Monday, December 2, 2013

Post Thanksgiving Craziness

Thanksgiving was supposed to be the date that we had everything done for the house so we could get it listed before sitting back to enjoy the weeks leading up to Christmas (other than my four tests and two papers this week as well as my three cumulative finals next week). The house is almost done but poor Tim is now really sick and out of commission for awhile (going to the game was likely not the most intelligent decision). It started early last week as a cold and has recently developed into something further. He got a Z-pack and some fluids today and the plan is that he will have chemo tomorrow but we've been warned that this will likely be the worst round of chemo he's experienced over the past 4 years. We're working to keep perspective that he just needs to make it though the next few days and he should start to feel much better but both dreading what is to come. Please keep Tim in your prayers over the next few days as he powers through this round, he likely has only 5 more until his next scan!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Scan Results

Our goal for this year was that I would make it through December without changing chemo. It looks like we might actually do that although I'm just writing a blog which goes back to this thing that Jenny says I have called procrastination. I finally got my scan results last Thursday and although I have some new spots and some spots that have grown, I also have some spots that are gone and others that are shrinking. The results for this reinforce that for now I'm on the best regimen I can be on although my CEA (tumor marker) may no longer be reliable which means I have more scans coming my way. We already have another planned for February to check in. This also means that I'm back in chemo today getting treatment where I just found out that my CEA has dropped slightly, I'll take anything I can get though.

This past weekend we went down to the USC/FL game, it was the first game of the season that Jenny has been too, more on that later. Our good friends Josh & John went down with us along with Jenny's cousin Emma. Jenny has ADHD really badly and can't sit through a game without getting too antsy so she stayed with some of her sorority sisters and tailgated while we went in. We're hoping that if Emma doesn't go to Furman next year that she will go to USC, hopefully the win helped convince her, it put me in a good mood for the rest of the night.

This week will be pretty boring, just work, getting the house ready to be put on the market and treatment before heading back to work on Thurs and Fri to finish off the week and the wedding of Jenny's good friend Andrea this weekend.

We were trying to keep the news fairly low-key until everything was more set in stone but the reason why we are selling the house along with Jenny not being able to help as much with the tournament this year and why she hasn't been to any games is that she is heading back to school to be a nurse. There is still a lot up in the air about when the transition will happen and she is slowly knocking out her pre-requisites but we are starting to prepare for the changes to come with her going back to school. She won't find out if she got into nursing school until May so we still have awhile to go. I hope that everyone has a great week.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Up and Down

I am trying to get back into the habit of posting more frequently, so here we go.  I just finished with yet another round of chemo this past Thursday and it was not close to being the easiest round ever.  For some reason I just didn't have any energy on Wednesday and felt kind of groggy.  This was a complete opposite from the treatment before.  I don't know what I did differently from the round before to this one but it was definitely tougher.  While I was getting treatment on Tuesday we got the results back from my blood work the day before.  My CEA (or tumor marker) one month prior had risen slightly and not high enough for any concerns, and this time it rose again a little bit more than expected.  Dr. E came into the infusion room to see me and calm down any concerns that I might have.  He didn't seem to worried about the new number and said that I would get my treatment this past time and I would do my next round and then we will do a CT Scan the following Monday to see if there have been any significant changes from the last.  Knock on wood the number increase doesn't relate to the results of the scan.  We also talked about the chance of me switching treatments after the next round just in case the cancer cells are starting to figure out how to combat the chemo.  The next drugs that I would go on would possibly be some sort of pill based regime, just not sure which drug it would be. Jenny & I really wanted to at least make it through the end of the year on this same regimen so we didn't have to go through the uncertainty and craziness that comes with these kinds of changes but I guess life didn't agree with our plans. The uncertainty and nervousness that goes along with this kind of thing really takes a toll on you without you even realizing how much sometimes, we'll make it through though.

On the non cancer side of my life it was a pretty good weekend for me.  On Friday I got to go to my parents house for dinner and hang out with Haley and my niece and nephew for a bit.  It always seems to brighten the week when I get to hang around them or my other niece Brynn.  They are so carefree and absolutely hilarious to sit and listen to.  Some of the things that they say and do are just so funny you have to just sit back and laugh.

On Saturday Jenny and I ran a couple of errands and then got ready for our Halloween party at some friend's house.  We dressed up as Jack and Jill after they fell down the hill.

We had a great time and the costumes Jenny picked out were pretty funny even though some of our friends and I kept calling her a "rough looking french maid" all night.  I missed all but the last 2 plays of the USC game but did get to see the win.  As my father-in-law who saw my reaction to the win described me as a "giddy school girl".  Yes I do tend to get a bit excited when we win.

Life is also pretty crazy for us because we've decided to put our house up for sale as well. We love our neighbors and our house has been great but we've decided to make a change so we're keeping even busier with getting the house ready to be listed. If anyone wants to move to a great house in a great and growing neighborhood over by Furman just let us know!

The last thing before I end this post I want to mention one of my cousins.  He just turned 22 yesterday (Happy Late Birthday) and about 3 weeks ago went under the knife to remove a tumor on his brain (which we found out was not cancerous).  I got the chance to talk to him on Facebook while I was a chemo on Tuesday and the way that he has handled this situation is remarkable.  He has faced the adversity straight in the face and come out the other side just fine.  So I ask that everyone prays he continues to recover and gets back to the life that he was intended to live.

I hope that everyone has a great week.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Save the Date!


Tim will be a guest bartender on Thursday, October 3rd from 5PM-8PM at Soby's. Some of you may remember a similar BrightLife event that was held back in 2011, this is the same concept but with the proceeds going to GHS's Cancer Institute. 20% of all proceeds from the bar that evening will be donated so if you have some free time be sure to pop in for happy hour and watch Tim & friends entertain you!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Tim + Drama = Our Lives

For some reason it doesn't seem like we can get through a month without some sort of medical drama with Tim. This month we got really lucky & ended up with 2 fun drama-filled events.

The first was when he split his hand open (which he didn't really give y'all the full story on). It started when he decided to make himself a parfait the week prior in our drinking glasses, which are like large stemless wine glasses. When he finished his he didn't rinse the glass and put it straight in the dishwasher. The dishwasher didn't get all of the yogurt/granola out of the glass so rather than using the dishbrush immediately to the right of him, or just soaking the glass, he put his hand in it to try to dig it out. According to him it was "just out of reach" so he pushed his hand in further and the glass broke which split his pinkie all the way up the side. I was facing the other way and turned when I heard him yelling to find him shaking his hand all over the place. Lets just say we're still finding spots of blood throughout the kitchen and the shirt I was wearing will never be the same. :) Luckily that is all healing nicely now and the stitches are finally out. Hopefully Tim has also learned a valuable lesson about not putting hands in objects where they do not belong. He most likely will also be getting a dishbrush in his stocking this year from Santa. :)

Over the past 3 years (ever since the mets in Tim's lungs were found) it has been drilled into our heads that coughing, shortness of breath and spitting up blood are very bad things. Every doctor visit includes a line of questioning about those three things so you better believe we are vigilant about tracking them. I get really nervous when I notice Tim's coughing increasing (usually while he is sleeping) even when I know that it is related to allergies/a cold/etc. Sunday we were doing some yardwork and Tim complained a little about not being able to catch his breath. He'd been complaining all day about the yardwork so I thought he was probably just being overdramatic and wanting to quit :). I told him just to check in when he went in for chemo the next day and not to worry about it. He forgot to mention it on Monday and didn't mention it to me again.

