Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Updates

via xkcd

I saw this today and thought it struck a chord with how accurate some of the thoughts are. Things have actually been going pretty well, we're still holding our breath but Tim's CEA has gone done for two testing periods in a row. I've learned not to get my hopes up with this sort of thing but we're really hopeful that just maybe this course of treatment will hold for awhile and give us some respite from all of the constant changes.

Tim ended up with a staph infection on his face a few cycles ago and got placed on a special antibiotic, we noticed that the rash on his face was much less substantial during that treatment period. They've placed him back on that antibiotic with the hope that the same thing might happen again. If that is the case then they may have discovered a little breakthrough that could help a lot of people with this treatment.

Otherwise Tim's been getting his treatments regularly & hanging out with our dog, as you can see they are obsessive about one another.



I built an office in the closet under our stairs while Tim went up to Chicago for a weekend



We went to a pretty wedding in Hickory, NC




We've been trying to eat healthier while still enjoying the food






We celebrated Tim making it past his expiration date (a friend referred to it as that & its stuck with us :))



And we're all ready for Christmas! (although 1/2 of our outdoor lights will no longer light up and neither of us really feel like fixing the problem :) )




Hopefully one of us will update this before Christmas but no promises. If we don't for some reason, hope you all have a Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Reflection

Two years ago today we found out that Tim's cancer had spread to his lungs. We went into that appointment thinking that perhaps it was back in a lymph node or maybe there was the remote chance that it had spread to his liver but nothing could've prepared us for the shock to come. That day ended up being the biggest turning point of my life.

When Tim was initially diagnosed in January of that year I knew it would be a tough road ahead for a few months, maybe a year or two but then we could put all of this behind us as a bump in the road. I thought that years from now we'd look at this as some terrible nightmare and chalk it up as a life lesson. Now I know so much more as Tim will be on chemo for the rest of his life or until they find a cure for cancer (which they are getting closer and closer to each day).

We've learned how to interweave chemo into our routine  and how to prevent it from being a hinderance from living our lives. We've learned that some days we just have to stop, let everything continue around us and take it all in, feel sorry for ourselves and just be. We've also learned that we can't live life with this constantly in our heads and feeling sorry for ourselves, we have to pull ourselves back up and keep pushing forward just as hard the next day.

I've learned lots of humility and patience (although I still have a ways to go with that one) as well as that sometimes I can't be in control of every little detail (my OCD is constantly fighting that lesson though). I've learned to let go of the little things because in the grand scheme they really don't matter and that the little drama of what others may think or how my actions may be perceived are insignificant. What really matters is how I make others feel.

Tim & I have learned to give and take in our relationship. We've learned so much about each other, what makes the other tick (and the best way to get under each other's skin) as well as how to support one another through the worst circumstances life has to offer. He's learned that sometimes he has to take my opinion into consideration and I've learned that sometimes I have to let him make his own decision, completely independent of what I think, even when every bone in my body screams against it.

We've learned what a tremendous gift it is to have a network of support and how it really can make a difference to your soul to know that there are so many out there praying for success. We've learned of the generosity of our community and the kindness of strangers, people are inherently good in this world. We've learned just how much our friends and family truly mean to us and what a pivotal role they play in our lives, especially in the darkest of days. We've also learned how much it means when someone reaches out to let you know they are thinking of you just as you've reached the end of your rope.

Two years ago today, when we found out Tim's cancer had spread he asked what it meant in terms of how much time he had left. The answer was that statistically, two years was the length of time. I know Thanksgiving was a week ago but today I'm thankful that statistics are just numbers. I couldn't be more thankful that Tim is here and he is thriving. Don't get me wrong, I still worry about what could be every single day but I know he is surrounded by an amazing medical team and a tremendous network of friends, family and even strangers that give him the ability to keep fighting day in and day out. For that I am so very thankful.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Round 2

I am halfway through my second round of Vectibix.  We took some precautions before I started this cycle to try to limit the severity of the rash on my face. Not only does it look bad but it feels like I have a severe sunburn.  So far the rash hasn't been too terrible. The real test for this will come next weekend when Steven and I go to Chicago for the Bears game.  The last time that I went up there the wind was so bad that it really dried my skin out and made the rash much worse than it normally is.  Steven has told me that we might be going to the Bulls game on Saturday night as well.  I had a great time the last time that I got to go up there and looking forward to it again.

I have also decided to make a career change.  After four and a half great years with Lee & Associates I have decided to make a change to go and work with my brother doing financial planning.  I can't say enough nice things about the people at Lee and how great they have been to Jenny and I over the past couple of years.  It was a tough decision for me to leave Lee because they have been like a family to me over the past couple of years, but I am excited to get the chance to work along side my brother and the chance to have benefits such as me being the one carrying the health insurance takes a big load off of Jenny finally. I also will have some disability insurance finally which I hope I never need but I know it has been a big source of stress for Jenny over the years. If anyone missed the original story, I was scheduled to have my physical for my disability and life insurances the day after my colonoscopy. Obviously they found the cancer during that colonoscopy so the insurance wasn't happening.

Other than starting my second cycle of Vectibix and changing careers not much has been going on in Jenny and I's life.  Things have been pretty calm, and I am not complaining about that.  Jenny has been pretty busy at work with PropertyBoss moving into a new building.  There were some issues that has made that situation a bit more hectic than it should have been but they seem to be settling in well and the building looks really good. Saturday we went and hung out with my brother, Haley and the kids and had a pretty good time before I started feeling bad and today I was feeling better so Jenny made me clean the deck with her and tomorrow we get to stain it after work. If anyone wants to take my place, feel free.

The Brightlife / iTOR house is continuing to move forward and should be framed out by the middle of next week.  I will go by there and take a couple of pictures to post on here so everyone can see the progress that has been made.

I hope that everyone has a great week.

Tim

Thursday, October 18, 2012

It Begins

The past 2 days have shown the first side effects of Tim's new treatment. I really think the preventative steps we took helped as it took almost a week for this to show up and it still isn't bad at all. You have to know what you're looking for to actually notice the rash but Tim is getting uncomfortable. Feeling as though he has a sunburn on his face and his head burns a bit. We need to get his special shampoo again which should help a lot with his scalp. As much as he hates the rash Tim keeps saying how much better it is than the hand and foot syndrome he was previously dealing with.

His nurse, Lynn, called me before Tim started treatment to say that if we wanted pictures together we needed to do it then. We haven't taken any together since our wedding (2 1/2 years ago) so I got in touch with our wedding photographer Olivia Griffin. She very graciously agreed to fit us into her schedule at the last minute for a day she typically reserves to spend with her family and we are so grateful. I know everything she does is pretty fantastic so she may even be able to make us look good. :)

Tonight we went to dinner with my grandma, two of my cousins and their son at Open Hearth. Grandma had a little fall about 3 weeks ago which gave her a fractured arm, some stitches in her hand & forehead (both removed now) and some bruising. Not only is she now doing just as well as she always has but she also saw a man she taught back in the 60s who still recognized her, hoping I got those Miller/DeVenny genes!

That's about it in our world, pretty slow week for us (that's a good thing). It takes awhile to see if the meds are working and the first round of bloodwork usually shoot the numbers way up (which is always a bit disconcerting) but I'm anxious to start seeing some good results and hope we actually get some this time. Until then we're just taking it a day at a time and keeping life as normal as possible.

Izzy Powell, the baby of our friends Landon & Allyson, seems to be finally heading in the right direction. Please still keep them in your prayers as she still has a long way to go for a full recovery.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Updates

Tim did a great job but left a few things out I thought I'd share. Most important is that part of our decision of what direction to take ended up pretty much being made for us. Dr. O'Neill recommended Tim stay the course with the Regorafenib for two reasons, one being that although it wasn't necessarily working it was slowing the growth of the cancer, the other being that if Tim got off of the trial there were no guarantees that he could get back in if the Vectibix didn't work. Most of the trials we had to choose from either had the possibility of a placebo (no thanks!) or had Vectibix. We decided to take Dr. Edenfield's advice and go with the straight Vectibix for Tim as it leaves more doors open to switch faster if the Vectibix doesn't work.

