Tuesday, May 26, 2020

What We Know So Far

We had a Zoom meeting with the immunotherapy doctor last week and he showed us the MRI scan they did on May 15th. Looking down through the top of his head you can see the tumor very clearly on the right.

The white spot in the center is his spinal cord and the round spot on the right is the tumor
(The tumor is actually under his left ear, this picture might be flipped. I quickly snapped a photo when the doctor showed it to us during a Zoom meeting.)



* I went out and bought a 3-ring binder to keep all of our notes and doctor's contact information, lists of medications, appointments... our calendar has never been so full.

* I've printed out the photos and names of all the doctors so I know who we're talking to, who we're meeting with...

* Melanoma doesn't respond to chemotherapy. So we're not going that route. We're actually happy Chuck won't have to go through chemotherapy.

* Radiation will target only specific areas and Chuck has so many nodules plus the tumor, that radiation's not the best treatment.
 
* His cancer cells have mutated to BRAF G469R and they're not sensitive to pills, so pill therapy's not an option. (I've read about BRAF mutations but I still don't understand it.)

* With the doctor's recommendations we've decided on IV immunotherapy and he begins treatment this week. Each session is 45 minutes and he'll have one every 3 weeks. They'll monitor the meds closely to make sure the side effects don't become overwhelming.


* None of the doctors have said anything positive or encouraging. They just give us the facts. 

I was up until after 1:00 in the morning earlier this week reading about BRAF genes and melanoma and different medications... there was nothing positive. Everything I read about Chuck's cancer was negative and scary. 

You know how you click on this link and that link, well after a while I found myself on a list of testimonials - page after page of people who have this type of cancer who have survived! Some were from people who are still going through treatment but the rest had survived and were now cancer free! Those are the ones I read over and over.

I copied some of them to a Word document, included the website, and saved it to my docs. Then I printed them out and put them in our notebook. 

It gave me hope!

Our pastor spoke on David and Goliath this last weekend. A seemingly impossible fight. How Goliath was massive and scary... and Goliath thought he was preparing to fight the Israelites but he was actually facing their God. The Holy God of Israel. Guess who won?

That gave me hope!

God is on our side and He's so much greater than the enemy who only wants to steal, kill and destroy us.

Hope!

The enemy's strategy is intimidation and fear. Which is what I got when I was going through all those websites. But my God is a warrior. Zephaniah 3:17 - The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.

Hope. Encouraging hope!

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Saturday Snippets

We drove up to Leavenworth on Tuesday. We had a call from the oncologist that morning and decided to just take off for the day, see some new scenery for a while. We all wouldn't fit in one car so Sharaya, Diana and Allie drove mine. The scenery was gorgeous, we did drive-through for lunch on our way there and stopped at a 50's Diner for shakes on the way home. It was a good distraction from all the doctor visits, Zoom meetings and phone calls back home.




Leavenworth is a small, Bavarian style town nestled in the Cascade Mountains about 2 hours from us. None of the shops were open but we were able to walk around town and look in the windows!








When we're home and not talking to doctors we bake, play games and we try to go for walks every day.



 It's been cold and rainy for a couple of days but it's supposed to be in the high 70's next week! 

I pray your week is filled with sunny skies!

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Flowers, Rain, And an Update




 Linking up with Rebecca Jo at Knit by God's Hand again this week!


This week I'm thankful for:

 Family
Laughter
Spring Flowers
Mini road trips
Walks around the block
Reminiscing
 Board Games
Longer hours of daylight
Boxes of old photos
Fresh cut grass
The smell after a spring rain

(P.S. The doctor on Tuesday said the scan showed the cancer has gone into a lymph node, but not into the neck or nerve pathways, which is good news. He met with the Oncology Board on Tuesday and had them look over the scan. He'll call us again today with their recommendations and a final decision about treatment.)

Monday, May 18, 2020

Two Good Days

We picked Diana up from the airport on Saturday and we've spent the last 2 days playing games, looking through old photos, going for walks and laughing so hard over the silliest things!







It's been a good two days. Exactly what we've needed heading into tomorrow. Sharaya and Allie are planning to be here at 11:30 when the doctor is supposed to call with the results. 

Please pray with us that the cancer hasn't spread anywhere else other than the few nodules that are on his head and that the treatment will be minimal.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Saturday Snippets

Here in Washington State we are flattening the curve so our governor has created a 4-phase approach to opening the state back up. We're headed into Phase 2 soon.


With everything that's going on in our family we've decided to relax some of the restrictions just between us. Sharaya and Allie came over this week and we played some Mexican Train. 



She won that round!


Allie recently got her own cell phone and during the game I caught her taking a selfie! 


We've been texting a lot with Diana, talking about Chuck's appointments and tests so I finally called her to see if she'd want to fly out. But she was already planning to! So now she flies in tomorrow afternoon. We are all SO excited to see her and to just have the family all together again. 

