Monthly Archives: December 2008

“Get Your Rear in Gear” 5k run/walk

logo2The Colon Cancer Coalition’s annual “Get Your Rear in Gear” 5K run/walk is scheduled for April 19th, 2009.  We’re starting a team for this event and starting to raise money too!  So if you’re interested in joining team “Baty Sisu” or just want to donate to this cause, check out the 5K page of Chris’s blog here!

Thanks in advance for your continued support!

Sarah

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It’s what’s on the inside that counts

I got to view my latest scan this past Friday, and things are significantly different vs. Sept. 2nd.  My Dec. 15th scan showed major changes.  I would estimate that 40-50% of the tumor coverage has disappeared.  Praise God all of your prayers are working!  On July 8th Dr. Belzer reviewed the original scan and told my Dad, Dianne(mother-in-law) and myself that my Stage 4 colon cancer could be incureable.  Since that time hundreds of people have praying for me and over me and here I stand today with no cancer in the colon and almost 50% of it gone from my liver.  I still have a long ways to go but I wanted to tell everyone the good news and celebrate a little with all of you today.

The tentative plan moving forward…My oncologist recommends that I meet with my liver surgeon within the next two weeks.  He feels that the surgeon may want to set up a surgery date around the first week of February to remove the remaining tumors.  Also there is a chance that they will use a procedure called radiation abalation during the surgery.  Radiation abalation is a procedure in which they put little needles into tumors or areas where cancer tumors used to be and then microwave the cells killing them.  This is all very tentative as I haven’t met with this surgeon since last July and he needs to assess how successful he can be once he opens me up.

Why not stick with the chemo vs. doing yet another surgery, you might ask.  Surgeons feel like their most successful tool in fighting cancer is cutting out anything that has been touched by the disease.  Also if the surgeon opens you up they get to visually see exactly what is going on inside your body vs. relying on a scan.  Lastly, chemo can have some permanent side effects.  Every two weeks I lose some feeling in my fingers.  If the fingers get cold they sting and hurt until I get them heated up again.  That loss of feeling can become permanent if you are on some of the chemo drugs too long.  I have been blessed that I have been able to ride these drugs out so far.

So I maybe adding some more scars to my abdomen in the near future and that is probably a good thing.  I am really torn on being excited for another hospital stay.  It seems every time I get in the hospital I struggle to get back out.  More scars for Jaxson to worry about on me.  I’ll have to teach him it’s what’s on the inside that counts-especially when it comes to cancer patients.  Hard to explain all of this to a 4 and 6 year old.

I want to leave you with a small bit of a poem written by Terry Esau from his book “Surprise Me”.  The poem is a dialogue between two guys.

You like the danger of walking in storms?

Life is a storm.

So you just walk straight through it?

If I wouldn’t, it would walk through me.

In His Grip,

Chris

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Merry Christmas

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We had a fun Christmas party at Dave and Jill’s yesterday.  As you can see the kids were all smiles.  The picture is of the cousins from oldest to youngest going from left to right(Brenden, Jaxson, Kaci, Caden, Kylie and Zane).  Next year they won’t all fit due to the size of them and the newest boy that Dave and Jill will be adding in January.

Other stuff-Dave and I drove 400 miles last Saturday to attend our grandmother’s funeral, that was the day of the mini-MN blizzard.  We safely made it back and forth and were very thankful we made the trip.  It was nice to visit with our relatives on that side of the family-those crazy Finlanders.  That is where I get my Sisu from.  My grandmother had all of our posts from this blog printed and stacked in her bedroom.  My mom said she was always worried about me.  I wish I could have seen her one last time to show her I am doing well.  Karen and the boys and Jill nad her boys stayed home for Brenden’s birthday party at McDonalds.  Karen’s parents once again swooped in to save the day and help Karen with the party and keep the driveway clean of all the snow.

Karen is doing well.  Her asthma/chest pains have almost gone completly away.

Chemo round 7 kicks off tomorrow morning.

A Christmas wish…

As Jaxson was going to sleep last night he told Karen he hoped Santa heard his wish.  When she asked him what he had wished for he said, “I want Santa to bring something for Dad.”  She asked him what he hoped Santa would bring for Dad.  He said, “Bandages that he could put on his scars that would make them disappear so he can wrestle with me again.”  Yes, I can’t write this without tears welling up in my eyes.

2008 has been an unbelievable challenge for me and my family and I imagine 2009 will be much of the same.  All that being said I feel extremely blessed and loved this holiday season.  This disease seems to bring out the best in people.  It is too bad that we have to wait until something life threatening happens to express how much we all need each other in this life.

My Christmas wish for all of you…May God bless you with good health and happiness this Christmas season and may all of you feel His Christmas presence.

Chris

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I’ve got some good news and some bad news…

Hello everyone.  Karen doing a quick post today.  Like the title says we’ve got good and bad news to share.  First, the good news… 6 years ago today a chubby, bald cute little baby was born into this world.  He was named Brenden Charles.  He was 8 pounds 4 ounces and I’m sure most of it was his head!  This morning at 7:45 am Brenden ran into my room “it’s my birthday, it’s my birthday!! I’m finally 6!”  He’s pretty excited to be 6.  He’s looking forward to his little party with his friends on Saturday.