We left for Charleston after making that choice but still not completely at ease with our decision. When we got down there for Tim's discharge we found out that the Regorafenib had received FDA approval the day before at 11:40AM which means his time on the trial was short-lived anyways. It takes about 2 weeks to get the drugs to market which means it should've started to hit the shelves today. It's a huge relief to know that it's accessible to Tim now should he need it.

This week got a little crazy as Tim's chemo was scheduled then was rescheduled but he finally ended up receiving treatment and now everything has finally calmed down...for now. We're on alert to start looking out for signs of the rash coming back. This time we started preparations in advance with going to see a new dermatologist (Tim's previous dermatologist has since retired). He's an awesome guy and is very proactive. He started Tim on some creams & antibiotics so hopefully it won't get out of control again. He's also given us instructions to call and come in the same day we notice the rash starting to flare so he can see it in all of its "glory."

I've seen some really great articles on colon cancer recently, I even saw a great one called "Gut Check" in the most recent edition of Real Simple. It's good to see that message getting out there.

There is one particular post I saw this week though that really struck a chord with me. My friend Liz turned me onto a blog called The Wellness Warrior recently. This week they made an awesome post about being empowered through cancer and it speaks to a lot of things I've grown to believe over the past few years: http://www.thewellnesswarrior.com.au/2012/10/a-letter-to-my-fellow-cancer-friends/

One final thing that's actually the most important of all. Some friends of ours, the Powells, have been going through some pretty terrible circumstances lately. Landon was on the baseball team with Tim at Carolina and I've been lucky enough to get to know he & Allyson over the past few years. Recently Allyson gave birth to twins Ellie & Izzy, luckily Ellie is doing well now but Izzy had to be taken up to Ohio for more specialized treatment of what they believe may be an extremely rare disease called HLH. She's been starting to improve over the past few days but her liver counts today were not where they need to be so tomorrow this tiny baby will have a liver biopsy & bone marrow sample taken at 1PM and possibly need to have chemo. Please keep Landon, Ally & Izzy in your prayers as well as their other two children, Holden & Ellie through what I can only imagine is an impossible time right now. Here is the link to their Facebook page to follow their story: http://m.facebook.com/pages/Prayers-for-Izzy/495219343830343?id=495219343830343&refsrc=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fpages%2FPrayers-for-Izzy%2F495219343830343&_rdr

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Back at it

I have officially finished my first round back on Vectibix.  It is much easier to have it alone rather than being paired with 5-FU.  The side effects haven't started yet but I have been preparing for a little over a week for them.  I wish that there was more to talk about concerning the actual chemo, but it was rather normal. I'll be on just this for awhile until we figure out if it works or not then we might add 5-FU back in as well. If it does work I'll be on this until it stops working or something new & promising comes along. We're really hoping its the second option rather than the first.

This past weekend I went down to Columbia for the USC game (yes the USC no matter what the football coach in Pickens County says) and tailgated with a few old teammates.  It was cool to be able to see David, Kevin, Brian, and Matt again.  Kevin and David won the tailgate package from the golf tournament last year so we tailgated with Rusty and the rest of the Courtyard crew.  David and I went into the game together and it was one of the loudest games that I have been to.  USC (yes again for the coach in Pickens the real USC) played one of the best games I have seen them play.

We have some of Jenny's friends coming up to stay with us this weekend for Fall For Greenville, so it will be another eventful weekend.  Carolina also plays LSU Saturday night so hopefully they can keep the unbeaten record intact.

We also were able to announce today that Goodwin-Foust is building a Brightlife/iTOR showhome which will be ready in the spring. We don't have a lot of details yet but it is going to be a in new neighborhood off of Hammett Road called Greywood at Hammett.  We are really excited and flattered that they have decided to do this as well as how amazing all of the vendors & partners have been. If you're in the market for a new house this spring, keep this one in mind, its going to be pretty incredible from everything we've heard about it so far. We will share more details as we get them.



I hope that everyone has a great weekend.

Tim

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Back from Visit

I figured that we needed to switch things up and let me write a post, since I haven't done that in a while. Before I get into the actual reason for posting this I will talk about our weekend after the meeting with the doctor.  We stayed at The Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill and it was an amazing hotel, Jenny was actually able to get it for us on Priceline for way under half of what it usually costs.  It was opened back in 1924 and it was beautiful.  On Thursday night we went out to dinner with Jenny's high school friend Megan and her boyfriend, Ed, to a place called Top of the Hill.  It was a rooftop restaurant with great food and atmosphere.  We got up and walked around the town for a bit since we didn't need to head back over to the doctors office for anymore tests before heading to Columbia.  We got to Columbia late in the afternoon on Friday and went out to dinner with Jenny's friend Jen.  We went home early since we were both tired from all of the driving and we had to get up for the game the next day.  We got to the fairgrounds around 1:00 and made our way around to a couple of tailgates before me and my dad went into the game.  The crowd was pretty good and it is always a great day when USC wins and Clemson loses on national tv.  I know that was a quick recap but I figured that most people wanted to read the next part of this post.

  As you all know Jenny and I made the trek up to Chapel Hill this past Thursday for out appointment with Dr. O'Neal.  We into town at around 3:15 and I got a call from Dr. O'Neal's office asking if I was in town yet to come on over and we can meet with him a bit early.  We headed over we were able to get right back to the back to see him.  We sat down and went over everything that has happened since I was last up there in Dec. of 2010.  Talked about the different drugs I have taken, the results of my most recent scans, and the results and patterns of my last CEA tests.  After everything was mentioned on our side we sat back expecting to hear him say the exact route that he would want us to take.........This did not happen.  While he told us about the pros and the cons of each path (chemo) that we could take, but never said this is what you need to take. The pro about staying on the current drug (regorafenib) is that the tumors don't seem to be growing fast and this drug, and who knows what another drug would be able to do.  The con about getting of this drug is that since it is still in trial phase I wouldn't be able to get back into the trial if we can't find something else that works better, I would have to wait until it comes on the market (likely by the end of next year at the very latest).

He also mentioned 3 different clinical trials that he has currently at his center.  One of these consists of a placebo, which at this point I don't want to do because of the fact that I might not get the actual drug.  The other two are both with 5FU which I have had in the past along with one of the drugs that breaks my face out.  I am all for one of these but I am not sure I want to drive to Chapel Hill every other week to get treatment, although if that's what has to be done I'll do it.

I guess that we are at a cross-roads because there are options out there but its tough to figure out what to do but no matter what path we choose I will beat this thing in the end, it is just the steps of getting there that are difficult.  None of these options will make my life easy by any means because there are always going to be side-effects.  Do I want to go back on Vectibix and have the stuff on my face or do I want to stay on Regorafenib and not be able to walk for about 2 weeks out of the month?

The process has not been fun but it is the way my life will be for the near future.  I know that most of the time I seem like everything is good and it doesn't affect me (which is really the case) but this does take it out of you. But as weird as this sounds I am glad I am the one going through this and not someone else.  I have a great support system and doctors that have my best interest at heart and I feel positive we will make it to the other side of this.  I want to thank everyone for saying their prayers for us as we have and will keep going through this, its really helped a lot, I hope you'll continue to keep us in your prayers as we go forward.  I hope to see everyone soon.

Tim

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Tiny Bit of More Information

Not much has changed since my last post, we do know that Tim's appointment in Chapel Hill is at 4:00 on Thursday so we will head that way Thursday morning and plan to stay until Friday just in case there is something available up there that they need him to do more testing for. Otherwise there really is no change in anything.

We do feel so grateful for all of the support we have received from you all, your friends, family members, co-workers, blog followers and acquaintances. The sheer number of people that have viewed Tim's blog over the last few days is humbling to say the least. It means so much to us that people care enough to share his story with others who are all coming together to root for him. He is my entire world so knowing that so many people are praying for him really helps me to push through each day.

As for us we've been on the same routine as usual, last week our dog had some surgery to remove a bump on her ribs so we've been busy taking care of her, going to the game in Columbia, spending some much needed time with great friends and just working to keep our daily routines in order to keep life as normal as possible while we wait to find out what will come next. The only difference for me being that I cringe every time he coughs knowing now that its likely being caused by the new lymph node lighting up in his chest. I'm so anxious for that to begin to fade as to me it will mean whatever the new treatment is will be doing its job. Tim is still as happy and positive as he always is which is so inspiring for me to watch, we may differ on our opinions as to the latest results but we're both committed to watching him beat this disease.

