Monday, October 24, 2011

We seem to give her back to Thee,
Dear God, Who gavest her to us.
Yet as Thou didst not lose her in giving,
so we have not lost her by her return.
Not as the world giveth, givest Thou, O Lover of Souls.
What Thou givest Thou takest not away.

For what is Thine is ours always, if we are Thine.
And life is eternal; and love is immortal;
and death is only a horizon;
and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.

Lift us up strong Son of God, that we may see farther;
Cleanse our eyes that we may know ourselves nearer to our beloved who are with Thee.
And while Thou dost prepare a place for us,
Prepare us for that happy place.

That where she is, and Thou art, we too may be.

Adapted from Bishop Brent

Friday, August 19, 2011

Finally Home

Amy crossed the river very gently at 6:55 AM MDT. Praise God for His grace to her and to us.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Valley of the Shadow of Death

Most of you probably thought I had posted my last update, and I thought I had too. Last week there were days when I was sure I wouldn't live 'til the end of the day, although I can't describe what's going on as physical pain. My body is beginning to shut down. We were able to find a couple of simple ways to relieve the toxic buildup in my body, and although I can still feel that I am quickly coming to the end of my life here on earth, my eyes and skin are no longer yellow, I can think very clearly, the swelling I was beginning to have has gone away, my nausea is somewhat decreased, and I can eat and drink a little. My oncologist said that as long as we can keep the toxins drained, and keep a little food in me, this process will be eased considerably. One thing that has helped has been ionic foot baths. I've seen those things advertised and thought they were a bunch of baloney, but I immediately felt relief when I had one. So if you also thought they were baloney, think again.

I began having a marked decline at the end of May. After about a week of increasing symptoms, the discomfort settled down, and I was able to function better. I thought maybe I had just ingested too much of some kind of vitamin and needed a break from the greens. But then I began having trouble with regular nausea and could not chew my raw food without getting sick. The oncologist couldn't see why I would be having these problems since my blood work was showing normal results, and my liver ultrasound didn't show anything new. She scheduled a PET scan. Just last week she called me to say that my labs were not as good as she had thought. A portion of them had been signed by another doctor on the team, and she had not seen that part. But my tumor markers had quadrupled in May and my liver enzymes were messed up. I felt relieved in a way to know that what I was experiencing had an explanation - even though it was the cancer. The PET scan was cancelled at my request. (Lest any of you feel defensive on my behalf, this "mistake" would not have changed anything - it would just have given me longer to know what was happening. Once this process starts, only God could stop or reverse it, and He doesn't usually choose to do so.)

I realized right away that we had entered the final phase of my life, and I am very, very ready for it. I've wished, as I've faced the surprising battles of the last few weeks, that someone could tell me what to expect, what I might struggle with, what to be prepared for. I'm so accustomed to researching and preparing for what is ahead. But people don't come back from the dead to guide us, and Jesus Christ is the only one who has done it perfectly anyway. So I'm glad to say, I have that Someone I need and He is daily making Himself more dear to me. I truly cannot wait to see Him.

All that said, I do want to share some of my experience in this valley of the shadow of death before it's too late. I want to acknowledge the struggles and let you know that God has overcome them. I want to tell all of you that He is doing and will do the same for you. Whether or not you see it is between you and God, but I want to shout from the rooftops that if you will just believe Him, even though you can't understand now, even though some things hurt now, He will never truly hurt you. The pain we feel is a reminder that He is making it more than better - He's redeeming things so perfectly, that the pleasure He's preparing for me is beyond my comprehension; and so, even the pain is a grand evidence of His grace.

I have been blind-sided by some of my battles since the end of May. I went througha few days of being terrified that what I had placed my faith in was not real, that I had missed the truth somehow. God took my heart, my eyes, and my mind, and made me see how everything I have learned about Him, everything that has become dear and a comfort to me, is reinforced in every single area of our lives. He is constantly showing us His truth through what He gives us - the earth, people, and especially His Word. And suddenly, all those seeming contradictions we struggle with, all the whys, the unlikely reconciling of the effects of evil with the omniscient good, all those questions about ultimate truth, popped into focus. This is not the end. God has been preparing me for what comes next. And if trouble is part of the preparation, than I can view it as painful training, but not as ultimately powerful evil.

