Saturday, August 17, 2019
Sorry I have been out of touch lately. I have been so busy and my mobility issues are increasing even with therapy or because of it. Brad has started his new phase of treatment which includes daily chemo and radiation treatments. His latest blog was just posted a few minutes ago. I have included it below. I am so happy that he is finding such support and motivation through Christian music. Keeps helping both of us get through this.
MRI Results and the Tour de Radiation Begins
Journal entry by Brad Hook — 4 minutes ago
“Wilbur and Orville Wright had a dream. They made it a reality by thinking outside the box. Pushing past failure. And believing in themselves.”
Visiting the Wright Brothers Memorial on our vacation to North Carolina / the Outer Banks was perhaps my favorite part of it. Learning the history of what they went through to discover flight is beyond fascinating and I would recommend a visit to the Outer Banks / Kitty Hawk!! The Wright Brothers hit a huge roadblock in their journey to discover flight, but they did not give up, instead they threw out the experts data they relied on for lift and drag and did their own testing to make their own calculation as to what was needed for flight. Had they given up, we may not have flight today, but they believed in themselves and kept pushing forward and in the end they succeeded based on their calculations for lift and drag. Tune up the relation to having Stage IV cancer, you just have to believe that you are going to find your way through it no matter what it takes to get to your end goal.
I had a MRI for my rectal tumor the day before we went on vacation. It was a lovely 2 hour experience that lasted from 5-7 pm on a Sunday and included lying still for over an hour and having something injected into me that briefly made me feel like blowing my cookies all over the machine (thankfully I powered through that brief sensation)! When I read the results on vacation I initially thought they were not the best. Specifically, the pre-sacral mass I have in my rectum has grown about 1 cm in size since last October (it’s 4.3 x 3.3 x 3.9 cm, started at 3.4 x 3.3 x 3.1). All of the resolutions indicated by the CT scan were on point. I was a bit confused because my oncologist told me in April that the rectal tumor looked to be resolved. Come to find out that is in fact the case, the initial tumor is resolved, but this is a secondary tumor that the chemo has not handled as well. Overall my oncologist is pleased with the results and confident the radiation is going to torch this secondary tumor into oblivion.
On the topic of radiation, I started my 28 days on Wednesday and after 3 treatments, I can say this should be a fun test for me. I will be receiving chemo, 5-FU, via my pump 5 days a week while I’m receiving radiation. I will get hooked up on Monday’s and unhooked on Saturday mornings, so it will be on me most of the time. The amount of chemo is the same, just a slower infusion over the two week period (48 ML a week versus 96 ML in 46 hours). As for the radiation, I don’t feel anything during treatment. I go in at 8:30 (will be 8:15 starting the 29th) before work, they zap me, and I go across the street to work and get there by 9. It’s very quick and it’s a blessing my work is so close to the hospital. About 3 hours after my treatment I can feel some fatigue kick in, but it’s similar to being on strong chemo. Then in the evenings before bed I have some cramping in the area that’s been treated, which is uncomfortable but not terrible. I’m hoping the side effects stay minimal but time will tell if that is the case! This will definitely knock me down some but it doesn’t appear to be anything that put me in agony.
Overall, I’m excited to have this stage of my treatment underway as I am ready to take this cancer out. My HAI pump surgery in NYC is tentatively scheduled for October 8th, so this is going to be quick attack on the mass in my rectum and the liver tumors. At least it is fall and there are plenty of sports to watch while I’m knocked down and recovering from everything!
Finally, Matthew West’s song “Mended” really speaks to me right now, some of the lyrics are as follows:
“When you see broken beyond repair,
I see healing beyond belief,
When you see too far gone,
I see one step away from home
When you see nothing but damaged goods,
I see something good in the making,
I’m not finished yet,
When you see wounded I see mended.”
The statistics suggest I am wounded, beat down by cancer, fighting for my life, likely not to beat the odds and will never be cured of this despicable disease. What I see is someone that is thriving, someone that has come a long way from where he was in October, someone that is taking a very aggressive next step and won’t stop until he kicks this cancer’s ass to the curb. I may never be cured, but I can certainly get to a point of no evidence of disease and that is fine by me. When I go into radiation, all I can think about is how I’m zapping that tumor one day at a time to destroy it. Sure there are side effects, but those don’t bother me, I just fight through them and continue on with living and loving life. No matter what it takes, I am going to come out on the other side victorious. Cancer is messing with one tough cookie!
As always, thank you for your prayers and support, they are working their magic and I am getting closer to where I want to be one day at a time!