We also really appreciate all of the tremendous offers for help but honestly I couldn't think of anything tangible that we need if I tried, but everyone is so generous to offer. We still need lots of prayers for the right medicine for Tim, whatever it may be, and please continue to pass along his blog and his story to others you may know. More than anything I want him to be the exception to the rule of the statistics over the next few years. My opinion is that the more people who know his story, the more can pray for him which is never a bad thing.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Results

I've been putting off writing this post as I really just don't know what to say. I've finally decided I might as well just tell the truth, it will give you a little idea as to how Tim & I's viewpoints vary in the circumstances we encounter.

First the facts, on Wednesday Tim & I were both pretty nervous as we knew we'd be meeting with Dr. Edenfield Thursday morning but were anxious as we still hadn't been given a hint of what the results were. Typically we at least have some sort of idea as to what to expect, good or bad. This time we knew something had changed but had no clue if it is severe, not a big deal, etc. Tim called up to the cancer center and got a call back around 3:30 from Dr. Edenfield. He told him that the nodules in his lungs have increased slightly and that an original lymph node that previously lit up but we never knew if it was cancerous or responding to injury from Tim's very invasive abdominal surgery, was slightly enlarged as well as a lymph node under the point where his bronchial tubes split. We then met with Dr. Edenfield yesterday morning to review the scans in person and to discuss next steps. It seems like the majority of his lung nodules are on the periphery of his lungs but they are becoming a little easier to spot now. I have to admit that my heart still skips a beat and I have a slight panic attack each time I see those scans and mistake a blood vessel for a tumor until Dr. Edenfield points out the actual locations which are much harder to see.

Tim has officially been pulled from the Charleston trial but for the next two weeks he won't be on any meds at all in order to give his feet and hands some time to heal before we move on to something else. He really has been to hell & back with those things. To give you an idea basically by the end of a treatment his feet are covered in blisters which heal over the off week but also peel off during their healing process leaving fresh raw pink skin. That new skin ends up developing into new blisters during the next round and the cycle perpetuates getting a little worse each time.

Next Thursday we will be going back up to Chapel Hill to meet with Dr. O'Neil again to get his opinion on what we should do next as well as just to check-in and see what he may have to offer in terms of trials or treatments. The Friday after that we will travel down to see Dr. Geils & Debbie one last time for Tim's discharge out of the trial program. A previous program Tim did with the Vectibix may be our next try but we aren't sure if he has been off of it long enough for it to begin to work again, it's the one that worked pretty successfully before and gave him the rash on his face and upper torso.

Now for what this means & how Tim & I differ in opinion on this. Tim is happy with the results, he had feared that there was more of a spread than what happened or that it had spread to his liver or any other major organs. I, on the other hand, am pretty scared for the fact that it has moved out of his lungs and, significant or not, is in locations it hasn't ever been in or hasn't been in for almost 2 years now. I think his words say it best:

"Am I happy that I have 2 insignificant lymph nodes pop up or that some of the spots are a bit larger.  No, I am not, but I won a battle in the sense that it's not in another organ right now. My feet and those problems really have me down and frustrated but now that I know this wasn't the drug for me I am ready to move on and start fighting again. These little breaks I get are very important to me because they let me be normal again even if it is for only 14-20 days. If you think about it I am not normal for probably 200 days in a row and those days are when I feel like I can have fun and sit back and breathe for even just a second.  

Am I happy that I will be feeling shitty for 3 days out of 14 again, hell no.  But that is my life right now and it will be for the foreseeable future. I guess what I am saying is that when I say I am happy about the results, that is what I mean."

Ultimately neither of our opinions really matter as the important thing is that we do find a treatment that starts working as soon as possible. I will say though, that I am so proud of him. Throughout everything he is such an amazing fighter and so much stronger than I could ever hope to be. Admittedly there are many nights where he is comforting me rather than the other way around. If I had my way we wouldn't be dealing with this at all but since that is not an option, I am so grateful that Tim is the one I'm going through this journey with.

We're both still holding out hope for a miracle drug to get rid of all of it so we can start living our lives with some security instead of this roller-coaster ride we can't seem to get off of. I think out of everything that has happened and how much our lives have changed over the past (almost) 3 years now, that is what I miss most of all. As many of you know I'm super OCD and a big planner, needless to say I've had to adjust my approach to the world over the past few years (which hasn't necessarily been a bad thing all the time) but I'm really just ready to be able to plan a vacation 6 months ahead of time without the concern of whether or not it may end up falling on a chemo week.

I've texted a few friends to let them know what is going on and the most common question has been "What can we do to help?" What we really need more than anything else right now is for lots of prayer for Tim that the right drug will be used next. I think both of us (as well as our families) need some stability and, though none of us have lost hope that a cure will be found soon, stability could go a long way in giving us a better sense of security and refreshed sense of hope. So please pass Tim's name & story to others you may know, prayer groups you may be a part of or if prayer isn't your thing just send good vibes, happy thoughts or whatever it is that you do believe in Tim's way. We'd be so grateful.

Tim & Jenny

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Not What We've Been Hoping For

Friday was another one of Tim's Charleston appointments, they put him back on the full dose after having to hold, then reduce it last time with how bad his feet got. That was great news, unfortunately we also received some other not so great news as well. Tim's CEA has doubled over the past month. Both Dr. Geils & Dr. Edenfield are pretty confused as to what is going on & why it would have reacted in that manner. Regardless, Tim will be having a CT Scan this week and hopefully in the next week or two we should have a better idea about what's going on and at some point after that we should know what the next steps will be. In the meantime we just get to wait again, which for the lack of a better word, sucks. 

Please keep Tim in your prayers for a drop in his CEA & that the cancer hasn't spread additionally or grown over the past few weeks.

Thanks,

Tim & Jenny

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Updates

Tim's feet have gotten really bad this week to the point he is now using a cane and they have held chemo until they start to improve (which we are hoping happens VERY quickly!). He's developed a greater sense of empathy with his grandparents at this point too :).  So far there has been lots of icing, pain meds & today he was issued a handicapped parking decal which will make our lives much easier. Otherwise we finally got a new TV (Tim is madly in love) and got everything fixed from the lightning strike last week only to find that our sprinkler system was apparently hit by the lightning too so that's being replaced tonight and we should be good to go after that (knock on wood). We've got some friends coming into town this weekend to help celebrate Tim's birthday which we are very excited about so it should be a fun weekend ahead!

On another note, the Colon Cancer Alliance recently mentioned this store in their last newsletter in which the jewelry designer is making these cute colon cancer awareness bracelets and $5 goes back to CCA for each bracelet purchased. I just bought one & thought others might be interested too so here is the link: http://www.shopthebluerose.com/product/bob-bracelet

Oh & finally someone asked a question on the last blog post about what lotion Tim is using for his feet & hands now but didn't leave an email address so thought I'd answer that here. He's using Udderly Smooth cream with Urea in the morning & night on his hands and feet along with something called Heel Balm we got at Whole Foods for his feet. He uses just the plain Udderly Smooth cream throughout the day on his hands (& should on his feet as well but I'm pretty sure he doesn't). He also uses the Band-Aid Blister bandages on all of his foot blisters (& sometimes his hands when they get really bad) for cushioning & to help heal them but we've discovered that 2nd Skin (its a gel like pad thing typically for burns) works pretty well too when something gets bad. Hope that helps!

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Start of Month 3

We have gotten back from Charleston and I have started and almost finished the first week in my 3rd month of being on the new drug.  They have been keeping up with my CEA count and we found out that it has dropped 1.3 points from last month to this month.  This was the news that Jenny and I have been waiting to hear for 3 months.  We were also having problems with my blood pressure being too high, but I have been on a medication for about a month now and we finally have that under control as well.

I decided to coach at another tournament in Charleston since I was going to be down there anyways.  It was nice also for Jenny and I to be able to get away for a weekend and hangout.  We had some good food and we were able to see Sheena and Katie one night too.  

This past month of the treatment were not bad.  The blisters that I have been getting on my hands were not nearly as bad this time as they were last month.  Jenny talked last time about a certain type of lotion that is supposed to work the best for my hands (thank you for all the response about this) and I have been using it the entire time so I guess it really does work.

