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BIG update!

My main reason to journal is to record things that are happening so I don’t forget….and I forget a lot!  The second reason is that I hope that others might find some of the information helpful.  This journal is almost all for the first reason.  I have a bunch of stuff that has been going on so I’m using this entry to get it all down on ‘paper’.  That being said, this will be a rather long entry and as such, I don’t expect anyone to read all the way to the end.  I thought that I would chapter it out and that way, people can read only what they want to and skip over the rest. 

Here are the topics of this marathon journal:

Cancer update/dizzy/scan
Andrew’s new/old Truck/Guy’s Road Trip
Lori’s job
Amber’s first year at college
Andrew’s Eagle Project
Genentech – Cancer Ambassador speaking opportunities
Ken Burns – I might be in a documentary!

Cancer update/dizzy/scan
Things are plugging away on the cancer front.  I had my 135th round of chemo today.  That’s got to be some kind of record.  Next month, I celebrate 6 years since my diagnosis.  Considering that we didn’t think I’d even make two years, this is a really big accomplishment and we feel so blessed to be doing so well 6 years out.  My tumor markers are holding steady in the 40s and 50s and that is really good news.  I’ll have new marker information tomorrow.

I had radiation treatment on my liver in April.  It was an extensive process that consisted of almost an hour of constant stereotactic radiation for 5 days. The radiation itself wasn’t that bad other than having to be still the entire time.  It really took the wind out of me for a while though.  Fatigue was pretty severe after the treatments and I’m just getting back to normal.  We won’t know the long range results from the radiation for several weeks but I’m very hopeful that we got that big tumor in the liver.

Something really strange happened about a week ago.  Like most nights, I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.  Before I knew it, I slammed into the wall and window somewhat slanted.  This is going to sound really strange but I was stuck against the window.  I couldn’t get off.  My equilibrium was so off that I couldn’t tell which way was up.  I had to literally push myself off the wall to attempt to stand straight up.  The room was spinning like crazy and it was several seconds before I could stumble into the bathroom as if I just finished a lively game of “Dizzy Bat”.  I thought to myself, “That was strange.” And went back to bed.

Later that next morning, I was in the garage to do a little work on Andrew’s new/old truck (More on this later).  I had just slid under the truck when, BAM! The truck started spinning like crazy and I had to hold on to keep from being thrown out…or at least that is what it felt like.  Stumbling to the bathroom again, I actually got sick.  I thought to myself, “That was strange.” And went back outside to try again.  The same thing happened without getting sick this time.  I thought to myself, “That was strange.”  They my logical self kicked in. Hmmm, I think I see a pattern forming here.  I called my oncologist and they too thought,  “That was strange.”  However, they then called for a brain MRI to see what might be going on. 

I had that MRI last Monday and will get the results tomorrow. To be honest, I really don’t think they will find anything significant in there.  (Insert all obvious brain scan jokes here…)  If nothing is on the report, I’m sure we will look to an inner ear specialist and go from there. 

I’m feeling pretty good on most days but still go get extremely fatigued and take a rather long nap on most days.  It feels really good to have the time to do so.

Andrew’s new/old Truck/Guy’s Road Trip
Andrew is turning 15 in a month but we have been looking for cars/trucks for quite a while.   It’s kind of tough growing up in an area where 16 year olds are getting new Mustangs, Camaros,  BMWs and such.  I told Andrew early on that we would only be able to spend around $4,000 on a vehicle for him. 

Andrew got on and looked at what is available for that price.  He found a host of beater cars like tired old Carolla’s, PT Cruisers, Hundais and so on.  Everything was really ragged and defiantly NOT cool.  The “Cash for Clunkers” program a few years ago has really killed the used car market.  I told Andrew that we couldn’t afford “New Car Cool”, but we might be able to find something “Old Car Cool”.  So that is what we started to do.

For months, we talked about finding a “Farm Truck”.  We would cruise old country towns while on trips and camp outs looking for that old truck sitting in the grass on some farm.  We look at several of these farm trucks but they were all in very sad shape.  Next, we took to Craig’s list.  We looked at several trucks here but almost all of the time you would go to see it in person and the truck would have rust everywhere, dead and pealing paint, thrashed interior and a ton of work to be done.