Tuesday afternoon I got a very nervous call from him saying he had just coughed up blood. I could tell he was scared and thought we'd probably have to go in to get him checked (and he isn't allowed to drive while on chemo after he almost took out our garage wall but that's a different story) so I headed home to work for the afternoon & get him checked out. They ended up thinking that he has some sort of irritation within his lungs/bronchial tubes and he now has a prescription for antibiotics. He got rechecked yesterday when he was unhooked from chemo and hopefully this is the end of that drama. He is still coughing but there is no more blood so we're taking that as a good sign.

There are a few different possibilities of what could be going on, some as simple as the fact that the biogenetic he takes works by killing off newly formed blood vessels which cuts the blood supply to the tumors and starves them off (which is why chemo was delayed for a week with his finger needing to heal). He could've had some sort of scratch, irritation, broken vessel in his chest already from the coughing from the allergies and the Zaltrap just weakened it which caused the blood to appear when he coughed or it could be the indication of something more serious. For now we'll just keep a close eye on his numbers and the rest of the symptoms and trust in God's plan. In good news, his numbers did drop a slight amount this week which is always a very good thing.

If you have a moment or two over the next few weeks please say a quick prayer for this all to be allergy related and that the Zaltrap continues to work its magic. Although the chemo every other week is a burden at times, its also so nice to have some stability in our lives for once. The switching, and ambiguity, really weighs heavily upon us and if we could just get into 2014 on the same schedule it would make life so much easier on us!

Also, please keep a few of Tim's colon cancer chemo buddies in your prayers. One is about to have her baby after finishing just over 1/2 of her chemo rounds. Life is about to be even more exciting & crazy for her & her husband. Hoping for a safe & easy delivery, quick recovery and that her last few rounds after the birth go smoothly for her! Another is one we've known for about as long as Tim has been getting treatment. He's no longer getting treatment and has been in some pain recently. He & his wife are incredibly strong but please keep them both in your prayers as they continue through the journey, I can't begin to imagine what they are experiencing now.

Thanks all & hopefully Tim will become better at updating more frequently than every other month. My side of life has become insanity so I don't have the kind of time I used to anymore therefore updates have fallen to the king of procrastination. :) If you notice that he hasn't updated in awhile and you're wondering what's going on don't hesitate to ask him, send him an email, text, facebook message, etc. to spur him on writing a post. :)

Finally, with everything I have going on right now, I won't be able to help Tim with the golf tournament this year. I'm going to miss being as involved with it and will still be around to help answer questions, etc. but just can't dedicate the time that is needed right now. In my absence, we need someone who is organized, has a fair amount of free time they can devote to getting the tournament off the ground and wouldn't mind helping Tim run it this year (which includes helping to keep him on track ;)). He'll hopefully be getting started on it in the next two months (although that kid can procrastinate like nobody's business :)) and we will let you all know more as the time gets closer but if any of you think you could commit to that amount of time over the next few months (or just want to know more about what's involved with it) just let us know!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Finally A New Post

Well it is exactly 2 months from the last post that I wrote.  I am sorry for not keeping up with this blog better than I do.  One of my best friends Kip got married this past weekend and I had one of our good friend's mom asking me if I was writing these anymore, so I figured that I need to get back at it and post a new one.

Like I have already said we went to my buddy Kip and his new wife Jessica's wedding this past weekend.  We had a great time being back in Columbia and hanging out with friends.  My last 2 years of high school I played summer baseball with a team based out of Charleston called the South Carolina Diamond Devils.  At the wedding there were 7 of us former Diamond Devils.

From left to right is Me, Kip McAlister (groom), Justin Calliham, Charlie Lisk, Matt Campbell, and Brett Anderson.  I said there were 7 of us and for some reason Russell Triplett got left out of the this picture somehow.  Must have had a photographer that had a little bit too much to fun.  Haha.

15 days ago from today I was emptying the dishwasher and accidentally sliced my pinky finger opened on a glass drinking glass.  I had to skip a treatment last week to let it heal properly.  So I am sitting in the infusion room right now and just had my stitches removed and I am getting my treatment.  (Fun times)  I am now not able to play golf for about another month which that in itself is enough punishment for me.

On the cancer side of things, everything is still going good.  My numbers had gone up just slightly over the past month but my doctor thinks that it is plateauing and it should stay around that number for right now.  The treatments themselves aren't that bad.  I still feel good and get in the gym as much as I can to keep my strength up.  Plus this weeks treatment won't be too bad since college football finally starts this Thursday and yes I will not miss the game.

I hope that everyone has a great week.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

I am finally writing again

I know that I have not been "Johnny on the Spot" with this blog lately, so I am going to try to get better at that.  I didn't read the last post I wrote so I will just hope that I dont overlap anything.  The drug regime that I am currently on is Zaltrap with Folfiri.  As I sit in the cancer center now I believe this is around my 7th time getting this combo so far.  It started off very scary for us because my tumor marker continued to rise and an alarming pace.  We did a CT after 3 treatments I believe and found significant overall improvements and then later that week we ran my tumor marker again and it had dropped by a large amount.  Then when we ran it again a month later it dropped significantly again.  We ran it again 2 weeks ago and had another drop.  It was not nearly as big as the other two but at least it is still going in the right direction.  This is great news that we were correct a while ago when switching from the Vectibix over to this combo.

On a fun side of life I am about to finish my coaching stint of the summer.  I will be doing this while Jenny is down at Fripp Island with all of her family.  I was thinking about making a trip down there after my tournament, but I have learned my lesson here lately about over-doing things.  So, I will gladly take a week to myself at home.

This past weekend we had the pleasure of attending our good friends Ryan and Natalie's wedding in Charlotte.  The ceremony was beautiful and the reception afterwards was a great time.  I also had two baseball games to coach that day and on Monday I was supposed to get my latest round of chemo but instead had a fever of 102.3 at its highest and had to push it off to today.  This is where I get back to the over doing it piece.  I have heard numerous people now tell me I need to relax a bit more but I really dont know how to do that.

I hope that everyone has a great week.


Monday, May 6, 2013

Home Again

Today was a long day of flying but we made it safely back home and went straight to the cancer center to get Tim checked out. Dr. Edenfield confirmed the colitis and Tim got some fluids. He's on what is called "bowel rest" for the next few days and is limited to clear liquids only in the hopes we can get the infection & inflammation under control. He also broke out in a rash right as we were about to leave the cancer center. When it rains, it pours!

We have to keep a close eye on him for the next 24-48 hours to make sure he is getting better rather than worse for fear of the blood supply to his colon shutting off. So far he's still in some pain and having some cramping and the poor guy is hungry but his color is much better. His temperature is slightly elevated but nothing to worry about right now, we'll just check it a few times during the night to make sure all is well.

He has been a trooper today and even though today was a really tough one for him, he was really amazing about it all. Dr. Edenfield did tell us that this could've happened anytime/anywhere and is either attributed to a virus he picked up from someone last week or there is a slight possibility it's from the chemo itself. That alleviated a lot of my guilt for taking him on our little adventure!

A Weekend of Firsts

This weekend held a lot if firsts for us. It started with being the first time either of us (but especially me) has made vacation plans the day of. We booked an incredible weekend deal on Priceline for flights & hotel to NY and left Friday evening. We had a great time including dinner, seeing the majority of the sights that NY had to offer in a day and getting to go to dinner with my cousin and her boyfriend.

