Saturday, February 23, 2008

Follow up CT scan

My experience during the second round of chemo treatment was similar to the first. The day of and after the treatment I felt fine, but the following 5 days were uncomfortable. During this time I get fatigued easily and experience general aches and pains. Thus far my appetite has been great, but this round of chemo was difficult on my digestive system. After some research, I found certain nutritional plans are much easier (and healthier) for the body to process.


I have adjusted my diet drastically before. Just after the twins were born I was my heaviest, 265lb on my 6'6" frame.


At that time I decided that I didn't want my kids to see me as an overweight father. I cut my caloric input by 1/2 and did weight training exercises 3 times a week. I lost 40lbs in about 6 months.

I have kept the weight off by eating less than I used to, but I haven't utilized the healthiest diet. I tend to eat lots of processed foods, red meats, and refined sugars. I switched to diet soda when I originally lost my weight which helped reduce my caloric intake, but it's certainly not the healthiest way to hydrate.

For the last 2 weeks, I have switched to a vegetable focussed nutrition plan that has a moderate amount of lean white meat (to get me the appropriate amount of protein). This nutrition plan provides loads of nutrients, vitamins, and enzymes that my body can process much more easily. I don't know if this diet will help my fight against cancer, but it certainly can't hurt eating a diet full of foods that are natural provided for us (Genesis 1:29). In addition, I drink about 100 oz of water a day.

Deb and I went to Karmanos yesterday for my 3rd scheduled chemo treatment. We first met with Dr. Flaherty to discuss the follow up CT scan taken the week before. The oncology field uses results from the CT scan in conjunction with other indicators such as blood work (each of the 100+ cancers is different, but for liver melanoma one blood indicator is LDH, an enzyme that can indicate liver disease). A normal LDH level is 250. At my first consult my LDH was 800. By my second treatment it had fallen to 300. On Friday the LDH was just under 200. We took this as encouraging news.

The CT scans were a mixed story. The mass in my left lung (not known if it is cancerous) has decreased in size by 60%. There is also no evidence of fluid in my lung. The liver CT scan was a different story. The new images looked significantly different than the previous ones. On the CT scan report, the tumor is larger than before, but Dr. Flaherty thinks that the official measurements don't tell the whole story. Since all of the indicators of my health (i.e. energy, pain, sleep, appetite, blood work) have been improving, he feels that changing my treatment now based only on the liver CT results would be a knee jerk reaction. I agreed with him and elected to proceed with 2 additional chemo treatments.

My white blood cell count came back slightly low for the chemo protocol, but it was still high enough to adequately fight infections. This means that I will have to wait a week before getting my 3rd chemo infusion. Every day I realize more that this is going to be a long road for me. In a world that expects fast and quantifiable results, cancer doesn't fit. Faith and patience will be what gets me to the end of this road, wherever it leads.

Please keep me in your prayers for the chemo drugs to be effective over the next two treatments, that I'll avoid infections during this difficult time of the year, and that I'll keep hope and strength through this process. In addition, please keep Deb, the twins, and the rest of my family in your prayers. Cancer can be just as difficult for those close to it.

Thanks to everyone for your comments on my blog, as you have been sources of inspiration, joy, kindness, and love. It is comforting to know there are lots of people pulling for me.

21 comments:

Tracy said...

Hi Nate -
Great news on the LDH front and we thank God for that! Just want to send a few prayers your way.
-Tracy

Dear Lord,
We thank you for the healing that you have started in Nate's body. We pray that he brought into complete remission. Lord, please target those liver and lung cells with the chemotherapy. Help Nate to eat well and keep his digestive system protected from the chemo, Lord. God, most of all, We pray for hope, strength, and joy to flow through Nate, Deb, Morgan, and Landon's lives. Keep their eyes fixed upon you. We pray these things in the mighty name of Jesus Christ.
Amen

Future Bulldog said...

Hi Nate and Deb,
Mark, Hans and I continue to keep you in our prayers. We love you so much!
Karin
mkbarbian.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

HI,Nate,

Thanks for your clear, honest, faithfilled, courageous reflections in the blog...I was away from a good internet connection this past week so this is one of the first things I wanted to do tonight...to find out how you and your family are. Please know again how much our hearts are with you and Deb and your kids. Had a BUV board meeting dinner here two weeks ago adn they also send love and prayers.
And Lord, I agree with all that Tracy has written in her prayer and ask with her, with Nate and Deb, that your will be done as your pour out your love and mercy on them, on all of us who love them, and you know how much we would ask for healing if it be your will...these are not easy days for them...give them patience and especially, Lord, give them faith and love and kindness towards one another in ways deeper than they can imagine...despite all the great love they have always already experienced together. May this be a time that draws them to each other and to you. Please carry them through as only you can do. amen

Anonymous said...

HI, agian, Nate..I just sent a blog but realize i didn't put my name in it and signing in anonymously means no name..so just know it was from me, ruth vr here in indy///much love,

Carol said...

We continue to pray for you guys and it's so encouraging to see how proactive you're being about recovery. Hope you had a great birthday!!
Carol and John

Jamie said...

Nate!!

I'm so glad to hear things are going well for you. I am also glad you are taking matters into your own hands with juicing and getting all your nutrients. No doubt you will be amazed at how wise the body is and just how it will heal when you give it what you need.

You, Deb and the kids are in my prayers constantly.

Jamie in the Garden

Anonymous said...

Sounds like things are going well. We continue to hope and pray that the good continues. Thanks for the update.