Another difficulty was the weight of my regrets. Everyone who knows me would say that I've lived a good life. And I have. I have been faithful to my husband, I haven't abandoned myself to drugs, I've tried to do what's good for others, I've gone to church regularly, I've prayed and read my Bible, I've invested in my children, I've striven to honor my parents, I've apologized when I was wrong. But it's not enough. It's not enough. My regrets were overwhelming me. Why did I yell at the kids? Why did I rip at my husband? Why didn't I invest more in that lady? Why did I say those cutting things? Why didn't I just resolve that bitterness I've been carrying? As well as I lived my life, it wasn't anywhere near good enough. And the weight is heavy because now there isn't time to re-do or fix. Jesus Christ took my memory and reminded me of the Scripture that my mother and others have poured into it. "Truly, I tell you, he who hears my word, and believes on Him who sent me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death into life." John 5:25 "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39) "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1) These Scripture reminders washed over me and reminded me that Jesus has taken care of all my regrets for me.

But then I thought of the people who have regrets that we all recognize for what they are - big, ugly, havoc-wreaking, self-centered, world-altering mistakes. How do you deal with your regrets when you get where I am? Because you will be here. The most healthy diet in the world will not help you avoid this moment. Look at God's word and be comforted even more deeply than I have been. You also can have no condemnation in Christ Jesus. He doesn't care how bad you or others think your mistakes are. Any mistake of any size is enough to separate you from God in your death, but no mistake of any size is enough to keep Christ from rescuing you just as He has done for me.

As I've become more and more unable to handle what have been my responsibilities, I have struggled viciously with giving up control. I am ashamed to say how many times in the last few days I have lost control of my temper as my duties were handled by someone else or not handled at all. I've felt panicked that I won't be able to prepare my family for what's coming, to live life without me. I have dragged my family on this emotional roller coaster of trying-to-control. But God is getting a hold of my fears, and helping me to trust Him - that whatever He allows during this time is part of my preparation and the preparation of those around me to enjoy Him. My house and family do not have to be handled my way in order to accomplish God's goals.

I've thought so often of John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. That man must have lived in the valley of the shadow for a long time in order to be able to describe it so well. His description of Christian's soul-scraping struggles and fears, and then victory, is the most accurate picture of what's been raging inside me that I can think of. I'm so thankful that ultimate victory is waiting.

I am aware that many people from different perspectives read my blog. I have atheist, agnostic, Hindu, Jain, Wiccan, Mormon, Jewish, Buddhist, Christian, and wildly-searching friends and aquaintances. I don't know the spiritual persuasions of many of you. But I know this. You will all face what I am facing now. I want for everyone of you to be blessed with the peace and confidence that Christ has given me. I wish that everyone could see during their whole lives what I am seeing so clearly now. God loves us all so completely. His plan has never been to destroy us, but to redeem us and all of His creation perfectly. There is another someone who hates us completely because we are the creation of his Enemy, and he never stops trying to deceive and destroy us as long as we are on this earth. Christ has offered the solution, but we have such a hard time trusting that He truly is the way. We are afraid that if He even is who He claims to be, He is just waiting to slap us into judgement, or at best to take us to a place where we will sit around and sing for eternity. (Sorry, but singing has never been one of my great pleasures, although I do love the words to songs. So I had a hard time getting excited about that view of Heaven.) He tells us so clearly what He wants for us, yet for some reason, we usually don't see it. But it's there, and you will see it too. I hope you will embrace it when you do, that you will search for it when you don't, that you will plead with God to prepare you for eternity with Him. Eternity is real, and you don't want to live it without God and His redemption of all your mistakes. You don't want to miss what is waiting for those who choose to trust God's love.