On a funny note.  Our house got struck by lightning the other night.  Yes I do know how bad that sounds.  But it is actually not too bad of a thing because we are now going to be forced to get a new tv for the living room since the lightning decided our old tv needed to pass away.  I have come up with a spreadsheet (which everyone makes fun of me for) so we can figure out which tv is the best.  The storm also decided to kill our modem and one of the Direct TV boxes as well.  So it has been a crazy start to the week for the Bright household.

Jenny has been giving me grief lately because this coming up Tuesday I will be turning the big 3-0.  I don't feel any different but for some reason she thinks it is a big deal I guess because she is so much younger than I am.

I hope that everyone has a great week and thank you for all the support.

Tim

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tim's Slacking :) & a little help needed please!

Tim was supposed to write this almost a week ago but I can barely get him to sit down these days, much less write a blog between work & the traveling his coaching has required lately. Not to mention that his memory is like that of an 80 year-old, pretty much gone as soon as he thinks of it, hence why the dry cleaning is still at the cleaners 2 weeks later. :) Life should slow down a bit after the next two weeks so hopefully we can get back to a normal schedule of blogging.

Things got pretty out of control over the past few weeks to the point that we were both pretty worried about what would come next but we've been told that the first 6 weeks on the new drug seem to be the hardest so we're just settling down to ride out the storm of these next 2 1/2. There is only one other guy who is ahead of Tim in the trial so I've been really dependent upon the internet to see what is "normal" and what isn't with this since some European trials are further along at this point. It's really a strange feeling to not have a clue if a side-effect is something we should be concerned about or if its completely normal, not to mention with no one else really knowing that answer either. Luckily we are surrounded by a great team of doctors and nurses that we trust implicitly and have been incredibly willing to listen to our concerns and answer our questions as best they can. Essentially a lot of the information that we are giving them is helping to plan the course of others who may receive this treatment down the road.

I think the last time I wrote was about two weeks in, the fevers he had pretty much continued right up to him finishing the meds and he developed a pretty bad cough. It got to the point that they became so concerned about him having bronchitis or pneumonia that Tim got to go get a chest x-ray, luckily it was completely clear. He hasn't had a fever yet since he got off of the meds and his cough isn't nearly as severe. His feet got to the point of being so blistered that we went out and got him a pair of Nike running shoes he had to start wearing all the time and still was limping a lot. They have been fantastic though, the top is pretty much completely mesh so they breathe a lot but the bottoms are really cushioned which have helped to protect his feet. We've also found that blister band-aids are great for them and have been going through packs of those at a time. We've also bought him 2-3 pairs of the Dr. Scholl's gel inserts that we keep in the fridge so he can throw them into his shoes and help to keep the temperature of his feet down which helps with preventing the blisters from happening. They seem to have cleared up since he got off of the meds so we're hoping that lots of prevention will keep them from reoccurring. His hands also got pretty bad so I had to help him get dressed in the mornings since he couldn't button his dress shirts. The blisters calloused up and unfortunately that skin peeled off which has left very sensitive pink skin that I'm really nervous about being much more susceptible to becoming new blisters with this round. Luckily the pain of the blisters went away with his week off as well but we're quickly approaching the point where they began to show up last time.

All of this also came with the knowledge that he is no longer allowed to do yard work (too hot and too much friction on his hands & feet), he can't walk long distances (so now he has an excuse for driving in circles to find the closest spot), can't clean the house (can't be exposed to the cleaning products even though we use all natural stuff or the friction), can't wash dishes (he apparently took this to mean he can't put them in the dishwasher either, that situation was remedied quickly :)) and can't take out the trash (can't get the bag off of the can). We've accommodated all of these so far (many he really wasn't too devastated about not being able to do anymore, go figure...)  and have just switched some of our roles which has been interesting to say the least. His biggest don't now is that he can't take hot showers and according to the little device he has that tells you if the water is the right temperature he basically has to take cold showers, he keeps cheating on this rule though as evidenced by the steamed mirror I see after every shower he takes, can't say I blame him for that one though.

We did go to Charleston last Friday for his one month check-in and were pretty much in and out as we went to Asheville on Saturday to do an early birthday celebration for me since Tim decided to abandon me for coaching in Florida on my actual birthday (sorry, just had to throw a little jab in there but no worries I'm going with our families to his favorite restaurant tonight for dinner as retribution. I'll be sure to send him pictures of my food to rub it in as well :)) The doctor allowed Tim to stay on full dose as long as he promised to report any fevers or side effects immediately so they could be taken care of. We're really hoping that this time is smoother than last so he can stay on the full dose but who knows what may happen. We didn't get any news about progress like we'd hoped but we are anxiously waiting to see when that news might come.

As for now Tim started on his 2nd dose last Friday and attempted to play softball (irregardless of the condition of his hands) on Monday until I killed that dream, like I said he is refusing to slow down much to my chagrin at times... We've started to see some of the same initial side effects creeping back in this week, his joints becoming sore so he walks like an old man, the loss of his voice, the rash that is creeping up his neck and down his chest and back so we're preparing for what's to come over the next 2 1/2 weeks. This time it is a little easier knowing that the week off will give him some reprieve from all of this but we don't know if the side effects will become cumulative like past drugs have been or if it will be successful. I think all of it will be much easier if we just know that there is good coming from it.

We do have one need if anyone could be of help, he is supposed to keep his hands moisturized with Udderly Smooth Udder Cream (preferably the extra care with Urea we've been told) and yes, unfortunately it has to be that exact brand and type. I think we've been in every Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target, Walgreen's & CVS that we can find around here with no success, we can't even find the basic Udderly Smooth Udder Cream. Just wondering if we could ask all of you to keep your eye out for it locally & if you see it let us know where you've found it. Right now we've been ordering it off of the internet which wouldn't be a problem except Tim's memory keeps him from remembering he needs it until he actually really needs it so knowing where to get it locally would be great. Thanks in advance for your help!

Also, sorry for so much detail, I know this blog is a lot about keeping you guys informed but we've learned that it's also a great spot for us to come back & reference what he was experiencing at each stage and at times has helped us when we have a question about what happened when so it's become a bit of a journal for us as well. I mean if you think we can't keep up with this thing which we each have access to from our computers, cell phones & iPad, just imagine us trying to use actual pen & paper :)

Hope everyone has a great week!


Thursday, June 21, 2012

The first 2 weeks

The past two weeks started out uneventful but as of the end of last week, that changed. Tim had been outside coaching and when he got home I noticed a rash going up his neck and behind his ear. It went away later that evening & we forgot all about it.

Tim came back from his weekend coaching in Rock Hill when I noticed what looked like the same rash back on his neck as well as on his chest. He hung around for awhile and it went away but came back after his shower. We finally figured out its a heat rash so now not only does he burn quickly & easily in the sun but he also can't handle the heat anymore or take anything more than a lukewarm shower.

He also lost his voice for a few days last week which was a pretty funny side effect. But those have been the lighter ones thus far. All of his joints & muscles are achy so it takes him a minute or two to get going once he stands up and he says the exhaustion is unbelievable but has been able to combat that somewhat with naps after coming home from work. He's also had trouble wanting to eat and being able to eat a full meal but that seems to be beginning to level off now.

The real concerns we've had though are developments that have occurred just this week. Monday night he asked me to check to see if I thought he had a fever (this is a regular occurrence & thus far the answer has always been no). This time though he had a temperature of 100.5 & rising and was freezing. It capped off at 100.7 before we went to sleep but had dropped down to 99.7 the next morning so I made him stay home from work & get some much needed rest. As of last night he still had a fever of 99.5 but we thought it would go away throughout the day. Obviously we were wrong as it is now back up to 100.7 tonight. He feels fine otherwise (except for the side effects mentioned above) so we're really hopeful that this may just be a sign that the chemo is doing its job. A fever does usually mean your body is fighting off an infection right? Plus typically when he has had a fever (that has never lasted more than a few hours before) his CEA has dropped the next time.

Unfortunately the fever & fatigue he is experiencing aren't the worst of his side effects right now. He has developed hand & foot (a blistering rash that is not contagious). His feet (thus far) have escaped any issues but his hands have red & painful blisters all over them making even simple tasks like opening a water bottle or holding a pen really painful for Tim. Unfortunately it looks like his softball season has ended early this year and that he won't really be playing a lot of golf this summer as even something as basic as rubbing a towel on his skin can cause too much heat & friction and cause the blisters.

