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  • Written May 15, 2012 3:54pm by Signe Peterson

    The tides have certainly turned here as we await the beginning of summer. Sarah is responding beautifully to the new chemo drug (despite its nasty side effects). She is filled with a renewed energy that is second only to that of the kids who are counting down the last days of school.

    You are all treasures to us and have continued to be the support that holds us up. For that and all that you do, we will always be grateful.

    We'll post more news in the coming week but hopefully the boring kind as Sarah seems to be on a brand new path!

  • Written Apr 30, 2012 3:47pm by Signe Peterson

    Hello World:

    To begin, the reason we have not updated this site for a while is simply sheer exhaustion. In the past, family members and friends have graciously helped us out with updates, but time and energy have simply not permitted that to happen. This last month was by far the most stressful month our family has experienced. I have held on desperately the last couple of weeks to my best of intentions to write here, but it wasn’t enough to produce an update. Please know that our family wishes to maintain your respect, patience, and loving compassion, but I am beginning to comprehend what it really means to be a survivor; and while I believe Michael, the children, my parents, siblings, and close friends are the cancer survivors in the truest sense (not me), surviving is just about all our family has been able to accomplish as of late.

    Despite slashing fears, relentless nausea, and intense pain that I can only compare to birthing contractions, Michael’s and my eyes remained fixed upon one another. A month-long beat down can paralyze almost every body part… but never the eyes. When pain makes minutes feel like days, the eyes don’t hide; they become more exposed in the presence of a soul mate. In moments like these, time grows so focused that it becomes transparent, forcing the eyes to sense the past, present, and future all rolled up into one. As Andre Dubus wrote in The Colonel’s Wife, “I’m glad that damned horse fell on me. It made me lie in one place and look at you.” November fell on us just like that.

    I am thankful for each and every minute I have been given so far. I spy on my daughter, while she bashfully sneaks off to discover her very own magical kingdom beneath blazing sumac bushes. I secretly watch her. She is curled so tightly in them that I nearly need to stand on my head to see anything more than the tips of her shoes poking out.

    A Few Medical Updates:

    • I had my second round of a new chemotherapy regimen (Exempra) last Monday. I’ll continue taking this, along with Zometa (to strengthen bones), and Neulasta (to increase white blood cells in my bone marrow) for as long as possible. If no escalating, disturbing, or mysterious symptoms arise, I won’t need scans for a few months.

    • I seem to be tolerating Exempra exponentially better than my former chemotherapy regimen (Xeloda). I still deal with persistent nausea but do so to a far lesser degree. The pain is constant but manageable. One of the symptoms that slow me most is “Hand & Foot Syndrome.” (Burning, tingling, numbing, swelling, peeling, & blistering, etc.). It really is aggravating.

    That’s all for now. Unless something major happens in the next few days, I probably will not update the journal section for a few weeks. I need time to catch my breath, I love you all so very much!

    -Sarah

  • Written Apr 10, 2012 2:36pm by Signe Peterson

    First: Thank you for each of your wonderful messages left here and/or simply for coming to read what is here in support of my family. The voluminous flower garden we now have exfoliating the sterility of Sarah’s hospital room is also truly remarkable. Its colors and fragrances bring light to the day as we sit and look around the room. Ask and you shall receive I guess.

    Second: There have been a number of very difficult pieces of news to hear and decisions to make as a result since I last wrote to you. Sarah is not doing any better than she was Sunday morning. She is in many ways worse. The enigmatic nature and origin of the infection she experienced is not able to be determined via blood cultures and every other known test for bacteria and viruses. The important thing though is that Sarah’s heart rate and body temperature were stabilized enough by Sunday afternoon to take the enormous risk of giving her chemotherapy. The risks are numerous and dangerous, but the doctor’s and Sarah felt her youth and strength helped the potential benefits of chemotherapy outweigh its risks. All agreed that if Sarah were an older woman of 60 or 70, she would absolutely not be trying chemotherapy. We feel she needs to try because it is her best medical chance to stall the fairly rapid growth of cancer in her liver.

    Your support is holding us together. Please keep us close in your hearts, thoughts and prayers.

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