Journal

Journal entry by SUNNY BRIDGE

After a lovely Father's Day with Brittany, Chelsea (and Brian) and a nice call from Courtney, David's temperature was a bit elevated, just enough that I was advised to bring him to the ER. His oxygen was a little low and an x-ray revealed a bit of fluid now in his right lung, as well as the fluid and other issues in his left lung that were detected two weeks ago. Consequently, he is now being treated for pneumonia, which includes oxygen and I.V. antibiotics. He's headed down for another CT scan in a few minutes to confirm nothing is being missed.

On the plus side, he is nowhere near as sick as he was in February. He's feeling reasonably okay and his oxygen level is back up where it needs to be (at least as long as he's on oxygen), but it is recommended that he stay in here until tomorrow, to get another dose of the I.V. antibiotics. Then he can continue with oral antibiotics at home, and possibly even oxygen at home. 

If you're praying, please pray for rapid healing, lots of rest and peace for David (and me, if you don't mind). The PurpleStride walk in Denver is this coming Sunday, and we were hoping David could walk a bit of it with us. We'll have to see about that later this week.

Thank you, dear ones, for how you continue on this path with us. We appreciate you so much.
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Journal entry by SUNNY BRIDGE

David had his labs today, in preparation for chemo round 16 on Monday. He did go ahead with the MRI and is still having some pain in both his upper left side, likely do to the enlarged spleen, and his lower back. There was nothing that clearly indicated any growth of the cancer anywhere, but a PET scan in his future would tell us more. For now round 16 is approved. 

His labs were about as they've been: some numbers improving a bit, others stable or moving a bit in the wrong direction. His CA 19-9 was up a little from 472 ten days ago to 609 today, but this was to be expected with the second set of labs after a long break. It also bumped up a bit mid-March after taking February off. The chemo irritates the tumors, so makes the numbers climb a bit. 

The concern now is that although David has tolerated this regimen of chemo far longer than anyone expected, he should probably switch soon to a clinical trial to see if his good levels can be maintained for a while. The P.A. we saw today says she has never seen anyone able to go this many rounds of Fulfurinox, so we really need to start figuring out next steps. 

Thanks, as always for continuing to keep David and all of us in your thoughts and prayers. We need wisdom, peace, and clarity for the road ahead. 
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Journal entry by SUNNY BRIDGE

As I reported on Monday, David has had a little pain in two areas, sort of high on his left side and his lower back. Good news first: I'm happy to report the lower back pain seems to be gone, so we'll likely cancel Friday's MRI. 

Not so good news: After writing Monday's post, we spoke with Dr. McFarland, who suggested the enlarged spleen may be the cause of the left side pain, and the Oxalyplatin may be the cause of the enlarged spleen. He will be getting back to us sometime this week with suggestions, but he did mention that we may need to discontinue "treatment," which sent me into a panic. He may or may not mean just that drug, but still, that is the one that seems to be working so well. David's pain is minimal (1 on a scale of 0-10) at the moment, but of course we don't want to make it worse. It's most problematic at night if he tries to sleep on his left side, so that's not great. 

I do understand that chemo is toxic and can eventually kill you as easily as the cancer can, so it was never meant to be a permanent solution, but for now results have been spectacular and side effects minimal. 

If you're praying, please pray for wisdom for the doctor and medical team, peace for David and me, and that we continue to rest in gratitude for the present moment. And maybe this:

Circle us, Lord.
Keep protection near, and danger afar.
Circle us, Lord.
Keep hope within, keep despair without.
Circle us, Lord.
Keep light near, and darkness afar.
Circle us, Lord.
Keep peace within, and anxiety without.
The eternal Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, shield us on every side.
Amen

Thank you so very much for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers! 

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Journal entry by SUNNY BRIDGE

We're back here at the Cancer Center for round 15 of David's chemo. After such a nice long break, including a month in France, we were a bit apprehensive about how his labs would look, but they are actually great. Best of all, his CA 19-9 is way down, 472, compared to 2040 seven weeks ago. WOO-HOO! He has had a little pain in his lower left lung area, so Dr. McFarland ordered a CT scan this morning to be sure no new blood clots had formed. None had, I'm happy to report. A little fluid in his left lung and an unspecified nodule, plus his spleen is enlarged. He'll be working on deep breathing and coughing to eliminate the fluid, so maybe that's all it will take. If the nodule is another tumor, hopefully the chemo will work on that. Not sure about the spleen situation.

He's also had some lower back pain, so will have an MRI on Friday to check that out. Neither area of pain is severe, but of course, we'd rather he had NO pain at all.

We are so very grateful for all this good news and the fact that we had another wonderful adventure in France with dear friends. I will finish reporting on those adventures on www.MovableAssets.com now that we're home and I can get caught up, so check that out if you're interested.

Also don't forget the Purple Stride walk in Denver on the 25th. See the previous post for details on that.

If you're praying, please join us in thanking God for these many blessings. As for requests, the usual: that the chemo would continue to be effective against the cancer, with minimal to no side effects, and also that David's discomfort would be resolved.

