Made it through round 12 and am doing well. I have lost about 80% of my hair at this point. I will try to upload a photo of that later in the week. We have been busy. Karen took a trip to Florida with her sister Sarah at the end of last week. It was a make up trip from last Fall when I was in the hospital. Karen and Sarah had a scheduled trip to visit their sister Jen in New York before I was ever diagnosed. Since Jen and Steve have since moved back, they had to find some other place to fly to. Karen had to use her plane ticket sometime and figured Florida would be a cheap/quick/sunny get away. Karen missed all her boys but also needed some downtime from all of the stuff going on up here. Karen’s Mom, Dianne, came in and took care of us while Karen was gone and I was on chemo. The food, the house and the clothes never looked so good. She is such a God-send to us, not sure what we would do without her.
Jaxson made his 2009 soccer debut last night. Jaxson was a little more into it this year vs. last, but still gets easily distracted out on the field. He told me afterwards that he didn’t even play in the dirt, and yes that is progress for Jax. This year I am only an Asst. Coach so I just try to keep Jaxson and his cousin Caden in line. Highlight or lowlight from last night, depending on your point of view, was watching Caden go on a mini breakaway. Unfortunately he somehow turned himself into a human bowling ball tripping over the ball and pulling two kids down behind him. So close to sucess…
Overall I am doing well. I have bounced back from last week. Thank you for you thoughts and prayers.
almost hairless in Lakeville,
Today is round 12 of chemo-#5 for this regiment. We met with Dr. Duane before starting treatment. Karen and my Dad went with. This was about the most prepared I was for a visit with him, and had a list of about 15 questions written down. I will try to summarize all of our conversation. First we started with viewing the scan and what the results were. We carefully broke it down and it did look exactly like it did Jan. 26th. I was thinking I had 6 tumors but we slowly viewed this scan and there is actually 9 tumors. 2 of the tumors are big, but one of those we know from a biopsy is actually benign, or non-cancerous. So we are dealing with 8 tumors in varying sizes. As Dr. Duane explained, a scan can only pick up tumors/lesions that are around 7-8 mm in size. There could actually be some very, very small one’s that the scan doesn’t pick up. But again it appears there is no sign of advancement or spread from my neck through my pelvis.
Next we moved on to all my questions. First I asked Dr. Duane if his/our goal is to still move toward a surgery/procedure, which he says it is. Again chemotherapy on its own is not known to completly rid the body of colon cancer. Dr. Duane feels that the best plan at this point is to stay on the current chemicals for 4 more sessions(3 more after today). He said this regiment could be working but hasn’t completely broke the tumors down yet. The walls of the tumors could still be there but their insides could be dying. The hope is that the chemicals gets rid of some of the tumors or lesions so a surgery could be more successful. We then talked about radiation. Radiation is not a great option for liver patients as the liver gets beat up worse than the tumors themselves do. They can do some radiation but usually they only reserve this for patients with a 3-4 tumors that can’t have surgery. One option that Dr. Sielaff does is something called radio abalation. He usually does this at the same time he does surgery. Basically he pulls the liver out of your body, inserts needles in the tumors and then microwaves them. Again the risk involved with this, especially with someone with 8 tumors, is does too much of the liver get damaged. Again we talked about surgery and the challenges with that. If Dr. sielaff did decide to do some sort of surgery and radio abalation, the challenge is keeping the liver alive through the major procedure. Another challenge-after the big procedure and through 8 weeks of healing afterwards, there could be very small cancer cells that didn’t get taken care of and could grow back. Then you may have had a very tough/difficult procedure and are almost back to square one.
Lastly we discussed the “what if’s”. What if this chemo doesn’t work and Sielaff doesn’t think he can do a procedure or surgery. There are 3 ways we can go. 1. We stay on the same chemicals and just hold the cancer at bay as long as possible. What usually happens over time is that the cancer morphs into a stronger cancer that becomes immune to the chemo. 2. We can switch back to an old regiment I was on that had good results. That regiment caused a lot of nerve damage and that could get worse. Right now I can’t feel the tips of my fingers, most of the sole’s of my feet and my toes. Also Dr. Duane felt originally that we had gone as far as we could with that regiment and that the cancer was becoming somehwat immune. 3. Last we move on to a Clinical trial. Clinical trials are just that. You could have good results or bad results, meaning the cancer actually grows instead of reversing or being held at bay.
Well now you know everything I know. The plan is to do 4 more rounds and then do a PET scan and an MRI in late June and go from there. One other small change moving forward is to move my chemo to a Thurs-Sat. plan vs. Wed. -Fri.
Thank you for all the prayers and well wishes. We are doing o.k. and so thankful for all the support you provide us-it is very uplifting.
Chris, Karen, Brenden and Jaxson
p.s. I really do plan to get some more pictures up from last sunday.