I really hate watching him go through all of this but we are so hopeful right now that all of these hardships mean the medicine is doing its job. Hopefully we're not building ourselves up for disappointment but are really hoping that all of the issues making this experience so hard are a good sign. We have noticed that previously harder treatments yielded better results for him in the past, maybe these are just really good results...

Regardless, please keep him in your thoughts. It's been really hard for him to have to dive back into all of this again and now although he feels good, the physical limitations right now are pretty tough for him to deal with both physically and mentally. He's having to be reliant upon others which hes really not used to. We both are in full agreement that if these limitations are what need to happen in order for him to get his miracle then they are more than worth it but there is a fine line that we're walking to make sure that the side effects don't get so out of control that they have to lower his dosage or hold treatment. Luckily he only has about a week left until he gets a week off.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Starting Over Again

Jenny and I went down to Charleston at the end of last week to Charleston Oncology and Hematology Associates to talk with Dr. Geils about the new chemo regimen that I will be on.  We left Greenville Thursday morning for our appointment that afternoon and got to Orangeburg and got a call from them telling us that our appointment was changed to 9:45 the next day.  We are lucky that we just happened to pack extra cloths thinking that they might have to do tests the next day.  It all worked out well because we were able to stay with one of Jenny's sorority sisters Emily Warren and her hilarious husband David.

We got up early the next day and got a quick breakfast at Hominy Grill before heading over to the appointment.  They ran a bunch of tests and we ended up staying there for four and a half hours.  Everything came out good and I actually started my treatment that day.  My new treatment is a drug called regorafenib.  This is a pill based treatment, which is so much nicer than infusions.  I will take 4 pills each morning and the only side effects known are hand-foot syndrome, fatigue, and hypertension.  So far I have taken four days of pills and haven't seen any of these effects.  I will take three straight weeks of pills and then I will have one week off. Once the four week cycle has ended I will travel back down to Charleston and meet with the doctor to make sure that everything is still going good.

I hope that everyone has a great week.

Tim

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Starting Again

We've finally got the call (well 2 of them) telling us Tim has been accepted to the trial in Charleston. We were first told he has an appointment at 4pm tomorrow but got another call today saying he has a 10am appointment on Friday so we get to straighten that out first thing in the morning. Irregardless he should be on this new treatment in the next week or so if not tomorrow/Friday.

We're really hopeful with this one, not only has the TargetNow Therapy program (the program we raised money for & that Tim had the biopsy for) matched a drug that is similar to the new drug but it has shown an incredible amount of success in trials. The FDA has not approved its use yet but it has gone through Phase 3 trials and is in line for approval. Apparently the trials were so successful that they stopped mid-trial, completely unblinded the double blind study (apparently a really big deal) & offered the drug to those that had received the placebo. Now it's being offered for compassionate use (for those that have exhausted all standard protocols) which is how Tim will have access to it. Hopefully this will turn the tide & finally get the growth under control, we'll find out soon enough.

On another note, Here is a video about the Dragon Boat Race Tim & I participated in about a month ago if you want to see what its about in a little more detail:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBAznTsHbKw&feature=youtu.be

Friday, May 25, 2012

It's Been A Long Week

We got Tim's results on Tuesday and as Dr. Edenfield said, "it wasn't the homerun we wanted but a good double."

Basically the testing confirmed some of the drugs that have worked previously as well as confirmation about some that haven't worked but most importantly it gave us a new drug called Regorafenib to try.

It's currently in Phase 3 trials & hasn't been approved by the FDA but has seen really great results so far so were really hopeful for Tim to get some good results.

We're now waiting on finding out details of what comes next but we do know that the trial is based in Charleston so although well have a little traveling it won't be too bad.

This morning Tim had a CT scan, we're still working through the details but 100ccs (about 1/2 a cup) of fluid & dye were injected directly into his arm instead of his vein. His arm got really swollen (over 3 inches bigger than the other) & although he was icing it & keeping it elevated about 6 hours later the swelling was continuing & spreading.

We went up to the Cancer Center so Lynn could check it out and were told he needed to go to the ER & they started calling plastic surgeons for the fear he had something called compartment syndrome which can only be fixed by cutting the arm open & leaving it that way for a few days to drain then putting it back together with skin grafts. Needless to say, we got pretty nervous but luckily Lynn was calling into the plastic surgeon so we could skip the ER & meet with him directly. He mentioned that until Tim began having nerve issues or problems moving his joints that we could just go home. Luckily his swelling has reduced about a 1/4" so far and no issues no far with pain or nerve issues so were hoping he may be out of the woods now thanks to the incredible care by Lynn, Tammy, Rose & the rest of the te at the Cancer Center!

We're hoping that today's excitement means that everything else should go pretty smoothly with this new treatment plan, should know more in the next week or two.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Big Announcement

We finally have the total raised from the Golf Tournament, Dinner & Silent Auction which was $14,679.37. That is WAY above what we set our goal to be and we couldn't be more excited about how well everything turned out. Thanks to all who helped, donated or participated, we couldn't have done it without all of you! We're looking forward to 2013 already (but are taking a little time off first :)).

Sorry it's taken so long! After a day of recovery from the tournament I started a new job which I've been trying to get my head wrapped around as well as Tim's surgery and just normal everyday life happening. It's been busy but a lot of fun as well!

Today marks 2 weeks exactly since Tim's surgery & he is doing great. There's been one little mishap with the incision in which the chest tube was reopening a little but that was fixed pretty easily and as of last night only had about a quarter-inch section that needed to seal up still. That may be the result of how quickly he's become reactive again, he went to the gym Tues & Wednesday of last week, played golf Thursday, went to the beach to fish with my dad Friday through Sunday and was back playing golf everyday this week again.

The reason behind why he is playing so much golf is due to his brother surprising him with an invitation to play in the BMW Pro-Am as a guest of the tournament. Steven wrote the nicest email I've read telling of Tim's story to the leaders of the tournament which is what got Tim the spot. The two of them will get to hang out for the next few days as Tim plays & Steven caddies for him, it should be interesting to say the least. Tim is beyond thrilled & even has his outfits for each day planned out (which he is pbly going to kill me for announcing :)). He plays at Chanticleer this morning, Carolina Country Club tomorrow morning & will be teeing of at Thornblade on Saturday morning around 10 in case anyone is planning on heading out there.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Freedom

The rest of yesterday & last night were pretty uneventful, we actually got some decent sleep without being checked on every hour.

This morning Tim had another chest X-ray & we met with the doctors who gave the go-ahead for him to be discharged. They removed the IV needle from his port & changed his chest tube bandage so I saw that incision for the first time. It's much smaller than I envisioned & was already considerably healed up.

Tim is still pretty sore but he hasn't taken any pain meds since yesterday afternoon, nor has he needed them. He's quite a little trooper.

We got home around 12 to find that one of our sweet neighbors had mowed for us. Yet another example of how all of you have gone so above & beyond, we are so grateful!

My mom dropped our dog off & the three of us have been napping all afternoon. There is a pizza on its way now & we have every intention of being lazy bums for the remainder of today & tomorrow and will take it a day at a time from there.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Almost Out

Tim is feeling MUCH better today. He had his first meal this morning and has been snacking ever since.

They came in about 45 min ago to remove his chest tube which luckily wasn't as bad as he expected. They've also unhooked his IV so as long as he does what he is supposed to we will be headed home tomorrow!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Making Progress

Tim has been making great progress today. He got up once and we've finally got his pain meds regulated & are staying ahead of the pain.

He got a good nap in this afternoon and although he still has the chest tube in they removed the suction which is a great step for his progress.

As long as he keeps progressing as well as he has been they will be removing the tube in the morning.

Thanks for everyone's support, we really appreciate all of your visits, thoughts, prayers, texts, calls, emails, etc!

Settled In

We are all settled into a room. Tim is in some pain from the chest tube so we're working on getting his pain meds regulated but is otherwise feeling pretty good all things considered. It was a really early morning so we'll probably be napping & just hanging out for the rest of the day.

Dr. Stephenson mentioned that dependent upon how he does over the next 24 hrs they may be able to take out the tube tomorrow & if he's doing really well they may discharge him as early as tomorrow afternoon but he'll be out by Sunday at the latest barring any complications.

