Tuesday, January 29, 2008

New treatment regimen

Thank you all for praying so much for us and for responding on our blog to assure us of your doing so. It is always an anxious time as we wait to see what the doc is going to do next. So many unanswered questions, so much wondering how the next regimen will alter our lives and how I will be feeling in the months to come. But now all of the waiting and unanswered questions are over and we now know what we face.
The doc has put together a regimen similar to what I went through last spring but with different ingredients. The chemotherapy is called Irenotecan (eye-rye-no-TEE-can-). The cancer "Targeted" medicine is called Vectibix (vek-te-biks-). It is not chemotherapy it is a medicine that specifically targets cancer cells and KILLS THEM! HA, HA, TAKE THAT YE DOGS OF DISEASE! Sorry, I get excited about killing cancer. It's a strange passion of mine.
There is another agent involved called 5-fu and it is a chemotherapy that blasts cancer cells when combined with another agent (I forget the name ... sorry, I have failed you) and helps the 5-fu to bind itself to the cancer cells. It is not cancer specific in that it kills other normal cells that resemble cancer cells.
Normal body cells such as hair, skin, mouth and stomach cells are like cancer cells in that they are all rapidly dividing cells. The difference is that normal body cells know when to stop dividing and die off and are replaced by other cells waiting to go through the same process.
Cancer cells, however, divide quickly and do not know when to stop and will continue to divide until they have formed a cancer tumor. From there the cells continue to divide and grow the tumor until it is stopped, removed or has taken over a bodily organ completely. Am I boring you yet? You can read and research what these agents will do to the cancer and my body at Chemocare.com.
Here is how it will be administered. I will go in on Tuesdays for about a 4 hour treatment and go home with a chemo pump that will shoot shots of chemo into by body in certain time intervals until I get back to the clinic on Wednesday. They will unhook the pump, give me another treatment, hook me up to the pump again for the evening and unhook me on Thursday which will complete the treatment. I will repeat this treatment every 2 weeks.
Doc said "we're really going to get after this cancer and try to put the hurt on it". I said "does this mean that these treatments are pretty aggressive?" and he said "yes, we have to stay on top of this while the tumors are stable and the marker is rising". I said "well, alright, let's get started". So, as usual we left the examination room with a laugh and "I'm praying for ya, Doc. We're both in God's hands. You are His instrument and I'm His project". He just chuckles and shakes his head ... AND SENDS ME TO THE TREATMENT ROOM!!! So not fair!
Well, that's all for now. Thank you so much for your love, responses (which brighten our days so much) and most of all your prayers that strengthen us for the many battles in the days to come. We are so blessed to have God and His people going before us every day and leveling the battle ground in our favor.
God bless you all,

Warren, Tana, and precious children.

Friday, January 25, 2008

More news from the Doc

I talked to Dr. Huh again and he is making plans for the new regimen of treatments and this is what we know so far. He wants to start a new series the first full week of February. He doesn't know exactly what the combination of chemotherapy/cancer medicines he will use. He said he is going to review all of the information in my chart and make a decision as to what will be best. Keep him in your prayers and ask God to direct him as he does this.
The next thing is that when the treatments start he wants me to put all of my chaplain responsibilities on hold. He said to stay home and rest until he says he's satisfied with the progress of my treatments. So basically I'm on medical leave until he says otherwise. Can you say "Praise the Lord!?" I did tell him that I have to have something to do or I'll go nuts and Tana won't want to be married to me any more. He said it will be a opportunity to spend more time with the kids. It will help me to have more energy for them instead of coming home from work and being too tired to play. I insisted that he let me do at least some of the menial tasks of a chaplain. He said "maybe, we'll see. Your health needs to be the priority not your job". Can you believe this guy? Well, it's not hard to see that God has blessed in a wonderful way. I really hate my cancer, but I love how God takes care of us and shows His love and power to us through it all. Keep us in your prayers.
In Christ,
Warren and family

Monday, January 21, 2008

Scan Results

I talked with Dr. Huh today and he told me that my scans had indicated no change. It may sound discouraging, but not so if you consider what kind of treatments I have been on. The treatments for the last 6 months serve the purpose of stopping and stabilizing the growth of the cancer. It has done that so the news is good news. However, there is still the tumor marker to deal with. He said the marker had gone up, but we are unsure how much until the latest blood work comes back. When the results come back he will take into consideration how high or low it is and make a decision then as to what the next treatment will be. I still have one more treatment to go on this last regimen, but the last one I had on the 11th just about put me under. It came on extremely harsh and kept me down for over a week. I'm still feeble from that one. He may just let the last one go and start me later on the new one. He said he hated to see me suffer again like I did on the last one.
So, Doc has some decisions to make and he is very deliberate as he does so. lease pray for him as God leads him to the next phase of my journey. It comes with a double edged sword. On the one side we expect to see some shrikage in the tumors, but on the other we face a whole new set of side affects and life changing adjustments. It's hard on all of us, even the children. So keep us in your prayers as we await the news as to what's next and what it will do for me. Pray for God's hand to be on me and on the family. There is such a battle on every side of our lives. Physical, spiritual, emotional, mental ... you name it we battle it.
Thanks for you love and prayers.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Scan date moved

Warren has had a pretty rough week. He has been sick and has not felt well at all. They were doing a scan on the 31st, but today he could not keep food down, so they have moved his scan to tomorrow at 11:45 am. Please pray for a good report, or that if there is another problem that we can take care of it quickly. Thank you for the faithfull prayers.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Time...where does it go?

It's been a while since our last entry. Warren has had a rough month. He is so tired. They have him on another antibiotic and prednisone as he continues to get sinus infections. The prednisone gives him insomnia, so he can't sleep at night, but then he sleeps off and on through the day. The doctor gave him a month off of chemo. It was much needed, because his body is so tired. A month seemed like such a long time, but here it is already up and Warren starts chemo again on Friday, January 11.

December came and went with so many activities. I love the Christmas season!! All the excitement and crazy schedules (well, I could do without the crazy schedule) anyway, we did have a wonderful Christmas holiday. We went to Minnesota with my family. It is a very busy time, but so nice to get away and have a different schedule. It was hard for Warren at times, because he needed to rest but was afraid he would miss out. Dave Martens came many times to my parents house to hang out with Warren when he had to stop. I really appreciated the time he spent with Warren. I also thank my parents for having all of us to their home and having us come in with all the kids and just invade their quiet space. We had a great time. Now we are back to our home and school and doctor/chemo schedule. As I look back over 2007, I am so thankful for what God has done for us. God is good!! He has provided above and beyond our needs and has supplied many of our wants. I was listening to the radio today and heard a song I'm sure many of you know. It is about Paul asking God to relieve him of his suffering, and God says "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness". Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Cor. 12:9 I have asked God many times to heal my husband, but right now he has chosen to keep us right where we are, but He has promised to give us his grace and he has so many times. For that I am truly thankful everyday as he keeps us going forward and allowing us to share our faith with others. We are also so thankful for the many cards and calls and e-mails, etc. that have been sent through the year. What a blessing to recieve them and they give such strength to us. Please keep us in your prayers through the days and months ahead as we go through this journey. Your prayers are greatly coveted. God is good!!