Dr. Duane just called and told me the scan showed no change as compared to what we saw in January. The good news is the cancer has not spread or grown. I have chemo tomorrow and before we begin the infusion we will meet to discuss options. His feeling right now is we keep doing the same regiment of chemicals every two weeks. He feels the chemicals are holding the cancer at bay so we should stick with them. Not sure what it means in the short term or long term. Obviously for now the liver surgery again is probably not an option at this point. Hopefully I will have a better idea tommorow. I was hoping and expecting better news but am thankful it is not worse. I will update tomorrow evening with what I learn. Thank you for all the prayers and support!
the battle continues…
A nurse just called me and said she doesn’t have any scan results back from the radiologist yet. She also informed me that my Oncologist is not working today, so that he will probably get a hold of me tomorrow. There has been one time in the past where Dr. Duane has actually called me at night, so I guess there is a small chance I may know something later. I have the Pray for the Cure meeting tonight, so even if he did call I would probably miss it. So we have to be patient and just wait for the probable call tomorrow morning.
thanks for checking in,
You might be asking yourself, why a picture of Lance Armstrong’s bus on the day of the Get Your Rear in gear 5k? Answer: This was the Team “Car” for the 70 members of Team Baty Sisu. Team Captain Sarah out did herself on this one. Long story short, friends of friends of friends of Lance Armstrong let us borrow one of his buses for this event. The price on my face must have been priceless when I turned the corner and saw my “team car” waiting for me outside Sarah’s at 6:50 a.m. I am guessing the 100 other teams, race organizers and general gawkers must also have had the same look when we pulled into the parking lot of the event. Sarah did an amazing job of pulling this all together! We had many of the 4,000 participants stopping by our bus thinking it was a vendor of the event. Lucky enough Sarah had even thought aoubt them when putting his together-she purchased 200 Live Strong bracelets to hand out to other people. I promise I will get more pictures of the event posted soon. A special thanks goes out to Paul who not only had the connections to get this bus but also had a license to drive it. Also a special thanks goes out to everyone who was part of our team and showed up at 7 a.m. in 34 degree rainy weather to take part. Our team was one of the bigger one’s there. We had Jon and Cindy Ness and Amber Gooch who made it all the way down from Bemidji to participate. And to show off her strong Bemidji upbringing, Cindy wore shorts while everyone else was bundled up in 2-3 layers. We also had the Berger’s drive over from Plum City, WI and Dianne’s ex-coworkers drove up from Rochester to surprise her. We had a big Pictura contingent along with a big group of Sarah’s friends and Co-Workers. We had a few of Dave’s friends from Bethel along with several of my close friends and their families. We had ex-Proex people, Mike and Todd, who ran a great race, along with Shelly G. and her family. Of course we had all of my family and Karen’s family take part including all the kids. My nephew Caden and niece Caylee both ran great races in the kids race. Nathan, our ringer, ran a great race placing 3rd in his age group. I did the 5k walk in 1 hour and 15 minutes-not too bad. It was great to see everyone and I am so thankful for everyone who took part and wished me well. It was truly one of those magical days/moments in life, albeit a cold one. I promise I will get more pictures up of the bus and of our team area soon. In the rush to get there we of course forgot out camera, so I will have to get photos from everyone else. If you are a Facebook fan, I see team Captain Sarah Stratton has already posted a picture of Brenden and I on her page.
I will try to post something as soon as I can about my scan results tomorrow. My scan is at 11 a.m., I am guessing/hoping I will get results around 3-4 p.m. I will post something as soon as I can afterwards.
Live Strong everyone-we are,
First off-Happy Belated Easter! As you can see from the picture, I survived my last round of chemo and managed to rendezvous with the rest of my family at Karen’s parents place in Menomonie. As you may also be able to see in the picture, my hair continues to fall out and what remains is all turning grey-challenges of chemo. Lastly you can see Pete, Sarah’s boyfriend, in the background starting off his day with not an Easter Egg hunt but rather a hunt for a live feed from a bike race in Europe. Incidentally, Pete did find his Easter Egg the fastest in the big kids hunt. Dianne spoiled me/us with a Ham feast on Saturday night-I felt so blessed to make it. Had I been too sick to go it would have been cold cereal at home for me. So Easter was great and the boys had a wonderful time!
Team Baty Sisu
Our team came in 2nd out of 100 teams in the fundraising dept! We raised over $5400 on a goal of $3,000. Thank you so much to all who donated! Your money is going to a very worthy cause. One team beat us in the last two days as they had a big company and its employees donate almost $2500. Good for them and good for our cause. Sunday is the big day-very early morning-7 a.m. at Southdale. We will be located on the South side of the Southdale Mall-near the old Mervyn’s entrance. We have one of the largest teams participating, so I don’t think we will be too hard to find. Sarah or I will get you your team bag and t-shirt, then when everyone is ready they will take a team photo. The run starts at 9 a.m. and the walk starts right after that. We will probably get one last post out about this before the big event. If you haven’t paid Sarah for T-shirts, you can pay her on Sunday at the event. I would guess at least a 3rd of our team I haven’t even met-so I am looking forward to meeting all of you. Again I feel very humbled and blessed at your willingness to help.
That is the day of my next scan, so the day after the big race I will get a clear picture on what my immediate future looks like. If the scan looks good, I would guess Dr. Duane will still have me do one last round of chemo on April 22nd, before I go on an 8 week break in preparation for a Liver Surgery. If the scan looks bad, then I would guess I continue on with chemo-possibly switching back to older chemicals or adding the two regiments together. Who knows-either way it will be a big day. Hopefully I will get results by late afternoon and be able to post something before I go to Pray for the Cure at my church that night. Big, big, big day… I will gladly accept any prayers or thoughts you have about me on that day.
Overall I am doing well. I actually felt like a I recoverd quicker from this last round. I worked 9.5 hours today, but pretty much had to drag myself out of the office as I was exhausted. I still rallied a bit again when I got home and had two boys who wanted to play soccer with me. They (o.k. Brenden is) are getting excited for soccer and T-Ball/Coach pitch baseball. Jaxson is our dreamer kid and goes along with the sports due to his big brother’s coaching and encouragement. The big challenge this year is they will be on separate teams and play on separate nights. Throw in some health issues and it is sure to be a lot of work and pressure on Karen again. Lucky for me and the guys, she is our Wonder Woman.
Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers for Karen, I and the guys. We really appreciate them. They truly do help us during this challenge.