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Dec 29, 2017 Latest post:
Mar 8, 2018
Welcome to our Caring Bridge website. We are using this to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting. (: We hope that all of you had a very Merry Christmas.and wish good health, peace and much happiness in the New Year 2018.
I am Herman's wife Angie, and will start off this first journal entry with hopefully a BRIEF recap (Ha Ha-NOT--those who really know me, know that brief is not something that is in my vocabulary!)for those that we haven't spoken to as much, and then the latest update on this journey. My brain has been a bit foggy with all that is going on, so it has been a challenge to write this first journal entry. It is mine and Herman's hope that he will also be able to occasionally add his own updates and/or thoughts to this as well, when he is feeling up to it. We know that many people care and are concerned about Herman, and it is difficult at times for me to keep up with questions through texts or calls, so hopefully this will help. Let me start off by saying that Herman has been on quite a frustrating road the past two years, to say the least. The various symptoms he's had have taken him to ophthalmologists, allergists, urologists, gastroenterologists, otolaryngologists, three neurologists, two oncologists, a couple of ER trips, one visit from EMS and diagnoses going in all different directions! He has been told by some doctors to be a bit of a "mystery patient". It wasn't until one of his neurologists ordered a series of CT scans at end of this past October, that we finally started to get some answers. A 6:30 am phone call on Nov 3rd (the morning of our sweet niece Miranda's wedding) revealed that there was a strong suspicion that Herman's previous Hodgkin's Lymphoma from back in 2006 may have come back. Some enlarged lymph nodes in different parts of his body appeared on the scans. A biopsy was taken from the largest area of swollen lymph nodes in left side of his abdomen right before Thanksgiving, and it was officially confirmed on Dec 1st that his Hodgkin's Lymphoma had definitely come back. This was a bit of a surprise to both doctors and to us, since his symptoms this time around have been more neurological, and less like the ones he experienced the first time that he had it in 2006. This left his oncologist here in SA to think that there was a possibility of the lymphoma also being in the brain or floating somewhere in the spinal fluid of the central nervous system. Another MRI of the brain was ordered which would show nothing significant, so a treatment plan was discussed for an intense phase of chemo treatments followed by a bone marrow (or stem cell) transplant. However, still not knowing the source of what was causing the neurological symptoms and discovering how much of the lymphoma had spread throughout Herman's body this time around (both sides of his abdomen, pelvic area, around both sides of the chest cavities, in the arm pit area, in the upper neck, and in the spleen) and how difficult the treatment was going to be compared to the first time, as well as the fact that it was his second battle with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, pushed Herman and I to get a second opinion and find the very best place in the country to help reach a more complete diagnosis and treat his specific type of cancer. Fortunately for us, MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX was highly recommended and only a little over 3 hours away! We have since met with an oncologist there and a full team of other doctors and nurses that have been working to figure out what's causing the neurological symptoms before determining the best treatment plan for Herman. During our last visit to MDA the Thursday before Christmas, they performed another spinal tap on Herman to check his spinal fluid for any cancer cells, and ran other specific tests requested by his new neurologist at MDA to look for other possible reasons for his neurological symptoms (slurred speech, hand tremors, double vision, slowed fine motor skills, balance/gait issues, thought processing,as well as others). We were able to hear back last Friday night that they did not find any signs of lymphoma in the spinal fluid/central nervous system) (Thank you, GOD!) although we are still waiting to find out the results of other specific tests that were run from the neurologist before we can get his treatment started (hopeful to start this next weekend before the New Year begins). If all checks out, and neurological symptoms are shown to be caused by either his immune system's response to lymphoma going on in rest of his body or other causes not related to his central nervous system, the treatment will be as follows: a 3- day, 8-hour/day course of strong chemo to be done every 3 weeks in four separate sessions with a PET scan about half way through to check if it is working. If it is, and his cancer goes into remission, he will be getting a bone marrow (or stem cell) transplant using either his own stem cells or possibly those of a match to his (if his own cells are still compromised). We have been told to expect both treatments to be very difficult, with possibilities of a lot of time spent in the hospital this time around, so we are both trying to get prepared to fight these next battles in this long journey mentally, physically and spiritually. As you know, we also have our two boys Ethan (almost 17years) and Lucas (going on 15 years) that are also dealing with how tough this can be on the whole family. This next year may end up being harder than this last. We are trying to keep things as normal as possible for the boys, but since they are older/more mature this time around, are keeping them informed of most things going on with their dad. They are both trying to focus on some difficult high school classes this year, along with Ethan balancing his job at HEB and Lucas keeping up with his first season of high school basketball. Fortunately, we have been blessed by many amazing friends, an incredible family and awesome neighbors who have been persistently trying to help all of us in every aspect of our daily lives. We are all very grateful and blessed for all of the help that has been given and continues to come, along with continued prayers from all over the country. We know that staying strong and positive thinking is crucial to Herman beating this again, as well as making sure that he is in the hands of excellent doctors, and definitely keeping our faith alive that even in our darkest moments, God is always there to guide us and give us strength through this difficult and very scary time. We will update you all as much as possible as we continue to get new information and once Herman starts his treatment process. Please keep up the powerful prayers for our family, and feel free to send Herman positive messages or even ones to make him laugh. Sincerest thanks and much love to you all!---Angie, Herman, Ethan and Lucas