Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Hi...just got back from Maine where we watched our daughter (she is 34) do an Olympic distance Triathlon (The Lobsterman). It was her first of that distance so she didn't have a set time she was gunning for....she was just hoping to finish strong. She did that even though she was dreading getting in that 61 degree ocean water. Normally the swim is her strongest component, but the cold water did a number on her. She actually looked a lot better after the biking and the run!
We got to visit with Dan's sister, Jane, while we were there. She lives in nearby Kennebunk, ME. We don't get there often to see her but it is a beautiful part of the U.S. And we got to participate in the Lobster Roast after the race (for a not-too-small fee).
Below are some photos of our trip.
This is a shot of the lighthouse at Portland Point. How fitting that it was a foggy day. We heard the fog horns sounding continuously throughout the morning.
See the gentleman painting? Even in the rain/fog, he is capturing the beauty of the lighthouse on the point, just as I tried to do with photography.
Meg has on a partial wet suit, but that water still felt REALLY cold! She is trying to keep up her motivation to DO this!
There she goes! She takes off in a "wave" of folks grouped by age...some young women and older men. All we did was look for swimmers in purple caps.
I have several more photos I had wanted to add but Sparkpeople's website is NOT cooperating! I have gone through a lot to just get these on here and now the site is not working at all! Please come back later....hopefully, I"ll be able to finish it soon.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
(This was posted to our family blog on June 7 and copied to this blog on June 12)
Dear Friends and Family,
As you know, the last high definition MRI and CT scans showed that Dan had 10 new tumors in his brain. The oncology radiologist set up three appointments for stereotactic radiographic surgery (or "zapping the tumors" in lay terminology) so that they could radiate all 10 without exhausting Dan or causing too much pain for his back. The procedure requires total stillness and that his head be encased in a form-fitted plastic mask and literally bolted to the table. With his back issues, they were not sure how long he could tolerate being immobilized.
This past Tuesday, they did the first procedure and he did so well, they were able to do 5 of the 10 with only a little break in the middle to remove the tight mask from his face and let him move a little bit. That appointment took 2 hours. Dan was encouraged and felt he could do that again today.
This afternoon, he had the second appointment and they were able to complete the treatments to all of the other 5 tumors. It seemed to be important to Dan to get it done in two sessions. I told him if it were me, they'd only need one, b/c with my claustrophobia issues, they would have to put me to sleep, period! I don't know how he does this while being conscious, but I suspect your prayers are playing into it quite a bit. We praise God for helping Dan to get through this in only 2 sessions! And I'm grateful for a friend who kept me company while I waited during both of those sessions! Thanks, Jennifer!
Please keep praying for us. We have a meeting with the primary oncologist early Tues. morning to decide what comes next in terms of chemo treatments. We are both thinking Avastin but are not sure of the other choices just yet, or even if there are any other choices.
We are still moving ahead with our "normal" plans for summer, holding them loosely, but remaining hopeful that we will still be able to spend much of the summer in upstate NY.
Thank you for praying for us…we FEEL it….and we are grateful!! Jo and Dan
Wednesday, June 05, 2013
Written June 1, 2013
Dear Friends and Family,
Tues. I was driving home from Florida…coming home from a trip visiting my sister and brother-in-law in GA, then stopping by in Haines City to watch Meg swim the open water leg of an IronMan Relay, and then on to spend a week with my mom in Pompano Beach when Dan called from the oncology radiologist's office. Dan had stayed behind in order to have his brain MRI that is needed every 3 months. When the doctor stepped out for a moment to take another look at some earlier scans, Dan called to let me know that this MRI had found 6 new tumors in his brain. We had arranged for him to call me from the doctor's office to let me know what was going on so that if I had questions I could tell him and he could ask the doctor.
I have to admit that I was taken aback some by this. I had expected them to find more tumors. The oral meds just did not seem to be able to suppress the cancer in the brain. But he has never had that many at one time before. He explained that they would be treating them just as before, with the stereotactic radiographic surgery, but that they would most likely need to do it 2 sessions b/c it would be difficult for Dan to be totally immobile long enough for them to treat all 6. They would get started right away by sending him right then for a high definition CT scan, which they then merge with the MRI to create a holographic image of his brain which they use to plot out the exact paths for the radiation.
It was going to take awhile to process that information. Dan was at home thinking about it and I was in the car, so I had lots of time to roll it around in my mind. Both of us were wondering if we should be pressing for him to go back on Avastin, the chemo that he was on for 2 years that seemed to suppress the disease completely. The only reason he had to stop taking it was b/c it was adversely affecting his one kidney. But it took 2 years to build up that toxicity and he has been off of it now for 2 years.
I was feeling a bit unsettled and decided to just keep driving until I got home that night. It isn't unusual for us to stop overnight on our way home from Mom's. It is an 1,100 mile drive. But sitting in a motel room just wasn't appealing to me at that point and I was holding up pretty well, so I just kept driving. With the longer days, I didn't even have to deal with much darkness. I arrived safely at about 10:15 p.m.
Yesterday Dan got to attend the Memorial Golf Tournament in Columbus with Megan. Her marketing company does their web site so she was able to get tickets and a parking pass. Plus one of her friends has relatives with a home on the course where they could rest and get some relief from sun or rain. He told me that his radiology oncologist's office might be calling with the schedule for the treatment for his brain tumors and left me with his schedule so I could straighten out any conflicts.
