Monthly Archives: September 2010

Round 31-an easier one

I had chemo today, but it was without the toughest drug.  That drug causes problems with the liver and my liver numbers still don’t look good-even after a 1 week break.  My bilirubin number is now at 1.8 and it should be around 1.0.  My platelets, however, jumped to their highest level in 9 weeks-which is great.  They are now at 60.  The goal is to get them closer to 100.  That is tough to do on chemo, but that’s my goal.   A friend’s mother suggested I take sesame oil to improve my platelet numbers.  So I started taking the sesame oil last Saturday night and things look good so far.  Thanks Mrs. Smith!!!!!!

So tomorrow I plan to try and work for a couple hours, even with my chemo bottle on.  We will see how that works.  Each chemo will depend on my blood work.  So it will always be an adventure.

Karen and the boys are doing o.k.  Although Jaxson has an ear infection.  He is a trooper as he got his flu shot today and didn’t cry.  He was very brave.  Brenden and Jaxson are doing pretty well with school.  Jaxson said that he is ready to go back to 1/2 days like he had in kindergarten.  He has a tough time sitting still for a full day.  Brenden is doing well and already thinks he is the smartest kid in his class.  He thinks that because he answered a couple questions accurately out loud and a few other kids told him he was really smart.

Time to sign off and get some sleep.  Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers.  I still tell the doctors I am healed.  Sooner or later I will have them convinced.



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Did you ever have one of those weeks?

O.K. I can’t say that I’m having that bad of a week.  Yes, the results weren’t all that great.  They weren’t really all that bad either.  Dr. Duane basically said the chemo is working.  At the bottom of the PET scan, the radiologist basically said the same thing.   Today I went in for chemo and it was decided that my body couldn’t handle it.  My spleen is enlarged, my platelets(now 40 on goal of 100) continue to drop and my bilirubin (now 1.8 on a goal of 1.0) continues to go up.  The doc decided that a one week break was needed to try and turn everything around.  So next Wed. we will try again.  The spleen is enlarged because my liver is not processing everything efficiently, so the liver is basically backing up stuff into the spleen.  When the spleen is enlarged, it eats up platelets.  See a domino effect happening here?  All that being said I am feeling pretty good and looking even better.  At least that is what I tell Karen as she rolls her eyes.  But I am serious…. 🙂

Lessons learned this week:

1.  Chemo is devastating, radiation is devastating, and surgeries are tough to recover from.  Yes I already knew all this but today was just a reminder for Dave (my brother) and I.  My liver has done its best to process 30 rounds of chemo, undergone a 70% resection and re-growth and some tough radiation.  After all that I expect it to function normally-yeah not a chance.  I need some Divine influence to make that happen.  I am tough, resilient(full of Sisu) but its not going to be by my power to make that happen.  That’s why we pray.

2.  Never pass up a really good steak, even if you are trying to eat healthy and not eat red meat.  One meal isn’t going to make a difference.

3.  Don’t live your life by your scans or what the doctors say.  Yeah I already know.  At this point I am believing I can live without a liver or a spleen.  Maybe I am just living in the grace of the holy spirit, if that’s the case don’t wake me up.

Let’s Roll!



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Scan Results

Well the results came back mixed. First the bad news…The MRI showed that two of the tumors had slight growth 4-5mm range.  Also, there could possibly be another tumor that has appeared.  The good news…The PET scan actually had good results, the tumors showed less activity than they did back in June.  So they are alive, but not as active.  Dr. Duane is just not sure how we proceed.  Our three options are:  1.  Stay the course with the current chemicals and regiment and hope that my blood work comes back better so that I can receive a higher dosage.  2.  Actually take out the toughest chemical for 1 round so I don’t get too toxic or start having more neuropathy issues.  3.  Switch chemicals back to what I was on last year.  Those chemicals are tougher on me.  I get pretty sick with them but they make work better.

I will go to my normal chemo appt. on Wed. and then we will make the decision on which way to proceed.   I will probably try to consult with Dr. Leach and/or Dr. Grothy if possible within next 2 weeks.

I am disappointed in the results but not devastated.  I have been feeling pretty well and have decent energy.  I will post on Wed. or Thursday to let you know what we decide.

Thank you for your prayers!  I have been pretty peaceful throughout today and the past week.  Please pray for Karen, myself and the guys as we continue to move forward with life.



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11 Year Anniversary

We are celebrating 11 years of marriage today.  It really has gone fast, as I am finding out most of life does.  I am just thankful for every day.  The picture above is from our trip this past August to Itasca State Park.  This is the safe way across the beginning of the Mississippi.  See the picture below for the more challenging route across.  I decided to help my nephew Zane across that route and of course we ended up falling in.

Have fun today, this week or throughout your life, whether you get to take the safe way across or you get the more challenging route-have fun and trust that God is located on both paths.  I am just thankful for my path.  I am having fun and loving the past 11 years.  With my plan of 39 more years to live, my Bemidji math tells me that a 50 year wedding anniversary is just around the corner.

Monday is scan day.  I won’t find out the results till that evening or Tuesday.  Pray for the Cure is Monday at 7 p.m. at Hosanna, for anyone interested in attending.

Off to dinner….  (thanks Pat and Burl for the gift cards!)



