Monday, January 21, 2008

First Week of Treatment

Everyone has different reactions to chemotherapy treatment; this past week was my chance to gauge how my body would respond to the drugs. In many respects I want life to return to normal, so I knew that this week would be a benchmark for what I could expect over the next few months of treatments.

On Monday morning I felt very similar to the previous weekend, no fluid in the lungs and overall feeling good. However, by Monday evening I started to feel aches in my joints and muscles. It felt like a case of the flu, minus the nausea. On Tuesday the joint and muscle aches had become more painful and my feet felt like they had fallen asleep. By Tuesday evening I couldn't stand for more than a minute or two, so I spent most of the day on the couch.

Deb and I went through the literature from Karmanos and found that my aches were a fairly common side effect, which normally starts 3 to 4 days after each chemo treatment (the steroid infusion from treatment day wears off by this time). The aches and pains normally subside in 1-2 days. On Wednesday the aches in my joints were gone, but I still had the tingling feeling in my feet.

Thursday morning Deb and I went downtown to Karmanos for a 1 week check up on my blood pressure and blood work. All of the results came back normal for the chemo treatment protocol. My white blood cell count is high enough to fight infections, but I will have to be diligent in keeping my hands washed and minimizing my exposure to people who are ill.

From the standpoint of pain, most patients on the daily 2400mg of Ibuprofen I take (equivalent to 12 over-the-counter pills) is effective against the post-treatment aches and pains. My doctor prescribed a stronger pain reliever for the next chemo treatment. We also found out that the Taxol chemo drug has a drying agent in it that helped clear up the fluid in my lung.

After returning home from the appointment on Thursday afternoon I decided that I would return to work on Tuesday (Jan 22nd). This is something I have looked forward to since being released from the hospital, as it will put some normality back into my daily routine. It has been good for me to rest and recover at home, but I believe I am strong enough to return to the office.

On Saturday morning Deb came down with a 24 hour flu bug that hit her really hard. I had a moment of panic as the twins had their first dentist appointment at 8:50am and I'm not the most proficient at getting the kids ready to go. Somehow I got Morgan and Landon to their appointment on time. They couldn't have done any better at their first check-up. Morgan kept telling the hygienist that "we brush our teeth so they won't fall out" and Landon wanted to get really close to all of the dental tools. They really liked the close up pictures of their teeth displayed on the monitor.

My parents, Meg, Em, and Steve visited over the weekend, as this was the AFC Championship weekend. We all cheered the Patriots onto a 21-12 victory over the Chargers. We'll do it all over again in 2 weeks for Super Bowl XLII.

Thanks to everyone who has posted comments on the blog, I really enjoy reading them and it gives me feedback that a lot of people are thinking about and praying for us. A number of you mentioned that you enjoyed the pictures I included in the previous blog entry, so here are a couple more from a recent sledding outing.



Morgan forges up the hill while Landon prefers to ride.

A free ride back to the car.

I feel blessed that my side effects thus far have been minor and that I'll be able to return life closer to normal. Please continue to pray that I'll stay free of infection, that the chemo drugs will be effective at killing my cancer, and that my strength and endurance will continue to increase.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Nate and Deb,

We can't wait to read your blog each week and see what is happening in your family and how you are feeling. It is wonderful that you enjoyed your family this weekend, Nate, and that you are feeling well enough to go to work. We will continue to pray for you and ask God for healing and peace.

Love, Marge and Jim

nancy said...

Hi Nate,
I hope you have a great day back at work today. It's nice to hear that you had family up this past weekend and that Deb is feeling better. It is so great to read your updates. I look forward to it every week! We look forward to making a trip up there sometime soon. We miss you a bunch!! We pray for you daily and although our kids don't know much about your illness, Jay prays for you at school and at bedtime too and he wanted to be sure that you knew that he loves you very much (and of course we do too :)).
Love,
Nancy

RUth and DAve VR said...

HI, Nate and Deb,

I'm glad your doc is going to compensate for the post steroid period next time...and that you are feeling strong enough to return to work. Sorry for Deb's flu. Congrats on getting the kids to the dentist...we continue to remember you constantly in our prayers and will pray for the specific things you mentioned...much love, Ruth and Dave VR

Anonymous said...

Nate,

Marge and I are in the same small group. We have known each other for quite some time. In fact, I attended your wedding.

Throughout the years Marge has kept us updated on the happenings in your family, and most recently, your illness.

My prayers are with you, Deb and your family daily. I believe that God is still in the business of doing miracles and that is my prayer for you and yours.

I appreciate you allowing us to be a part of your experience through your blog. It helps to make my prayers more personal.

Arlene

Tocayo said...

Tocayo and Deb,

Enjoyed the blog and the sledding looked fun. I've yet to do that with my kids this year. May God bless you with a strong immune system and start shriveling this cancer up by the roots!

Peace, blessings, grace and healing to you through the awesome name of JESUS!

John Cremer said...