Yesterday we got to Laguardia to head home and while we were in the security line Tim started feeling really bad. The dizziness & his pain got worse until he was laying on the floor of the airport with EMS on the way. We also both rode inan ambulance for the first time yesterday as they took him to Cornell to get checked out.

We spent all day in the ER and he ended up with a diagnosis of colitis. Apparently it's just a bug he picked up somewhere and was more susceptible to coming down with it due to everything else going on. They started him on lots of antibiotics and we got a cab to a hotel near the airport last night. After a very short night's rest were back to try again and currently waiting at the gate to board in about an hour.

Tim is only allowed water until we get home so needless to say it is going to be a very long & uncomfortable day for him. We should arrive around 11 and will be checking in with Dr. Edenfield before going straight to bed.

Everyone at US Air and at Weil Cornell have gone above and beyond to make sure we feel safe and comfortable. We couldn't have had a better experience within a bad situation. We are extremely excited to get home and get Tim comfortable and feeling well again but had a great time this weekend even with all of the excitement.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


I am so sorry for delaying this post for so long.  It has been a long 3 months for both Jenny and I with the planning of the golf tournament and then helping out with the BrightLife house.  For those that don't have Facebook we raised a little over $17,000 for iTOR from both the foot traffic at the house and the golf / silent auction.  We are still waiting on the money to come in from the sale of the house, but when it is all said and done the money that was raised will allow every patient the comes through the Greenville Health System for the next year and has surgery to remove a cancerous tumor to get the genomic sequencing done.  This will help the oncologists to find a drug faster and that fits their tumor profile.  It was a lot of work but it was all worth it.  There were so many people that helped out with both of those events and if I tried to name everyone I know that I would leave someone out, so I won't even begin to try.  But, thank you to everyone that contributed to both of those events.

On to health news.  Jenny and I had been worrying that the tumors might be getting worse because my CEA was rising to a really high level.  I don't know what the exact number got to but I know that it was really high.  The thought was the drugs I am currently on were not working, however, this was not the case.  Dr. Edenfield noticed the rise in CEA and immediately scheduled me for a CT Scan to see if it had spread to anywhere else.  I got the test done on a Thursday and was scheduled to meet him on Monday to discuss the results and the new path we were going to take.  When he walked into the room I knew that he had good news.  He had a slight smirk on his face and said that the CT Scan showed moderate improvements overall.  What was happening is something called "Tumor Lysis" which basically means the tumors were exploding from the inside and causing small fragments to be released into my body and confusing my CEA into thinking that it was new tumor growth rather than dying off.  Once we got this news he also informed us that my CEA took a significant drop.  Again I don't know exactly how much it dropped since I don't want to know but apparently it was a very big one. So the plan now is to keep on the same treatment plan as before with chemo every other week.

In other news we went up to Old Edwards Inn the day after the tournament to celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary and have been going pretty non-stop every since then. We still have some thank you notes to write from the tournament, things to be put away that are currently sitting in our garage or on our stairs but hopefully we can get back to normal soon, whatever that means.

It feels good knowing that we were able to raise money and we got good news all in a small period of time.  I hope that everyone has a great week.


Monday, April 8, 2013

We did it!

My legs are throbbing, my feet are incredibly swollen and I'm incredible exhausted but I couldn't be happier with the way today turned out. We had perfect weather, everyone worked together to make for a successful event and you all came out in droves.

Thank you to everyone who came, played, donated and volunteered. We couldn't have done it without you and your generosity. This cause means more to us than you could ever know and we are so grateful for you to help support our vision.

Now we are disappearing off the map for a bit to relax, sleep, and celebrate the anniversary of the 3 of the hardest yet best of our lives. Thank you again for all of your support!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Long Road of Ups and Downs

As chemo started this week for me I was supposed to see what my White Blood Cell count was at since it was low when I did my bloodwork on Thursday.  Well according Lynn, my nurse, Dr. Edendfield was good with where the number was and allowed me to get a treatment.  I could tell by the way that Lynn was acting towards me that something wasn't quite right.  As we talked through the morning it came out that tumor marker or CEA has been rising the last two times that I have had it drawn.  My idea was to wait until after the 4th treatment to see what it was doing.  Well this past treatment was number 4.  I still don't know what the exact number is but I know it is much higher than it is supposed to be, I am also scheduled to have another CT Scan a week from Friday.  This news really put me in a bad place on Monday, because this was a regime that has worked for me in the past.  It is now time to go back to the drawing boards to find the next best thing to try.

I guess that I wanted to come to the golf tournament. which is finally upon us, with positive news that the new treatment is working and I will be able to stay on it for a while.  But sadly that will not be the case. I will come back to have my CT Scan on Friday morning very early and then head over the the opening day of the BrightLife House Tours.  I will sit down with Dr. Edenfield on Monday in the afternoon to see where we will be going next.  I dont know if this will call for a trip to New York or Texas but it will be something that will be talked about.

Isaiah 41:10 
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 

Will all of the news that of things that might be changing in my life I know that there is a plan and I am not nervous.  I know that I have the family and friends that will stand by me and help me though anything that I might come across.  Now, I hope that no one takes this post as a "Tim has given up" because that is not the case.  This news only makes me want to fight even harder than I have before.  The only fear that I have is the fear of letting everyone else down.  

I hope that everyone has a great weekend and I hope to see everyone Monday night,


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Prayer Request

There is a lot that we've been meaning to share with you all but we will get around to that at some other time. Today we found out that Tim's white blood cell count has taken a small dip. It's nothing unusual, in fact its more unusual that this hasn't happened earlier. What it does mean is that he is more susceptible to infection and it means that if the numbers do not improve by Monday he will have to have his treatment held.

Please keep Tim in your prayers that his numbers will improve enough for treatment to continue on schedule on Monday. Please also forgive both of us as we won't be able to hug you or shake your hand until everything improves as we can't risk Tim getting any sort of infection. This information doesn't mean that we have to go into seclusion but it means we have to be much more aware of our surroundings, including interacting with people who have any symptom of being sick.

He isn't currently sick other than some allergy issues and just feeling a bit run-down and exhausted overall and if all goes well (and we stay vigilant) that will hopefully be as bad as it gets for him.

Thank you for your understanding & even more, thank you for keeping Tim in your prayers!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Eye on the Prize

I am pooped. As in to the bone exhausted. I mowed our lawn this weekend, not really sure why other than that our other neighbors were so I followed the trend thinking that maybe it will help us grow some grass this year. Our neighbor across the street, Mr. McCann's yard looks impeccable...ours is where even weeds go to die. See why my dad & Tim have so much faith in my little garden? I digress, I looked really amazing mowing the yard with my facemask that I thought would keep the pollen away from my face as I'm basically allergic to any & everything that is outside. I might as well have been inhaling the pollen bc my immune system has completely shut down for it's annual spring break. My poor co-workers have had to deal with me losing my train of thought mid-sentence and just staring at them...awesome.

Tim finished up his chemo today (he went Monday instead of Wednesday this week) and this has been the best round yet. He's finally starting to figure out that laying around makes him feel worse. Someone brilliant told him that a few weeks ago but he is just now letting it sink in :). So after eating full meals and not acting like a slug on the couch he felt much better. I also didn't have the energy to help him as much as I usually would and so far have gone to bed at 8 every night up until tonight. They did the bloodwork for his CEA this week but he & Lynn decided to wait until he's had at least 4 weeks of chemo until we know what that number is. It takes a little bit of stress off if the number had been bad but I honestly had forgotten he needed to have one so now I can't stop obsessing over what it could be. It's really a potentially double-edged sword...

