Five of Six (10/30/2014 Update)

Knockout Cancer

Well, I think a short update is overdue as I have not posted over the past few treatments. As you know, I’m still battling this recurrence. The plan we created this past August was to receive six treatments of FOLFOXIRI/Bev and then reassess surgery. Today, nearly three years after hearing the “you have cancer” shocker, I started treatment five of six of this plan. Treatment six of six is scheduled for November 13.

This treatment started with a long day at UMHC in the infusion area. There I received avastin first, followed by irinotecan, then followed by leucovorin and oxaliplatin. After this I am hooked up to the 5-FU which I receive through continuous infusion over 48 hours. In between these drugs I receive steroids, nausea and anxiety medicine, and other medicines to help manage the side effects.

This day was rough. Feeling nauseated, eye twitching, weakness, cold sensitivity, headaches, teethe/gums hurting, sore skin sensitive to touch. But the symptoms dissipate and change over time. Right now I feel decent (you can only sleep so long). And eventually I will feel good again.

In addition to the treatment we also had a doctor visit today as well. Last Friday I went in for an MRI scan and a CT scan. And yesterday I had to make another trip back to UMHS for a re-take on the MRI scan. Anxiety is also a problem when it comes to scan time. Although I try to remain at peace, knowing that Jesus is walking this path with me, I have to admit to some worry. I think about the possibility of seeing more tumors or growth in the existing tumors. And what the options would be if this is the case…

Today we received the results from the scans. Dr. Krause said “a tie is better than a loss.” So after four completed treatments the cancer in my liver was unchanged. The good news in this report is that the cancer did not grow. And the best news is that there were no new tumors in any other organs.

The next steps were also discussed with Dr. Krauss today. I will meet with Dr. Knoll (surgeon) on Wednesday November 12. We will hear his opinion about surgery. If surgery is determined as the next step I will receive chemo treatment six of six and then begin recovery / preparation for surgery. That means I will get to feel good as I prep up for surgery. If surgery is not an option we will regroup and reassess.

Another option that we discussed with Dr. Krauss was pursuing a second opinion from MD Anderson in Austin Texas. This facility is known for aggressive and leading-edge liver surgery. They are also the number 2 overall cancer center in the USA. So especially if surgery is not something that we can go forward with at UMHS we will likely pursue this option.

Another bit of good news received today — the CEA dropped from 12 to 9 over the last two weeks. Given that the CEA has proven to be highly corellated with the cancer activity, this news gives us hope that the progressive treatment with this chemo is having a positive affect at killing the cancer cells. When I first started the treatment CEA dropped from 18 to 11. However the last three CEA levels were 12. So seeing it drop from 12 to 9 is a small victory for which we will give thanks to Jesus.

In addition to battling chemo we have had a lot going on these days…

Three weeks ago, my brother George came to visit. We did a few projects around the house and enjoyed our time together. Thank you George for visiting. You know I always Love when you come.

Two weeks ago my best friend Kathy came over and cooked up a storm. She is an excellent cook and she made meals for the entire week, including cooking a turkey. And it was delicious. Thank you Kathy for all the light and love you send our way every day!

Then, this past Sunday, we had Connie’s sister Cathy and her husband Scott come over. They too are excellent cooks and they treated us with cheerful company and delicious food. And again left overs for this past week were a delight. Thank you Cathy and Scott. We love when you visit and we loved the delicious meals you made.

In addition to that we successfully painted two bedrooms this past weekend. I’ve been working with Bryce trying to get his room setup “just perfect.” And the paint is done. Thank you C.J. for helping with this work.

Then we have the story about Bryce breaking another bone (third break since June). This time he had a compound fracture of his left middle finger. We were in the emergency room for four hours. Luckily it was reset without surgery and it is healing fast and well. Thank you Jesus for fixing these breaks.

Most of all — Thank You — for your continued prayers. Please know that your support is truly important to us. Knowing that you are lifting us up in prayer gives me hope that the Creator of all Creation, King of Kings, Lord of Lords will take mercy on us and allow me the time and opportunity to continue to support my wife and family and see them grow in God’s Love.

Whatever God’s plan I know it is the best plan and ultimately I pray that I can be a good servant as I live out my days on this great earth.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1-2 NIV)

When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:25-26 NIV)

NOTE: If you are reading this via Facebook, please feel free to like as a way of praying with us for healing.

4 Comments on “Five of Six (10/30/2014 Update)”

  1. Tim Dechant says:

    Keep up the fight, my friend. Interesting note on the 5-FU treatment…on your fifth round…I read it as “FU to cancer 5x over!” Sorry, could not resist that. You are an inspiration of strength and faith. God bless you, and I thank Him for you being in all of our lives!



  2. Krea says:

    The LORD is using you to influence many people as you continue to follow Him on life’s journey. Your light is shining for Him — the true Light of the World!

  3. Karen says:

    Phil- Thank you for the update- I only make it to your blog every once in a while but gosh darn it- one of these times when I visit I just want to read “I’m in COMPLETE remission”! Your strength continues to amaze many of us, your renewed faith is a remarkable and a true testament to our gracious and heavenly Father. Always in our prayers! The DeLands

  4. Little brother says:

    Love both of those scriptures, two of my favorites. “I make known the ending from the beginning, from ancient days what is yet to come; I say, my purpose will stand, I will do all that I please”. Isaiah 46:10, and “Be still and know that I am God” Psalms 46:10 — they go together. All your life you’ve lead the way in front of me, with intelligence, adeptness, and some pep to your step. I’m always amazed to see your good examples. Looking forward to our next visit and project. Little Brother

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