Now for the bad news.  At about 2:15 am Ida Koskela (Chris’s grandma)passed away.  She went quickly without a lot of suffering.  We will all miss her for she was a wonderful woman.  Her funeral will be this weekend.   Our thoughts and prayers go to her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Sorry this is so short, but the birthday boy has plans that can’t be put off.  We haven’t told him about his great grandma for he is sensitive enough to be upset that she died and worse yet- on his birthday.  It will be a topic for tomorrow.

Love to all,

Karen

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Early Christmas Present

Our prayers are being answered…  “The Metastatasized Liver Tumors have both decreased in number and in size.”  -translation the Chemo is doing its job-killing the cancer!  That is the message I received from Dr. Duane today.  I had my CT scan this morning and Dr. Duane called me on his day off to let me know the good news.  That is all the info. the Radiologist emailed to Dr. Duane so I don’t have anymore in the way of stats(numbers and percentages of decrease).  The Dr. said he was contacting my Liver Surgeon so we can set up a time in early January to review surgical options.  Yes surgery is never fun, but that has been the goal for myself and Dr. Sielaff (the Liver Surgeon) from the start.  I will still have my 7th Chemo treatment on the day after Christmas.  At that time Dr. Duane and I will review the scan together and figure out what the plan will be going forward.  As a cancer patient I’m not sure you are ever out of the woods, but this is a good sign.

Karen Update-Karen is doing o.k.  I spoke with a friend who’s Sister-in-law had the same thing happen to her on several occasions.  She thought she was having a heart attack and it was actually an asthma attack.  We now nebulize Karen with Jaxson’s nebulizer to keep her feeling well.  So far so good.

 

Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers-they are working!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Celebrating in Lakeville tonight,

 

Chris

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Back on schedule, well sort of…

First and formost Karen is feeling better today.  She still has chest pains but they are less and more evenly distributed.  In her world that is good as all the pain originally started out over and around her heart.  She has another doctor appointment tomorrow where she will undergo more tests.

I got back on the chemo today.  It almost didn’t happen as now my white blood cell counts were the issue.  My platelets rebounded nicely back to 200,000 vs. 39,000 last week.  But my white blood cell count was at 700 and the bottom number is supposed to be around 1500.  The doctor decided to bet on me and my body and go with today’s treatment.  The doctor felt that since my platelets rebounded quickly,  it would just be  a matter of time and the WB cells should follow suit.  The catch is when I go back in and get disconnected from my portable chemo, they have to give me a shot of Nulasta.  If any of you read Pat’s comments last week, she predicted I might get this.  Nulasta is a shot in the arm that is supposed to spur on the growth of white blood cells and Platelets.  The side effect, as Pat mentioned, is that your bones literally ache for a few days after the shot.  This is just another challenge along the way…  It just makes my “good days” seem all that greater!

I need to mention other competitors, besides Karen,  in the worst health competition championship.  My Step-Mother Debbie undergoes surgery tomorrow for Breast Cancer, I believe she is Stage 2.  She was diagnosed a month or two after I was.  Sharon Shovan, my brother’s mother-in-law, was diagnosed with Colon Cancer within the past month.  They haven’t staged her yet, but I am guessing she has Stage 4 Colon Cancer, just like me.  She has spots on her Liver too.  She just had her colon surgery last week and is recovering nicely.  Lastly my Grandmother looks like she had a stroke this week-we are still awaiting definitive results.  As I told my brother, there is no shortage in our world of prayer topics.

My prayers go out to all of them and all of you.  Thanks for praying for me.  I truly believe that all the prayers are making the difference in how I physically and mentally feel.  Now it is time for me to lay down and rest for the next 4 days-my mini hibernation.

Chris

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Healthy Competition?

Some people believe that competition is healthy.  However when it comes to who has worse health, I suggest not even competing.  Well Karen decided that the temptation was just too strong and she joined the race.  Karen woke up this morning at 5:30 a.m. with chest pains.  I was already on the way to work, so she had no choice but to get both kids up, dressed and rush everyone to the ER.  The doctors ran tests on her all day to try and rule out a heart attack.  By 5 p.m. they did just that.  Her Blood work, EKG and Stress tests all came back negative.  They suggest that the pains were caused by stress in her life.  Where was I while all this was going on? -Cluelessly working.  I had left my cell phone in the car, so I missed her call, her Mom’s call and Sarah’s (her Sisters) call.  Luckily Diane reached me via my office phone which Karen hadn’t remembered or added to her cell phone.  Her family saved the day as Sarah came down to take the boys out of the hospital and Dianne drove over from WI to help and stay the night.  Karen and I talked several times throughout the day and she said she was feeling better.

At 4:45 p.m. I finally made it down to the hospital.  The first thing Karen did was tell me how bored she was.  I told her she should try it for 3 weeks.  Next she told me how upset she was that the doctors hadn’t got back to her with her test results.  I told her she should try being patient with a tube shoved down your throat, a fever and breathing issues-waiting for test results.  She next told me how hungry she was as she hadn’t eaten all day.  I told her she should try that for a week.  Unhealthy Competition Score=Chris 3 Karen 0.    O.k. I was more understanding than that and can make light of it now.  Thank God everything worked out well.  It still is a concern as the doctors didn’t find anything and just told her to take it easy.  Now if we/I can only relieve her stress.  I think once we get past Christmas, things will get better as her work will be slower.  I got her a dozen roses to show her some love.  Of course I reminded her that I got more than a dozen flowers during my hospital stays-can we say  score 4-0?

Back to chemo for me tomorrow and hopefully no more health issues for the rest of the family.

Undefeated in Lakeville,

Chris

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