The nurse putting in his IV this morning was incredibly entertained by how much Emla cream (numbs the skin so sticks dont hurt) Tim had layered on both of his hands "just in case". He was also apparently a chatty little guy in post-op recovery and was entertaining the nurses. Pretty standard charming behavior in both incidences for Tim though :)

Thanks so much for all of the support, I'll update whenever anything else changes!

Done

The doctor just came out to say the the surgery is over & everything went well. He should be in a room in the next 2 hours.

Earlier Start Than Expected

Tim went back to surgery around 7AM, because he didn't have to have an A-line or Epidural (not sure why you need it other than if they need to break ribs so guess its a good thing he didnt!).

Pre-Op went really smoothly, he was pretty anxious at first but his anesthesiologist, Rocky, came by and was awesome which really calmed him down. Dr. Stephenson also came by and gave orders for them to use his port rather than a normal IV which Tim was also really happy about. They've said the surgery should last about an hour so he should be done around 9 and we will hopefully be headed to his room around 11.

It's Early

So it's about 5AM, we've been up for an hour already & we're on our way to the hospital for Tim's surgery which should begin around 8. I'll update the blog periodically today to keep everyone informed so just be sure to keep visiting the site. That's about all I've got, my brain isn't really functioning yet. :)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Golf Tournament and Whats Next

I guess last time we wrote on here was to talk about the Dragon Boat Race. We had a great time and won both of our heats by a long shot but barely missed the cut for the finals. Hopefully its something we can do again next year.

I cannot say thank you enough to everyone for their help and support with the golf tournament.  We all had a great time and helped me raise money for something that I am very passionate about.  We are still waiting to pay a couple of expenses and then we will have the final number to post.  I am hoping that we will exceed our goal for this year. 

For those that werent able to make it out to Greenville Country Club last Monday you missed a great time and I will take just a few minutes to talk a little bit about it.  We had 37 teams that played and there were a few holes that got backed up but that is to be expected when you have that many teams.  At dinner we exceeded the 400 person count.  Dr. Edenfield and Jim Kaltenbach did a great job explaining where the money that we raised was going to.  I didnt think that I would be a part of Dr. Edenfield's study this soon but I am and I am extremely happy that people are helping out.

Like I said I am already going into Dr. Edenfield's study and that is taking place on Thursday.  I will be heading over to Greenville Memorial at 5:30 am for my 8:00 surgery.  Dr. James Stephenson is going to be the doctor taking the biopsy.  I dont know how long the surgery will last but they are going in and taking a small sample of one of the spots on my lung and I'll be in the hospital until at least Saturday, possibly Sunday.  It's a pretty straight forward surgery but because its on my lung I'll have to have a chest tube for a few days. They will then take that sample and test it against every type of chemo out there to see which best fits me.  This process will take about 2 weeks to complete before I get the results back. We will go up to Chapel Hill to meet with my other oncologist Dr. Bert O'Neill after the results are back and should know what we're going to do next within about 3 weeks.

If you think about it please send prayers & good thoughts our way over the next few days for a smooth surgery & recovery & again over the next few weeks. We're really hoping that this might be what we need to get rid of this thing once & for all.

Thanks,
Tim

Monday, April 16, 2012

Want to see something hilarious?

Tim & I have signed up to row in the Dragonboat race this Saturday. What is a Dragonboat race you ask? I have no idea, all I know is that we have to be at Portman Marina on Thursday at 6:30 for practice and 8AM Saturday morning to race. I do know that they are raising funds for cancer research which is why we decided to participate.

I also know that I'm extremely uncoordinated & incredibly unathletic. Tim may be athletic but he's a big guy and that looks to be a pretty little boat. Granted we have many other team members that will be helping us along but if you want to see a big guy in a little boat coupled with his very uncoordinated wife head on over to Portman Marina at Harwell on Saturday morning. Who knows, I may will probably fall in :)

Here is the link for more info! http://www.kintera.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=999636

Friday, April 13, 2012

Last Day for Registration

Just wanted to post a reminder for everyone that today is the last day to register for the dinner & silent auction for the BrightLife Tee It Up Tournament. Thank you to all that are planning on coming.

Looking forward to seeing you all there and having a successful event for iTOR. Here are the steps to register for anyone that needs them.

1. Go to www.brightlifesc.com/events
2. Click on the Register Now link at the bottom
3. Fill out the names & emails of all attending (emails are not mandatory)
4. Click on the yellow "Pay Now with PayPal" button at the bottom of the page.
5. Enter in your credit card information just as you would with any other online transaction. Paypal is completely secured so your information will be safe & will not be stored or provided to us.

If you have any questions send an email to brightlifesc@gmail.com.

Thanks

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

CT Scan Results

Well we made it through another scan. We got the results back today from the CT Scan that I had done Monday. It showed that the cancer has not spread to any other organ in my body and there are no new spots on my lungs. However, it did show that two of the spots have gotten larger. Now as for what this means. Dr. Edenfield, Jenny and I have been discussing wanting to do a biopsy of one of the spots for a couple of months now, but they have been so small that he was afraid of causing more damage than benefit if they tried the surgery. One of the spots is just large enough that he now feels comfortable going ahead with the biopsy. This means that after allowing the Avastin to get out of my system in about 3 weeks I will be having surgery to remove one spot for biopsy. There will be another week where I will be recovering & they will do the DNA profile of the tumor then we will consult & decide what to do next for what should be about a 6 week break. This will be the longest break off of drugs since June of last year.

Jenny and I left my visit with Dr. Edenfield and were able to have a consultation with Dr. Stephenson who will be doing my surgery sometime around the first week of May. To refresh everyone's minds about the reasoning for the biopsy is that they will be able to get a profile on the nodule they remove and be able to test that against all types of drugs there are for chemo. This means that it might be a drug used for breast cancer patients works for the profile of my cancer cells. They have come such a long way even since I was first diagnosed with hopefully finding more cures being just around the corner.

To switch gears just a little bit. I want to now talk a bit about the golf tournament and silent auction coming up a week from Monday. As everyone knows we are donating all of the money that we raise to help fund research for my doctor and his studies to help find a cure for colon cancer. Well the profiling that they are going to do for my biopsy is exactly what his research is all about. I have always believed that things happen for a reason, and wanting to donate all of the proceeds to iTOR only confirms that. Great things are being done to help me and my friends that I have made at Cancer Centers of the Carolinas and I feel honored and great that I am able to help in their fight against this terrible disease. I didn't think that I would be affected this soon from the money we raise but I will be and I just want to take time to thank everyone that has signed up and is helping to fight. I am extremely humbled and honored that so many people have donated their time, money, and efforts to help me do something that I have become very passionate about. So I just wanted to say a big thank you from not only me but Jenny, my family, and hers. We would not be able to do this without the help from all of you.

As always I hope that everyone has a great rest of the week and weekend. And an early congrats to Jen and Joe on their wedding this weekend.

Tim

p.s. If you haven't signed up but you want to just go to www.brightlifesc.com/events & click on "Register Now" at the bottom of the page.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Results

Jenny and I have just gotten back from our quick Anniversary trip to Atlanta. I just wanted to write a real short and quick update. Tomorrow we are meeting with Dr. Edenfield to get the results back from the CT Scan that I had on Monday morning. The reason for writing today is to ask for any and all prayers, good thoughts, whatever you believe in for good results tomorrow. Hopefully it is nothing and we can get good results and keep moving forward. I hope everyone has a good rest of the week.

Thanks,
Tim

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

Hope all of you had a great Easter! Just wanted to compile all of the recent media stuff in one place in case you've missed it! Tim's been a busy kid as of late & is doing some fantastic work with spreading the word. We're both excited for the upcoming event & are really looking forward to it, hope everyone else is too!

Don't forget to register by April 13th for the dinner & silent auction & we've got a few more openings for hole sponsors if anyone is interested :). Registration can be found by clicking on the "Register Now" link at the bottom of www.brightlifesc.com/events. Stay tuned for the Silent Auction pre-view coming later this week with a few of the items we've already received!