We're finally starting to catch up a little bit on all of the BrightLife stuff but this is likely to be our last week of some semblance of freedom until May. We're 2 1/2 weeks away from the tournament/dinner/silent auction and have some really great stuff to auction off this year (we updated the listing tonight, there are still quite a few things that we're waiting to arrive or to finalize as a package before posting:

If you haven't registered for your spot for the dinner make sure you visit here to do so: Just as last year, we're only doing pre-registrations just to make sure we have an accurate count for the dinner and to make everything move faster for the check-in. Thanks for all of your understanding with this! It makes our crazy lives just a tad easier :)

We're working towards filling up the sponsorships which is a great feeling to have and there are LOTS of media spots coming up including an article in GHS's newsletter, an article in the Greer Citizen, being on Carolina Now on the CW, an insert in the Journal, I believe there will be a follow-up story on Fox Carolina & there might be a story on WYFF. Basically all of this to say if you aren't sick of us yet, you will be soon!

The house looks incredible, we went by today and the designers have mostly finalized everything. Monkee's & Jack Runnion will be filling up the closets shortly & before we know it we will be open for tours!

April 1st kicks off an incredibly crazy month, we get to kick it off with another round of chemo for Tim, followed by the tournament on the 8th and the crazy weekend that leads up to it, next up is our anniversary on the 10th (peace and quiet are on the agenda for the 9th-11th - regardless of my dad thinking that tax returns are not good planning, I love them & that they arrive just in time for an anniversary trip each year :)), the showhome opens to the public on the 12th and will be open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through the end of April. I've already booked May 4th & 5th as nap days for us.

We wanted to thank everyone for all you have done and for all you are doing, you all are absolutely incredible! Cancer takes away a lot of your sense of control (awesome thing to do to someone who is highly OCD :)), raising money and awareness for iTOR is the only thing we've been able to do in the past few years that has given us back a little sense of that control that we've lost with Tim's diagnosis. So although we're both physically, mentally & emotionally drained right now, we wouldn't trade it for anything :). I can't imagine anything that is more rewarding!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Quick Blog and Clarification

I hope that everyone enjoyed the nice weather we had this past weekend.  I tried to enjoy it Friday playing golf with my dad and yesterday by playing golf with my friends Shane and Martin, but when I finished there was nothing enjoyable about my score.  Usually about this time of year, my game starts to get better but this year for some reason it is getting worse.  Not a good thing with my golf tournament coming up in a couple of weeks.

Speaking of the golf tournament, I am sitting here with my mom getting my chemo and we are talking about a few things that she and I are going to get done today once I leave the Cancer Center. I wanted to clarify one thing about the dinner sign-ups.  This year we changed the way that sign-ups are being done and now have everything online as far as the golf, hole sponsorships, and the dinner tickets.  Your ticket will be emailed to you once you have completed the purchase.  In order to give Thornblade an accurate number of people attending the dinner we have had to eliminate the ability to pay at the door for the dinner.  The tickets can be purchased at or simply by clicking on the link on the right side of this page.  I hope that this will not discourage anyone from attending the dinner / silent auction because we have some great items to bid on this year.  Thornblade needs a head count from me the last week in March so please sign up as soon as you can.

The Brightlife / iTOR Show Home will still have ability to either purchase tickets online or pay at the door once you get there when it opens for tours April 12.

I hope that everyone has a great week.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

My First Post In Awhile

Well I have taken some time off from my professional blog writing career to let Jenny start hers in hopes that she would be as famous as me one day.  She has kept everyone up to date on how things are going with my treatments lately, which last week was pretty good in comparison to the first treatment I had.  I am gearing up for another one this coming Monday since the Cancer Center will be closed next Friday.  I could go to another location in the hospital to get unhooked on Friday, but they will force the last 5ml to make the treatment finish about an hour or hour and a half earlier than I should be finished and that time is worth getting a treatment two days early.  Once I am finally unhooked it takes the rest of the day to start feeling a bit on the normal side again.

On a fun side of things we are getting really close to the 2013 Tee It Up For Cancer event.  We are excited that the golf sold out in two weeks and have some really cool items this year for the silent auction.  Now the part that I need help with from everyone is making sure that the room is full for the dinner.  I really hope that everyone can come and support this cause.  The cancer research world has made incredible strides since I was first diagnosed 3 years ago, and the money that we will raise this year will only help increase those strides.  This has really become a part of my life that is very important to me and putting on this golf tournament every year is something that I really look forward to not only because Jenny and I get to see so many of our friends but also because if it is a success then hopefully we will be that much closer to a cure.  So I hope that everyone can come and help us again this year. You can click on the 2013 Tee It Up for Cancer banner on the right side of this page to sign up.

Also, I talked with Barret Foust on the phone today and he informed me that the Brightlife / iTOR house will be finished tomorrow and the designers will be able to start moving the furniture in and getting it set up for the  weekends it will be opened in April.  I got to walk through the house a couple of weeks ago and it is amazing.  Barret and Bryan have done such a great job with this house that I can not wait to see it with all of the furniture inside.

I hope that everyone has a great week and I hope to see everyone April 8th at Thornblade.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

We're Really Slacking Off

I didn't want to jinx anything by mentioning how well Tim was doing with his last round of chemo in my last post but the difference between his first round and this last one was night & day. Dr. Edenfield was watching Tim's interview on Fox Carolina and it hit him that all of the folic acid he was getting from juicing was interacting with the 5FU (part of his chemo) which was elevating his reaction to the extreme level. He instructed that Tim not juice for 3 days before and 3 days after chemo and it made all of the difference. My dad took Tim in to get unhooked on Friday and I know they both enjoyed the time they got to spend together as Tim got some extra fluids. Dad also took him by Torelli's (the only thing Tim will eat on Fridays after chemo) and said that Tim's face literally lit up as they pulled up.

We got to tour iTOR for the first time a few weeks ago and it was amazing and nothing like I had been imagining. I guess I was thinking of people being dressed like they are going into surgery working on this stuff but everyone we saw was wearing business clothes and the main room looked like the lab from your high school science class. The main machine that does a lot of the sequencing work is about the size of a small microwave and the freezers that keep all of the samples (like Tim's lung biopsy) just look like something out of a school's cafeteria. I was just amazed at the work they are doing and how efficiently they are doing it. It was also really neat to see what we are working so hard to support (and what is helping to support Tim's treatments). They really have a neat set-up in that they are partnering with pharmaceutical and medical technology companies so drugs & treatments are literally being tested & developed next door to those that are or will be receiving them. There really are no words to explain just how lucky we all are that this is being developed here in Greenville.

We got a small taste of what traveling for treatments would be like if Tim was to be in a clinical trial outside of Greenville when Tim was int he Charleston trial last summer. We were lucky in that we just had to go down once a month to check-in but that was exhausting in and of itself and took a lot of time away from work for the both of us. Since I had started a new job I took many of those 1/2 days unpaid which wasn't a big deal in the grand scheme but I can only imagine the impact both physically and financially if that trial had involved a plane ride and required that he receive treatment at the trial site. That's the difference that iTOR makes, it is bringing those trials here to Greenville so people aren't forced to travel. This provides a huge burden of relief both physically, emotionally with getting to be around your support system and financially without having the cost of traveling as well as the cost of being away from work. It all came together for me during our tour so just thought I'd try to fit those pieces together for you guys as well :).

