Recovery Status (04/26/2013 Update)

2013-04-19 PreOpPictureSurgery Status

As last reported there were two larger tumors confirmed on both the initial and follow-up MRI.  However, there was uncertainty regarding shadows seen on the initial MRI, not seen on the follow-up MRI.  It was possible that these shadows were smaller tumors that shrunk and therefore were not visible on the follow-up MRI.  An ultrasound is a more reliable way to see tumors/lesions and therefore, as part of the surgery, an ultrasound was first done to verify the location of the two known tumors AND to see if there were in fact smaller tumors present.

The surgery turned out to be the best case scenario we could hope for!  The two larger tumors were the only lesions found (per the ultrasound) and they were both surgically removed with clear margins. Praise the Lord; His Mercy never fails! 

The next step in my cancer fight is to recover from the surgery; and so far I’ve been on a fast-track recovery plan just as the doctor anticipated. My part in the recovery is to rest, eat quality foods, and do moderate exercise (walking and breathing exercises).  And I’ve been trying to do them faithfully.

If everything continues as it has been going I expect to be back to work Monday May 6 (with minimal restriction).  The doctor’s assistants have discussed that I will need to; 1) avoid lifting anything over 5lbs, pushing or pulling heavy things, or stressing the abdomen area in general, and 2) listening to the body and resting as needed (don’t overdo it).

This first week of recovery has also included managing pain medication.  I have two pain medications; over-the counter Tylenol and a stronger prescription medication. The goal is to use the pain medications to moderate pain but to wean off of them as the healing allows.  Trying to wean off of them too quick will result in increased pain levels and a slower rate of healing. I need to be off of the prescription in order to drive and therefore my focus has been on using less of this drug as time passes.

Today I have gone without the prescription medication since 2am and I’m feeling pretty good.  I’ve found that I tended to need this stronger medication during the night.  Sleeping involves tossing and turning and getting in/out of bed and these activities tended to stress the abdomen area moreso than sitting or walking.  So getting through a night with minimal reliance on the prescription drug is definitely progress.

This is the Day that the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be Glad In It!

I hope that I am beyond the need for the full doses and I’m looking forward to being a little more alert and mobile. This morning I took advantage of the warm and sunny weather (and the availability of a professional dog walker). We went on a little nature walk and it was very refreshing indeed. And given the near-term weather forecast; I’m hoping to do a little more walking over the week-end.  2013-04-26 Walking The Dogs

I’m scheduled to visit both the surgeon and oncologist on May 16.  They will assess the healing and determine if I am ready to begin chemo treatments.  As soon as I’m deemed ready I’ll begin a series of eight more chemo treatments over several months (to kill remaining cancer cells).  While I’m not looking forward to once-again dealing with the side-effects of chemo at least this time I know these treatments are effective AND there is a strong hope that this cancer will be put into a full remission, especially with all the prayer support from you!!!

Thank you all again from the bottom of my heart…  For your Prayers..  Encouraging cards and messages… Visiting and calling… And generous acts and kindness…

I am truly a very lucky person to be surrounded by so many loving and beutiful family and friends.

Love and Light to you!



Surgery Tomorrow (04/18/2013 Update)

As last reported a few short weeks ago; the Folfiri and Erbitux treatment was extremely effective at reversing tumor activity. The latest CEA test came in at 3.7 (that’s the lowest since testing started). The follow-up MRI (done on Mar 21) was a much better image than the Jan 15 picture and showed that the two larger tumors in the liver had shrunk considerably.  Shadows on the earlier MRI (thought to be several smaller tumors) were not visible at the follow-up MRI.

Given these results the Tumor Board recommended 1) removing the two larger tumors as soon as possible and 2) doing an ultrasound on the liver to see if there were/are smaller tumors present (e.g. exploratory surgery).

As soon as possible was determined to April 19 at 9am (tomorrow) and therefore I had to wait several weeks as my body recovered from the effects of the Folfiri and Erbitux chemo treatments.  Ah chucks. No chemo? Time to enjoy life!

The last few weeks (sorry for the side bar)

The last few weeks (without chemo) have been awesome! I have felt better than I have in a long time calendarand so we decided to live it up a bit.  We managed to squeeze in a few activities.  Hum; let’s see…

Sarah came for a visit from Boston, We went to a Kid Rock Concert in Saginaw, a Detroit Tiger’s Baseball Game at Comerica Park, The Bob Seger Concert at the Palace of Auburn Hills, Bat Boy The Musical at Wayne State Bonstelle Theatre (Tony’s Play), and a few family dinners at various places in between.  Whew, I’m tired just thinking about this nice run we had!

Seriously, I am truly blessed to have had this time with my loved ones. It was truly a gift from above! Thank you Jesus for these fun-filled days with my family and friends!

Oh yah, surgery tomorrow at 9am!

Well, the possible outcomes from the surgery are summarized below:

  • Best Case Scenario: The ultrasound only shows the two tumors in the liver and these two tumors are removed with clear margin
  • Possible Scenario: The ultrasound shows additional tumors; however, the two larger tumors are surgically removed and the smaller tumors are either surgically removed or destroyed using ablation (e.g. ablation is a process by which the abnormal cells are killed without removing them surgically).
  • Worst Case Scenario: The ultrasound shows many smaller tumors scattered throughout the liver.  In this scenario the surgery would likely be aborted as removal of the larger tumors would not provide benefit.

                                 Prayers for a good outcome are hereby requested. Prayer


5K Walk/Run (scheduled for June 1, 2013)

As mentioned some time ago my friends Colette and Darrick are organizing a group to walk or run in the first annual “Colon Cancer Awareness 5K Run/Walk” in Battle Creek Michigan.  I am committed to walk in this event.  This will be a milestone in my post-surgery recovery!  I would love for as many of you to join Collette, Darrick, and myself in this fund raising opportunity. I think we have about 15 signed up so far.

The event is on Saturday June 1st (9am check in time).  And today is the last day for the $25 registration (goes up to $30 tomorrow).  Access the link below for more information and for the online registration form.

So much to be thankful for!

Thank You!

Thank you friends and family — For staying up to date on my battle with Cancer; for your prayers as we walk through this valley; for your encouraging words of support; and for your Love! You truly help me keep a positive and hopeful outlook!  I do pray that God will shower blessings on each of you!