For God so loved the world,

that He gave His only begotten Son,

that whosoever believes in Him should not perish

but have everlasting life.

John 3:16

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Update from the "other" Amy

Thank you all for your prayers. Amy's tumor markers have jumped, and her health is rapidly declining. Hospice has been called in, and Amy is anticipating her journey Home.

During this time, we would ask that you pray:

1) That God would be merciful to Amy
2) That He would give strength, comfort and peace to Jon, Amy and the children
3) That He would be honored and glorified in the dark days ahead. That His light would be clearly seen by all who come into contact with the family. That people would be compelled to ask the "reason of the hope that lies within us."

Mrs Caldwell, Amy's mother, is traveling to Denver today.

Mom and Dad Bixby will be heading out on the 4th.

While Jon and Amy have not been able to respond to all of the many expressions of love, encouragement and prayer, they are GREATLY appreciated.

Monday, June 20, 2011


I haven't been feeling as well lately. Most days I have periods of nausea, and I've been losing weight again. (I had been steadily gaining since the end of my fast in Phoenix.) I have my monthly appointment with the oncologist next week, so maybe we'll find out what's going on then. The herbal treatment I'm receiving has some significant side effects like lowering blood pressure and blood sugar. Mine tend to be on the low side of normal anyway, so I've been wondering if I'm feeling bad because of having blood sugar and pressure that's too low. We're going to try to monitor those levels routinely.

Meanwhile, while we hope for healing, I realize that's probably not what's happening. As I've watched this year's beautiful spring time I've enjoyed imagining what this would look like if it were all truly perfect. And I have such an anticipations about what God has prepared for His children. I feel like I've been given the most incredible travel package, but my family won't be able to join me yet. I feel a little bad for not being more hesitant to begin my eternity.

I have broadened my diet somewhat. When I began to have a harder time eating, I started eating what appealed to me if I was hungry - which I wasn't a lot. The green juice began making me nauseated, so I've taken a break from that.

Although this summer has not been the smooth sailing I would have asked for, we have been having a good time. I sat down last week with the summer's schedule and the master calendar. Cancer doesn't stop swimming, soccer, art or piano lessons, dentists, orthodontists, pediatricians, employers, youth groups, or libraries. And the kids are involved in it all. I'm glad their lives are rolling along - it's a pleasure to watch them grow. In July, we may be able to enjoy a special week in the mountains, and I'm really looking forward to that possibility.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Liver Ultrasound

Yesterday we got the results of the liver ultrasound. Doctor Cook explained that it is difficult to compare an ultrasound image with a PET scan image, but from what they could tell, nothing in my liver has changed significantly. She said that what I'm feeling is certainly my liver since nothing else would have caused that kind of discomfort. Her best guess was that an existing lesion in my liver has grown just enough to cause trouble without being obviously bigger.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Thanks for all the birthday wishes yesterday. I had a very nice 37th birthday with several nice little surprises. Jon and I ended the day by going out to a vegetarian restaurant, and the meal was delicious.

We've been without online access for a little while, and before that I was spending a good bit of time each day feeling sick from the new treatment I'm doing. I'm currently taking an herbal therapy that has some significant side effects, but in the last week, I've felt like I'm adjusting more completely to this treatment. Anyway, I'm offering my excuses for not keeping you all more informed.