You, dear ones, are some of our many blessings, and we are certainly grateful for you. What a joy to be able to share good news with you.
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Journal entry by SUNNY BRIDGE

Our daughters are putting together a team for the June 25th Purple Stride in Denver (Pancreatic Cancer Awareness 5K walk/run) to support David and raise funds for research to fight this cancer. It's in Denver on the morning of June 25th, start time around 8:30 a.m.

At the moment, David is feeling well enough to walk with us, but chemo starts again on Monday, so we'll have to see about that. But we'd love to have you join us, and even if you are not able to be with us, donating to our team's fund-raising efforts would be very much appreciated. Unfortunately, research is not free. 

Click on the link at the bottom of this message to find out more, but here's a quick run-down:

Joining the team is $30 (a bit more if you want to be timed). Also Brittany created a t-shirt for the team that I think will be $15. If you want a t-shirt, let Brittany know ideally by this weekend, so she can place the order (men’s t-shirt sizes, 50/50 cotton polyester blend so they're soft). You can email her your name and size preference at bbridgecs@gmail.com. 

The link below is how you join our team (Team Pop Rocks) to walk with us -- or run ahead of us! Use this link also to donate to help us reach our goal.

http://support.pancan.org/site/TR/PurpleStride/PurpleStride?team_id=6300&pg=team&fr_id=1107

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Journal entry by SUNNY BRIDGE

I'm afraid it takes me a lot longer to create a blog post with photos on my MovableAssets site, and I've gotten behind. So while you're waiting for more posts about our adventures (if you're following those), I thought I should write a quick note to let you know how well David is doing here in France. He has a little less energy for walking than he had the last time we were here (in 2014), but still, he is probably walking 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day, which is a LOT more than he was walking at home. He doesn't wear his FitBit anymore, but I'm logging 11,000 to 13,000 routinely and even hit 18,000 yesterday, and he's with me much of the time, so I don't think my estimate is far off. 

In other good news, he hasn't been sick AT ALL so far. A tiny bit of weird pain in his side for the last few days, which I wish were not there, but that's actually improving, so is definitely not as worrying as it would be if it were worsening. It's a little disconcerting to not have the regular lab tests telling us all is well with the blood thinner, potassium, etc., but his appetite is strong and he feels more normal than he has since last August. Mostly it's just great to see him enjoying himself in this place with our friends, which this week includes our good friends Tom and Lexi from Fort Collins, here with us for the last week of our trip. We leave La Rochelle Saturday morning for a few days in Paris, then Tom and Lexi head home. We'll spend a few days in New Hampshire with David's mom, before heading home to Colorado on the 2nd. 

If you're praying, please pray that the remaining days of this break go well and for traveling mercies. David's next labs and chemo are scheduled for Monday the 5th, so I'll definitely update you then.

Thanks, as always, for keeping David and all of us in your thoughts and prayers. We appreciate you so much!
    
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Journal entry by SUNNY BRIDGE

Just a quick note to let everyone know we made it to France and David is doing very well after a good night's sleep. It turns out we were wise to do the Denver to Boston portion on Thursday and the Boston to Paris leg Friday evening, because arriving in Paris Saturday morning, followed by a taxi to Gare Montparnasse (the train station), then a wait of a couple of hours, then a three-hour-plus train ride was exhausting enough for one 24-hour period. But all is well this morning. 

We are so happy to be back in La Rochelle for a few weeks. Tomorrow would have been round #15, if we were home and on schedule, so David is planning to enjoy this break. If you're praying, please pray that the cancer continues to shrink while the chemo remains in his system, and that it doesn't gain ground (or at least much ground) during the final weeks of this break when the effectiveness of the chemo presumably will be reduced. Remember that when he went four weeks from February 1 to March 1, his numbers continued to improve, so it does keep working for a while!

I'll be posting on MovableAssets.com (with photos) as soon as I can to tell you more about our adventure, so check that out if you're interested. Meanwhile thank you, dear ones, for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers.    
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Journal entry by SUNNY BRIDGE

Hope everyone had a fabulous Easter weekend! We certainly did. Chelsea has made the move back to Colorado and arrived just in time for Easter. Brittany drove up from Denver, and our most regular house guest, David's brother Doug, flew back from Portland, Oregon.  

Here's the latest update. David had more great lab results on Friday afternoon, in preparation for today's round #14, which went very smoothly. Liver numbers Friday were improved or stable, and the CA 19-9 went down yet again: 2040 as of Friday afternoon. Woohoo! If they had waited for labs until this morning, it may have even dipped below 2000, which would have been very nice to see before our trip, but Dr. McFarland needed as much information as possible before our appointment with him late Friday afternoon. He continues to be very impressed with David's excellent results and amazing ability to tolerate the chemo so far. 

Still, it's a good time to give David's body a small break from the chemo, so we're off at the end of next week to spend a month in France. We have wonderful friends there who would certainly help us in an emergency, but if you're praying, please pray that David manages the travel without catching anything that would necessitate spending any part of our trip in the hospital and especially that the cancer doesn't gain too much ground during David's respite. We'll be back in time for round #15 early June, probably Monday the 5th. 