On Thursday night Tim & I also went to the GHS Partners Dinner. I felt pretty comfortable going as we were sitting at the same table as Dr. Edenfield and his wife Andrea. Tim ate the strawberries off of the salad then sipped off of his applesauce packs and pudding packs until dessert came and he destroyed the cheesecake they brought out. Not exactly healthy but one time shouldn't be too bad, besides he was really proud of himself for eating that cheesecake :). We also met a lot of really great people who have some interesting stories about why they support the hospital but overall it was really neat to see that GHS is moving ahead of the curve by working on proactive measures to prevent disease rather than just treating it after the fact. I'm not as familiar with other areas that they featured (neuro & children's) but the strides they've made in cancer treatment over the past three years have been incredible. They feature Oncology Rehab where you go work out with other cancer patients at the Life Center in order to regain your strength that chemo has taken away. You're watched over by a nurse and a trainer to make sure you are staying safe throughout your workout but Tim still raves about his time in  Oncology Rehab back in 2010 and made some really great friends. They've also started a "Cancer Support Community" which aims to treat patients not just physically with treatments but also with nutrition, exercise and emotionally as well. Like I said, we're lucky that we live in a community where one of our main hospitals is moving forward with the understanding of the treatment as a whole along with prevention.

We've been using a new system that both Tim's mom & my dad emailed me about within 5 minutes of each other the other night called Mother Earth Produce. We've used them for about 3 weeks now and are really happy with everything we've gotten. They are out of Asheville and deliver buckets of mostly local produce (as well as some meats and other items). We're saving a ton of money and I could really get used to waking up on Saturday morning with my groceries sitting on my porch. :)

Speaking of groceries sitting on my porch, hopefully that will be the case in a few months. I started a garden of a TON of stuff this past weekend, fruits, vegetables, herbs and even watermelon. Tim (& my dad) have already predicted my failure (which may not be incorrect considering I have a talent of killing every living plant I touch). Hopefully though we will have a big harvest this summer and be able to live off of all of this fun stuff for awhile :).

We talk about Tim's chemo pack a lot but I don't know if I've ever actually posted a picture of what it looks like. We've had several friends offer to bedazzle or puff paint the pouch for Tim but so far he has passed on all offers. It's about the size of Zach Morris's first cell phone and is pretty quiet with just a whirring noise every minute as it pushes the chemo through the tubing.

We slacked off for the past two weeks and got a lot looser on our diet plan. This week we've kicked it back into high gear so last night we had an arugula salad with asparagus, peas, avocado and salmon that was cooked in raspberry vinaigrette. I thought it was fantastic, Tim let me know that he thinks he's jumped a little too far, too fast into this fish thing :).

Finally, we're pretty excited because we have just one team left for the golf tournament (sign up here: We've mostly filled it to capacity in just a few weeks. I can't believe it but we're less than a month away from the tournament, this means that Tim & I are entering into our annual panic mode about whether we will get it all done and it will be a success. :)

This year Tim has been leading pretty much all of it as well as leading the house stuff from our side of things (there are also a lot of really amazing people helping to pull the house off). He's pretty amazing if you ask me! We still have quite a few openings for tournament sponsors if anyone's company is interested ( We also haven't had a lot of dinner sign-ups yet so still plenty of spots open there! (

Finally, the list is slowly growing and we aren't placing items on the list until we have a final confirmation (and know the item is almost in hand) but here is where you can access the list of items that will be up for bidding for you guys:

Looking forward to the big day and hope you guys can join in on the fun!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Catching Up...Again

First of all, we only have 8 teams left for the golf tournament so if you're wanting to play, now is the time to sign-up :)

If you don't play golf, don't forget that you can still sign up for the dinner & silent auction, we've got some really neat & one of a kind items up for auction this year that you won't want to miss out on!

Finally, we're still in need of some sponsors for the tournament to help us cover the costs of putting it on. We like to go into tournament day in the black so every bit of the money made that day can go straight to research.

I just realized that I never posted the link to Tim's interview on Fox Carolina. Diana Watson did an amazing job (as did Tim), it was so exciting to watch!

The BrightLife/iTOR house is almost finished and is absolutely incredible. I'm really wishing I could buy it & move in :). Mark your calendars for April 12-14, 19-21 & 26-28 to come tour the house (at 101 Treetops Court, Greer, SC), it's only $10 a ticket (all of the money is going to research) and you won't regret it! Here is a sneak peek at the Master Bathroom's shower, like I said, incredible. Goodwin Foust is incredibly detail oriented (to the point that all of the screws on the plates for the outlets & lights are facing up & down...seriously). It makes my OCD so happy...

So it's been awhile since we've posted and some interesting things have happened in that timeframe. For the first time in the six years we've been together Tim got me flowers. They were gorgeous but by the end of the day I was so congested & miserable. That's right, I finally get flowers & am allergic. Awesome. He's already taken that as a sign that he doesn't need to ever buy me flowers again :).

Later that night we went to Devereaux's for dinner with our friends Josh & John. The food was amazing, fit our dietary needs (for the most part) and we had a great time (& didn't have to cook for once!).

I figured out how to make a crustless quiche with soy milk (& real cheese which is not on the diet plan), it was...different.

We also got the neatest surprise. Tim's mom went to go get us a Valentine's gift from Palmetto Olive Oil, bc as we all know, I'm obsessed. She got to talking to one of the owners, Sandy Burn, and found out that she had been reading our blog. Sandy went above & beyond and put together a pretty basket of  a few different kinds of Olive Oils & Vinegars for us to try. We haven't found a single one that we haven't enjoyed but my heart still belongs to the Traditional Balsamic... :) They have generously offered to do a tasting at the showhome so all of you can try it as well.

Right before Tim started chemo again we went down to Columbia for the afternoon for the season home opener where they honored Coach Tanner & retired his jersey. We got there about 15 minutes too late for Tim to participate in the ceremony but they had a little section cordoned off for the baseball alum to watch the game and get to chat with one another. Tim had a great time seeing a lot of those guys again and the weather couldn't have been nicer.

Wednesday we got this nice little booklet about Zaltrap, the new drug we're trying with Tim. Hopefully this one works!

I mentioned that our friend Jessica came over with her daughter Emery to watch Tim while I went out and got his prescriptions filled. When I got back Emery had woken up from her nap and we gave her a Coconut Water popsicle while Jess & I tasted the oils & vinegars from Palmetto Olive Oil. Emery decided to taste some too and got REALLY into the Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar. She started by dipping her popsicle in it before she went all out and stole Jess's spoon to drink it straight. :)

On Friday at the end of Tim's chemo (the 22nd) he got lots of fluids and more anti-nausea meds that left him high as a kite but feeling MUCH better.

 Haley brought the kids by to eat pizza with Tim & Lillian took a second to cuddle up with Tim (he was in heaven :))

Last weekend we headed down to Charleston with 3 other couples from our neighborhood to attend the Charleston Wine Festival. We had the best time and the food was amazing (and absolutely none of it fit our dietary restrictions). It was really nice to just get away and relax for a few days.

Tim & I talked about it & in order for me to feel more at ease but still be able to be at work while he is on treatment we bought a baby camera that operates through our internet connection so I can access the feed through my phone or over the internet.

So far this is typically the sight that greets me when I sign goal is to get him up & moving a bit more during chemo :).