Although I've felt better with my current therapy in the last week, I've also begun to have steadily increasing discomfort in my liver area over the last week. An ultrasound has been scheduled for tomorrow morning, and we'll have the results on Friday when I return to the hospital for my regularly scheduled Zomeda treatment.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Three Bedrooms, a PET Scan, and Chocolate Pudding

We have been hopping busy in the six weeks since we returned from Phoenix. The mess I mentioned in my last update only got worse when we decided to switch and redecorate three bedrooms so that Cara, our oldest, could have her own room when she returned from an extended visit with our families in South Carolina. Five of the children had to sleep downstairs some nights, so the living room and family room (which is already our laundry room extension as well as our physical fitness center) began looking like temporary bedrooms. Several times I wished that sleep was something that only children need. I could spend the nights checking school work, folding laundry, and washing vegetables for the next day’s green juice. That way the days could be spent keeping the children (especially the almost-two-year-old boy) out of trouble. I had to take time out of my busy schedule for another Zometa treatment and a PET scan. Before we left Phoenix I began the process to be approved to enter another treatment routine here in Denver, but that process has turned out to be lengthy and I haven’t had any treatments other than supplements and diet since the end of February. All things considered, the results of the scan were much better than expected. First of all, my blood work all came back entirely normal – even the tumor markers, which are now 24! My oncologist told me she was very surprised to see that. However, I still have active cancer. I have a new lesion on my liver, but it is small and not uptaking very much sugar. (Click here to read a previous post that explains a little about sugar and PET scans.) The other lesions in my liver have either continued to shrink or have stabilized. One of the lesions no longer shows any abnormal metabolic activity, which means, that although the lesion is still there, it is no longer considered malignant. The lesions in my hip bones also no longer show abnormal activity. The lesions in my spine have not changed since my last scan. We praise God for these results. So many people have asked for my chocolate pudding recipe, and I’ve neglected to pass it on to anyone who has asked. I’m going to post it here for the enjoyment of all. Don’t be put off by the avocadoes. Unless you’re allergic to avocadoes (like one of our kiddos), you’ll probably never know that this pudding is made with them. I love this treat. 1 ripe avocado, peeled and seeded 2 tablespoons cocoa (use raw cacao or regular cocoa powder, not Dutch processed cocoa, to make this as healthy as possible) 2 tablespoons sweetener like agave nectar, honey, or maple syrup 1 tablespoon coconut oil (optional) ½ teaspoon vanilla pinch sea salt Place all ingredients in a food processor with an S blade (the one you usually use), turn it on, and plug you ears. (That’s just because I hate the sound of food processors, but if you choose to skip the plugging-your-ears step, the pudding should still taste fine.) I think it’s impossible to over-process this stuff, so keep processing until it looks perfectly smooth and then a little more just in case. Taste, and adjust anything you think needs adjusting. I usually add a little more cocoa and sometimes more sweetener, but that’s probably because I use such large avocadoes. Place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to firm it up. If you leave out the coconut oil, it won’t firm up quite as nicely, but it will still taste great. One recipe serves two people. If you enjoy dark chocolate, this is the treat for you. If you don’t, this will probably be too rich. Help! No matter how many times I try, Blogger will not let me put paragraph breaks in my post. This post sounds about as run-on as the mess in my house is.

Friday, March 4, 2011


I'm sitting in the hospital getting my monthly Zomeda treatment, so I'm also taking advantage of their wireless internet connection to update. Our dial-up connection at home has always been frustratingly slow, but now it seems to be down right horrible. Either we were totally spoiled by having a wireless connection for the last three months, or our home connection got lazy after having the time off. After a few stops (Santa Fe, El Malpais National Monument Lava Falls, and Focus on The Family - Whit's End in particular), we arrived home on Wednesday last week. It was pure pleasure to walk into our house and know that we would be staying this time. We wondered if Gilead would even remember home, and it was obvious that he did. We had been home only a few hours when he pointed to the top of our dining room china hutch and asked for the candy (cannany or munumanumanum) that we used to keep up there. I have had a wonderful time making a huge mess in every room of the house as I unpack, put the clothes away, remove the clothes from closets and drawers that the kids grew out of while we were gone, empty cabinets to make room for new medications, supplements and products of all kinds, and reorganize the kitchen cupboards. It's homecoming and spring cleaning wrapped up together. I should be finished in another month or two and then we can get back to homeschooling. (That sounds suspiciously like a delay tactic, doesn't it?) The kids can be a huge help. John takes care of Gilead wonderfully well, Nathan usually cheerfully does what I ask him to, Arielle loves to help in the kitchen when she isn't drawing, and Eliana is my little organizer. This morning I walked into our family room to find her folding her basket of laundry, and then she took it upstairs and put her clothes away. (She's 7.) Jeremiah generally does his part by keeping the others occupied with his elaborate imaginary world, and Gilead gets into everything when John isn't keeping him occupied. Now don't they just sound like the kind of kids everyone would like to have? That's because this is a blog and I can portray anything I want to. And today I want to talk very nicely about my children. Check back at a later date for a different picture. Anyway - glad, glad, glad to be home.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Heading Home

