Erbitux/Folfiri Treatment 3 Update (02/28/2013)Posted: 02/28/2013 Filed under: Uncategorized 12 Comments
So much to update on. Lucky for you all I’m feeling tired as I receive this treatment and therefore I’ll have to keep the update somewhat brief. 🙂
So, in addition to a short medical update I will also share a few other thoughts.
My Aunt Sonia passed away last week and her funeral was yesterday. She was 85 years young and she lived a very beautiful life. And she has left an amazing legacy in the hearts of her husband of 52 years, her six children, her many grandchildren and great grandchildren, her nieces and nephews, and countless friends!
I have very fond memories of Aunt Sonia. My father would take us to Paw Paw MI nearly every summer to visit with his sister (my Aunt) on the farm. I grew up in the City (Detroit) and going to visit Aunt Sonia and Uncle Bob was always an exciting time that my siblings and I looked forward to.
Aunt Sonia had a way of making us ALL feel special. When we would arrive she would meet us at the car and she would give each of us a big bear hug and kiss, barely waiting for us to exit the old VW bus. The love in her heart was so genuine. And lucky for us she cultivated that love into the hearts of her children (my dear cousins).
Another fond memory that I have of Aunt Sonia was how she always made the most delicious food! And there was always plenty to go around. My Uncle Bob and Aunt Sonia had a large family (six children). Add our family (seven children) and another cousin or two — only then can you start appreciate the effort that went into the cooking. She was literally cooking for a small army! And somehow Aunt Sonia alawys made it look easy and effortless.
I Love you Uncle Bob. I love you cousins. You are all in my Prayers.
Go Red Wings! I think my Aunt Sonia was more a fan than I am (and those of you who know me well can imagine that she must have loved the Wings).
Learning about my family
I learned a lot about my family lineage yesterday. I now have a copy of the Scamihorn genealogy dating back to the mid 1800’s. I’m hoping to update this family tree information and share it with my relatives in such a way that we can all contribute to the story over time.
It was fulfilling to learn about my ancestors. I now know that Samuel Scamihorn begot Jacob Scamihorn begot George Watson Scamihorn begot George Henry Scamihorn begot Philip Joseph Scamihorn (me). My connection to this lineage was severed because my Grandfather abandoned my father (and his family) when he was very young. We simply didn’t have the privilege to hear Grandpa’s stories. And now, at the young age of 49 I’m learning things I simply didn’t know. And it feels good to do!
As last reported (in SPITE of the Erbitux rash) I managed to attend the Marshall Red Hawks’ basketball tournaments the last couple of weeks. And I’m very thankful that I’ve been able to attend. The boys are all growing in leaps and bounds (literally). I’m especially happy to see Bryce doing so well. The team has improved, leading to increased confidence, leading to even better game, leading to more confidence, etc…
YouVersion — My favorite App (by far)
If you are interested in a handy way of reading a book full of Life lessons I STRONGLY recommend trying out the YouVersion bible! This is a free app that you can install on your smart phone and/or iPad. My wife introduced me to this app and it has quickly become my favorite.
I enjoy following the daily reading “plans.” These plans vary from 3 days up to 300 days. A plan is essentially a guided tour through the scriptures. Examples of the plans include Parenting by Design, The Christmas Story, Relationships, Love and Marriage. My favorite part of a plan is the devotional writings. The devotionals appear to be written by theologians and they tend to add context and interpretation to the bible verses. I also love that you can easily switch between different bible translations and sometimes find myself comparing and contrasting between them.
For me reading the plans are like reading a good book that you simply can’t put down. Oh, yah that’s probably because it is the Good Book!
So far I have completed 23 different plans and I’m in the middle of four more that will soon be completed.
Let me know if you are using this App. And check it out if you’re not.
Excellent News – CEA is down! This is a good indicator that this Erbitux/Folfiri is working! My doctor looked over the rash (which is substantially less than it was) and decided a 50% dose of Erbitux was in order for today. I suspect that there might be a resurrgence; however, I’m also hopeful that it won’t be as bad as it was. Today’s infusion is nearly done. We’re hoping to be on our way home around 3pm.
Thank you all for your continued prayers! And for all your support.
Please keep my Uncle Bob and Aunt Sonia’s family and friends in your prayers.
May God Bless and keep you forever!
Your brother in Christ,
Faith, Hope, and Love (02/20/2013 update)Posted: 02/20/2013 Filed under: Uncategorized 6 Comments
I was doing a little research and found some interesting info on Faith, Hope, and Love. In the last blog update I raised the question “What is the difference between Faith, Hope, and Love?” It seems like this question was contemplated quite some time ago by Martin Luther (who lived from 1483 to 1546). I found an article referencing Luther’s teaching on this subject. The summary of this article is as follows.