April 2012 - Page 31 of Fete Greenville
http://emag.fetegreenville.com/


March 28th - Greenville News
March 21st - Greer Citizen






3/15/2012 - Tim & Dr. Edenfield on Your Carolina
http://www.yourcarolina.tv/ycvideo/entry/check_in_with_tim_bright_and_the_brightlife_foundation_www.brightlifesc.com/
3/8/2012 - UpstateBizSC features BrightLife
AROUND THE UPSTATE
Brightlife to Host Second Annual Golf Tournament, Silent Auction and Dinner to Raise Money for Colon Cancer Research

MARCH 8, 2012: GREENVILLE, SC - The second annual BrightLife golf tournament, dinner and silent auction has been slated for Monday, April 23 at Greenville Country Club.  This year’s proceeds will be donated to Greenville Hospital System’s Institute for Translational Oncology Research, an organization that provides some of the most advanced cancer treatments available anywhere in the world.
After a day of golf, 100+ participants as well as members of the community who purchased tickets will come together in the club house to enjoy a hearty, Southern meal.  A silent auction will feature items ranging from sports packages and memorabilia to trips and spa packages.
BrightLife was created in 2011 to help Greenville native Tim Bright, who has been battling stage four colon cancer since 2010.
Registration information and fees are now available via www.brightlifesc.com/events.
Monday, April 2
Golf is from noon to 6 p.m.
Dinner and the silent auction are from 6 to 8 p.m.
Greenville Country Club’s Riverside Course
239 Byrd Blvd.

http://www.upstatebizsc.com/news/around-upstate/729/?utm_source=UpstateBizSC+1&utm_campaign=9e9d8e5177-UpstateBizSC_3_7_2012&utm_medium=email

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Round 3 of the 3rd type of Chemo

I am currently in the middle of Round 3 and looking forward to getting unhooked tomorrow. Things didnt go quite as planned this week. I went and played golf with my friend Martin on Sunday and really irritated my big toe. I had my doctor visit on Monday and showed Heather and she said thtat if it got worse then I needed to show it to her on Wed. Well it got a lot worse and I know have a small staph infection on my toe. Then to top it off my CEA number is continuing to rise and I will have another CT scan on Monday morning. I will then have my bi-weekly meeting with Dr. Edenfield so see what is next. The only thing that I can say is "when it rains it pours". I will keep everyone posted as we learn more but I may be switching up what kind of chemo I'm on yet again.

I aslo wanted to mention how excited and overwhelmed that we have already fill up the golf tounament. So thank you to all that have showed up. But dont forget that if you didnt get in the golf then please come out to the dinner and silent acution because we could use a lot more and its going to be really good.

Love,
Tim

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Round 2 and The Links

I have finished my second dose of the new drugs and started a new week. This past treatment was the most evenful so far. I will give a quick recap of last Wednesday. I got home from treatment and Jenny ran up to EP for a little bit late in the afternoon and I laid down for a quick nap after a long day at the Cancer Center. I woke up about an hour later with a sharp pain in my upper stomach, then had it move into my chest, and then to my back. The pain was so sharp that it made me not able to breathe very easily. It lasted about 2 minutes and when it ended I called Jenny who rushed home. I talked with my doctor and he told me that if it happened again that I needed to head to the ER because some of the side effects of the drugs can be severe. I had no problems the rest of the day and went to bed at 11:30. I fell asleep only to wake up 15 minutes later with the same pains again. Jenny and I got up and went over to the ER. They ran some tests and determined that it was just a slight side effect of the new drugs, possibly a slight allergic reaction. We finally got home and to bed at 4:30. I havent had the symptoms since then but they are going to add some additional pre-meds as a preventative next time.

Greg and Suzanne came over on Thursday and made a great dinner for Jenny and I, which was great after the long night before and allowed us to play with their son, Yates. Greg has done a really cool thing for lent by choosing to serve others rather than to simply give up something. If you want to read about his adventures here is the link, its a pretty cool thing: http://ordinarycommunion.blogspot.com/

The rest of the was pretty quiet. We hung out with Steven, Haley, the kids, and a couple other friends over the weekend and had a great time with all of them.

I also want to mention that the spot for the golf tournament are going very fast now. I guess we are just getting closer to the actual day and we are now down only 12 teams left. So if you are planning on playing then you should sign up quickly. However there are still plenty of spots for the dinner and silent auction so sign up quickly for that too even if you aren't a golfer, you don't even need a babysitter becuase the kids are welcome as well.

I hope that everyone has a great week.

Tim

Thursday, March 22, 2012

More Publicity & an Eventful Night

Yesterday the Greer Citizen released their story about the tournament and to our surprise it was on the front page! They did a great job & its available until next Wednesday so be sure to check it out if you've got a chance to do so.

Tim also started his 2nd round of the new chemo and ended up having a little reaction to it which landed us in the ER last night for awhile. We got home about 4AM and have been dragging throughout today but everything is good to go now & back under control, just made for a pretty exciting night :).

Don't forget to visit brightlifesc.com/events to register for the tournament &/or dinner/silent auction. We're starting to get some really amazing items that you aren't going to want to miss out on including the painting below. Keep your eye out on the blog as we feature even more of the items to come!


Thursday, March 15, 2012

In Case you Missed It

Tim was on Your Carolina with his oncologist Dr. Edenfield & they both did an incredible job! So much so that we were offered a 5 minute commercial spot on Your Carolina to auction off for the Silent Auction.

In case you missed it, here is the link to check it out: http://www.yourcarolina.tv/ycvideo/entry/check_in_with_tim_bright_and_the_brightlife_foundation_www.brightlifesc.com/

 Make sure you register for the golf tournament, dinner & silent auction by April 13th by visiting www.brightlifesc.com/events!

Tim is being interviewed tomorrow for a story in the Greer Citizen & for a story in the Greenville News. We're hoping that buzz continues to grow with this attention!




Tuesday, March 13, 2012

First Dose of the New Stuff

I have finished my first round of the new chemo regiment and it was pretty tough.  I felt really good most of the day on Wednesday but then it hit me like a ton of bricks on Thursday.  I slept for most of the day on Thursday and Friday.  The nausea wasn't terrible, but was worse than I have experienced in a while.  Jenny was out of town for the weekend at a bachelorette party in Savannah and I pretty much just laid around the house all day Saturday and Sunday with our puppy recovering.  It will take some time to get used to the new treatment but hopefully they will go a lot smoother in the future.  The main difference in the two treatments is the sensitivity to cold.  Yesterday was the first time that I was able to eat or drink anything colder than room temperature, but this sure beats the redness on my face that the last treatment gave me. 

This week is going to be busy the rest of the week with work and my second appearance on the Scene on 7 show at 10AM this Thursday on Channel 7.  I hope that everyone will be able to watch because it is going to be great to be able to sit with Dr. Edenfield and talk about something that is very improtant to me. 

I hope that everyone has a great week and don't forget to sign up for the golf tournament, silent auction, and dinner, we could still use some sponsors and silent auction items as well so if you're interested just let me know.  It is going to be a ton of fun, I promise.

Tim

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

New Chemo Starts Today

As I write this they have just hooked up the IV for Tim's newest drug. They will take it nice & slow for this first infusion to make sure he doesn't end up having any adverse reactions to it so today will be a pretty long day but we're pretty sure it should all run smoothly. In other news, Tim just got reaccepted to the Oncology Rehab program so we're hopeful that it will help him to feel his best as he continues through therapy as it did previously.

This is also something that is pretty neat, News 4 did a story about Tim's oncologist & the work they are doing at iTOR, which is where the money for the tournament is going this year. I think Tim previously mentioned the DNA matching that they are looking at for him right now & this gives a little more background into all of that.

http://www.wyff4.com/video/30622830/detail.html

On that note, make sure you sign up for the golf tournament & dinner/silent auction at brightlifesc.com/events, its going to be a fun day & the golf spots are already filling up quickly!

