Sunday, June 17, 2012

CAT scan results

Paul’s CAT scan was on June 7th.   He was scheduled to see his oncologist on June 12th.  We were not too excited to wait through the weekend to find out the results.  Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on the way you look at it…Paul had to go in to Huntsman on Friday, June 8thbecause he has been having pain in his kidney area.   The pain also shoots down into his groin area…  There was concern of kidney problems  (one of his chemo drugs can cause kidney damage).   While Paul was being checked out by his doctor, he informed Paul that the CAT scan looked clean!  That was great news!  No evidence of cancer at the moment!  His doctor also said his blood work looked great, so they did not think it was kidney problems.  They scheduled Paul for an MRI on June 11thbecause his doctor is thinking it is some back /spinal problems…

So, Paul had an MRI last Monday, that night his oncologist called and asked to speak with Paul.  My heart about flew out of my chest.  Every time you get a call from a doctor, especially the same day as you have had a test, you feel instant panic!   He called to tell Paul that the MRI showed some thickening around one of his nerves, but that they weren’t sure what was going on.  He said they were going to get his MRI from last year and compare the two.  Once they have compared the two scans, hopefully they will have more answers.  So, we meet with the doctor on June 22nd to find out more information.   We are hoping that all he needs is some physical therapy.  Neither one of us want to deal with another surgery…

For those of you who don’t know, Paul has had three major surgeries in the last two years.  The first attempt to fix his back was a surgery that almost killed him…a ruptured iliac vein…he bled out on the table and had to have 15 units of blood, then 2 months later he had his spinal fusion, and then a year later he had his stomach removed. 

Paul has already had his esophagus stretched 5 times this year and is going to have it done again on June 26th.  Poor guy is starting to “gack” more again.   He informed me yesterday that he is back to 169 pounds.  We were keeping him around 172 for quite awhile.   Yep, he is skinny at 6’ 3”.  

Paul’s hair is coming in a nice dark gray with some light gray.  At first it was all very light gray…We will see if it changes back to his brown color, but it’s not too likely.  He was really hoping it would come back in black and curly!  He wanted some chemo curls!  Somehow I just can’t picture him with black, curly hair… the thought of it makes me smile!

In the past two months, two more people in our family were diagnosed with cancer.  First, our daughter’s mother-in-law was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  She is currently undergoing chemotherapy in hopes to shrink her tumors enough to operate.  She is fighting with all she has to beat this nasty cancer! Second, Paul’s sister was diagnosed with a rare uterine cancer called Leiomyosarcoma.  Only about 1000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with this type of cancer in a year.  She will start her chemotherapy tomorrow.  She is amazing like Paul.  I have no doubt she will kick the cancer to the curb! 

Cancer is mean and evil.  Paul and I know that we will be on pins and needles the next scan he has in four months.  Last week we found out one of our friends cancer has returned.  He had his scan the same week as Paul.  It was very heart-breaking news to us…and of course, to them.   We seriously thought he had beat his lymphoma.  He will start chemo again tomorrow and then have a stem cell transplant in a couple of months.   Our prayers and thoughts go out to them as well. 

This past year has been such a learning experience for our family.   One of many things I have learned about is the power of prayer.   Prayer works.  At times in the past, I used to wonder why we needed to pray.  Seriously, why pray?   Why didn’t God just fix things, he “knows” what I want?    When we were born on this earth, we were given a thing called agency…the right to choose for ourselves.   I have come to realize it would be contradictory for God to do things without our asking.   We must ask and it is through prayer that we ask for help.  I have also realized that what I think is best may not really be what is best.  Only God knows what is best for us…even if we think we know best.  Often times, God answers our prayers through others. We have been helped through some very tough times.  Our problems did not necessarily vanish, but we were helped.  We literally could feel the prayers of others. We have received such kindness and loving acts of service.

There have been times lately, I have thought a lot about the statement that we will not be given more than we can handle.  For those of you who have watched the movie, “The Christmas Story” (Red-rider BB Gun), I have felt like shouting  “uncle, uncle, uncle” numerous times.  What that means is, I have felt like I have been pushed to my limit.  But I guess God disagrees…I am finding I am stronger than I thought.  At the end of each day, I feel happy that I made it through… Trust me there are days I am not sure that I am strong enough to handle everything…

Life is about one day at a time.  Each day we need to find something we are grateful for.  I made a gratitude board for my family.  The theory is we will all write something we are grateful for everyday and post it on the board.  The reality is I see the board every day and it reminds me to think about something I am grateful for.  Some days you might just be grateful for toothpaste or toilet paper, but I can guarantee you will always be able to find things you are grateful for!  Just for the record, it is still my goal to get us all to write something and post it everyday!!!
Our gratitude board...this was taken before I put it out to use...
On June 4-6th,  Paul had the opportunity to go on a cancer retreat sponsored by What an amazing experience for him!  I will let him write a post telling about it.  I just want to thank all the "angels" who made this possible!

Today I feel so blessed and am grateful for a wonderful husband.  He is an amazing father and friend.  I love you Paul!