Journal

Journal entry by SUNNY BRIDGE

Thanks so very much, all you who prayed boldly, and all you who hold us close in your thoughts during these challenging days. Results are back. His liver function numbers are MUCH improved from last time, and all other lab numbers are holding steady. Best yet the CA 19-9 is the lowest we've seen since the beginning: 2820. Woohoo! Many thanks to our great God for all good things, all healing, all improvement, every good day. We are so very grateful. 

Keep praying, if you would, for stunningly excellent results of the CT scan. I'll let you know as soon as I can about those.

Bless you!

Journal entry by SUNNY BRIDGE

Just a quick note to be sure you know David has labs this morning, as well as a CT scan. We'll have most of the results within an hour or so, but as usual will have to wait for the cancer antigen (CA 19-9) number until sometime this afternoon. I don't think we'll know CT scan results until late tomorrow afternoon when we meet with Dr. McFarland. 

At the moment, no more chemo is scheduled. So we'll find out if one more round is possible / advisable before David has a bit of a break and we take our trip to France.

If you're praying, of course we would appreciate good results today. But why don't we all boldly pray for stunningly excellent results? We would be VERY grateful! 

I'll let you know results as soon as I can. Thank you, dear ones!

Journal entry by SUNNY BRIDGE

Hello, dear ones. I wanted to give you an update on this round and today's lab numbers. 
 

On the plus side, David has had no significant trouble with this round of chemo (or cycle, as I sometimes hear it called), and his liver numbers were a little better today, but I'm afraid a few concerns are creeping in. 

  • His appetite has been pretty weak, so the challenge of keeping the weight on has returned. 

  • The liver function numbers, although somewhat improved, are still not as good as they've been in recent months.

  • He is beginning to feel a slight tingling in his fingertips, which typically signals the onset of chemo-induced neuropathy. If it worsens, chemo has to stop for a while. We're planning a break in about a month anyway, but are hoping to get in a few more rounds by mid-April.

  • The cancer antigen (tumor marker) was up a bit today, 4260 from 3060 on 1 March. That's not a huge jump, certainly, but we were really loving watching it drop. We'll see what Dr. McFarland has to say about it.
     



Overall, we are still so very grateful David is doing as well as he is. He has been able to resume a few activities important to him, and we are firming up some travel plans, including a return to La Rochelle. 
 

If you're praying, specific requests would be for the concerns listed above, plus results for family members being tested for the BRCA2 gene mutation. One of David's brother's results have come back negative (woohoo!), but our girls either have not yet had their appointments or don't have results.

 

You are appreciated! Bless you!

Journal entry by SUNNY BRIDGE

So far, so good for today's round of chemo (#11). We continue to celebrate the downward trend of the cancer antigen number: 3060 today, down from 8930 a month ago and 19,700 two months ago, not to mention being 690,000 when the cancer was originally discovered at the end of August.

Today's liver function numbers were not great, worse in fact than they've been for months, but at least did not prevent treatment from going forward. We would like to see those numbers improve again, as they had been improving until these past few weeks.

Most of all, we are praying his body can handle this round much better than the last round. He has not quite regained his strength from that onslaught and we would love for this round to go easy on his GI tract. We're hoping the elimination of the Irinotecan and the 20% reduction in dosage of the 5FU do the trick.

Many thanks, as always, for continuing to keep David (and me) in your thoughts and prayers. We are so grateful for the oases of God's peace we feel in the midst of these trials and for the sustenance of your kindness through it all. Bless you!

Journal entry by SUNNY BRIDGE

David continues to improve from the beating his body took after round 10. We saw Dr. McFarland today and he has recommended omitting the Irinotecan and reducing the 5FU by 20% but leaving the Oxaliplatin at the same dosage as it has been. Sounds good to us, so David will have round 11 on Wednesday. The doctor still seems quite optimistic about how well David is doing overall and believes the Oxaliplatin is most effective. He says he still expects to see a reduction in the cancer antigen number on Wednesday, even though David has now had four weeks since the last round. No guarantees of course, but that's what we're hoping for, too!

I'll let you know what we learn on Wednesday, and how the day goes. We will appreciate you keeping David in your thoughts and prayers during the next week or so. Round 10 was pretty scary at times.  

You are appreciated! Bless you!