About a month ago, a 1968 Ford F100 was posted.  We noticed the ad the day after it was posted and I went to go see it that same day.  The truck was amazing.  Zero rust, original paint motor and interior and it all looked outrageously awesome.  This was a genuine “Garage” find.  Long story short, we bought it that day at our budgeted amount.  AWESOME. 

For you gear heads, It’s a 1968 Ford F100 with a big block 390 and 4 barrel carburetor, automatic transmission, power steering, power breaks and factory AC.  (No the AC doesn’t work right now.  That’s one of the items to fix on our list.)

I spoke to the second owner of this truck who received it as a gift from the original owner.  To the best of his knowledge, the truck has 24,000 original miles on it as it was always garage kept and on a farm in Italy, Texas.  That’s almost hard to believe but when you look at the paint and interior, it makes since.

We are very excited about the truck and are working to get it safe and reliable.  In fact, we are planning In fact, we are planning a father-son road trip from the North Eastern corner of Oklahoma to New Mexico along the old “Mother Road”/ Route 66 in this truck.  We think it’s pretty cool to travel the historic 66 in a truck that was around in the Route 66 heyday.  Stay tuned for pictures and reports from the road.  It’s going to be cool.

Lori’s new Job
Lori started working at our church as the new Business Manager in early March.  This has been a true answer to prayer.  It’s a fantastic job.  She is surrounded by great people; it’s close to home and has benefits and vacation.  She is very busy at this job but she likes that. 

Amber’s first year at college
It’s hard to believe that Amber takes her last final tomorrow.  This year has flown by amazingly fast.  I don't think her first year in college could have gone any better. In a nutshell, Amber participated in marching band and had a blast.  They performed at 9 of the 13 games including a trip to Notre Dame and the Sugar Bowl.  She made the dean’s list in her first semester.  She got a job on the school newspaper which she loves as she is a journalism major.  She applied for and received a job as a Resident Assistant in the honors dorm starting next year.  This is wonderful for Amber and even better for us as we won’t have to pay room and board!  Woo Hoo. 

I leave tomorrow after my appointment with my oncologist to help amber load up and get all her stuff back home.  We are very excited to have her back. She will work as an intern at a property management company the first half of the summer and then at “Glen Lake Methodist Summer Camp” as a counselor the second half.  Amber has gone to his camp every summer since 3rd grade and has always wanted to work there.  This should be a great summer for her.

Andrew’s Eagle Project
Andrew has also been very busy.  He is almost finished with his 8th grade year and has really done well grade-wise.  He has continued to work hard in Boy Scouts and, we are very proud to say, finished his Eagle Project last Saturday!  His project was to build a “Trail Head Kiosk” and establish a trail at a lake near our house.  He only has to put the finishing touches on a couple of merit badges and finish the paperwork on his Eagle award and he will be done.  This is a major accomplishment as less than 5% of all scouts go on to earn their Eagle.  Way to go Andrew!  It will be something to have an Eagle and Gold award winner in the family.  (Gold is the Eagle equivalent for the Girl Scouts.)

Genentech – Cancer Ambassador speaking opportunities
I’m very excited about two neat opportunities coming up in the next couple of months.  I’ve been asked to speak at a Doctor’s event in Boulder, Co.  (insert all marijuana jokes here)  I’ll be a featured speaker there and will give an hour-long presentation on my cancer journey as well as field and answer questions.  This should be fun. 

I’ve also been asked to speak at a survivor’s meeting in Homewood, IL in June.  This will be a shorter speaking opportunity as I’ll just present my “Story” and then visit with fellow survivors. 