Raiders of the Lost Ark was recently on TV so Chuck and I turned out the lights and watched it like we were in the theater. It's what we did on our very first date. 💓 It was in 1981 at Grossmont Center in San Diego, back when most theaters only had one screen. We stood in line a long time and when the showing before ours got out, we asked them if they liked it, was it good?!



My mom took this right after we started dating.


Today was Chuck's MRI and he told me that he got to choose the music - Contemporary Christian. He heard WayMaker, Surrounded (This is how we fight our battles) It is Well With My Soul... he was weeping by the time it was over. He said God's presence was so strong in that room! His next appointment is on Tuesday, when we get the results.


I want to thank all of you for your prayers. The Lord heard and answered every single one! Even though we haven't met most of you, we could not do this without you! You have blessed us so much, we're so thankful for all of you!

Monday, May 11, 2020

I Choose...

About a week and a half ago I was cleaning Chuck's incision and noticed what looked like two new satellite nodules just outside the incision site. When we met with the radiologist he believed they were cancerous. And when we met with the surgeon today for a post-op appointment she took biopsies of them both and said there might be a total of seven.

We've learned Chuck has Stage 3 Desmoplastic Melanoma, a rare and aggressive skin cancer. He is scheduled for an MRI this Friday to find out if the cancer has spread any more and once we get the results from that we'll be able to figure out the best treatment options.

If I let myself really think about it it becomes overwhelming and scary and I can't think of anything else...

But when I put it in the Lord's hands, when I pour out my heart to Him and remember that my God is so much bigger and greater than cancer, I truly feel better. After all, He hung the moon in the sky and told it to control the ocean tides. He can definitely handle a few rebellious cells in the human body!

So... I choose to be happy.
To just go on living our lives as normal. 
That may change as treatments take over but for now...
I choose happy.

~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

I had a wonderful Mother's Day this weekend. We did drive-through for lunch with Sharaya and Allie (they were in their car) and then we went to the Centennial Trail about 45 minutes from our house. They rode bikes while the 3 of us walked. They came together for a few seconds for a photo then they were off again! It was such a warm day and felt so good to be outside. And there was no one around so no masks!






 How was your weekend? 
Did you try to get together with family?

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Saturday Snippets

Well let's see. What have we been up to this week?

We've been playing a lot of Uno. 



After calling 911 a few weeks ago I decided to repaint our house numbers and hang them so they're easier to see.


I've worked a lot the last week. Met with the maintenance guy to talk about our alarm system; met one-on-one with the custodians... Beth and I went in this morning to empty trash and re-stock the storage areas.


After one of Chuck's appointments we drove around Seattle. Went through the University of Washington campus and then found ourselves in front of Blessed Sacrament church.

 U of W




Blessed Sacrament
I loved the architecture!

 
We participated in our first drive-by birthday party. It was different but really kind of fun the way everyone was honking and yelling Happy Birthday! The neighbors came out and joined in the celebration. Birthdays in 2020!



Mother's Day weekend. 
It sure will be a different one but I pray you have a blessed day and just know how much you are loved!

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Sunshine, Eagles, Movies


I'm linking up this week with Rebecca Jo. Click here to join or just read more joyful posts! 


It's been a very busy week. I think I've worked more in the last 7 days than I have since the shut down began. But even in the busyness, there's always something to be thankful for!

Beautiful sunshine
Temps in the 80s this weekend!
Participating in a drive-by birthday party
Seeing a bald eagle at the beach
A great report from the weight loss center
Streaming our Tuesday night Prayer Meeting
Packages in the mail 
The smell of the ocean
Buying a box of medical gloves!
Funny texts with the family
Driving around Seattle
Watching Raiders of the Lost Ark

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, May 3, 2020

We Carefully Ventured Outside...

The 3 of us went out this week. We were desperate for some office supplies and needed a tarp for our fire ring. Plus we needed more masks and gloves so in the pouring rain we donned our masks and braved the elements.


We went to Office Max and I think there was one other person in the whole store. Found everything except gloves and masks. 

Then Home Depot, that place was packed! We had to wait in line outside for a few minutes while they monitored how many could go in but there were still a whole lot more people in there then I was comfortable with! The only thing we bought were the tarps.

Then to Safeway for groceries and back home again. Whew! I find myself anxious to get home. 

Beth was finding it hard to breathe in her mask so I ended up going on to Etsy and bought some good homemade masks. I can't wait 'til they come in! 

Then we settled in at home, fixed some hot tea and played Uno.


Have you been out much? 
When you do go out, does it make you nervous?

I think about you often!
Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Flowers, Ice Cream and Friends






 Linking up with Knit By God's Hand. Click here to read more Thankful posts


This week I am thankful for:
 
Chuck is feeling better every day
Seeing the results of yard work
Azalea bushes in bloom
Mini Road Trips
An Oreo Sonic blast
Stopping by work and seeing a beloved co-worker!
Primroses blooming throughout the house
Crossing things off my To Do list

What are you thankful for today?