Hi Nate & Deb,

This is the first time I'm leaving comments on any blog, so hopefully this works, I write a lot of emails and have learned to always click "Control-C" before pressing any buttons, and it is a good thing or I would have had to rewrite this all. Apparently with blogs you can't use the back button like with websites :-)

Just so you know, both Sally and I read your blog a lot. We have literally hundreds of friends that we email that read it also. You have an amazing network of people that love you and are praying about you as well as reading the blog, but figured you may want to know we're out here :-)

Thanks for keeping us up to date on everything. You are a real fighter. Sally and I are amazed you can go back to work after starting Chemo. Remember, I'm only a couple hours away, so if you find that you are pinched to get the kids somewhere or whatever, just give either of us a buzz.

We're praying for you daily as well as for Morgan and Landon. None of us have ever gone through what you are going through, so we cannot fully comprehend what it must be like. You are a lot stronger in Faith than many would be, and I hope I am never tested in such a way, but if I am, I would hope to be the example that you are to those God has placed in your life.

When we do circle prayers at dinner with the kids, Allisa puts her head down and mumbles as she can't talk yet, and David always ends his prayer with "...and Lord, please heal uncle Nate...you know he has cancer." It is such a pure love, and although God knows all, I'm sure God appreciates the reminder :-)

Love ya bro,
John & Sally

Anonymous said...

"You do not need a great faith, but faith in a great God." Hudson Taylor

Keep on plugging away, one day at a time.
Blessings,
Leslie

Anonymous said...

Again, very well written. Good to hear that you're feeling well enough to go back to work. I will pray that your strength continues to increase. Keep up the good work. You are in my thoughts and prayers! Tell Deb I said 'Hi' and I'll be looking forward to when you bring the family down for a visit!

Your friend from all the way down south, Charles Rissler

R & B said...

Hi Nate and Deb: You don't know us but we know Marge. She and Ray played tennis at times together and we also visited in Colorado when the kids were smaller. We just want you to know that we are praying for you and will continue to do so.

Many, many blessings to all of you. We know that God is in control and we pray that you will always feel his presence in very real ways. Praying for complete healing and God's grace to enfold you.

Ray and Barbara

Anonymous said...

Nate - We're so glad to hear that you are feeling well. Hopefully you were able to go back to work and get some sense on normalcy back. Hopefully we'll get to see you soon.

Cal, Wendy, Grant & Morgan

Anonymous said...

Hey Nate,
Some of your McCook Bison friends here. What a wonderful family and support system you have. Good to see that you still go sledding--I hope you have shared some Kelly Park sledding stories with you kids:)
We will check back often. We admire your courage and perserverance.
Take Care,
Joe & Amber Buresh

Anonymous said...

Hi Nate!
I just wanted to tell you how many 6th grade students and their families here at Timothy are lifting you and your family up in prayer each and every day. I hope you continue to feel God's strength and love as you continue your chemo treatments.
We're praying for you!
Alicia
(6th grade teacher at Timothy Christian)

Anonymous said...

Hi, Nate and family. I know your dad, and I have been praying for you since before the scary diagnosis. I attend St. Paul's Port Huron, and you are in our prayers and the cursillo community, which is widespread. I just know that God's healing power will be with you and your family. The twins are darling!

Shirley Seely

Anonymous said...

Hi there Nate and Deb,

It's been so long, but I heard what was going on from Val and Steve at Willow and wanted to write to you. I will send your story out to everyone I know and I will ask that everyone prays for your recovery, and strength in your family.

So much has happened since we last spoke, so if you're up to it, please e mail me at marks262@HOTMAIL.com. I would love to reconnect. I will continue to read your updates and will keep you in my prayers.

Mark S.

Anonymous said...

Hey Nate,

It's been years since we have talked. I just wanted to let you know that I'll be praying for you and your family. Now that I know you have a blog, I'll be checking it regularly and hopefully we'll be able to chat in the near future.

Nate Schneider

Pete said...

Hi Nate:

You have lots of prayers . . . mine included. I get bulletins from your Dad as well as checking your blog. Am looking forward to another climb out in the beautiful Black Hills.

Cheers, Pete Clapp

Jeff said...

Hi Nate,

This is Jeff McGee down in Texas. Eric updated me on your situation and said you were taking it head on like a marathon. I can see from your blog that he was right! Of course having worked with you, I never doubted it. Keep that positive outlook and keep fighting.

Your friend, Jeff

Anonymous said...

Nate, (forgot my password on here)
So very nice to see you at church Sunday and you look great. You continue to inspire my family and your faith is encouraging and amazes me.
May God by the powerful name of Jesus wither this cancer up, dry it up and eradicate it from your system in a most miraculous way!! We pray often for you in various ways.
May the peace, grace, healing, and hope of Jesus Christ rest on your family as you trust in God, the "Great Physician". He's the best Doc out there.
Standing with you in these times,
Tocayo & Garland Family