Death takes a holiday

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Well I am awful sorry I made you all wait so long for the report. I am free of brain mets. That is a big whew! right? After a lot of very good discussion my oncologist and I came to a treatment outline we can both ( hopefully) live with. First, I found out there are two good size lesions on my liver of 1.2 cm. and 2+cm. plus several others that are under a cm. That’s not good. After discussing radiation and brachytherapy, Dr. Demichelle carefully explained that radiation will kill what is in the liver but not what is floating all rebel bat out of hell style through my bloodstream. For this reason chemotherapy is still the best option. Also surgery to remove the cancer in my lymph nodes in my neck would be painful and a tricky surgery. Radiation to that area would severely impact my quality of life.

So we were back to chemotherapy options. I pointed out that in recent months I finally began to feel good. I am interested in a bit of quality time with the kids. Before Alec goes away to school at the end of the summer. I just wanted to feel like I have some time to complete things and be with the kids. Dr. Demichelle thought it would be best to wait and do a medicine called Xeloda now. It is an oral medicine that I take for 2 weeks and then I am off for a week.It has milder side effects than the other medicines she wanted to try. However, there are still side effects. My nails will likely rip and tear again. My hands and feet may turn red and become sore. And the dreaded “D” will be a constant as it was with my other chemo.

She feels like this chemo has a good chance of stopping my cancer.If it doesn’t work we will move onto adryamicin. For now, I am hoping this new medicine will work. I plan on using this time to prepare to be sick though too, in case it doesn’t. I want to take the kids and Kelly on a family vacation. I have NEVER gone on vacation with my family. We have never gone anywhere as a family. Mostly because it is very costly. I have checked out three websites that provide assistance in wish fulfillment for terminally ill patients. Some of them may work, but they are all time suckers. I think we may end up down the shore for a week but that suits me just fine. I plan on taking them out of school for 3 days at the end of April. My doctor even agreed that we do not really know how much time I have and that I should do it now while I can.

I am deeply relieved to not have brain mets. I am relieved to be holding off on the red devil if only for 6 weeks. I pray to God that the new medicine will work. I pray that my cancer takes a holiday too. My cancer and death can go on a long holiday together and leave me alone for a while. My doctor said I know its hard to live your life in 6 week intervals but that is what we have to do. So now every 6 weeks I will be scanned until I am stable. I hope you like drama because there is plenty to come. Nail biting for all. Thank you all for sharing this journey with me. Thank you for your prayers and support. Thank you for reading.

25 Responses to “Death takes a holiday”

  1. Donna Arnold says:

    Hi Andrea:
    We are glad to hear its not all bad….while it is a hard blow to be dealt with the liver lesions…its still a better outcome than you had anticipated. So, for that we are grateful!!!!
    Cathy is on Xeloda……the first 2 two weeks cycles were rough….as far as the “D” went…we got it controlled with Lomotil (Lonox generic). She kept plenty of fluids onboard (via Smart Water, Gatorades, etc.) She drank a whole lot of fluids a day….we also had on hand foods for a BRAT (bananas/rice/applesauce/toast) JUST IN CASE…
    she never got the hand and foot syndrome…only about 5% get it, so you have a 95% chance you wil NOT get it. You need to go to a Harbor Freight store if you have one….they have a cream in a lime green container called Working Hnads…its a paraffin based cream for hands and feet…we keep her hands and feet generously rubbed with that…it is great. She is able to do her wheel throwing pottery, with the use of gloves….our doc strongly suggests NO FRICTION to the skin while on Xeloda. Are you getting assistance with this medication? There are many organizations that will help with the costs…its is rather expensive. Cathy’s liver lesions were 4cm and 2 cm….the Keloda and TYKERB combo helped hers…..but hers was all Her2Neu + and all her cancers were breast cancer that mets.’ed to her liver and bones.
    I am here to tell you, firsthand, you will do great with the Xeloda…read the pamplets you get with the drugs…this is a drug that’s been around a long, long time and is a great one…and it has bought my Cathy some more time as well…..
    You go for that vacation…..now….do what you have to do to go….but go…we go every chance we get…..and make the most of it.
    Hugs to you, my friend!!!!! We are rootin’ for ya…..take care….Donna

