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Journal

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March
23
2019

March 23, 2019

The last month has sure been a difficult one. James has finished radiation. As I wrote about before James began experiencing pain in his sciatica. It was determined his pain was coming from his S1, radiation was completed but the pain was still present. Doctors guessed it was mostly likely due to inflammation from the radiation. 

James was then on a reduced dosage of his chemo pill until he completed radiation. Once radiation was completed his dosage was increased. Last week James was just not feeling great. We visited the doctor for some new unexplained pain in his abdomen. Labs were ordered, and a MRI and CT were completed. Labs came back with low platelets, low white blood cells, and elevated liver enzymes. He then began experiencing labored breathing as well as a productive cough and neuropathy in his hands and feet. 

 Yesterday we visited the doctor and received some difficult news. The cancer is progressing. James has many new nodules in both his lungs and liver. Which is really hard to digest when we’ve already heard “innumerable” nodules in both locations. His abdomen had some swelling and fluid retention as well. (The doctor is at a loss as to whether this is viral, chemo, or cancer related.) And there is a small spot located on his pancreas that is “unknown” at this time. 

Ugh. Onto a new chemo treatment we go. And we’ll continue to watch his body closely. 

Some good news is - James sciatica pain decreased this week! And labs done yesterday showed improvement in his WBC levels, platelets and liver enzymes. 

Please continue to do what you do for us (pray, send good thoughts or vibes - whatever you’ve got!) as our spirits are low. 🎗

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February
26
2019

February 25, 2019

Thought I’d do a quick update while I sit and wait for Emma and Tanner to finish practices. 

James started his 3rd round of radiation today. Last week he completed 3 rounds of cyberknife treatment on his L1. This week he’ll have 5 rounds on his S1. Radiation has been rough for him. He’s experienced some nausea and fatigue. A few weeks ago he began experiencing some pain down is rear and into the back of his legs. We visited a spine center to learn of some options that may be available down the road if things get worse or the pain isn’t resolved after radiation is completed. She confirmed that the pain is most likely from the met in his s1. Although it is small, any growth or movement in the met (as little as 1 mm of change) would press on the that nerve and cause discomfort. His pain has lessened and we’re hopeful that in the next few weeks (after radiation is complete) it will be gone.

January
27
2019

Radiation

Not gonna lie, it’s been a rough week. Mostly just normal raising a family business, teenagers, sports, etc., but now we are adding radiation appointments into the mix, plus I think life has caught up with me.
James had his first radiation appointment on Wednesday on his sternum. His treatment plan consists of 5 treatments on his sternum, a short break and 3 on his spine. He’ll receive a calcium infusion once a month. The drug removes calcium from his blood and puts it into his bones. Our insurance denied (our first insurance denial) the preferred drug so we’ll use an alternative until he has kidney problems then insurance will approve the other option. 🙄 We also received James’ new chemo pill in the mail that he’ll begin taking tonight. 🤞 That’s it for updates. 💜
James is feeling really well! His hair is growing back in, mostly grey, and so far he hasn’t experienced any side effects from radiation.  As always, send whatever you have our way. Pray for strength for our family and strength and minimal side effects for James as he starts this new regimen. 

January
12
2019

Optimistic

Today we received James’ scan results from earlier this week and we are cautiously optimistic. James hasn’t had treatment for 6 weeks and continues to be mostly stable (which is really good!). He has a nodule in his liver that shows a good amount of shrinkage. The doctor said, “Whatever you’ve been doing, continue to do that!” and James said, “Praying... or salt water.” His bones however show some growth on his spine and sternum.

Right now our plan of attack is: in a couple weeks James will begin getting an infusion once a month to help his bones stay strong and will begin radiation on those two locations. He’ll also begin taking a targeted therapy (the best way to describe this is as a chemo pill) which should have way less side effects making James’ quality of life better.

James is so very happy with this news! His spirits are high and he’s extremely optimistic. Please continue to send all those good thoughts, vibes, prayers – whatever you’ve got because we believe they are working! We love you all so much and are so very thankful for everything all of you continue to do for us!

