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Entries by Pastor Chris (314)

Thursday
Dec192013

Good News Today

At 7:00am this morning (yawn) Sandy and I were at Swedish for my follow up MRI. This MRI was to gauge the effectiveness of the chemo treatment that began about five weeks ago.

After the scan, at 9:00am, we met with my oncologist. He came in the room with a big smile on his face and told us he was "tickled" with the images. Tickled isn't a word he normally uses but it certainly meant good news.

After about ten minutes of checking on how I was doing overall, he took us to a familiar room where he reviewed the images with us. We could all see that the tumor swelling on the top of my brain stem was gone. We could also see that the 'contrast' they put in my veins to help highlight blood flow showed significant blood flow reduction to the tumor site. This is exactly what they hoped the specific chemo agent would do. More good news. (By reducing blood flow to the tumor you potentially kill the tumor.)

After reviewing the images we returned to the previous room to go over my blood work (labs). One of the normal results of the chemo is that platelets drop significantly. This is important because this has to do with clotting. I have to be very careful not to cut myself because the cut would have a problem clotting.

To make a long story very short, I have blood draws a least once a week to keep a close eye on how I'm doing. My platelet count has dropped from 153,000 to around 37,000 and once it reaches around 30,000 they usually infuse the patient with platelets. Having said that I need to bring up the one issue that they're watching very closely.

The MRI shows an area around the tumor that is slightly, very slightly, bleeding. Did I say slightly? This, of course, is a potential problem, but for right now it is not troubling my doctor. Because of this they will scale back the amount of chemo a bit and then take another MRI scan on February 13th. (If this were a bigger issue they would be doing scans every week.) To be clear, there is a difference between cutting blood flow to the tumor and slight bleeding.

So, please continue to pray for this ever so slight bleed to quit. Also pray that my platelet count will even out. All my other counts are rock steady.

Thank you so much for praying for my family and me. As you can imagine, every MRI scan has the family wondering what it will show, and today was a very good day. But please continue to pray for their peace as they trust in God for each day and each outcome.  :)

And, you can certainly pray for me. Today they allowed me to listen to Christmas music while I was in the 'tube' and it was delightful. In case you're wondering my MRI's last about 40 minutes. I've had so many I know all the techs and they know me. We're one big family up there at Swedish!

God bless you all and have a very merry Christmas!

 

Friday
Dec062013

Chemo Infusion This Morning

First, thank you all for praying for my family and me.

I had my second infusion of Avanstin this morning. From start to finish it all took about 1 1/2 hours. No problems. In fact, afterwards I was so hungry Sandy took me to Jersey Mikes for one of their outstanding sub's.

I will have these infusions every two weeks. I will have MRI scans every four weeks or so to check on the progress of the drugs in my brain.

And, every six weeks I will have chemo pills called CCNU.

Not much to report really. I feel fine and I need a nap.  :)

God bless you all.

Wednesday
Nov202013

Latest Update on our Adventure

Thank you for your patience with this latest update. I needed to coordinate treatment schedules between Swedish in Seattle and MultiCare in Gig Harbor. I was also hoping to have some scan images to show you but, alas, they will have to come later as well. There was also some confusion that required some attending to that was finally cleared up this morning.

Sandy, Tammi, Dana, Mathai and I went to Seattle on Monday for my latest, scheduled scan. This was a follow up to my CyberKnife treatment to keep tabs on the tumor on my brain stem. Dr. Henson began to explain that the tumor is 'misbehaving' again and took us into the 'reading room' where he reads the images.

He actually started out with a bit of humor. For over three years now we've been focusing on the original tumor site and he said that that site is doing just fine; no activity. That's very good news.

The tumor on my brain stem, however, is acting up. Blood vessels are showing up in the scans. These vessels feed blood to the new tumor area and this is not good.

Without getting into a very long and detailed discussion here, I'll give you the highlights about what he's suggesting for treatment. Treatment begins at Swedish and will continue here in Gig Harbor.