Essentially Faith is the truth that we hold in our heart and mind. Hope rises in the will, in response to tribulation. Faith anchors us and hope is our guide through despair or tribulation. I thought the statement “By faith we begin, by hope we continue…” is very profound.
So, with this I examine how faith and hope applies to me.
My Faith includes my core beliefs as a Christian. I believe in the holy trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). I believe Jesus is the son of God. He became human, suffered, and died on the cross. Jesus paid for our sins by dying for us on the cross. Jesus conquered death by rising from the dead and ascending into heaven body and spirit. Jesus will one day come again. The foundation of my faith is that I accept Jesus as my personal savior and Lord. He paid for my sins and I will love him eternally. I will follow him all the days of my life. I will live my life trying to be more like him; applying the many lessons he has left for us to my life. My faith can be summarized in that I know Jesus has a perfect plan for me and His plan will prevail!
Grounded by this faith (and faced with tribulation) I am filled with Hope. My hope is that I will allow the Holy Spirit to guide me and keep me strong; following the path the Lord has laid out for me. My hope is that I will be cured from this cancer. I hope that I will be with my family for many years. I hope that our Father will teach me to Love my family and friends more with each passing day. I hope that my family will grow in their faith. I hope to one day be a grandfather. I hope that I will learn more about the many lessons that Jesus taught us while on earth and have the opportunity to learn from and with other Christians. I hope to grow more open minded, accepting of other’s beliefs and avoiding judgment of others.
Why is Love the greatest of these?
I found another article by theologian Mark D. Roberts that seemed to do a great job answering this question. As this article points out, scripture teaches us that God is Love (1 John 4:8). Scripture never says that God is faith or hope. Another point made in this article is that when find ourselves face-to-face with our God in heaven faith and hope will no longer be as important as Love. In the presence of God we will know him and our hopes will all be fulfilled. Love will be everlasting and therefore is the greatest of these.
And after this analysis I recall lyrics from one of the songs I would sing as a child…
“God is Love, and he who abides in Love, abides in God, and God in him”
God bless you and keep you forever!
Good News Update (02/16/2013)Posted: 02/16/2013 Filed under: Uncategorized 5 Comments
I was just disconnected from the pump and I’m feeling fairly well so far. I’m very happy with how fast the rash is subsiding. As I reported on Thursday, the doctor withheld the Erbitux for Treatment 2. And he prescribed an additional antibiotic. Thanks to my wife (Dr. Connie) who is making sure I wash, use lotion, take pills on time! Surely it is her dilligence that has resulted in a very quick improvement (see comparative pictures).
I’m managing through the other side effects from this treatment as well (mostly fatigue and some sleeping pattern challenges).
And I have to let you all know. My beautiful wife gave me a kiss everday thoughout this terrible rash. I told her that she is kissing a frog that hopes to become a prince for her once again. And I did buy her some beautiful roses yesterday as a little post-valentines day surprise too. I Love you Connie!
I managed to make it to both the 9am and Noon game today. Marshall won them both and is now 2-0 in the tournament and undefeated for the season overall. Hopefully after a short nap I’ll be up for the 4pm game as well. The 4pm game is a regular season game. The tournament games begin again on Sunday. And I need to save some energy for tomorrow’s 11:15am service followed by a 1pm and 3pm basketball games. I should be good to go as my part will be sitting and watching, and avoiding too much cheering. 🙂
I thought I would also include in this update a little thinking I’ve been doing… Friday morning I found myself wide awake at 1:30am. Something I’ll do if I can’t sleep is read random bible verses. Anyway I flipped to a couple of passages both raising questions about Faith, Hope, and Love. I thought I would share these verses with you and raise a couple of questions to reflect on.
So the two verses I mentioned above are:
- But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against things like this. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified self with its passions and its desires. If we live by the Spirit, let’s follow the Spirit. Let’s not become arrogant, make each other angry, or be jealous of each other. (Galatians 5:22-26 CEB)
- Now faith, hope, and love remain—these three things—and the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13 CEB)
The questions to reflect on…
- What is the difference between Faith, Hope, and Love???
- And why is Love the greatest of these???
I’m going to do a little research and reflection on these questions and will include my findings in upcoming posts. And I would LOVE to hear your thoughts/insights on these verses/and questions (firstname.lastname@example.org).
To be continued…
Meditation to share
The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and he knows them that trust in him. Nahum 1:7
- I put my life in God’s hands.