  2. Donna Arnold says:

    crap…I wish I had an “edit” button….I get letters transposed a lot….lol….that is Working Hands for the skin and its Xeloda, not Keloda….duh….anyway, sorry….I am a hunt and peck typist…so I get letters screwed up sometimes…lol

  3. Aimee says:

    Yeah!!!!!! Thanks for sharing. I was biting my nails! Xeloda. Hmph. Never had it, but I’ve heard some awful stuff about it. At least it’s a pill- that’s a big deal when it comes to cancer treatment. I am continuing in prayer…..praying without ceasing actually. 🙂

    Now my turn……….:-/

  4. Susan says:

    Andrea
    This is GOOD NEWS and you certainly deserve it.
    Prayer is one of the strongest things there is and you are in mine daily.
    Stay strong & go on that vacation getaway. You all deserve it.

    Susan

  5. Tricia says:

    I know you don’t know me, but I have been keeping up reading everyday and sending much love and encouragement and healing energy your way. Definitely get those kids out of school and take a vacation. It sounds like it is much needed.

  6. Kathleine says:

    http://www.crossingthefinishline.org/home.html

    Andrea, Check this site out if it isn’t one of the three you were talking about. They sent my Mom on a vacation about 6 years ago. Maybe your docs can get the paperwork to them quickly and help get you and your family on a much needed vacation. Thinking about you!

  7. Toni G says:

    This is not fully what we all wanted to hear but right now I can’t even verbalize my thoughts & feelings…….just hoping the next six weeks lead to another good six weeks until all your six weeks are in full response to whatever protocol you and your doctors agree upon. If only we could bear some of this burden with and for you. But we continue to pray and long for you to be given strength ……….. keeping the positive energy going.

  8. Renee Khan says:

    Andrea, I don’t like drama. Cancer, I hope you heard that. Now like Andrea says, you need to go on a long vacation away from both of us.

    I was on Xeloda Andrea. I used a cream called Udder cream and it had black and white spots on it like a cow. I guess cow’s udder??

    I just want you to know that I was getting serious stomach cramps and it was because the Xeloda made me lactose intolerant. You can buy lactose pills that will help. I also never had a problem with the palms of my feet or hands. I was also prescribed B6 pills that I had to take every day with the Xeloda (unfortunately I can’t remember why).

    Also the drug company that makes xeloda gave from the doctor’s office a free package which consisted of the udder cream, a blue and green carry bag for the pills and a container to dispense the xeloda for morning and evening. Very convenient.

    My nurse told me there was a lady here that was on xeloda for over three years. I found that hopeful.

    God bless sweetheart.

    Love Renee

  9. lyns says:

    I hope that you have a great time with all the kiddos whereever you may go!!! I am thankful that you have answers and that you can plan out all the treatment etc… praise God!!

    XO LYns

  10. Jen says:

    Hi Andrea

    You don’t know me, but I’ve been reading your blog quite a long time now and you’ve made such an impact on my life. Your blog is raw and real, and your spirit comes through so wonderfully. I think you are a wonderful mother and your children are blessed to have such a great example of courage in their lives. I don’t have any words of wisdom for you, I just think you are amazing and I pray for you every day.

  11. jenni bender says:

    i am thankful for the good news! i love you. i miss you. i pray for you. yea yea i know you heard it from me all the time. let me know if there is anything i can do to help that vacation happen! xoxo

  12. Lisa says:

    Andrea,

    As I finished reading your second sentence, I let out a joyful, loud, “Thank you Jesus!” Prayer answered, more to be answered! What a wonderful God we serve!! And you my friend, the one who is facing the trials of a dreaded disease, are facing it with Him, and showing the world how it is done with Him by your side! YOU GO GIRL!!

    I encourage you to take the vacation with your family, even if it is just to the shore. Out of stillness comes peace and great blessings with our family! I will be praying for God to lead you to that perfect vacation location full of healing, memory building opportunities and His blessings!