Ken Burns – I might be in a documentary!
Maybe my most exciting news will occur at the end of May.  You may have heard of a guy named “Ken Burns”.  He makes documentary’s and is pretty famous for his film on the Civil War and World War II.  He is now working on a documentary on Cancer.  I was contacted by a production studio who is working with the ‘Ken Burns’ people to possibly be a part of this project.  Lori and I are being flown to New York at the end of May to be interviewed on camera.  If they like what they see and hear, I might be included in the finished product.  Heck, even it if doesn’t work out for the documentary, Lori and I get a free trip to New York for a couple of days.  We are going to try to see a show and I’m sure we’ll goof around doing tourist stuff while we are there.  Very fun.

This concludes what is possibly my longest journal opportunity.  If you are still reading this, you are a true glutton for punishment but I truly appreciate you taking the time to do so. 

I hope all is going well with you too.

Take care and God bless,


19 people hearted this

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neal craig
By neal craig
Great story and what an awesome find. Keep up the updates, so glad to hear them
Marcheta Gardner
By Marcheta

Thank you for taking the time to share your story. Yes, I read every bit:o). Delighted to hear about the success on every front! As an Alumni, elated Amber's first year was a wonderful experience - BOOMER SOONER!!! Congrats on the new job for Lori and the Eagle project and "grades" for Andrew.

Hats off to you on the speaking engagements as well. You have a beautiful story to tell! This way it gets to many more people that need to hear your story and more importantly, about your faith in God! It's a beautiful thing:o). Take care and God continue to bless you and your family!!!
Mary Howe
So proud of you and all your accomplishments Keith! Also, Congrats to Lori on her new job. Amber congrats on your 1st year of college! And Andrew, Congrats on your New Truck, We love it! Hope to see you'all soon. Prayers for continued healing for you Keith and prayers for the whole family for continued success. Love Jerry and Mary
Johnathan Juricek
Keith, glad things are going well. You have so much to be proud of, I love hearing all the updates on the family. Can't believe you are going on six years, how time flies. Praying for you bud!

Irene Binyon
By Irene Binyon
Keith, I love your posts. My children drove clunkers and cars with a "past.". Now that they are in their 30's and 40's (am I that old?) they are very proud of their first car stories. Love your post!
Robin Smith
Love your post. So happy for your family on all the good things going on. May our amazing God continue to bless your family. He knows the "Job" trials have certainly tested your faith. Proud to know you & family.
Paula Thomas
By Paula T
Wow, Keith! I am SO impressed by the Ken Burns opportunity! Stan and I are big Burns fans. Enjoy being in New York!
Meanwhile, please keep us posted on brain MRI results. So glad you are feeling ok otherwise. You continue to be my inspiration..
prayers for healing and continued blessings for your family.
Gil Kleinwechter
By Gil Kleinwechter
Lots of great new Keith. You and the family are in our prayers. I am jealous of the truck find. Persistence pays off. Hope to see y'all this summer.
Bart Boren
Keith, I love Ken Burns work and hope you are included. He is a master of docs, See you soon, Bart
Penny Lang
By Penny
I'm so glad you finally posted, it worries me when I don't hear from you. I know, I sound like your mom. I wonder since it's allergy season if that is the reason for the dizziness? I do hope the MRI finds nothing, well...except for your brain and stuff that's supposed to be there, lol. I've been praying every morning and night that your tumors have been blasted away. I've changed up my prayers a bit and have been asking that the Lord heal you. I am definitely thankful that you are able to rest when you need to, that really helps a bunch.

I LOVE Andrew's truck, that is way cool! Anyone can go into debt to get a new car, but not everyone can find a cherry truck like that. Congratulations to both Andrew and Amber! I know y'all are very proud of them. They do have some great genes, though :)

I hope Lori can go with you on your speaking engagements, and New York sounds like a really fun time. Knowing Lori, she'll have everything planned out and you will see more in a couple of days than most people see in 2 weeks. If you become a big star, don't forget all us little folks :)

I know your summer is going to be totally crazy, but do try to post once or twice. The household will be busy with both Amber and Andrew, which will be a great thing. Just be sure to take your naps!

I sure hope the storms will leave y'all alone, especially the hail. Hopefully, they'll calm down before they reach Dallas.

Hugs and Prayers,