Wednesday, December 21, 2011

December's MRI Results

In the middle of round three of high dose chemo. So far, so good.

Here is Craig's most recent post from the CaringBridge Blog.

"Unfortunately, we did not receive the news we wanted regarding Tracey's latest MRI. There is recurrent tumor growth. A new tumor has formed. You can click the photograph to the left to see it. The new tumor is rather small, about 9mm. It is just above the spot where the original tumors originated, which is now a cavity as they were completely resected on 1 August. You will note how small the new tumor is at this point as compared the original occurrence.

This is a very strong kick to the gut. Making it an even stronger kick to the gut is the location where this tumor is emerging. It is directly on the motor strip that controls Tracey's movement on the left side of the her body; her arms, legs, etc. Going after it with a scalpel could be dangerous and cause damage to motor skills. Tracey is left handed and as you know an artist.

So, what is next? This is where the power of the Duke Brain Tumor Center comes in to play in a huge way. There is are several strong and promising options on the table to eliminate this tumor, including having radiosurgery with a gamma knife (a non-invasive super powerful radiation that zaps the tumor) to new drug treatments or even innovative vaccines that Duke is developing. The next step could a combination of several of these options.

We are going to Duke next week right after Christmas. Please pray that the Lord would provide wisdom and guidance to our doctors in Durham.

Understanding the highly aggressive nature of glioblastoma, we knew that recurrence was virtually assured. Every long-term survivor we have met has battled at least one if not more cases of recurrence. We knew this coming, we were just hoping it would have been a little further down the road.

The next immediate course of action is chemotherapy that begins tonight. It will last for five days. Please pray that the chemotherapy is highly effective in not allowing this new tumor to grow any further. Please also pray that Tracey's nausea will be much lower than the last round. We have some new anti-nausea meds that we are hoping will be effective.

So, we have a strong and aggressive plan in front of us, chemotherapy this week followed by a trip to Duke to plan the next course of action to eliminate this recurrence. We so very thankful that this was found very early and at a point where Tracey is showing no symptoms of even having a new tumor. And we so very thankful that the Lord has provided us the top experts in the world on brain tumors to be on our medical team."

We are meditating on this promise from Isaiah 43:

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

Monday, December 05, 2011


Me and Craig going on a date......

Since my last post Thanksgiving and round two of high dose chemo has occurred. The second round has very difficult and I was sick for about six days. I have to be honest and say it was a dark week for me. I wonder how I can do this for another 10 or more months. My post HDC visit to my oncologist has armed me with several new anti nausea meds to try on the next cycle. I am glad to have them available in part and in part hate to have to take more meds. I suppose I have a decision to make before December 19th, round three. My appetite continues to be spotty as does my energy.

So many of you have stuck in there with me all along this journey. You have not once missed an opportunity to encourage me with prayer, words or even hitting the "like" button on Facebook. I feel less lonely in this because of you all. Even when I am too sick or tired to reciprocate, many of you continue to suffer long with me. I cannot thank you enough. Hang in there with me. You mean more and are helping me more than you can know.

When will I paint again? It is the question everyone asks. I feel as though I am wandering around trying to get a grip at the moment, still processing the last four months and getting accustomed to a new "normal." I have sold several large paintings in the last few weeks, so as they fly out the door, I am at least beginning to think about getting back to it. Do I even remember how to paint?...

Next MRI December 16th, trip to Duke December 19th...

"Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly, Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary."
Isaiah 40

I am counting on Him.