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Round 30

Round 30 or #7 in this regiment again was unique.  Chuck Beske from church was nice enough to take time off from his job and take me to my appointment.  My Dad was busy for this one.  I met with Dr. Duane first and he said he couldn’t believe how well I was doing and I told him “I’m not sick”.  I know what the scans say but the truth is I feel really good.  He said I am starting to convince him of that fact as well.  I told him about my pain not to far from my port.  He then felt around as said he couldn’t find any definitive lumps and that there was no bruising to the skin and everything looked pretty normal.  The shoulder area closest to the port though he said felt a little asymmetrical.  When he felt around it there was no pain.  He said that possibly the port had a leak or actually I was bleeding slightly below the skin from a needle puncture.  So to be on the safe side we went to radiology for a dye injection and an xray.  Chuck got to experience all the craziness of chemo and also the “what if’s” as he covered me with prayers.  We went to the xray and I re-met my surgeon who placed the port in my chest over 2 years ago.  He took one look at the outside of my skin and guessed there was nothing wrong.  He then told me it has been 10 years since he has seen a port leak.  He then moved me under the xray screen and it confirmed his guess.   There was nothing wrong and everything looked perfect.  So after that 1+ hour delay we were back on the chemo schedule.  Because of the delay I didn’t get to review my blood work with dr. Duane or the reason for the slight pain I was feeling.  My nurse filled me in that it could just be from the needle placement last time and that the pain just resonated a little bit.  My blood work had some good and some bad.  The platelets came up, but only slightly I am now at 50  The last two times I was at 47.  My white blood cells and red blood cells are at normal levels.  My liver numbers continue to slightly get worse, after being so good about 5-6 weeks ago.  I did take some liver support pills for about a month or more and when they ran out my liver was in good shape, so I didn’t purchase more.  With the results going the way they are, I think it is time to purchase more.  They are just called “Liver Support” and were recommended to me by my surgeon and I found them at Nature Valley Whole foods.

So I am on chemo and am feeling o.k. so far.  No fevers but the fatigue is starting to settle in.  Slowly I march toward that Sept. 20th date of scans.  Dr. Duane said I may know the results that night but I may not find them out until the next day.  Either way I am trying not to worry about it.

Thank you for all your thoughts, well wishes and prayers.

God Bless,


p.s. I am adding more pics to my photo page from this past Summer.

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Back to the real life

Happy Labor Day!

Well I survived the first week back to work.  I think my last day of work was around July 27th????  My first day back went smooth thanks to Jeannie coming in on her day off.  I think I would have been pretty overwhelmed without her gracious help.  The week actually went pretty smooth and I actually felt pretty good physically.

Physically speaking, I am doing well.  I still don’t always have the greatest energy but I am very thankful for what  I do have.  Wednesday is the next round of chemo.  It is always an adventure to see how the blood work comes back.  That determines the level of chemo I get, how quickly I bounce back and how aggressively we can attack the cancer.  All summer long I never got a full blast of chemo.  Two times I got a 75% blast, three times were at 50% and one was closer to 25%.   Since my last round a small pain has developed between the sternum and my port.  It is nothing big, but feels similar to a combination between a sun burn and a small bruise.

Now I guess it is time to get back to the real life.  Today ends the guys summer vacation.  It has been a great summer for all of us.  The guys had swimming lessons twice, baseball for both of them, soccer for Brenden, 3 trips to Karen’s parent place and a couple cool family trips.

August in particular was great!  August was like a “dream life”, almost surreal.  I took advantage of all the time off and spent a lot of time with family and friends.  We had our annual family garage sale.  As usual my mom and god mother Betty were the MVP’s.  Both Rhonda and Dave made it over to help out too.  Next up for me was a trip to Bemidji to see several people and spend time with Randy and Kelli.  I was only gone on that trip for 3 days but made the most of it.  I can’t believe all the people  got to see and the great conversations I got to have.  I visited with Bill Hubell, the Ness Family, the Bahrs, the Lishes and the Andersons.  I also golfed a quick 9 holes at a golf course I used to play on when growing up.  I then came home in time to visit with some other family friends from Madison-the Colemans.  When we did the math we realized we hadn’t seen each other in 10 years!  It was awesome to have dinner with Brad and Lisa and their kids.  I then breezed through the next chemo and it was time for our big summer ending family trip.  There were 3 parts to our big trip.  The first part was back to Bemidji and the Lish residence.  The 2nd part was to Itasca State park where we rendezvoused with Dad, Debby, Caylee, Dave, Jill and their boys.  It was a surprise to all the boys as we didn’t tell them we would be camping with their cousins.  Dad and Debby took care of all the food so we were spoiled.  The last leg of our journey brought us to a waterpark/resort in Alexandria.  Again we surprised the guys as they didn’t know we would be going there for our last two nights.  We went to Arrow wood resort and it was very nice.  We played some mini golf, tennis and of course lots of swimming.  I just can’t help but look back at August and smile.  It truly was a gift from God.  I can only hope that every month is that rewarding going forward.  I don’t have all the keys to life, but some of them have to be spending time with family and friends as much as possible and fostering relationships and enjoying your experiences together.  Notice I didn’t say anything about new cars, more possessions, money and more work.

I think it is time to make the “the real life” more like my August “surreal life”.  Hopefully I will get some pictures up soon from our Summer.

Thanks you for all your love, prayers, gifts, thoughts, support and advice as we continue down this cancer journey.  All of it helps to keep our spirits up.  Blessings to all of you and the care you administer to myself and my family.  If you are looking for specific prayers or things to meditate on for our family:  a complete healing, a strong immune system that can fight off the cancer and can bounce back from the chemo, increased platelets and just an overwhelming sense of peace as we march toward Sept. 20th and my fist scans since June 8th.




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