- I will trust God’s Guidance.
- I leave the outcome to God.
Valentine’s Day (02/14/2013)Posted: 02/14/2013 Filed under: Uncategorized 5 Comments
Today is Valentine’s Day. And I know this because Connie gave me the most creative card that she made just for me. She loves making cards and she is really good at it too. And I love this card the best! And I Love Connie!
Okay, I bet you thought I forgot about V-day — don’t panic. Lucky for me I’m part of the Valentine’s day target market. I heard the message loud and clear from radio, TV, and email.
I gave Connie a pretty nice card too (albeit store bought). I also gave her some elegent perfume and bath/spa goodies as well. And she was surprised and happy!
Like Phil from Duck Dynasty says – I wish you ALL a very “Happy, Happy, Happy” Valentine’s Day filled with LOVE!
As you all read in my last blog I started receiving a new chemo on Jan 31. The goal of this new chemo is to stop/reduce the cancer growth and prepare me for a future liver surgery. I also reported that this new chemo was composed of FOLFIRI and Erbitux. The side-effects of this new chemo were expected to be similar to the last chemo; including fatigue, nausea, frequent trips to the rest room (if you know what I mean). In addition to these effects the doctor told us that fifty percent of Erbitux patients develop a rash as well. I didn’t think much about the rash. Besides, I was going to be in the fifty percent that did NOT develop the rash.
Well, I ended up with the rash. And it was more of an issue than I thought. In fact, the rash was bad enough for the doctor to withhold the Erbitux from today’s treatment. He raised concerns about possible infection and permanent damage to my face (mainly my nose). I asked him if it might make it smaller and he said “yes, the tip might fall off.” And then he reported that I’ll be taking a break from Erbitux so my body can heal a bit. I’m still receiving the FOLFIRI (currently connected to the IV right now).
The biggest pain about having this Erbitux rash (which looks like very bad acne – as you can see n the picture below) is that now it is obvious that something is going on with me. I’ve been pretty lucky that until now I didn’t really LOOK sick.
Throughout my previous treatments (pre-rash) I managed to go to my 12 year old son’s sporting events, sometimes with the chemo pump fanny-pack hidden under a loose hoody. And I managed to go into the office and work; even though sometimes I didn’t feel that great. And I didn’t look sick.
As the rash worsened I found myself being more and more reclusive. I’ve been hiding out at home; working from home instead of going into the office and avoiding any trips outside of the home. And I’ve been fretting about going to my son’s upcoming basketball tournament as well.
I can’t hide behind a “normal looking” face anymore. Now my battle is painfully obvious.
Even though I’ve been very open / public about my battle with cancer (e.g. this blog) I found myself feeling very reluctant to face the public with “the rash.” Heck, I’ve even felt funny about facing my family.
And if I continue to hide out, well that would let cancer get the upper hand. I can’t miss out on life! I need to go to the basketball tournaments. And I need to feel free to face the public. No matter the rash. In spite of the rash.
As it is cancer does chip away at life/living and we cancer patients have to resist this attack with all our ability. I couldn’t play golf last season due to operations, recovery, and chemo. If the current chemo is successful I will face another surgery right around the beginning of golf season (e.g. may not be able to play this year).
So I am resolved! I’ll be going to sporting events and concerts and out to dinner; as long as I feel well enough to do so.
And even though I’m skipping Erbitux this treatment, I’m hoping to get it in the next treatment in order to maximize my chances of beating this cancer!
And on this special Valentine ’s Day; I thank God for all the Love in my life! I am truly Blessed! And Love will see me through this cancer battle!
And I pray…
Jesus, You know the circumstances in my life where I’m feeling caught in a storm, uncertain of how to make it through safely. I find such confidence in the thought that You come to me in the midst of these storms, urging me to take courage in Your presence. Hold out Your hand to me, Lord, and help me walk on water with You. I want my life to reflect my trust in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Thank you ALL for your continued support and Prayers!
Love and Light to you today!
* Anyone interested in praying with us, you are invited to join us on Sunday at First Wes (http://firstwes.org/), in Battle Creek. We’ll be at the 11:15am service.
* Pray for Anna as she is looking for her first post-college job!
* Pray for Alexis. She is recovering from a pretty bad flu virus!
* Pray for Sarah to have safe travels home from Abu Dhabi. I hope her vacation was WONDERFUL!
* Pray for Tony who is rehearsing for a musical. I’m looking forward to hearing him sing!
* Go Marshall! The Marshall Redhawks are undefeated, winning the Homer tournament this past weekend! Wishing them luck in the upcoming Harper Creek tournament!!!