Sunday, February 13 - Gilead gets throwing-up sick

Monday, February 14 - Internet service is discontinued in preparation to go home. Gilead is still throwing up.

Tuesday, February 15 - Get final blood test results. Tumor markers are 52. Can't post anything for those of you who are waiting for the results due to discontinued internet service. We consider delaying our trip home because Gilead is still occasionally throwing up and constantly being fussy.

Wednesday, February 16 - Gilead finally sleeps through the night and seems to be doing better, so we spend a marathon day packing up and finally pull out of the driveway at about 10:30 p.m. Gilead throws up again less than 3 minutes from our temporary home.

Thursday, February 17 - We arrive in Flagstaff, Arizona at about 1:30 a.m., our first planned stop, although we had planned to be here hours earlier. The check-in guy at the hotel upgrades our rooms to suites for free. Nice. After a good night's sleep we drive to the Grand Canyon for a day of awe-inspiring sights. Gilead fusses a lot, but doesn't throw up again. My legs are extremely sore, and I can't figure out why. Back at the hotel, everyone gets settled in our nice suites, and I begin running a hefty temperature. Now I know why my legs are sore.

Friday, February 18 - Gilead is still not himself and eats almost nothing, but he hasn't thrown up since Wednesday, so in spite of my feeling crumby, we decide to head to the Petrified Forest on the way to our next stop at the home of dear friends, who are so dear that they don't mind if we arrive bearing sickness. In fact they're so dear that they don't mind if I deliver a baby in their home. (Which, thankfully, I didn't do this time, in case you were wondering; but I did do it 6 years ago. Long story. Just know we hadn't planned it that way.) A contrary child notifies us right after we get on the highway that he had forgotten to go potty before we left, and now he has to go bad. So we stop for an unplanned potty break. Everyone gets back in the car, and just as Gilead is being buckled in he throws up. Back into Burger King for a bath in the sink. Jon washes out the car seat with bottled water and baby wipes, everyone gets back in the car, and we try again. Gilead throws up again in about 30 minutes. And again, and again, and again. We cancel all plans for extra stops and make a beeline for Dear Friends' who don't mind if we bring a child who is throwing up...we hope. (A throwing up child is a far cry from a squaling, newborn child.) Dear Friends are truly dear friends and welcome us travel worn folks with open arms and an invitation to stay until we are all better. Which we decide to do.

Saturday, February 19 - Sunday February 20 - So here we are at Dear Friends', and our children have decided that this is much better than the Petrified Forest. The Petrified Forest doesn't have cool games, videos, and good food just waiting for them. Since Gilead and I are now much improved, we plan to hit the road again Monday morning. We're thinking of bringing one member of Dear Friends' family with us since Gilead has become very attached to her.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wrapping Up

This is my last week of treatments. Although we have entered week 13, Dr. Lodi recommended that I finish out this week. My tumor markers had dropped to 66 on Monday, and we hope to see another good drop by the end of the week. I'll have my final blood draw on Friday, and we'll get one more look at those markers before we head home. We plan to go home about the middle of next week after Jon completes the job he's working on now.

