Monthly Archives: March 2009

Numbers

First, again, thank you for all your support!  100 Baty Sisu t-shirts were ordered for those taking part in the event and those who are supporting the event but can’t make it.  I thought you may enjoy some other astounding numbers I came across at church.  It doesn’t involve cancer stuff.   Some of you may have seen it in the past, basically if you are a numbers person you will love it.  Turn down the volume on your computer if you don’t like thumping music, for you kids out there turn it up.  Click on the link below to check it out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpEnFwiqdx8&feature=related

scary stuff,

Chris

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Last chance to order t-shirts!

Baty Sisu T-Shirt

Baty Sisu T-Shirt

We’re still taking last-minute orders for t-shirts!  You can order through Wednesday, March 25th.   Ordering details are located here.   And just a reminder that you don’t need to be taking part in the 5k to order t-shirts.  So if you just like the design and/or you want to sport the Baty Sisu colors, please feel free to send me your order!   So far we’ve had 70 requests for t-shirts…we’re once again overwhelmed by the support for Chris!  T-shirts are $9 (not $10…that was my typo, sorry about that).  Any extra money will be donated to the Colon Cancer Coalition.

Thank you!

Sarah

sarah.stratton@gmail.com

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King of the Hill

The title takes on two meanings this week.  First our Colon Cancer Fund Raising Team is in First Place and we were the first team to hit our goal!  My sister-in-law, Sarah, and I were discussing it tonight and just can’t believe all the generosity-it is really overwhelming.  If  you want to still donate-of course you can-it will keep those pesky Semi-Colons from catching us.

The second meaning for the title, is what is taking place on top of my head.  The chemo and hair follicles are having quite the battle for king of the hill.  My hair follicles are winning right now, although I would guess that I have lost maybe 30% of my hair.  It isn’t all coming out at once or in patches but rather like a dog shedding.  If you were to pet my head you would find yourself with about 7 or 8 hairs in your hand and a wet cheek…. as I would probably lick you for petting me.

I can’t believe it is already time for round 3.  This last round was a tough one, I survived it but it lingered.  My back pain really as never gone away.  Here is my theory on all the pain…  Basically I have lost the feeling in the surface area of the bottoms of both my feet.  That is a left over of the last round of chemo I had back in Dec.  The neuropathy effects of that regiment actually get worse and increase once you are off those drugs for about 3 months.  So hopefully this week they halt their advance through my feet and finger tips.  For the average person it would be like your foot falling asleep-that prickly pins and needles feeling.  The problem is for me that feeling never goes away.  So when I walk it feels like that and my brain is getting fooled as it can’t fully tell what my feet are doing.  Since my brain can’t fully feel what my feet are doing, it tells my back muscles to stand on high alert-that I’m about to fall over.  Since the back muscles are pulling at full strength at all times, pain ensues as they never get a chance to relax unless I’m laying down.  Over time the feeling is supposed to return, but it may never come back 100% and it actually takes 2-3 years to fully come back if it does.  Both my oncologist and chiropractor agreed with my back pain theory.  Right now I am taking Vicodin and seeing my chiropractor once a week for the back pain.  For the prickly feeling, yes they have yet another drug for me-Gabapentin.  And for helping me sleep at night I take Trazadone so I can sleep through the back pain.  Yes I am a total druggy!  Through it all-I promise you I will walk the 5K coming up on April 19th.

All that being said I am doing just fine.  My spirits have never been higher through this journey.  I am continually amazed at all the people who have reached out to me.  As an example, last night I got a call on my cell phone at 8:15 p.m.  from a 218 area code.  I didn’t recognize the number but was excited to answer it as it was coming from Northern MN.  It turned out to be Mrs. Fredrickson-my 4th and 5th grade sunday school teacher from Bemidji.  She was calling to tell me that she was praying for my family and I and was checking to see how I was doing.  Isn’t that amazing-that she took the time to track me down and let me know she cared?  At that moment I really wished I could have reached through that phone and given her a big hug.  I haven’t seen her in 20 years.  I promised her we would make it up to Bemidji in the next 2-3 months to visit everyone up there who has taken the time to reach out and pray for us.

Thank you all for taking the time to read.  Thank you for the comments you leave on the blog, the phone calls, emails etc…  They all lift my spirits and make this an easier walk.

Still with hair in Lakeville-at least for now,

Chris

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Round 2 of Regiment 2 complete

I survived round 2 which was the folfiri group of chemicals along with Avastin thrown in for good measure.  My list of drugs over the past few days:  Caffeine, Vicodin, Avastin, Atrapene, a steroid, Benadryl, Leucovorian, FU5, Irinotecan, Tylenol, Zantac, Zofran, Composine, Neulasta and trazadone. 15 chemicals in 4 days-yeah my system is a little out of wack.  This round definitely hit me harder than the last one-like twice as hard.  The doctor said even though I had an 8 week layoff during Jan/Feb. the chemo. still has a cumulative effect.  From 4 p.m. Sat. through 7 a.m. this morning I was in bed except for 1.5 hours.  Mainly I am nauseated and tired.  I almost didn’t have chemo. this round.  My white blood cell count was extremely low-I just barely made it.  I had less than 1/2 of what I had last time they checked.  That is not a good thing with two little boys at home who have been sick since last Monday.  By God’s grace I have not caught any of their colds, strep or flu over the past 6 months(of course this means I will probably come down with something tomorrow-but it has been a miraculous run!).  I feel relatively good today.  My head finally cleared about 10:30 this morning.    I have a tremendous back ache, which is still probably left over from shoveling, walking the dog, carrying my nephew around and the Neulasta shot I got on Friday.  On the hair watch….I still got some.  The Dr. guessed somewhere around the 17, 18,19 or 20th  day of this regiment it would start to fall out.  Today is day 18-stay tuned!