Friday, February 22, 2013

Finally Over

I can finally sit back and relax, because the first round is finally over.  That was by far the toughest round of chemo that I have ever been on.  I guess that I did myself no favors by not eating a small breakfast before leaving for chemo Wed. morning.  I had a bagel about an hour into treatment and had another bagel when I got to my house, but that was about it for solid food for me.  Over the two days I had a combo of apple sauce, vanilla pudding, and smoothies.  Usually in the past I have been able to eat a little bit but I think the shock of getting back into this was just a bit too much for me to handle.

This morning I woke and Jenny took me over to the cancer center where I received an entire bag of fluids along with another anti-nausea medicine.  I got home and took a small nap, and then before I knew it Steven, Haley, Lillian, and Harlan stopped by.  I tried to eat a slice of pizza and it went down pretty easy and from then on I have felt halfway decent.  Jenny was harping on me over the two days that I needed to eat something solid or I wouldn't feel well.  (I guess every blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes)  I was planning on taking a short ride tomorrow with Jenny to see our beautiful cousin Emma win the Rambler Pageant in Lancaster, but we have decided that after these past two days I should just chill out a bit. I'm scheduled to get more fluids and meds at the hospital tomorrow and Sunday but we'll see how I feel if that happens.

I hope that everyone has a great week.  And I really appreciate everyone that texted, emailed, sent a card or called this past week.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

We're Just Going to Call This Week a Disaster

Last night was pretty rough, I thought that I had finally gotten Tim drugged up enough to sleep but that lasted only about 30 minutes before he was up and getting sick. He's been nauseous before during treatment but has only thrown up during treatment twice, both times being when he got a little too aggressive with his tooth brushing. This time he got sick, a few times, and it actually had nothing to do with brushing his teeth. Neither of us got too much sleep last night.

Today he hasn't gotten sick and has actually been able to sleep a decent amount (which has given me the time to get work done) but he also is still really nauseous and isn't eating anything solid. So far he has been subsiding on applesauce, smoothies I make, Gatorade and apple juice. The plan is to make it through tonight & get him to the cancer center tomorrow for some IV nausea meds and some fluids and hopefully start feeling a lot better.

Ultimately these past few days have been a big disaster, between the chemo going bad, Tim catching a cold that coincided with the chemo, my car having some big issues (which are getting straightened back out), the construction starting today on the lot next to us (literally the grading began 30 minutes after Tim finally fell asleep), the construction work next door cutting our internet line (we are excited to have neighbors finally, this all just began at the wrong time) and when I went for my acupuncture today I thought I broke the table (luckily it was just a panel for pregnant women's bellys to fit on the table that was loose). I'm beyond ready to call it a week and just start over fresh next week.

There have been a few bright spots, our parents have been a huge help to us over the past two days and we've received so many kind messages via facebook, text and email that have kept us going. We've also received an influx of the nicest cards from members of our Sunday School class over the past two days. Some neighbors have generously stopped by to keep an eye on Tim while I've run out to get new scripts for him and to take a short break and pick up some lunch to-go from Upcountry Provisions, one of my favorite TR restaurants. My cousin Miller also came and sat with Tim today which allowed me to go to my much needed acupuncture. My acupuncturist, Katherine, helped me out by giving me some ideas to get Tim decongested without adding even more drugs to the mix so we've got a humidifier that will now be his best friend for the next few days filled with a mix of water and eucalyptus oil, it seems to be helping out a bit already in the short time it has been running.

We are literally counting down the hours that remain until Tim is finally finished with this round of treatment, we're already planning to just forget about this and start over fresh in two weeks. Thanks to all of you for following along and even more for all of your support!

Jenny (& Tim through his drug-induced haze)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

In a Word...Today has sucked.

Apologies to anyone who takes offense to the title, I honestly just couldn't think of a better word to describe today. Tim's numbers went back up yet again so he started treatment again today with full-blown chemo as well as an anti-angiogenic called Zaltrap. Its really similar to another one he was previously on called Avastin but targets more pathways to the cancer cells. We're really hoping that this is the miracle we've been waiting so long for.

The plan was for me to drop Tim off this morning then for his mom to sit with him during treatment before bringing him by his office or home depending upon how he felt. Obviously it really hard for him going back on chemo again not only mentally but really hard to get back into it yet again physically. I know I just want to crawl into bed for a few days after a round and I'm not even the patient. I knew today would be tough for both of us no matter how well he did as I haven't been away from Tim during treatment in almost 2 1/2 years. Unfortunately that was not the case at all for Tim this time around. It always takes a bit of tweaking to get the meds just right whenever Tim starts a new plan of treatment, usually we're pretty close, this time we couldn't have been further from the mark.

Tim started feeling sick before he even left treatment today, they gave him more nausea medication (or as you'll typically hear us refer to them, pre-meds) but he couldn't get ahead of it before he left the cancer center. I came home to help him out this afternoon and he was able to eat a bagel, egg & cheese sandwich but that's about where we've left off today. Currently I'm having to apply some tough love in the attempt to get something on his stomach. So far we've been through two different soups, toast & applesauce and I think I've listed just about every type of food I can think of but he still can't find anything that sounds good to him or that doesn't turn his stomach after two bites. I did end up calling the doctor on call who gave us the go-ahead to double dose him on the nausea meds which he took about 20 minutes ago. I'm really hoping that these do the trick because I know he is so miserable right now and would do anything just to be able to sleep. So if you get this tonight please say a quick prayer that the rest of this treatment will go a little easier on him, he could really use a break today!

Monday, February 11, 2013

What We've Been Up To

The past two weeks have had some highs and some lows but the lows so far have ended up being humorous later. Tim had a meltdown about this new way of living but ultimately made the decision he was still going to give it a shot. I think my favorite quote from him during the meltdown was "Jenny, people don't not eat meat and survive. You can't do it." He also recently asked me how I could eat coconuts if I was allergic to tree nuts...just let it sink in for a minute. I was rendered speechless by him with that one. :)

The biggest news to hit the Bright household happened today when Diana Watson of Fox Carolina came to our house to interview Tim for a segment they will show on Friday night (Feb. 15) at 10PM. Make sure to set a reminder for yourself to catch it live or make sure you DVR it. For anyone who isn't local we will be sure to post a link to the video for you guys to check out! They even got a shot of our messy fridge (currently has 2 shelves occupied by carrots) and even messier freezer (that still has some forbidden items in it including cookie dough...I promise that it isn't for us). I even got to make some awkward cameos for "B roll" footage where Tim & I make our green juice and check out some pictures. Essentially any time a camera is focused on me, my brain is cycling the same thoughts over and over..."where do I look, what do I do, this is so awkward, omg this is going on TV." For that reason I like to stay in the safety zone behind the lens and let the master (Tim) work. :) Everyone that was around got to try our green juice though and agreed (if hesitantly) that it was better than they thought it would be/not too bad.

Tim has eaten 2 types of fish in the last week, Ahi & Salmon, we had a little chat with the fishmonger at Whole Foods the other day who gave some great suggestions for additional types of fish Tim can try. One of these days he will love it! Last night was some salmon and asparagus (we've been drenching everything in some Palmetto Olive Oil Balsamic Vinegar...we are officially hooked on the stuff).

We also found some baby bananas at Whole Foods which we got for Tim to eat. Basically our only reasoning for the purchase was that they were mini-sized and the last bunch left....

Once again Tim's eyelashes have grown incredibly long & curly, we can't find our mini-scissors for me to trim them yet so here is a shot of them from yesterday. It looks like we glued extensions on there but they are 100% real, supermodels everywhere want to know his secret...

