counts are still looking good so he is still considered to be healthy. Our biggest problem has been keeping his potassium up which could be solved if he'd actually remember to eat a banana everyday. Unfortunately the Ativan keeps him from remembering anything.

Just a heads-up that if you've had a conversation with him while he is on chemo he most likely has no recollection of that conversation and actually may not remember that he talked with you at all. I've found this to be both frustrating and beneficial for myself. I'm no longer ever accused of nagging him although I'm actually having to nag him much more than I ever did before. I've actually also found that I can convince him that he has agreed to things that may not have occured such as cleaning the house, not that I've done that or anything though...

We had a great time with my cousins this past weekend staying up watching movies, walking around downtown and even doing a little dress shopping for Sarah Katherine. Otherwise we've been pretty boring recently with the highlight of our week sitting on the couch and watching TV.

Tim was able to get a half-dose of his Vectibix this week which we are so happy about and are hoping his reaction is minimal with all of the drugs, creams and other cleansers and medications he has within his arsenal now.

In other news, we went to a meeting this week the BrightLife team held to discuss the golf tournament, dinner and silent auction and I'm am incredibly impressed with all they have accomplished. They've done an amazing job with this and I'm excited to see it all come together, I'm sure it will be great! Looks like there will be some pretty incredible auction items as well. We're excited to see those that can make it out to the event!

One last thing before I head off to bed, just wanted to wish my dad, James, a very happy birthday tomorrow. The old man is getting even older! :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Round 5 Done, Chemo - 2, Tim - 2, Tie - 1

Round 5 is now officially in the books. The every-other week treatment schedule has finally become routine again. I didn't think that I would have to say that again but here we are. The treatments aren't getting any easier but they aren't getting harder either, its just something that I am used to again. The one thing that has come back again for these treatments is the stale medicine taste that I get in my mouth. This will usually last through the weekend and it really makes eating or drinking anything really hard those days that I am on treatment.

Ok after all of my complaining and whining I will now turn to positive or happy things. While Jenny and I were at the Cancer Center on Wednesday for my treatment we were able to have one of the best doughnuts that either of us have ever eaten. Lynn told us that there is another patient that is from Abbeville and he stops at an Amish bakery in Abbeville every other Wednesday and picks up doughnuts for the people that work at the Cancer Center. Well she brought us one and it was amazing. It was a mix between Krispy Kreme and Dunkin Doughnuts. I am hoping to find out the name of the bakery next week so Jenny and I can make a trip there.

Thursday Jenny and I were lucky to have Haley and Lillian stop by for a little bit. She is getting so big so fast and it is so much fun watching her grow up. It still amazes me that she is almost a year old. Jill, Sarah Lauren & Hazel also got to stop by for a quick visit that same day. All of them stopping by really helped break up the week and seeing the babies make it move by a little faster.

The weekend went by extremely fast and nothing really exciting happened, we did our standard grocery shopping at Trader Joe's on Saturday after Jenny babysat Eli Stathakis on Saturday morning and Andrea came over to watch movies. Jenny ended up in bed all day Sunday after getting a Phenergan shot for a migraine, she ended up taking off half a day today to sleep and I think is finally feeling better. I was impressed with her sleeping though, I can't even do that when I'm on treatment.

Last night dad and I were able to get 2 tickets (thank you Glenn) to the USC vs Clemson baseball game. The game turned out to be a great game and very exciting to watch. I was able to see a lot of former teammates and friends at the game, so it turned out to be a great night not to mention that the Gamecocks won the game and the season series.

The rest of this week should be pretty standard except that 3 of Jenny's cousins are coming to stay with us this weekend. It will be me and four girls which should be interesting.

I don't know how many people know yet but the BrightLife crew has decided to put a golf tournament, dinner and silent auction together for April 4th at Green Valley Country Club. It should be a lot of fun and would love to see anyone that can make it out there. If you're a golfer, come spend the day with us and if you aren't you can still plan on joining us for the dinner and silent auction. To sign-up for either or both just click on the "Tee It Up for Tim" link on this page (on the right-hand column) which will take you where you need to go or just click here.

I hope that everyone has a great week.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Round 5

Just wanted to give a quick update, yesterday and today have been kind of crazy for me so this has been my first chance to give you guys an update.

