Another milestone is scheduled for tomorrow. It will be my last immunotherapy treatment
using both drugs. More treatments will most
likely start in July but only 1 drug will be used. Not looking forward to tomorrow. After about 3 weeks from my last treatment, I
have worked my way out of the after effects of the treatment such as fatigue,
some discomfort, etc and have been feeling pretty good over the last week. So I know that on about Wednesday, I’ll back
to that condition without much motivation to do much of anything. However, all the kids are coming here for
July 4 so that will give me a good incentive to get up and about again.
Other than the above, I am not expecting any revelation/news
during or after this treatment. The next
big day will be July 8 and 9. Now that
the radiation and treatment routines will have been completed, I will be
scanned again on the 8th to see what effect, if any, the procedures have had on
my cancer. I will be meeting with the
oncologist on July 9 after he has had the opportunity to study the scan. We will discuss the results of the scan and
treatment going forward.
Your continued prayers are most welcome.
Psalm 23:4 Eventhough
I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I
will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
The next hurdle is Tuesday of this week. Another round of immunotherapy. This will be round 3 of 4. A single treatment of immunotherapy includes infusing 2 different drugs via IV over an hour and a 1/2. So, after a good snooze, I’m released to go home. I don’t expect much after after effect since the first 2 treatments were somewhat a non-event. The last treatment is set for the end of June. Soon after that (probably first part of July), I will have another scan to determine what effect, if any, the immunotherapy and the radiation has had on the cancer and, as a result, determine what the strategy and treatment will be going forward. That is the worrisome part.
Physically, I don’t move very quickly (although some would argue
that was always the case). I get winded and
have to take breaks just doing simple honey-do’s around the house. But I generally feel fine. I have lost about 20 lbs. since April 11 but
my weight seems to be coming back up a tad so hopefully my energy will come
back with the weight. I just hope this
next treatment doesn’t drag me back down.
Spiritually, as strong as ever! I have always said a sign of a Christian is that when bad things happen do you shake your fist at God or find comfort in Him. I am firmly in the latter camp and will always remain there.
Lamentations 3:24“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”
Today I begin round two of my bout with cancer. I am headed
to upstate Medical Center in Syracuse for a round of immunotherapy infusion. In reality this is my second treatment but
the first was during my initial stay in the hospital and everything was such a
blur at that point in time, I don’t recall if it was good, bad, or indifferent. Since my last post, I have been trying to
recover as best possible from my first stay in the hospital and the radiation
treatment. My belly size has gone down from about eight months pregnant to
about two months. Radiation treatment had burned my esophagus and made it very
hard to swallow anything. It appears that has now gone away and I can eat
somewhat normal again! I have lost about 15 pounds since this ordeal began on
April 11 but my energy level is starting to pick up again and I am feeling
better. This makes me somewhat leery of today’s treatment. I’m starting to feel
“normal” again and eating better, so I’m nervous about what “joys” today’s
treatment will bring. I have 3 more of
these treatments to go including todays.
They are spaced about 3 weeks apart.
Sometime within the next 2 to 3 weeks I will have another PET scan
completed to see what all this work is doing to the cancer.
I truly appreciate everyone’s concerns, including the
prayers from all the prayer warriors.
Matthew 26:39 – “My Father, if it is possible, may this
cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
When we began this blog, we decided to limit it to the facts
of my condition and the strategies to treat cancer for the purposes of keeping
loved ones informed of my condition. However, besides physical, mental and
spiritual are big components of this journey. For those of you who know me well
you know that I have placed my faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and
proclaim Jesus, the Jewish king, as my Savior. Without that faith, I’m not sure
how I could cope with my condition. The
following is how I’m able to reconcile my faith with this cancer:
Isaiah 6:8and I
heard the voice of the Lord saying, “whom shall I send and who will go for us?”
Then I said, “here I am! Send me.”
Routinely my prayers always include a request to God to use
me, place me where I can have the highest and best impact for His kingdom and
then give me the courage to GO. In addition, I always ask that He draw
my family and friends to Him and that one day they all accept Jesus as their
Savior. Maybe my prayers are in the early stages of being answered. Maybe my new platform will allow me to share
my faith with each one of them and present the gospel direct, loving, and
crystal clear. If I can’t or won’t, this journey will have been in vain.
However, if because of my condition I’m able to point all or some to the cross,
then every single cancer cell would have been worth it. I know that I cannot
save anyone but if can get them to take a look, I am positive that the Holy
Spirit and the truth will win the day. I imagine 100 years from now when we all
are together in God’s kingdom.
Isaiah was a prophet that roamed the earth about 700 years
before Jesus’ ministry on earth. Isaiah’s commission was a message of
repentance to the nation of Israel. He
was abused, ridiculed, and ultimately his message rejected. My platform is
going to suck beyond all imagination. Isaiah and I have learned that maybe you
should be careful what you ask for or have a good idea of what the assignment
is before volunteering. But if both result in glory to God and salvation to
some, it will have been worth every step.
One final thought – One does not get to a “better place” by
simply passing away, as you hear so often at so many funerals. Romans 10:9 is a good place to start and grow
in your faith from there. “If you
confess with your mouth that Jesus is lord and believe in your heart that God
raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Things have gone as pretty much as expected this week. Every day since Monday, Jodell and I travel
to Up State Cancer Center for my 15 minute zap.
My last one, until further notice, is tomorrow. The treatments are quick, they don’t hurt, I
haven’t felt sick….nothing. So far this
is what is most perplexing. They tell me
what I have is really bad but the treatments seem to be, almost a
non-event. I have had 1 immunotherapy
treatment and, again, no nasty side effects.
I’ll certainly accept these conditions but my rule of thumb is that good
medicine has to taste bad! Anyway,
radiation ends tomorrow and my next immunotherapy treatment is in 2 weeks.
The roughest part this week is the continued recovery from
the week before. I am still run down and
sleep a lot and move gingerly when I do.
I appear to be about 6 months pregnant from the blood in my torso from
the liver bleed. Of course, you mothers
know what comes with that; back muscle stress, etc. Doctor says this will take about 2 months to
get back to normal.
Finally, I had an appointment with my oncologist on
Tuesday. Besides the normal progress /
game plan discussion, I asked him a question about a comment he had made early
on. His comment was: If this had gone untreated, I would have been
gone in about 3 months. I said now that
we have a handle on this and treatment is underway, what do you think my projected
life span is now? His answer: James, optimistically I think you have 2
maybe 3 years to live. Whoa! was my thought. Up until then I had assumed the goal in the
fight was to one day be cancer free. Now
I think it is to extend the quality of life.
However, I am not giving up the cancer free hope. They continue to tell me how rare this
pathology is and put their heads together with the nation’s best in figuring
out how to treat it. So how do they
really know how it will respond to treatment?
It’s great to be home. No more sleeping in a tangled ball of wires and tubes or to be woken when I am finally asleep to be told it is time to check vitals. Anyway, the plan going forward is for radiation treatment every day this coming week but as an outpatient. The radiation treatment will be totally focused on the tumor streamer that extends from my tumor in my liver to my heart, this is known as the tumor thrombus. I have already had one radiation treatment, yesterday, and physically it was a non-event. So not to bore anyone, I will refrain from putting up comments every day, unless something out of the ordinary occurs like a strange bowel movement. Stay tuned as I kick my liver cancer’s butt.