    Your blog is such a inspiration for my family. We are checking for new postings several times each day. We don’t want to miss any news. Your blog has made a tremendous impact on my 14 year old daughter, Karly. She recently had to write a report on a “disease of her choice,” and give an oral presentation about the disease, but to include the information from the report. She wrote the report on IBC and read from your blog, “Band-aids…….” That blog spoke to her heart about the struggles not only you are facing, but what your children and husband are facing. Karly can relate to some degree because of an IBC scare we had a few months ago. Her words about you have been, “this mother is real, she shares from her heart,…..she puts aside her pain and sadness and thinks about what do her children need….Andrea, continue to fight the good fight, continue to share all your thoughts and feelings, continue to be real, continue to remind us all of who has the control….WHICH IS OUR LORD AND SAVIOR! You are blessed my dear internet friend!

    Praying for you always in Indiana!

  13. Linda, Palm Harbor, Florida says:

    I’m so glad to hear the news even though the liver news was not good. But you sure sound like your doctor is knowledgeable and from some emails sent to you, sounds like the medicine works. Having so many people praying and sending positive thoughts your way is definitely helping. Praise God for all the medicines out there for you. I really hope you go on a vacation and have the best time of your life with all your kids and hubby. You all deserve it and I’m praying for you all the time. God Bless you sweetie.

  14. Julie says:

    I’m glad it’s not in that amazing brain of yours. I’ll be by tomorrow evening after work (we’re done around 5:45) with some food for the family and hopefully, if you are up for it, a little visit.

    Love you!

  15. leah says:

    so0o happy to hear the good news!
    i love you!
    ~leah

  16. Glad to read that cancer, death, and you are planning nice, but SEPARATE, vacations.

    Best,

    Amy

  17. Donna Arnold says:

    Hi Andrea:
    I would like to talk with you personally…..would that be possible? Please email me privately…you have my email addy…..thanks….Donna-SC

  18. Pamela says:

    I continue to keep you in my prayers, Our God is mighty and strong! I am praising Him that your brain is clear! The liver sounds like you have a good plan for it!
    Blessings,
    Pam

  19. ByJane says:

    I held my breath until I got to the second sentence. Then I yelled out loud. Your doctor is right: do what you want to do now. We all should, ’cause none of us know what tomorrow is going to be.

  20. Donna Arnold says:

    amen, Jane!!!!

  21. Tina says:

    I am so relieved!! I have been practically pacing today. I was so anxious to hear the results of the scan. Thank God, no brain mets!! I hope & pray that your Big C takes a permenant vacation! Have fun with the family & I’ll keep praying!!

    Love from WV

  22. I hope you can go on vacation and create some memories. That is one of the things that I learned from the big “C” was to try and make a good memory each day!

  23. Cheri says:

    Andrea,
    You do not know me. I found out about you and your blog through Kristine Becker. Funny, she doesn’t know me either – her dad and my parents went to school together.

    I am currently battling breast cancer. Mine is not nearly to the degree of yours and I will not burden you with my details. I just wanted you to know how moved I am by you, your family and your story. I am praying for you and your family. I cannot get you and your great cancer swindle out of my head. As a mother of young children, I feel your anguish.

    I have read your entire blog and check everyday for updates. I am so glad to hear that you do not have brain mets. Don’t these scans suck? The waiting and wondering….all the “what if’s?” that go through your head. I know its hell.

    I can tell from your blog that you are surrounded by loving family and friends, but wanted you to know that there are complete strangers pulling and praying for you, too.

    If there are any shirts left from your benefit, I would love to purchase one. You can email me at thielfam@msn.com.

    I hope you have a wonderful vacation.

    God Bless,
    Cheri Thiel
    Chesaning, MI

  24. Michelle Wienke says:

    Im biting my nails as I read this!!!-didnt even realize it until you pointed out that there would be good nail-biting for all coming…..Im so glad that you had a great time at your party- and that the news is not so grim where the lab results are concerned- you really are your own best advocate-dont let anyone ever take that away from you!

    I will continue to keep you in my prayers- and also wishing for sunshine and warm sand for you to get away to in a few weeks-a vacation will be wonderful for all of you!!

    Blessings and love-
    Michelle

  25. joshua says:

    that is great news! plan the trip!!!!