Today was chemo session #4.  At this appointment I met with Dr. Duane, my Oncologist, and he laid out the game plan going forward. I will have two more chemo sessions (#5 and #6) and then will have a CT scan.  The results of the scan will then be shared with Dr. Sielaff, my Liver Surgeon.   If Dr. Sielaff sees a lot of improvement he may recommend surgery sooner than later.  That would mean a Liver surgery sometime in early January.  For me to be surgery eligible the tumors would have had to be reduced in number.  I currently have 12 surrounding the entire Liver.  If the number was miraculously reduced to 4 or 5 and they were mainly based on one side of the liver, then he would elect to do a Liver Resection (i.e. cut off all the tumors and the affected areas of the Liver).  If the tumors reduce in size but not in number; this is still a good thing but then they won’t be able to do surgery and I would continue with chemo.  From what I remember there were 2-3 bigger tumors, 5-6 medium size tumors and 2-3 really little tumors.  After I have Liver surgery, I then will have 6 more rounds of chemo to continue to clean my system.  Any way you slice it, there is still a long road ahead for me and I am just so thankful to have all of you along for the ride.

I am just happy to be alive and witness the historic election last night.  Whether you were for McCain or Obama, there is no denying the historical significance of what happened.  I am much prouder to be alive during this time period vs. 60 years ago when we as a country had to be ordered by Congress, the Supreme Court and the President to treat all human beings the same regardless of skin color.  I can’t believe the voter turnout-maybe 80% of us in MN alone!  We all need to pray that the right choice was made last night as challenges abound for this country.

One very funny election night note:    I was telling Karen that I just heard on TV that Barak was favored by a 3 to 1 ratio in over 70 countries across the world.  Upon hearing Obama’s name, Brenden who was sitting at the dinner table piped up, “Dad who did you vote for?”  This, in itself,  Karen and I found hilarious because we never talk politics and he is in Kindergarten.  So I told him I voted for Barak Obama.  He gave me a disappointed look, shook his head and told us in a loud voice he voted for John McCain.  At this point Karen and I were rolling in laughter as we didn’t know he knew what a President was, what it meant to vote, much less the candidates names.  So we pressed the young politician further.  “Why did you vote for John McCain”.  He very proudly answered, “Because he has a cool name.”  He then said, “I just like his name as it sounds like a race car driver”.  Sarah and Pete got him into Nascar so he is into race car drivers and their names.  Karen and I then took the opportunity to teach Brenden about how great it is for him to grow up in the United Sates where every person has the right to vote and let their voices be heard.  We explained that people around the world in other countries were not as lucky or as privileged as we were to have this honor.  Throughout the rest of the night I needed to get him election updates to see if his candidate was winning.  Can we say Brenden Baty for President in 2048?

Now it is time for me just to rest and deal with the chemo side effects.  They feel like they are kicking in a little harder compared to the last round.  My throat felt weird by the time I got to my car today.  One of the side effects is sensitivity to cold drinks.  I believe that is because the chemo drugs kill off all fast growing cells.  Your mouth, skin, hair and cancer cells are some of the fastest growing in your body so they are the first to get knocked out by the drugs.  Also I lose some feeling in my finger tips and touching anything cold hurts.  Eating some things, even if they are soft, actually hurt my jaw when I bite down.  I usually get a little bit of a runny nose for the first day.  Fatigue and nausea settle in on day 2.  The beautiful thing is that by day 4 a lot of these side effects begin to wear off or go away.  All of them are tolerable but I look forward to day 7 or 8 of each cycle because by then most of them are gone.

Again thanks to all of you for taking the time to read, comment, send well wishes and pray for me and my family during this long journey. We are all doing well.

Still standing strong in Lakeville,




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8 responses to “Four!

  1. Thanks for the nice letter!
    I hope the chemo session was successful. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. (and being held up on my fridge by an Obama magnet!)

  2. Pat Groeper

    Chris,Karen amd delightful boys!
    We are just all so very grateful that things at your house are sounding normal!!! Chris, standing your ground right now is progress especially when your battling a hurricane. Your details of what is going on with you right now was done very well. I just want evryone to know that you may have to fight a battle more than once to win but win you will! And we all will be right there every step of this journey with you! I tried to be with you today but in the Methodist parking lot a little fender bender took place and after 1 hour of tvery trival stuff I missed you!! If you haven’t been to Methodist lately (by the way we are all glad you haven’t had to go see Chris) it is a mess and by the time you get a parking space and get to where Chris is sucking down those drugs I need drugs!!! Chris, you have made this quite the journey for all of us riding with you that to get off would be boring!!!! Chris. tonight when you lay your head on your pillow,forget how far you still have to go. Look instead at how far you have come!!!
    Prayers,love and hugs to all

  3. good deal. Thanks for the update!

  4. karla summers

    I’m happy things are going better. It’s amazing what they teach in school now, then years ago. Aurora came home with a sticker on that said I VOTED. So for the first time in my life i went and voted and took her with me. I really hope that the effects will ware off faster this time. Family reunion is coming up in July, I really hope ur feelin up to coming. hugs to U, Karen and the boys.

  5. Andrew

    Good luck on the road ahead. And sounds like you’ve got a little Alex P. Keaton on your hands. Enjoy!

    Seriously though, still thinking about ya. Have faith and God bless.

  6. Cheryl Stainer

    Chris, Karen, and boys,

    My heart goes out to you guys and the struggle that you are going through as a family. Of course Grandma Stratton (that would be the Great one!) has been keeping me informed of what has been happening with you guys not only recently, but since I have been living in Washington. I am sure this is the same thing that she does with you all with the lastest update on everyone and the pictures that she sends with every letter.

    Our prayers go out to you guys that God would show you his infinite mercy and love through this whole ordeal. I thought this might give you some encouragement as you are going through this struggle:

    Psalm 103:1 -5 Praise the Love, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all you diseases, who redeems your life from the it and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

    Cheryl Stainer
    Bill & Elaine Stratton’s daughter

  7. Tim Holker

    I have to admit to not visiting the blog for way too long a time but recent situations with two relatives brought you back to mind.
    Your late Oct. photo is uplifting to put it mildly -“Looking Good” and much better than I had expected. Keep up the good work and my prayers & best wishes to you and your family for the fullest meaning of the upcoming Thanksgiving season!

  8. Connie (Streier) Larson

    Glad to hear you are hanging in there. Love the “zipper” picture. It would be a lot easier, wouldn’t it?
    I have a picture I want to send to you. I had brunch with your mom a couple weeks ago and it’s something she thought you would like. I’m not going to spoil the suprise here….
    Send me your email address at
    Keep Smiling!!!!!!!
    Your Long Lost Cousin—

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