I've finally found a few things to snack on since I cannot eat the cashews & almonds that Tim frequently snacks on, one being ranch flavored peas, the other being ranch flavored Kale chips. They taste slightly like off-brand Cool Ranch Doritos...slightly is the key word.

We bought sashimi grade Ahi last week and seared it for a salad topper along with reduced balsamic vinegar. Tim couldn't handle the spice but loved it otherwise. He discovered his love of ahi after we went to dinner at Breakwater for a friend's birthday. I ordered onion soup (and after removing the bread and cheese discovered there wasn't much to it) as well as tuna tartare, Tim got salmon. After eating half of his salmon and half of my tuna tartare I called it a wash, gave him my tuna and took his salmon.

This tea has become my nightly ritual, I just brew it up, add the tiniest bit of honey and sip it before going to bed. It's nice and sweet on it's own so I save it as my nightly treat.

We moved onto a different kind of's not our favorite to say the least. It's called "Lively Liver" and includes carrots, beets, spinach and apples. We ran out of carrots & spinach the other day so I substituted raspberries & blueberries along with apples. It tasted pretty good but our juicer made some apples start flying everywhere, including into the juice which was a disaster. It stained all of the fingers on one of my hands, my wrist on the other, got on my shoes and one of my shirts as well as all over the kitchen. The color made it look as though some horrible accident had happened in our kitchen turning it into a crime scene.

My beets & berries stained shirt.

My favorite dish so far out of all of this was made last week. You make some quinoa (which Tim now loves) and mix it with roasted butternut squash, scallions and cranberries before making a lemon vinaigrette to cover it with. It was amazing enough that we're making it again next week when we have company coming for dinner for the first time.

I also made two soups last week (although I only took pictures of one). Both were given to my by my super healthy neighbors Liz & Jess. They are the ones I've been asking all of my questions to lately :).

Liz gave me some of her broccoli & spinach soup the other day so I replicated it (minus the blending up as our blender is currently being replaced). I did make sure to pulverize the beans with a potato masher before adding them so they were harder for Tim to take out.

Jess has never liked the taste/texture of meat so she's been a HUGE help with vegetarian options. She made some sweet potato chili last week that she gave us a sample of and it was fantastic so I made it too, except without the tomatos she used. It was great and Tim enjoyed it as well, his only complaint was that the skins were still on the sweet potato.

Some girls came over so we could finish the planning for another friend's baby shower and Tim got to "babysit" Henry who came over in his Thomas pjs and Spiderman slippers. They watched Diego and, as you can see, were equally entranced by the storyline. This is the night that my friend Liz got me hooked on San Pellegrino sparkling water. It's pretty much amazing.

Other than that we had a few instances of temptation where we mostly came out on top. I brought some dinner from Stax's (one of my favorites) to a friend and her husband who recently had a baby and didn't even make their meat & three become a meat & two on my way to their house. Although Tim has been cheating with wheat, dairy, pork and tomatoes, he is doing great about not eating any sugar and has actually given up coffee. I have not given up coffee (and have no plans to) and I had a weak moment while walking through Whole Foods the other day. I couldn't resist these pretty little cookies with chocolate in the middle. It was just as good as I thought it would be. I've actually been worse than Tim about wanting to cheat, being "good" is incredibly hard, expensive & time consuming so I often miss the ease of just throwing something together without having to check the recipe 15 times to make sure I'm doing it right. Remembering (& taking the time) to pack a lunch every night for the next day gets tough too when you are using so many different containers. We've also spent about $800 on groceries since we began our little adventure which is shocking but I'm trying to keep in mind that we aren't spending money on Restaurant food (or Starbucks) or alcohol (or Starbucks) anymore so it does even out. I'm also trying to keep it in perspective that we are still having to buy staples so once everything in the kitchen has been replaced the costs will be going down.

Overall we're adjusting and Tim has been really great about trying different things, we've both lost about 10 pounds in the past two weeks and it is inspiring to watch those numbers finally go in the right direction (p.s. stress eating is very bad). We bought a frozen pizza this week to try that is gluten-free so that should be an adventure. Life also may be turned upside down a bit as we find out if Tim's numbers have gone down so that he can stay on Vectibix or if he will be returning to traditional chemo with a new drug called Zaltrap added to it. We're both pretty apprehensive about the switch and getting back into that schedule of not knowing what Wed-Sat will bring us every other week. The chemo weeks are pretty tough on Tim as well, we've estimated that he has probably been through around 75-100 rounds of chemo over the past 3 years (and that number is by no way scientific so we could be completely off base either way). We should find out Wednesday what the results are of the blood test he had today. We're praying that all of our hard work in changing our diets is reflected in those numbers but my expectations on that are pretty low as I just think it would take more time for this to really become effective so I'm praying they went up minimally and really praying that the Zaltrap is the miracle we've been searching so hard for. 

It's an exhausting process for the both of us mentally, physically but most of all emotionally, the ups & downs of all of this really take their toll after awhile. From my perspective I've completely had to readjust the way I approach life. To be perfectly honest I was diagnosed with ADHD in high school, the reason it went undiagnosed for so long was that I compensated (& kept it hidden) with my extreme case of OCD. As anyone who has lived with me can attest (apologies to my family, Tim, Amanda, Bailey, Jessica & Megan) I can be incredibly messy but it all falls to the fact that I'm extremely particular about where things go. This carries over to my day-to-day life in that I like everything to be packaged with a neat little bow on it so I can get a grip on what is happening without dropping the ball on anything because I've become distracted by some other bright & shiny object. Cancer takes away all of that ability to plan and put everything into place as I can't tell you what Tim's treatment/treatment schedule will be like in a week from now, much less in two months or two years. Life continues to cycle by but I constantly feel like we're stuck holding our breath while hoping & praying that we get to two months from now unscathed by this process. In a way this has been good as I've become much more relaxed & laid back than I ever have been before (this is not to say that I'm the least bit laid-back or relaxed, I'm just better in the grand scheme :)). Ultimately we've both learned that this process is exactly that, a process, and at times it promotes a lot of growth within us but to getting to that growth is extremely hard and sometimes pretty painful. I use the picture below that I got from the blog Wellness Warrior as my computer's background as telling myself to slow down and breathe when I start to feel too panicked has helped immensely. 

In other news, our friend Fallon, alerted us to a friend of her family's that has gone missing from the Greenville area named Marcus James Hall. This hasn't gotten on the news yet so they are trying to spread the word on social media/email as much as possible. If anyone has seen him or his car they are asking that you contact the Sheriff's Dept but in the meantime you can help by spreading the flyer below so word gets out & media picks up on the story.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


We decided to backtrack a bit and, for the time being, stop worrying about the raw part and concentrate on eating the right things. Tonight we returned to one of man's greatest inventions. Fire.

Today's food was pretty uneventful besides the fact I forgot my carrots for my carrot and hummus mid-afternoon snack. Won't do that again... For dinner tonight I made a "pizza" by combining grated cauliflower, cheese and garlic and baking it into a crust. Then mixed the remainder of our ricotta with more garlic (we've gone through two bulbs in two days) and used that mixture as a sauce before layering it with shallots, squash and zucchini and topping that with feta. That got baked for a little while more and finally we added some olive oil, balsamic vinegar and green onions to the top. It was amazing, even Tim loved it and we are finally full.

We came home to the sweetest note along with a balloon and flower from one of our neighbors. Emery told her mom that "Mr. Tim needs a pink flower" and apparently searched through the balloons until she found just the right one. We are incredibly lucky to not only be surrounded by great neighbors but to have become close friends with so many of them.