The Randels

Mary said...

Dear Nate & family: I am hoping this will get to you this time. I tried before and I evidentally did something wrong, go figure as I am no expert when it comes to the computer. I retired in Aug.2007 from the Child Care Program in D7 and moved to N.Y. to be with my family and grandchildren. I am only saying all this hoping you folks remember me. As I said last time Nate I knew there was something very special about you the first time I met you when you came to Madison to pick up the children. You , Deb, Morgan & Landon have been in my prayers every day. You have made it so easy for us all to continue praying by keeping us updated, you should have been a writer. Please say hi to Deb and the children for me. I am hoping to make a visit to MI. in the spring so I will at least see the children then, I saw them in Nov. at my last visit and they remembered me then. God Bless. Love, Ms. Mary

wschoenherr said...

Nate,

Janie and I continue to pray for you and your family. Keep up the good fight! It was nice to see some of your family while in Wheaton two weeks ago. Your mother shared a portion of the book on cancer/nutrition with me. After a quick read I think there are great ideas for anyone dealing with cancer. I hope the dietary changes are a benefit to you as you progress with the chemo. Glad to hear your lung is improving - we'll continue to pray about the liver spot and the healing process.

Bill

Anonymous said...

While I can't even imagine what you're going through feels like, I can identify with the long road you spoke of... I will continue to keep you and your entire family in my prayers. Stand strong and when it gets tough, remember the loved ones that you are standing strong for - they should/will be your strength. You also have a lot of friends that are pulling for you. I look forward to seeing you again, someday soon! Keep up the great work and give my love to your family. I am keeping you in my prayers and think of you often.

Your friend from FL,
Charles aka Chuck!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Nate and family--
I'm a tennis friend of Marge B and have long wanted to post to your site, but had some trouble with my first try.
Anyway, want you to know that I'm in total AWE of your courage in enduring this ordeal, and I so admire your ambition and persistence in maintaining this site. I'm certain I couldn't do the same under the same circumstances.
You are very fortunate to have such a great family and good friends--I hope you find strength in them, and I hope they find inspiration in you. Please know that even tho I've never met you, my prayers and thoughts are with you and your family (I have children, too--one is just your age.) And I know there will sometime be a just reward for what you are going thru.
I will keep checking your site--and will hope for the best for you!
--Marge's tennis friend

Anonymous said...

We continue to pray for you and your family here in Lombard.

Phil, Kandi and family

Anonymous said...

Nate:

I have been following your blog since Emily sent it to Shannon, Ryan, Courtney, and Vonnie and me. We have kept you in our prayers in McCook and asked everyone we know that knew your family to do so as well. It is amazing what God can and will do so I have great faith that your treatments and working. We miss your family but wish you well. Have a great day and may God bless you and your family!! Don M.

Anonymous said...

Hi Deb and Nate and kids, My family and class are continuing to pray for you. We're glad to hear that there is some improvement. We'll be praying for more and for extra strength for all of you. Love and prayers, Judy Ellefsen, family and 4th grade class

Andrew said...

Nate and Deb,

I just heard the news through the family and tracked down the blog. Our family will be praying for your healing, for Deb and the kids, and as soon as I get to our Wednesday group an church this next Sunday, they'll all be praying too, joining that cloud of witnesses cheering you on.
From one of the many leaves on your family tree. - Andrew

Anonymous said...

Hey Nate,
I'm so glad to hear of the progress you are making. I like the pictures of everyone. I can't believe how big the kids are! Awesome snowman!
You and Deb are an outstanding example of strength and support for one another. We think of you often and keep your family in our prayers. Hopefully you'll all be over one afternoon this summer for our annual swim; and as of last year, slide.

Paul said...

Hey Nate,

Another St. Albanite (Albanian?) checking in. Paul Clark, I was in Emily's class. I think I would up rooming with you for a night during one of those ski-trips at lovely Eldora. I might be wrong about that, given our age difference I doubt my recollection somewhat, but I certainly recall trying to keep up with the Trask clan on the slopes during the day. And while playing Mario Kart 64 at night. Anywho, your Dad's work played such an important role in my becoming the human being I am today, and the warmth & love of you and your family was an integral part of that. It seems that now you have a family of your own that is every bit as loving as the Trask family I grew up with, so congratulations. I very much hope everything turns out for the best. I don't know what else to say, but in reading previous comments one ending seemed especially fitting.

Peace be with you.

HMarkJones said...

Nate,
With the full moon comes chemo - at least that's the way it seemed with Ian. With your chemo comes our prayers for positive effect and minimal collateral effects. I have been in touch with Bob - I know how helpless parents can feel. Remember I will always be your first father-in-law :-) and you and yours will always hold a special place in our lives, prayers and hearts. Have a wonderful Easter and enjoy the gathering of almost all of your family.
Mark & Ellen

Anonymous said...

It has been a month since we last heard from you... I pray everything is going well for you and that the reason we haven't heard from you is that you are just too busy playing with your family and getting better. You are still in my prayers and while I do keep checking this blog for more info, don't feel ANY pressure to work on this blog, when there are probably so many more important things to do! Just wanted you to know that you and your family are in my thoughts.

Chuck from Sarasota, FL

Anonymous said...

from Ruth Van Reken

Hi, again, Nate and Deb. I've been traveling and checking in enroute...just to let you know you aren't forgotten in prayers or love...trust you are responding to the chemo without too many adverse side effects...love ruth

Anonymous said...

Nate, where are you? Missing your updates...

Rachel