Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Do you know what you get when you have a colonoscopy? You get to choose whatever you want for dinner the next night. Jared chose chicken strips with homemade honey mustard sauce, fries, macaroni and cheese and salad. Yes, it took two and a half hours to make, but I'd do anything for him. And, it's really yummy!!!!

Recipe curtesy of Paula Deen's Chicken Strips from her Lady and Sons Restaurant.
It's super delicious!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Start of Treatments...

We met with Jared's radiation oncologist today. It's ironic and was quite humbling to realize that we were meeting at the exact office I bring my mom to for her radiation oncologist. But I won't get into that feeling this morning.

While we were waiting to be called back, the receptionist came over and informed us that we were to meet his oncologist upstairs at 12:40, after meeting with this first doctor. Looked to be a long visit at the hospital today.

The visit with the radiation oncologist went well. He told us that the biopsy Jared had on the 10th showed this to be a Desmoid tumor, but a few of the cells were actually staining to show a GIST tumor. Crazy, but they are still thinking this to be a desmoid. The first option to treat this is surgery, but he's already had that and it proved to be non-resectable. The second is radiation. This can cause a lot of side effects, which include diaherra, pain and inflammation in the intestines, and scar tissue that can make a surgery down the road more difficult, so really, we don't want to do surgery yet. The third is the chemo pill. At first they wanted Jared to participate in a study for this, but with finding that some cells showed this to be a GIST, there is another form of chemo pill that actually will treat both a Desmoid and a GIST. So this is the first step in fighting this, and then if radiation is needed down the road, that is an option. Radiation has proven effective in shrinking these, but with the location of Jared's, there are just too many side effects to jump in as the first type of treatment. He looked at Jared's scar and was surprised at how big it was, how raised, and how hard it was. He was wondering if Jared has some sort of gene that makes it to where his body scares a lot. Desmoids are like a scar tissue tumor. They grow in the tissues that make ligaments and tendons and are really a bunch of scar tissue that just keeps multiplying. He said if Jared has this, it would explain the desmoid tumor, but after looking at some other scares Jared has, he's not sold on that idea. Jared has to have a colonoscopy and some genetic testing to look for Gardner's syndrome, which is linked to colon cancer. His tumor is connected some to his large intestine, so they want to rule this out. Plus, we need to know if they should be watching Jared closely for colon cancer and if our boys are at risk for this. All this should take place over the next few weeks.

We met with Dr. Nibbley afterwards. We talked more in detail about this type of tumor. There are really no side effects with these two types. He said the anxiety Jared had a couple years ago that lasted about 6 months could be related, but there are no known relations that he knows of. He said tumors can do weird things, so it might be from that but we'll never know. He said they are for sure doing the chemo pill that is called Glevo. They'll watch Jared real close at first with blood tests to make sure his liver and kidneys can handle this, but usually the side effects are minimal. He said side effects are usually muscle aches and you might feel a little blah. People get used to it, and it's usually when they go off the pill, that they realize they do feel better without it. He said this is a type of pill that, if it works, he can stay on it as long as he needs to. This type of pill is also used to treat a type of leukemia. There's someone who has been on this pill since it came out 12 1/2 years ago and it's still working for her. That was very hopeful to hear! This treatment is one pill a day, but costs around $2,000 a month. Their office is checking with our ins. to see what our copay will be, and if it's still high, they'll figure ways to help get it down. We should be looking at getting his first prescription filled and him starting it in about a week. We are finally to this point!!!!!!! Doc said he knows it might seem like we've waisted a lot of time and have to back track now trying to make up for time lost without treatments, but with this type of tumor, it doesn't matter. This pill would take care of whatever might have grown in the last few months. We weren't worried about that at all, but I know some others have been. He said it looks as though this tumor has grown a little since his first original Ct scan back on Sept. 24th, but they think it's because it's inflamed a little and has a small pocket of air inside from the surgery and biopsy. The air should receed on it's own. Jared doesn't have the aggressive type of tumor. His is definitely slow growing!!!

All together we were at the hospital for 3 hours. We spent a lot of time talking to both doctors and having things explained to us more. It was really nice! It's nice to be able to get more answers and have a plan of how to fight this. The doctors are hopeful as well that they will be able to stop this, but even shrink it. I know it has taken a long time to get these answers, but some things just take time. Dr. Nibbley knew this was a slow growing tumor and would tell Jared he wanted him healed from the surgery and sepsis first before he really had to jump into more tests. Plus, today he said that we really didn't loose time with this. It wouldn't have mattered if he'd started treatments now verses a month ago. That was also nice to hear. Doc said it was good we could come in today, otherwise he was going to have us come in on Christmas Eve. I'm glad we got the news today. We are able to celebrate Christmas even more with having our minds at ease much more.