Many of you know our family just returned from Hawaii! We had such a relaxing trip filled with sunshine and saltwater. James and the kids spent many hours boogie boarding on our mostly private beach and couldn't have asked for a better location to stay. I was happy sitting on the beach soaking up the sun. It was the best way to end 2018! 

November
28
2018

Scan Results

Today we met with Dr. Samuel’s to review James scan he had yesterday. We learned that James is stable! This is fantastic news. The scan didn’t indicate any new growth or shrinkage. After a long discussion it was decided to take a short break from chemo and gather more information. James will have another chest CT the beginning of January as well as an abdominal scan, and bone scan.
James has had a difficult time recovering from the lung infection he had in late October. He’s continued to have some discomfort in his lungs when he coughs. After further evaluation we learned he has a growth on his sternum, it’s been there since his original scan in early September. 
I apologize for the lack of updates. There hasn’t been much to tell. James really stuggled through his last treatment. Mentally everything had caught up with him. He’s pulled through and feels really well after today’s appointment. He began turning around just as I began to fall apart. The last two days I have struggled with the uncertainty of what today would bring. So some “good” news was welcomed as well as the break from chemo. 
Thank you again for all of the support and love you’ve all shown. Much Love! ❤️

November
26
2018

Cycle 2

James’ oncologist was out doing some traveling for the month of October. He left Summit Cancer Care the end of September and has moved into a smaller practice part time with another really great oncologist. Our first visit was at Summit Cancer Care and all other visits have been at Beacon. Beacon is a brand new office and is still being put together so through that process we experienced a few tiny bumps. Yesterday, Dr. Samuels, his oncologist was back and seeing him brought so much comfort to me! It’s amazing how quickly you can feel a connection with a provider when you feel so vulnerable.

 

James started his second cycle of chemo yesterday. His blood counts all looked great! Which was such a relief after the cough he had developed. Today he is fatigued. He’s taking his anti-nausea medications and they seemed to be helping as of this morning.

James’ next cycle was due on Thanksgiving day so was adjusted to the Monday following. Prior to that cycle another CT will be completed to tell us if this cocktail he’s currently taking is in fact working. The hope is, we will see no new growths and shrinkage of existing tumors or at the very least that he remains stable. Please, PLEASE continue to do whatever you do – pray, think, vibe – for James and our family!

November
25
2018

Life Goes On...

A few nights ago I laid in bed unable to sleep. I had heard through the grapevine something insensitive someone had said to one of our children. My knee jerk reaction (and purely human) was to think all kinds of nasty thoughts about said kid. BUT after processing it for a bit I realize he’s an adolescent and by nature only thinks of himself and probably has never experienced anything close to what our family is going through. And I’m truly thankful for that. We learn from our own experiences and someone so young has a lot to learn in life. (I want to clarify that this post is in no way intended to embarrass or shame any person it’s merely sharing our reality.) This, unfortunately, won’t be the first time one of our children will experience something like this and it honestly breaks my heart. James having cancer never wanders far from my mind and certainly isn’t going away anytime soon but soon the shock will wear off and I pray we will continue living our lives gracefully and to its fullest.
This week we noticed James hair on his head is thinning and facial hair isn’t growing. And mentally it’s been harder for both of us then we thought (because really it’s just hair, right?). But it’s another reminder of this battle he’s experiencing. This has been his off week from chemo and I wish I could say his energy is strong but it’s not. He’s been battling a cold and is having a hard time shaking it. But of course, his plan currently is to take a couple days off at the end of the week to try and finish up a couple outdoor projects and get ready for winter. Because life continues to go on.
As always, please continue to pray, think positive thoughts, and send good vibes to James and our family.
Much Love,
Meg.
November
25
2018

Treatment

Yesterday James received his first chemo treatment. We got home yesterday and were amazed at how easy the process was and how well he felt; until about 2:00 this morning when he woke up nauseous and feeling like he’d been hit by a train. All day he’s felt miserable and exhausted. He did however work some today and checked out his hunting spot for hunting this weekend. Tonight he received a shot that boosts his white blood cells and should help him recover a little quicker. Fingers crossed he’s feeling better soon.