Unfortunately we did find out today that Tim's CEA has risen again so it looks like it is business as usual for the next two weeks and unless this new diet plan does some amazing things in the next two weeks he will be switching after that. We're really praying hard that it will stabilize as we need the security and stability of knowing what to expect with the current treatment he is on and he's still so worn out from the last treatments. Just not ready to get back into that schedule again.

Also, please keep our friends Ally and Landon Powell and their families in your prayers as the Memorial Service for their daughter Izzy is tomorrow evening.

Monday, January 28, 2013

"OMG. You mean we don't cook anything? Like ever?"

So Monday started out pretty well, no huge problems occurred with our new diet plan other than practically lugging around a suitcase of all of the snacks, juices, etc. Then lunchtime came.

First I went downstairs to my office kitchen to find that someone brought Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Sometimes fate is cruel, sometimes you find out that fate is your father. Yep, he actually brought doughnuts to work on my first full day of the new diet regime. Thanks for the support dad! :) I had to use a lot of Peppermint Oil to resist that temptation.

I took the leftover "Garden Lasagna" only to find it had become "Garden Soup". Needless to say it was not appetizing. Luckily I brought a salad (always thinking ahead!) and an afternoon snack of berries, hummus and carrots. I ate it all at lunch. By 3 I was so hungry and all I could think about was sinking my teeth into a cheeseburger (I never said that Tim was alone in his drama). Not too long after that I got a text from Tim saying how hungry he was as well. Lesson learned, have to bring even more vegetables in until our bodies adjust to the new standards.

Needless to say we were both really looking forward to dinner. I made another Kris Carr original, a Buddha Bowl which promises to be fast, easy, filling and delicious. Lies. First of all, short grain brown rice is not rice as we all know it. It's chewy little orbs of nothingness. Secondly I think I have discovered Kris Carr's secret. Garlic is used in every raw dish as an attempt to hide the flavor of whatever creation has been concocted that time. In this instance the Buddha Bowl was past the point of no return. Tim got the idea to add some hoisin sauce to "make it taste better" which it absolutely did not do. That was the first dish of this experiment to head to the compost bin. At this rate it won't be the last. :)

We also tried to make a veggie Pad Thai. It started out strong and quickly went to mediocre, even though we used real spaghetti noodles rather than Kelp Noodles. It was another Kris Carr raw recipe and, you guessed it, was loaded with garlic. We both got through almost a bowl each.

Tim finished his dinner off with the remainder of his yogurt and granola while I worked at our berry tray.

I'm thinking we may have been a bit too ambitious to start out with all raw recipes in our first week (my stomach just growled its agreement). In our defense we had no idea that these were all raw are a tricky woman Mrs. Carr! I believe we will go back to cooking our food next week while keeping the same parameters. Hunger does not suit us well. So if you see either of us and we look slightly on edge or are a bit grumpier than usual (another lesson learned, two grouchy people are not a ball of fun :) ) just know its because we either smell that delicious meat you ate for lunch and are extremely jealous or it's that our bodies/minds are currently rebelling us for the forced changes. The goal is to make it for two whole weeks and go from there once we get Tim's results. We're hoping (really hoping) that we can get Tim's cancer under control and maybe one day not eat like rabbits any more . :) As Tim's cousin Danielle pointed out, I'm really looking forward to the point where this becomes habit rather than effort.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Parsley - It's Not Just a Garnish Anymore

Tomorrow is a big day, Tim will get a blood draw which will tell us if his CEA has gone up or not. We're hoping that perhaps it hasn't gone up too much and maybe Dr. Edenfield will let him stay on his current treatment for two more weeks so we can really get a feel as to if our clean eating really makes a difference. So if you think to, if you could say a quick prayer about Tim's CEA staying even at the very least (but a drop would be fantastic!) over the next few days we'd be really grateful (we should get his CEA back on Wednesday).

Yesterday we spent a good hour at Barnes & Noble trying to find some cookbooks that followed along with (somewhat) the new & stringent guidelines for Tim (& myself). Mrs. Haas gave us Crazy Sexy Diet awhile back and it is by a woman who has controlled her liver cancer by living on a raw vegan diet. We found two options (one complimenting Crazy Sexy Diet) and two more at Williams Sonoma today. So these are now our food bibles. Feel free to pass along any additional cookbooks or recipes you'd suggest if they will go along with our crazy new plan!

After quickly selecting some recipes from Crazy Sexy Kitchen and armed with the recipes for the required juices we headed to Whole Foods. $300 later (if anyone has any local sources for inexpensive local produce - preferably organic - we'd appreciate it!) we unloaded and started trying to figure out how and where to store our new produce section.

We made batches of the juices yesterday to get an idea for what all it would take. A head of romaine, 1 1/2 handfuls of parsley, a lemon, a lime, 6 granny smith apples and almost a container of coconut juice/milk? later we had our first 3 days supply of green juice. It actually isn't too bad but of course Tim had to be slightly overdramatic and gag his down :).

We made our second juice which is called a "blood builder" out of six carrots, a few sprigs of parsley (I have no idea what's so special about parsley but it's slightly ridiculous how much we're using these days), two leaves of lettuce and a red apple. The color actually slightly looks like blood...go figure. It tastes like carrots though (sweet) and I think would actually be good with an additional apple added in.

Tonight's dinner was a Kris Carr original, Garden Lasagna. We left out the cashews & pine nuts it calls for bc of my allergy but has soy sauce and olive oil soaked portobello mushrooms layered with sliced tomatoes and zucchini. ricotta and a mix of tomato and garlic.

You don't cook it so you can get the best nutrients from all of the vegetables (and this actually broke two of our rules or no tomatoes and no dairy). I was surprised and thought it was pretty delicious. Tim on the other hand did not as shown by the picture below...

Basically we have to cut out dairy, alcohol, wheat, meat (except 5oz. of fish a day), acidic fruits (oranges, grapefruits, tomatoes - for some reason we are supposed to use lemons & limes in the juice though...), coffee (so far Tim is refusing this one) and my biggest love, sugar. Whenever we get a craving for sugar (for me that's all the time) we're supposed to swirl peppermint oil around in our mouths. All it does for me is trigger the thought of Girl Scout Thin Mints....

Initially we are not going to be too strict (for example Tim had a tuna salad sandwich for dinner tonight) but are severely limiting the amount of any food that is "not allowed." Neither of us are quite ready to give up coffee so rather than Starbucks we will each be allowed one small cup from the house a day. Sugar is only allowed in small quantities in our coffee. We're each eating a little bit of chicken at lunch each day but are not going to eat any red meat or pork at all. Once the rest of our bread is gone (only 5 slices left!) we're not bringing any more into our house (and are not allowed to eat it while we are out). We each have a little bit of creamer in our coffee in the morning but that is all we're allowed for dairy even though we cheated a bit tonight (good-bye butter and eggs!). We did use some tomatoes in tonight's dinner and have a little bit for one other dinner but that is all we get and those will be out as well. 

We're going to be as strict as possible for the next two weeks in the hopes that just maybe it will help to bring down his CEA so he can stay on his current course of treatments. The nutritionist has good reasoning for all of these intense changes, cancer thrives in an acidic environment and lives off of sugar so essentially starving it and creating an environment that is not conducive to it living will hopefully help to kill it. 

In the meantime I will be constantly smelling like peppermints (My name is Jenny & I am a sugar addict) and Tim will struggling to swallow our juices and eat hummus as his snack (which he hates). We should make quite a pair!