I'm sorry to have to report that our middle daughter, Brittany, has learned that she also has the BRCA2 gene mutation that David has. The cancer risks for women are even higher than for men, so this is important information to have, and we are certainly grateful she learned it as a result of testing and not as part of a cancer diagnosis, but if you would keep her in your thoughts and prayers as she processes this information, that would be very kind.

We continue to appreciate each day we're given and of course all you dear ones and your many kindnesses!


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Journal entry by SUNNY BRIDGE

Just got a new CA 19-9 number--that's the tumor marker number--and it's the lowest yet: 2240. Just wanted to share more good news!

Thanks as always for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers! 
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Journal entry by SUNNY BRIDGE

I am so happy to report that the results of yesterday's CT scan were also stunningly excellent. Short version: no new tumors and continued progressive shrinking of the tumors since the last exam. Wooooo-Hoooooo! This is such good news, that in spite of the elimination of one chemo drug and the reduction of another, David's health is still improving.

Dr. McFarland let us see a side-by-side comparison of the CT scan in late August and yesterday's. In late August the tumor in the pancreas was large and obvious. Now it is definitely smaller and a bit out of focus, so difficult to measure: estimated now at 1.2 x 2.9 cm compared to 1.7 x 3.3 cm on January 16th and of course much larger last August. 

Also impressive was the liver. Back in August his liver on the CT scan had so many large dark circles it looked almost polka-dotted. Now you can still see some spots, but not as many and they are not as large or pronounced. I can't tell you how great it was to see the difference. 

We've decided to continue with at least one and probably two more rounds of chemo before our trip to France. May as well keep hitting it, since this is working, and the side effects (without the Irinotecan) are minimal so far.

Thanks yet again for your bold prayers and your kind thoughts. Right now, we would appreciate prayer especially for Brittany, who is awaiting results of her genetic testing. She should hear some time next week. Also for continued tolerance of the chemo for David and of course continued effectiveness of the chemo against the cancer. And I can feel you praying God's peace on us, because it carries us through every day. Thank you!

What a joy it is to be able to share good news with you! Thank you, dear ones, for sticking with us whatever the news may be. 


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Journal entry by SUNNY BRIDGE

I know it says, "David Bridge: Author" on the home page, but for now I'll be doing the authoring. I will see if I can get David to add a message now and then.

In case you didn't get Thursday's email, our life of adventure has taken a sudden and difficult turn. Here's the preliminary background info, which was originally part of an email sent to the prayer chain at church:

Some of you may have heard that David is in the hospital. Scary as the threat of blood clot(s) that sent us to the ER Wednesday evening, the actual news was even worse. Yes, there are multiple clots in his lungs and in his lower legs, but during the CT scan, other even more serious problems were noted. His pancreas is enlarged, and is possibly the origin of a metastatic cancer, multiple lesions were noted in his liver and various other places--we're not completely clear about everything yet. Anyway, not good.

The clots are being managed, and a needle biopsy of one or more of the lesions in his liver was done midday Thursday. Latest word is that the cells do appear to be cancer cells, as expected, but the origin of the cancer and the stage are yet to be determined. We expect to hear on Monday. Crazy as it sounds, we're hoping for colon cancer, since that's the most manageable of the three probable diagnoses. Or if not that, then the "better" version of pancreatic cancer. We'll let you know.

David was almost allowed to go home this afternoon, but he had some pain near the biopsy site after his first hallway stroll, and it was decided to keep him in the hospital for another night, just to be sure all is well, and the transition from the IV blood thinner to the injections has been managed. Since they are 12-hour intervals, it has actually worked to our advantage to delay until 6:30 in the evening. The original 2 p.m. / 2 a.m. schedule was not terribly appealing. Anytime you can avoid having to set an alarm to wake up and inflict and/or experience pain, that's a bonus. We're appreciating bonuses wherever we can find them at the moment. 

Another bonus is that the doctors, nurses, and support staff have all been wonderful. David, most of the time, has been able to be his usual joking self, and we already feel we have friends here at the hospital. We are certainly aware that this will be a whole new journey and we are just getting started. Your continued prayer and messages of hope will be very much appreciated.

Specifically, please pray for the doctors’ skillful diagnosis and attention to detail, wisdom for all of us to know the best next steps, healing for David, of course, and peace and comfort for all of us, including our daughters, Courtney, Brittany, and Chelsea. 

Thank you for your overwhelming love and support. We've had so many warm and encouraging emails and texts, we can't begin to answer them individually. We are trying to stay in the present moment, and not waste a lot of energy fearing the future, but we are still not quite up for phone calls or visits. Thank you for your continued understanding. -- With love and gratitude, David and Sunny

  





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DAVID’s Story
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. In short: After some weeks / months of low energy, increasing shortness of breath, and lingering discomfort, a blood test revealed an imminent risk of blood clot which sent us immediately to the ER.  While there, a CT scan revealed multiple clots in his lungs, an enlarged pancreas and multiple lesions in his liver and possibly other places as well. This has now been confirmed to be stage 4 pancreatic cancer, specifically adenocarcinoma. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.

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