Going home holds its own challenges. We have to choose a new doctor that provides IV vitamin C therapy and get a new treatment routine rolling as well as continue with normal life responsibilities. We also need to aggressively investigate some other treatment options that Dr. Lodi has highly recommended I pursue in Denver. I'd appreciate your prayers that God will make our way clear to us and give us the energy to walk in it.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Keeping On

My blood work results were disappointing today. My tumor markers remained basically the same - 76. We were really hoping for another drastic drop, but we knew it wasn't guaranteed. Through this past week, the Lord has reminded me constantly through a variety of sources that He always works perfectly, and I can continue to trust Him without reserve when things don't go the way I thought I wanted them to. What peace. I hope and pray that every one of you can have the same peace. The difficulties it usually takes to learn this are worth it.

I've been doing a lot of reading lately. I won't do a review of the following books, but they both deal with trusting our Shepherd and King and have been a powerful blessing to me. I hope some of you will enjoy them too.

Hinds Feet On High Places by Hannah Hurnard
Edge of Eternity by Randy Alcorn

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Short update on tumor markers. I got yesterday's blood work results back this morning, and my markers had fallen to 73! That's a drop of more than 40 points, and if that happens again during this week, I will be in the normal range. Please keep praying.

Selin and Emre - Thanks for getting in touch. I was excited to see your post. Hope you're well and life is pleasant in Turkey. Thanks so much for your kind thoughts.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fruits and Nuts

We couldn't have chosen a better place to be for cancer treatment during the winter. We have been enjoying the balmy spring-type weather here in Phoenix for most of our stay. There have been a couple of cold spells, but the kids didn't realize it was considered cold and they ran around outside barefoot. The desert nights are always chilly, but the weather during the day is beautiful.

Last Saturday we picked oranges and grapefruits at a friend's house, and have been enjoying making fresh juice since then. The kids hardly recognized the juice as the same stuff we normally buy in frozen concentrate. I use lemons regularly in my green juice, and we've been blessed with huge lemons from trees around here too. The treatment center has several pecan trees that are dropping nuts all over the yard, so I've been picking up pecans too. And do you have any idea how much better pecans are straight off the tree than the nuts you can buy in bins or bags? There is simply no comparison. I took a small bag of nuts into the treatment center one day and several of us patients cracked them and shared the meat around. It was the first time most of the folks there had tasted a truly fresh pecan.

We were invited to an interesting potluck dinner last week - all raw, vegan, non-processed food. It was hosted by a family who goes to the church we've been attending since we've been down here. I was having a hard time imagining a smorgasbord of raw food. It was difficult to visualize people walking around with plates piled high with carrot sticks and tomato slices. To my surprise, there must have been about 70 people there, and the array of food was lavish - wraps, fruit salads, nut salads, green salads, cold soups, dips, crackers, and wonderful desserts. Our plates really were heaped, and it looked every bit like a normal potluck. My favorite was a chocolate-strawberry pie, which I shouldn't have eaten since it wasn't IPT day, and my blood sugar wasn't lowered. I only had a small piece, and it was worth the step out of the boundaries. I truly enjoyed almost everything I tried that evening. I even contributed a raw apple pie which I made myself with only a little help from a recipe. (Recipes are only suggestions.) It was a very positive raw food experience.

I have been enjoying my food so much more lately. Thanks to all of you who prayed about that. I made my first cheese sauce out of cashews, garlic, lemon, and a little bit of red bell pepper last night, and tonight I enjoyed it on sprouted grain tortillas with red bell peppers, tomatoes, marinated artichoke hearts, onions, and (cooked) marinara sauce. It tasted very much like a little pizza, especially after I warmed it somewhat in the oven. Oh, started out raw, anyway.

My white blood cells have been behaving wonderfully, and it's been nearly two weeks since I've needed a Neupagen shot. The counts are falling, and I will need a shot again by next Monday probably, but I'm doing so very much better than I was.