There are two parts to the treatment:

1. The first part is a monoclonal antibody and anti-angiogenesis drug called Avastin (Bevacizumab).  Avastin works at eliminating the blood vessels that supply blood to the tumor area. It is given via IV (I believe every two weeks). I'll let you know how often when I see the schedule.

2. The second drug is the actual chemo drug, CCNU (Lomustine). This is in capsule form and is administered in a single dose every six weeks.

Dr. Henson has given Avastin a nickname; he calls it the 'Lazarus' drug due it's amazing ability to 'raise people up' from life threatening situations with cancer. He said it works powerfully for about 75% of the people who take it. That's a big number in the cancer world. He also mentioned that results can be seen within 48 hours. Amazing.

Four weeks after I begin treatment I will go in for another MRI to see how well the drugs are working.

As with all drugs there are certain side effects that I won't bore you with here. The percentage of people that have these side effects is minimal and, by God's grace, I have tolerated chemo very well in the past. I don't anticipate any problems, but I will always ask for your prayers as we enter into another phase of this Adventure with Brain Cancer.

My family is always very supportive, but they are also very disappointed that this new tumor is misbehaving. Please lift them up in prayer. Cancer is never about the patient alone. It is always about the entire sphere of those who surround the patient. Please keep all of them in your prayers. Thank you!

*******

Acts 4:30-31

"Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. NIV

*******

Below is a short video of my doctor explaining the scope of care available at Swedish, one that I have intimate knowledge of, and can attest to:

Tuesday
Nov192013

Still waiting...

Thank you for checking up on me. This latest post has wound up being far more complicated than any other. I wish I could update you but I'm waiting for further information from my doctors. The minute I receive it I'll post it here.

Again, thank you for caring about me and my family. You are a blessing. :)

Wednesday
Nov062013

Politics is Simple, Really

People seem to hate 'politics'. If you relate politics to running a business you'd think people would be much more interested.

Politics is simply about 'hiring' people to create public policy. People submit their resumes to us and the majority of us get to decide who should be hired. When the people we hire to create policy don't do the job we can 'fire' them and 'hire' someone else. We are the 'owners' of the 'business'. It really is that simple.

I'm not naive, however. The whole process is tiresome and quite frustrating. In the business world, people lie on their resumes; in politics, candidates lie as well. The whole business of trying to get hired in the political world has gotten so long and distasteful that most people just stay out of it. This creates a real problem, of course. The candidate who has the greater stamina many times is elected, not because he is the better candidate but because he just outlasts (or outspends) the other guy. We're still the owners of the process, however, and ultimately it lands on all of us to hire the right people and if we don't, we bear the responsibility for that.

It's up to each of us to do our homework, especially when it comes to the ones we send to Washington to represent us. They do the most good, or the most damage, especially the President. When you trust that you bought good fish at the market and then you open the package at home and you have to air out the house to get rid of the smell, you can do that in a few hours. When we have a bad fish in the White House it can take four years or more to get rid of it. Next time, let's all take more time to hire the right people. We will disagree on a lot, but I would hope we all want to keep the America we love and cherish, the one the Greatest Generation fought and died for.

Wednesday
Nov062013

They are still promoting untruths...

This is a screenshot of the White House web site today. The administration is still promoting the untruth that you can keep your policy, etc.

Click the image and then look at the items outlined in red. To return, click the red X in the upper right hand corner.


Wednesday
Nov062013

I'm Really OK

This post is for my wife, kids, parents, sons-in-law, church members, friends, and anyone who cares for me. I am fine, really. I'm not losing it, really. I am frustrated, though. Very frustrated. I know God has all the answers and that our future is in His hands. At the same time our future is also in the hands of others that don't give a damn about our future. Therefore, I have faith in the God that does care about our future and I trust Him above all. Our nation needs a full fledged out pouring of the presence of God to bring it back to sanity! Our government is completely out of control. Prayer is being lifted up across the country and the arm of the Lord is not too short. If we will love the Lord with all our heart and love our neighbor as we would like to loved we have a shot at getting our nation back. God can get involved in that. We can all see what happens when we kick God out of our nation and how well man does when he has no fear of the Lord. Let's get back to what does work.