When the gal called with the schedule, she said they were scheduling THREE treatments b/c there were 10 "iso centers". She really did not know the significance of that, but I was afraid I did. I asked her if that meant that there were now 10 tumors and she could not tell me. I suspect she realized that she had given me information that I had not had and should not have heard from her. She told me that she would leave a message for the doctor to call me to answer my questions.
Awhile later, Dr. Brenneman called and yes, after the high definition CT scan and merging it with the MRI, they found 4 more tiny tumors that need to be treated. He apologized for our finding out from the scheduling person. So our 6 tumor "event" has now become a 10 tumor event.
Dan seemed to take it in stride but I have to confess it shook me up a bit. Both of us would love to find a way to stop this disease…all the while reminding ourselves that GOD KNOWS and He is still in control of ALL that touches our lives. It is one thing to know this but sometimes my emotions lag a bit behind my brain.
The 3 treatments are scheduled for June 4th, June 7th and June 11th. In the midst of that, I'll be returning to the cardiologist for an echo cardiogram and a follow-up appointment.
Then last evening, after Dan returned from his golf outing, he showed me that he has hives all over. We are thinking it is most likely a reaction to his chemo. He has a call in to the doctor this morning to find out what needs to happen about that.
So….you know what comes next….we need more prayer. I feel stupid saying it, it is so obvious and yet I feel guilty for asking. You all have been so generous and faithful with praying for us day in and day out for over 5 years!! We know you each have health issues and hard things that touch the lives of your families, too. But when the LORD brings us to mind, please pray for wisdom for our doctors and for HIS grace to fill us with faith and trust in His plan for us.
Thank you so much for sharing this "adventure" with us! Jo and Dan
Saturday, July 28, 2012
Dear SPARK FRIENDS:
I have been very lax in keeping this blog up to date. Below are the links to take you to the main blog site where I keep folks updated about my husband's cancer journey (mine, too!).
The May update can be found at: mccabe-web.blogspot.com/2012_05_01_a
The June update can be found at: mccabe-web.blogspot.com/2012/06/dear
Please forgive me for not getting them loaded here. IT is very time intensive to format it for the blog and then have to re-do everything for here. And since I'm not really a computer guru....I"m pretty fried by the time I'm done with the first blog. I'll try to do better. Thanks for caring and for following our story. I hope it will be an encouragement to others who have little hope from what "science" knows, but can always have hope...if not for this life, then then next, from WHO GOD IS and what HE has already done for us!!
Since then, we have continued to have a wonderful summer here in upstate NY and received family and friends to share out little paradise. Below are a couple of photos:
This is our daughter, coming out of the water at the Piseco Lake Triathlon. She is the third woman out of the water but one of those ahead of her was only doing the swim leg of a relay so she was 2nd of those who were doing the whole triathlon. She still needs to work on her biking in order to be really competitive but she enjoyed the challenge and it was a beautiful day for it. It was the first one I have been able to watch.
This photo was taken before our daughter, Meg, and I did our traditional ride around Lake Pleasant. From here, it is about an 19 mile ride with some challenging hills. I was a little disappointed b/c I had to stop about 3 times to catch my breath on those hills. I think it was mostly b/c I wasn't shifting my gears correctly and that made climbing the hills much more difficult. sigh. I need to find someone who can help me learn this skill faster than I seem to be learning it on my own. Jo
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Dear Family and Friends,
This has been a very hard couple of weeks for us. Our small church family in Ohio has had more than its share of "bad" news lately. I put the word bad in quotes b/c when we truly believe in God's sovereignty, it is hard to intellectually view anything that He ordains as "bad", and yet it can often FEEL really bad to us in the moment.
We lost a dear friend to a complication from surgery; another good friend was diagnosed with a very rare disease that produces too much protein in his bloodstream. Another dear friend has just been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and another good friend had a significant stroke, leaving most of her left side paralyzed. And a young member (8 years old) broke his leg in the growth plate, which could set up complications later). It is almost too much to really take in.
I know the purpose of this blog is to communicate with those of you who are faithfully praying for us as we deal with Dan's stage 4 kidney cancer. But the rest of life still comes at us, even in the midst of dealing with that. There just doesn't seem to be a "pause button" anywhere.
I'm glad to report that Dan finally was able to begin his new treatment of axitinib or Inlyta by brand name, and has been on it for about 1 1/2 weeks now. Happily, no adverse side effects have shown up yet. Often these drugs take a while to build up before that happens but so far, so good. He has also been able to receive his first injection of the bone strengthening drug which he will receive approximately once a month.
He has had one more set of scans, right before beginning the drug and there had been no significant changes so that was good news since it took us so long to get going on a treatment. He will have his next scans in June, so barring any unpleasant surprises, there may not be another update until then.
With all the major medical issues happening to folks we know and love, we humbly ask for your prayers for them, for our church family and for us as we look to ABBA FATHER and try to grasp what He has for us in all of this. Our prayer is that we would be instruments of comfort and encouragement to these dear friends, just as you all have been to us, and that God would increase our and their faith and confidence in His love and His plans for them, even in the middle of these trials.
Thank you all AGAIN, for your continual prayers and encouragement. With Easter just being celebrated, our gratitude for such amazing redemption is overflowing and only adds to our gratitude for each of you. Love, Jo and Dan
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