Thursday, November 26, 2015

Getting Ready For Chemo

Thanksgiving for us this year is one of Rest and Recovery. I rest when Joe is napping. I pushed our chairs together so we can "hang on" and "hang out"

Joe's son Rob and his fiancee' Gloria, came down from Olympia for the Day. Gloria is a coin collector so she enjoyed taking time going through all the change we save.  

Joe has always enjoyed having snacks beside his recliner. That won't ever be an option again. He is on a low fiber/low residue diet. That means among other things, no more nuts of any kind , food with seeds in it, nothing with skins (like potatoes, tomatoes, grapes etc) no raw veggies, limited amount of milk just to name a few things.  So I thought what a better way to get rid of these goodies then to set them all out on pretty dishes on the bar and let Rob and Gloria enjoy snacking on them. I saved all the bags which seal nicely, and asked them to take every thing that's left at the end of the day home with them. They said sure. What they can't eat, they will give to family and friends.

I have had holiday breads in the freezer that I can take out and thaw for guests that drop by for a visit so I put these out too.

Rob and Gloria brought a pumpkin pie and half a berry pie for our after dinner, just before they leave, dessert.
What I didn't take a picture of, was the main meal.  Four Swanson Hungryman TV Turkey Dinners!!!   So simple. It was an absolutely wonderful afternoon. I don't know if it was Joe, Kelly or Rob that originally suggested the idea, but it was so nice not to cook a big dinner, or clean up afterwards.  After the Macy's Day Parade and the Lions and the Eagle's football game, we spent the rest of the afternoon watching Christmas Movies. Hallmark's "The Christmas Card" The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year" with Henry Winkler and Bing Crosby's "White Christmas".
Now for an update on Joe. He is sitting beside me in his recliner sound asleep. I'm sure he is having sweet dreams of the time we spent with Rob and Gloria today. Yesterday we spent most of the morning at the KNight Cancer Institute. Joe met Dr. Jingjing Hu, M.D. She is one of the oncologists on staff there and will be his primary chemo Dr. Until now, just by reading all his lab reports and what ever else we could read on the internet, it sounded to us like his cancer staging was four. Yesterday she gave us statistics and more answers. If he wouldn't have had surgery, or agreed to chemo, his prognosis would have been 6 months or less. By agreeing to do Chemo, he added about 28 months or so.  If later, the tumor shrinks enough to where they would be able to do surgery, statistically it would add even more time, up to five years or so.  Dr. Hu told us she is placing it at a moderate stage 3.  She is cautiously optimistic, giving about a 30% chance for him that the chemo being used can shrink the tumor on his liver to where they MAY be able to operate to remove some of that cancerous tumor giving him even more time.  After 2-3 months they will check to see the amount of shrinkage then check with the liver surgeon.  If it happens at all, surgery won't be until sometime next year.
Monday, he is having a port put in to get ready for his first treatment on Wednesday Dec. 2nd. For any of you who have had chemo for  colon cancer, his chemo is Fairfax. A combination of two medicines.  They give it to him by IV then he goes home with a pump that will allow the medicine to run continuously through the 2nd day. Then on the third day, he goes back, they remove the pump and no more chemo for two weeks.  In a few weeks another medicine called Avastin will be added, but they have to wait a while after surgery.  Avastin helps prevent blood vessels from reaching the tumor.  This could starve the tumor and is very tolerable. He will be on a two week routine.  The only symptoms he may have will be extreme fatigue for two or three days. Then we have a good week to take off in the motor home.  But the doctor prefers he goes no further than a hundred and fifty miles in any direction.  That means we could enjoy both TT Seaside and TT Bend/Sunriver. Plus his kids and my sister. (Sorry Blanche, for now Lynden is too far away) Dr. also said he may or may not loose some or all of his hair. 
Well, there you have it...Lots of numbers, "what if's", "maybe's and maybe nots", But Joe and I still agree we serve an all knowing, Sovereign God. WE also believe He can totally heal Joe if it is His will.  Only He knows the number of our days and we give thanks for each of those days.
For those of you who care to pray specifically, we ask prayers for

  • Total and complete healing for Joe
  • for treatment tolerance
  • for health for Sept and his son Rob's wedding. (Joe is to be the best man. Rob was his best man at our wedding)
  • And that chemo shrinks the liver tumor so it becomes operative.