It's so exciting being to this point! I gave him a kiss and hug in the elevator as we left.  :)

Jared and I went to Arby's to celebrate. There still aren't a lot of restaurants he can eat yet. Arby's hasn't made him sick yet, so this is one place he likes to go. He got a huge roast beef sandwich and a salad. I got a reg. roast beef, a salad, and small fries that we shared. Jared also drank a few sips of Mountain Dew. This is the first time he's had pop since we were camping. He has to be careful about putting too much air in his bowels from the carbonation. Let's just say it was pretty hard on his system. He could hardly sit still with all the air that built over over a few minutes. But hey, now he's had pop! He's just staying away from it now.  :)

We ran errands afterwards to try and finish things up for Christmas. We didn't get home until 3:40ish. For leaving at 10:30, we were a lot longer than expected. I'm running out of time to get ready for Christmas, but that's the least of my worries today. I couldn't stop smiling, I had such a peaceful feeling and still feel like everything will be ok. I'm so thankful to have Jared in my life. He is my bestest friend. I am so in love with that guy.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

What Cancer Does...

Cancer is stupid.

It tries to control you. It tries to take your peace and happiness away. It tries to change everything you know and throw a lot of unknown crap your way.

I'm not getting my presents for mom, Carrie, and Aunt Kathy finished this year. This is the second year in a row that they aren't done and it's all because of cancer.

It's a really special thing to me that I've wanted to make them. It's a sewing project that says, "It isn't happy people who are thankful, it's thankful people who are happy." It's an 11x14" size. I started these last year (making one for me as well), but ended up putting my sewing projects away for four months because we found out dad had cancer and died 6 days after his diagnosis. I didn't want to sew anymore. I was at the hospital working on this sewing project as dad was in having an MRI done at Riverton hospital when I got the call from Dr. Gilbert saying they got the biopsy results and it was, in fact, cancer. I put my project into my sewing box and didn't get it out until the first part of October. There was too much to do with funeral arrangements and such. And then taking care of filling dad's retirement, military stuff, and such, and I plain just didn't want to sew. That's what I was doing when my world turned upside down for a while. It didn't exactly have the best memories attached to it.

Once I picked my sewing up again, I marked the spot where I had stopped when that call came, and decided this exact one I was working on would be mine. It would show the mark where dad had died, and then my continuing on as I worked through a difficult time in my life. Sewing became very special to me again, so once again, I decided that this would be my project over the next year as I worked to finish these for Christmas of 2015.

Things were going along pretty well. I was almost completely done with the lettering in brown thread on the fourth and last one when my world got flipped upside down yet again by cancer. Jared had emergency surgery Sept. 24th due to a cancerous tumor that had completely blocked off his small intestines. This was a complete shock to us. He spent a week in the hospital, was home two days and then went back in with sepsis and spent another week there. Once he was home, he spent 5 days before he was back in again for another four due to another infection. Jared had a close call with loosing his life twice. We lived at the hospital 18 days. Once again, my life stopped as we focused on what was most important. My husband and our three boys. Nothing else mattered.

My husband has cancer. Seriously, how do you process this?

I'll tell ya. You take it one day at a time. You pray your heart out and then pray some more. You never give up hope. You rely on your faith and the prayers and fasting of others. Feeling the prayers of others is one of the neatest experiences we've had through this. The power of prayer is real. And because of it, we've made it through the last three months. Miracles can happen, and we've witnessed many. My sewing was set aside for a couple months, but was once again picked up. The only thing though, is it will once again be left for next year's gifts, but maybe now it will be for birthdays. Because of cancer and how crazy our lives became, I've misplaced the pattern and one of the actual sewing projects. I've been stressing over finding this the last week so I could get them finished, but tonight I've decided that I don't care anymore. I'm not going to stress over three presents. I'll just buy something for each one of them and enjoy this week with my family instead. Because of prayers and fasting, we've been given a very special gift this year. Jared's biopsy he had just over a week ago actually worked! We finally know what type of cancer he has so they can start treatments. Past biopsies and tests would show inconclusive, and the next step was a more invasive surgery with another 6-8 week recovery. His surgery was cancelled for this past Wednesday which means we got our Christmas with our boys back! What more could I ask for?! So forget stressing over presents, I'm going to be happy and enjoy these next 5 days with our kids, playing and doing what we normally do as a family.

Do you know what cancer does? It can ruin your life if you let it. We all have choices though, and I choose to see the good. I choose to use faith. I choose to look for blessings that come from my Father in Heaven. We all have trials to go through in life. How we choose to handle them and learn from them is what matters. Cancer is not going to break me. It's not going to take my holidays with my family away. I know we're going to have more trials to face that come from having cancer, but I'm going to enjoy the good when we have it. And when we are going through those hard times, I'm going to pray with all my heart for more good times to come.