Tim actually has been feeling kind of decent this round. Its not the best but certainly not the worst. He actually wanted a Chick-fil-A sandwich as we left the cancer center yesterday which never happens. He slept for a good bit yesterday and just wanted a smoothie for dinner, ok technically he may have been forced but he ate (drank?) it regardless.

Today he slept the majority of the day but has had a grand total of 2 smoothies and absolutely nothing solid to eat so he may be feeling a little worse than usual over the weekend. Luckily he isn't feeling it right now though.

Tomorrow is a big day as he is getting unhooked and our little beagle is having surgery to get her teeth cleaned since even with both of us pinning her down brushing is not permitted. It should be pretty easy but I'll be the only one not drugged up and sleeping the day away. I can't say that I'm not a little jealous (of the sleeping, not the drugs). She and Tim are BFFs so I'm sure she will "somehow" end up in our bed to recover with him tomorrow.

I also wanted to pass along this information. I know its a little last minute but as I'm sure most of you do not know, and neither did we, March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month. In honor of that and in order to help promote Colon Cancer Awareness tomorrow, Friday March 4th is "Dress in Blue Day" so if at all possible please wear something blue to spread that awareness. 

Here is some information about colon cancer I received from Tim's oncology nurse, Lynn, today. Make sure you pay close attention to the last one.

Information on Colon Cancer from the American Cancer Society:
- Among cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer—cancer of the colon or rectum—is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Colorectal cancer also is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the United States.

- The risk of developing colorectal cancer increases with advancing age. More than 90% of cases occur in people aged 50 or older.

- Colorectal cancer screening saves lives. However, many people who are at risk for the disease are not being screened according to national guidelines.

- It is estimated that as many as 60% of colorectal cancer deaths could be prevented if all men and women aged 50 years or older were screened routinely.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Prep for Round 5

First the not so fun stuff, Dr. Edenfield again held off the Vectibix for another week hoping that we could get his face cleared up further before the flaring up starts again. They are still trying to figure out how to walk the tightrope of giving him steroids to clear up the reaction from the chemo but not so much that they cause a reaction of their own. Unfortunately they look so much alike its really hard to tell what reaction is from each treatment. We are really hoping he will be able to get back on the Vectibix by Round 6 and continue on it for the rest of his treatments as it shows the most promise for success in treating the cancer.

We also got some news about what the future holds (well, somewhat). We do know that Tim will be on this chemo for at least 12 rounds and they may continue him on it for a little longer than that but spread out to more infrequent treatments. The hope of this is that he will not become immune to the treatment (similar to what happens if you don't take all of your antibiotics I suppose). We're just holding out hope that his CEA will continue to drop and will stay down over the course of the next few months which shows he is still benefiting from the treatment. I've never heard it explained like Dr. Edenfield did but apparently if there are 100 cancer cells and 80 have been killed there is still a plateau of how many can be killed as the other 20 may just be immune to the chemo. Continuing to treat them would just make them more resilient and keep this treatment from being an option down the line.

Dr. Edenfield also mentioned yesterday that he believes a clinical trial will be our next step. There is no way to know what that will entail as far as treatment/travel/schedule/etc until we are closer to reaching that step (most likely we will know more in May) but we are both pretty anxious/excited about what it could do for Tim. If you all could just keep him in your prayers for the CEA to continue going down and to stay that way and for him to be placed in the trial that will give him the best results possible we'd be so grateful!

On to more exciting news, This past Saturday we went up to Asheville for the day and had a good time checking out some antiques, looking for a white belt for Tim and enjoying a late lunch. We got back late in the evening but with enough time to order a pizza and rent some movies.

Tim got to play some golf on Sunday before we headed to watch the Furman game at the Drive Stadium. Monday was a regular day of work before we went on our date with Emma who is the daughter of Tim's childhood friend Ern.

Tim picked her up and after my friend Lesley saved the day with helping to change her into dance clothes we headed over to her dance class.

She did an awesome job at her class and we had a great time watching all of the little girls running around. Once dance was over we headed to Chick-fil-A for dinner and some playing on the indoor playground. She also taught Tim how to play the game she got.

We had one last stop by McDonald's for hot fudge sundaes (no the diet was obviously not followed yesterday) before we took her home. Ern called with a report a little later letting us know that he found her passed out on the floor of her parents' room. I believe we were a success.

Thanks for all of the support!