Journal entry by SUNNY BRIDGE

David continues to improve and may even be released to go home this afternoon. The general conclusion seems to be that the chemo was to blame for all David's troubles these past two weeks, since chemo attacks fast-growing cells, and some necessary fast-growing cells are in his GI tract. As a result, he'll have another week and a half off to get stronger before the next round, and decisions will need to be made about possibly reducing the dosage of the Irinotecan and/or the 5FU. So far we've heard the Oxalyplatin will probably not need to be reduced, which is very good news, since it is a platinum-based drug and most likely the most effective against David's cancer. 

For today though, we're just thankful he's alert and feeling well, and his potassium level is almost back to normal, after being "critically" low for several days. We're really looking forward to being home!

Thanks for all the kind thoughts, encouraging messages and fervent prayers as we navigate this unexpected hurdle. 

Journal entry by SUNNY BRIDGE

David had a much better day today. He actually ate a small breakfast and a small mid-afternoon lunch, sipping on Ensure Clear in between, all with no trouble. His entire GI tract seems calm after nearly two weeks of almost constant revolt. He was even able to take a fairly long stroll today, a bit slow and wobbly, but still pretty good. 

His potassium was quite low, so he's still on constant IV fluids and potassium, so no plans to return home yet.

Thanks for keeping him in your thoughts and prayers. We're praying he has finally really turned the corner on this and will be able to go home soon.

Journal entry by SUNNY BRIDGE

Still here in the hospital and no real idea when David will be released. For now he's back on the IV fluids with occasional additional electrolytes. After the apparent improvement on Sunday morning, the rest of the day did not go as well. Monday morning he perked up again, tried an Ensure, and kept it down a few hours, but it eventually was not tolerated either. 

In light of all that, it was decided that even with all he's been through, he wasn't having QUITE enough fun, so today he had to have a colonoscopy. Fortunately, nothing serious was found, but we're still waiting for some results. It is beginning to seem that all we can do is wait -- wait for results, wait for his body to heal a bit, wait for any chemo side-effects to subside. Being here, where he is being closely monitored and kept hydrated, is best for him and less stressful for us both. 

Chemo round 11 has been postponed, of course. Originally scheduled for tomorrow (the 15th), it was pushed out to Tuesday, the 21st, but even that may be ambitious. We'll see. Everyone expects him to bounce back from this, but the timeline is uncertain. And if the chemo ends up being to blame, even more needs to be discussed and decided.

We are so grateful for the compassionate, skillful staff here. And we can't reiterate enough how much your kind messages, thoughts and continued prayer are appreciated.  

Journal entry by SUNNY BRIDGE

David is still here in the hospital until at least tomorrow, but he is beginning to improve. He's now allowed to walk unsupervised. He actually ate a bit of breakfast, first solid food in six days, so is understandably weak. Nutrients will help. He's unhooked from the hydration drip and going to try today to keep himself hydrated. 

During a meeting with the oncologist on call yesterday, we were told that this is likely another viral gastroenteritis of some kind, which hit him when his defenses were especially low. No one knows for sure, but if true, this would be really good news. It would mean that with maybe an extra week off--Dr. McFarland will advise about that--David could resume the same chemo regimen that has been so effective so far. 

Thanks, as always, for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers. This has been a very scary, emotional week. I've definitely been reminded that even ten minutes being still in the presence of God serves both of us better than any amount of tears and begging him to at least try to eat. The first produces compassion. The rest drains compassion and replaces it with frustration and even anger. The former is obviously preferable!


Journal entry by SUNNY BRIDGE

Just a quick note to update you that I had to bring David back to the ER this morning, because fluids out continue to outpace fluids in. He has been admitted at least overnight, so we're seeing, yet again, all our friends on the staff of the oncology unit at PVH. He's already greatly improved from this morning, when he was nearly too weak to get to the car, but I don't imagine he'll be released until the "fluids out" situation improves. 

He also now has thrush (fungal infection of the mouth and throat), plus hiccups, so new adventures in chemo reactions just keep coming. Yippee. Fortunately, there are meds for both of those, and he's where he needs to be to avoid any more dangerous dehydration.
 
Thanks as always, for keeping David and all of us in your thoughts and prayers!

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

  





DAVID’s Story

Site created on August 26, 2016

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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