Monday, March 5, 2012

PET Results

The day has finally come and gone. We had my bi-weekly doctor visit with Dr. Edenfield today to get the news from the PET Scan that I had last Monday. We looked over it and nothing lit up on the scan. (By lit up I mean that a PET Scan shows where sugar is being used in the body, and cancer runs on sugar, so where cancer is in my body it would light up white.) Now, the spots that showed up on the CT Scan were still there but they are so small that they wont show up on the PET Scan. This simply means that it has been over a year and a half since my last PET Scan and nothing new has shown up, which is great news. We also found out that since the spots are so small we cannot do the biopsy of one of the spots. Dr. Edenfield said that it was too dangerous to do the biopsy and cause trama to one of my lungs when they are so small. We are putting this off to a later date if and when the spots get larger.
Now what does all of that information mean as far a chemo goes. As of this coming Wed. I will no longer be on the current chemo regimine, which is FOLFIRI with Vectibix. We are going to switch back to FOLFOX (which is what I was on for my 1st 12 treatments back in 2010) and combine that with Avastin. We are hoping to stay on this for at least 6 months and then re-evaluate the situation then.
Today was a great day for us and I want to thank everyone for saying an extra prayer for us. Those go a long way.
I hope that everyone has a great week. And incase you didnt see, you can now sign up for the golf tournament at www.brightlifesc.com/events. I hope to see everyone soon.
Tim

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Almost Time

We've got Tim's appointment at 12:30 tomorrow and are starting to get anxious about what the results may be. We still haven't really decided what results we would even want to have but have come to the conclusion that as long as the cancer hasn't spread to any other organ we are prepared for what's ahead. Today has been a pretty quiet day and we're about to head out to get some dinner and do a little grocery shopping for the week before we lay around and catch up on some TV tonight.

If you don't mind, say a little extra prayer tonight for good news tomorrow, whatever it may be!

We will be back once we have more information.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Little More Information & Tim's TV Appearance

Tim had his scan yesterday & there really isn't anything to report as of yet. We'll get those results next Monday & until then we're really just waiting & directing our full attention to the golf tournament.

My dad sent me the link to the article below tonight & I thought it was worth sharing. This gives you a better idea of what they are doing with all of the testing of Tim right now & what they are working toward finding out with testing his original tumor & getting the biopsy on these newer ones within his lungs.

http://www.technologyreview.com/biomedicine/39707/?p1=featured

We still aren't really sure what outcome we're hoping for out of the PET/CT but we're ready to move forward & get settled into a definitive routine again. We will keep you all updated as we figure it all out!

We now have 2 dates you need to add onto your calendar, the first obviously being the golf tournament, dinner & silent auction on April 23rd at Greenville Country Club. Golf registration starts at 10:30 with a tee time of 12 & will be followed by a dinner & silent auction from 6-8. We've started getting some great silent auction items and should have sign-ups for golf teams, hole sponsorships & dinner reservations online very soon!

The other date is for March 15, set your DVRs for 10AM on Channel 7 (for all of you non-locals you can go to this link: http://www.yourcarolina.tv/video/livestream/). Tim will be on Your Carolina with Jack and Kimberly with Dr. Edenfield to speak to Colon Cancer Awareness (March is Colon Cancer month) & to publicize the golf tournament, dinner & silent auction as well as to speak to what iTOR is/does. My 15 minutes of fame were over the second I heard my voice shaking as I was speaking the first time we were on Your Carolina so I'll happily be watching the pros (and yes, Tim defines himself as a pro after one time on camera) from behind the camera for this go-round!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Quick Update

I met with Dr. Edendfield on Monday to go over how things are going with me and what lies ahead. We have decided that the treatment plan that I am currenlty going through has just about run its course. So, after today's treatment, that I am currenty getting, we are going to have a new PET Scan done this coming Monday to see if anything has changed on that scan. We will have our normal Monday visit with Dr. Edenfield the following Monday to talk about the scan and decide how we are going to do a biopsy of the small spots on my lungs. The biopsy is solely for the purpose of getting the profile of the spots to see if there are any drugs that will work better in fighting the cancer than what I am getting now or have gotten. It is also my understanding that I may be switching back to FOLFOX, the chemo I got for my 1st 12 treatments I ever recieved, and combine that with a drug called Avastin starting with my next treatment two weeks from today to keep the cancer cells confused.

While this news isn't great we are still keeping a positive attitude and will be victorious in the end. I hope that everyone has a great week & keep an eye out for additional information on the golf tournament coming out soon.

Tim

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Golf Anyone?

Well it is that time again. The Masters is only 2 months away, and so is the Tee It Up For Tim tournament. As you have seen on here from some of the recent posts that Jenny has put on here we have decided to do the tournament again this year. We are changing it up a little bit though. My doctor, Dr. Jeff Edenfield, is looking to fund a new study for Colon Cancer. I talked with Dr. Edenfield and Jenny and we decided that this year we wanted to give back and donate the money raised at this year's tournament to Dr. Edenfield and his study. This is something that is very near and dear to me and some of the people that I have met over these past 2 years at the cancer center. We are hoping that Dr. Edenfield will be able to get one step closer to finding a cure to this terrible disease.

Now that we have gotten the seriousness of the post out of the way, I really hope that people will come out to support our cause. If you were a part of the tournament last year then you already know how much fun we had out on the course and afterwards at the silent auction. I can assure you that this year will be just as much fun because afterall even though we are raising money for a good cause the purpose of this tournament is to have fun. We are going to have our website set up soon so people can start signing up, so get your team ready.

I also just wanted to give a quick update to how things are going with me. We are still trucking along with treatments. This past treatment was a little rougher than most. I am all set to get another round this coming Wed. and hopefully we will get through it without any problems. I hope that everyone had a great weekend.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Help Promote Colon Cancer Awareness with the Click of a Button

Get Americans talking about colon cancer by lighting the White House up in blue.

Let’s turn the White House blue to raise awareness about colon cancer. March is colorectal cancer awareness month and the perfect time to unite and let our voices be heard!
Colon cancer is a disease no one wants to talk about, yet it is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. It is often beatable when detected and treated in its early stages or can be prevented altogether when polyps are removed before they develop into cancer.
Most people should begin screening for this disease at age 50, but if you have risk factors, including a family history of colon cancer or polyps, you need to be screened earlier. Find out your family history and be sure to talk with your doctor!

https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions/!/petition/get-americans-talking-about-colon-cancer-lighting-white-house-blue/DSCj480l

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Save the Date!


We has such a great time with the tournament last year that we decided to put on another golf tournament/silent auction & dinner this year to raise money for ITOR, which is an institute tied to the hospital & the Cancer Center performing cancer research. Tim's oncologist, Dr. Edenfield, is currently putting together a new colon cancer research project for advanced colon & ovarian cancers that we are hoping to be able to help fund.

We're hoping to see you all on April 23rd at Greenville Country Club and if you aren't a golfer still go ahead & plan to be at the dinner where you can bid on lots of great stuff!

If you won't be available on April 23rd but still want to contribute in some way we're still looking for volunteers beforehand & the day of as well as for various donations so feel free to get in touch with me at jenny.clanton@gmail.com if you are interested!

Thank you all for all of your continued support & keep an eye out for more details to be released in the next week or two!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Any Volunteers?

Hi all,


We, along with some friends, are putting together another golf tournament this year to benefit a research project being put together by Tim's oncologist. Our ultimate goal is to raise $10,000 which may not actually be possible but we're going to try to see how close we can get to it. It's really just a drop in the bucket for what they need for the research but it makes us feel like we're making a little bit of a difference.

We're working on finalizing the date & location today and should have that information available on Tuesday at the latest. It's going to be a pretty accelerated time frame to put this on which is the reason for this post.

 We are going to need a lot of help both leading up to the event & the day of for things such as:

- Gathering donations
- Signing up sponsors
- Promoting the event to the community
- Day of Volunteers 

- Much, much more! (sounds fun right?)


Please let us know if you'd be willing to help, have any ideas of what to improve upon from last year or any great new suggestions for this year!


Tim & Jenny

Friday, January 27, 2012

Quick Update

This week has been very bittersweet for us. Wednesday was the start of another treatment for Tim but it was also the 2 year anniversary of his original diagnosis. We're incredibly grateful that Tim is still here fighting and doing as well as he is although I'll be the first to admit that we both really wish the cancer was gone already.

We did find out that a friend Tim made through chemo passed away last night. Its so hard to hear when someone loses the fight but the fact that she was so young and had 3 kids makes the news even harder to stomach.

We also found out that one of Tim's numbers jumped a bit (and not in a good way). Its not enough for us to worry about yet but enough for us to keep a pretty close eye on. For our part it means we will be getting strict about lowering our sugar, meat & dairy intake and upping the exercise. We tend to get slack every so often so we might as well get back into everything. Tim is even starting to learn to like mushrooms due to our lifestyle changes! :)

Hope everyone is doing well and enjoying this nice weather we've had lately!