My tumor markers fell this week to 119. We are praying that that number will plummet into the normal range very quickly (30 or below) so that we can all go home. We'd sure appreciate your praying about that too. It's been so encouraging to us to see how the Lord has answered your prayers for us. In case you have wondered, getting the tumor markers into the normal range is really only the beginning of this battle, but it is a very significant part. The challenge is to keep the tumors from growing again once they have been destroyed. That is what the strict diet is expected to help with, as well as a period of maintenance treatments.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I met with Dr. Lodi yesterday to review the results of my PET scan from last Friday. Almost all of my tumors and lesions have shrunk by about half. Their metabolic uptake has also decreased by about half. (That's the amount of sugar that these cancerous areas are appropriating). The smallest tumor decreased by only 1/3 in both measurements, but that's still an improvement. The previous PET scan in October had showed two areas of concern, but were not positively identified as metastisized cancer - my ovaries and thymus. Both of those areas are completely clear of whatever was causing them to show up on the PET scan. So that was all good news. Dr. Lodi said that if we could compare this to a baseball game, we are on third base. With two outs. So don't give up praying for me. This is still a battle for my life, and perhaps the analogy to a game was a little light for this situation.

I was discouraged when I found out that during the week's break from the IPT treatments my tumor markers climbed to 143. Dr. Lodi told me not to let that get me down, since tumor markers are only a very narrow indicator of how things are going and will almost certainly fall again once treatment resumes - which, by the way, was yesterday.

We discussed future treatments, and I was not surprised that Dr. Lodi recommended I complete a full 12 weeks of treatment. Although I long to go home, I would hate to stop in the middle and lose the progress we've made. The goal is to get my tumor markers down to normal, and then continue with maintanance treatments for approximately a year to a year-and-a-half. Dr. Lodi is reasonably certain that this is an achievable goal over the next month. If my markers continue to fall at the pace they'd been falling before last week, we would be within 10 points of normal at the end of the treatment routine. Tumor markers are not necessarily predictable, though. Please be in prayer about that.

My white blood cells are doing better, and I would appreciate prayers that those cells will keep up with me. I'm feeling a lot better now. The cold symptoms have been rapidly clearing up since last Saturday. And I've been enjoying my food a great deal more. So your prayers are being answered. Thanks very, very much.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Progress and Regress

My white blood cells have been giving me trouble again, and I'm on preventative antibiotics as well as nearly daily Neupagen shots again. I will not be having the IPT chemo treatments until my counts go up and stay there on their own. The doctor hopes that will happen quickly - about a week, but please pray about that. I'd also appreciate prayer that this bug I've been fighting will clear up. Every few days, the symptoms worsen again, and I'm getting worn out from these physical ups and downs. The combination of the chemo and flu bugs is not good.

Yesterday we got more good news about my tumor markers. In the last week they have fallen to 125! Please pray that my break from chemo will not seriously interfere with this progress. I will continue with all my other regular treatments.

One more prayer request. I've been having a hard time enjoying my food lately. Strange, since I loved it at first. Maybe the Christmas season got to me, but I've been pitching internal fits (and one or two that weren't) about not being able to eat the normal things that appeal to me. I threatened to eat a whole plate of pork roast on Sunday, but my supportive husband refused to be intimidated by my tantrum, and patiently reminded me why I'm doing this treatment regimen. All of you who have contributed to help pay for this option are also keeping me accountable. I sure don't want to waste your investment in me. In the last few days I started praying that the Lord would help my to enjoy me food and be thankful for it.

I want to tell you one very encouraging story from another patient. This man is a doctor who was recently diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. (Pancreatic cancer has only about a 5% survival rate.) His oncologist recommended to him, doctor to doctor, that he decline the standard treatment and prepare to die. He came here about a month ago, and although this world of alternative medical treatment was a real challenge to his training, he decided to embrace it. His tumor markers very rapidly fell into the normal range and his PET scan over the weekend showed absolutely no unusual metabolic activity. He is one grateful man. It was funny to me, after all my food struggles lately, when he told me today that he is asking God to help him enjoy the food he has now committed to eating for the rest of his life.