I just want to take the rest of this time to say “thank you” to everyone!  You are an amazing group of people!  Just for taking the time to read this blog and thinking about our family/praying for our family and sending your well wishes.  Thank you for all the donations that you have sent to our 5K event April 19th.    We are still the number one team and are still growing in terms of participants and dollars.  A special thanks to Brian Banick and Vicki Starbeck for taking care of me during this past chemo round-I couldn’t have made it without you two.  Also a special thank you to my Mom who came down and took care of the boys during this past week when they were sick and Sarah our team captain who has organized our 5k and got the t-shirts prepared.   I’m not sure how I will pay all of you back for all the stuff you have helped me out through on this journey, but keep track of those IOU’s someday I will pay you back.  For now I just ask that God blesses you all for taking the time to read and care!

Chris

p.s.  Pray for a Cure is tomorrow night at my church from 7-9 p.m., anyone is welcome.

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Check out the t-shirt!

Baty Sisu T-Shirts

Baty Sisu T-Shirts

Click on the image to see a larger version.

The shirt has the Finnish Coat of Arms on the front, and on the back it describes Sisu.

If you want a t-shirt, get your order in now!  Ordering details are in the previous blog post.

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Baty Sisu T-Shirt Order – Order Yours Now!

Hello everyone,
We decided to get team Baty Sisu t-shirts made for the Get Your Rear in 5k.   We are opening this t-shirt order up to everyone, so you don’t need to be a team member to order the t-shirt.

T-shirts are available in men’s, women’s, and youth sizes.   I am attaching the t-shirt sizing charts.  The first one is unisex/men’s, second one is women’s and the third one is youth.  The youth sizes run XS-XL, so the 2-4 is XS, the 6-8 is Small, and so on:

Please send me an  email (with the subject line “Team Baty Sisu t-shirt order”) and send me your t-shirt size. If you’re ordering for others, please be sure to send me their sizes as well and specify men’s, women’s, or youth.

The t-shirt cost is $9. Checks can be written out to Sarah Stratton (and I’ll submit one big check for the whole t-shirt order).  When you send me your order, I’ll send you my address so you can mail me your check (please note that it may take me a few days to get back to you).

I would like to submit the order to our t-shirt vendor by March 23rd, so please have your orders and checks in before then!

I will post the t-shirt design as soon as possible…hopefully later this week.

Sarah
sarah.stratton@gmail.com

p.s.  The Semi-Colons have their work cut out for them if they want to try to beat the top fundraising team, Team Baty Sisu.  Bring it Pat!!

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Colon Cancer Awareness

Hey all,

Sorry for no posts for the past week, plus.  I wanted Sarah’s message to stay front and center for awhile.  Our fund raising for our event April 19th is going well.  We are still the number one team for team participants and in overall donations.  Thank you so much for your support.  This disease is very preventable and curable in its early stages.  March is Colon Cancer awareness month, so it is time to do my part.   At age 50 insurance companies are nice enough to pay for your colonoscopies.  50 is one of those magic numbers-90% of all colon cancer patients are 50 years and older, I’m just one of those unlucky one’s in the other 10%.  A colonoscopy takes about two hours to have done.  During the procdure you are essentially knocked out.  During the procedure the doctors explore your insides looking for little polyps that could turn cancerous.  If they find a polyp, they simply just snip it off during the procedure and you feel nothing.  The hardest part about the whole thing is the prep (basically clean your system with liquids and chemicals).  If you do this procedure you won’t get colon cancer (yes I am sure there are exceptions for every rule), but the odds are all in your favor.  If you get a clean bill of health(no polyps) you don’t ahve to do it again for another 10 years-that being said I wouldn’t have quite that faith and would probably do it every 5 years.  The doctors tell me that my cancer grew inside me 10 years before it ever howed any signs that it was there-so I would go with every 5.  I would have loved to have the opportunity to prevent this cancer.  So if you are one of the lucky one’s who are close to, at, or over age 50-GET A COLONOSCOPY!  You don’t want what I have-believe me.

I have been doing pretty well.  The first round back on chemo went well.  I was worn out and nauseated for 4 days, but overall not bad.  I didn’t get all the side effects the doctors thought I would get-of course that was just the first round.  In two days I go for the second round and this one they add a 4th chemical to the regiment.   The next chemical is Avastin which is unlike any other chemical I have received in the past, so all bets are off on this one.   There is a bit of a debate between my nurses and doctor concerning hair loss.  My nurses feel that I won’t have total hair loss, my doctor is not so sure.  Only time will tell.  Either way works for me as long as it does a number on the remaining 6 tumors on the Liver.

A special “thanks” needs to be said to Marie and Joyce Berger.  These ladies are amazing and someday soon I will actually meet them face to face!  They have supported myself and my family through all of this.  They are actually cousins, I believe, of my mother-in-law Dianne.  I received a card last month stating that my name had been placed at the alter of St. Jude at the National Shrine of St. Jude.  All those enrolled are remembered in Masses and prayers of The Claretians all over the world.  So a special thanks to Marie and Joyce and Father Mark Brummel.  Marie and Joyce decided to join us on “race day” for our 5k walk.  So I will finally get to meet them in person that day.

Thank you all for your continued support, thoughts and prayers.  It really makes a difference in our lives!

Chris

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