Monday, August 18, 2008


Nate's been having a hard time with fatigue. He was hoping to return to work today but is going to have to put it off at least for another week. He goes to bed between 9-10 each night which is extremely early for him and wakes up between 4-6 a.m. He naps once or twice a day and spends all of his waking time on the couch taking it easy. His appetite is great and he is trying hard to put some of the weight back on that he lost during treatment. He has decided to abandon the vegan diet he was on during chemo in order to do this. He is also experiencing itchy rashes and a numbness in his upper left leg along with uncomfortable swelling in his liver area. It is uncertain if these are caused by the treatment.

I want to mention that in July we did find out that his liver tumor had nearly doubled in size in the six weeks post chemo. We also found out that his lung tumors had shrunk considerably and are now hardly detectable. More good news was that the cancer had not spread anywhere else.

His next scheduled appointment is Oct.7. IL-2 requires a long time to determine if it is having an effect. He was told to call and make an appointment if he had any concerns so I imagine we will do that if he does not improve this week. Please pray for him to have a great turnaround this week and to be energized and ready for work come Monday as this would really help raise his spirits.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Slow Week of Recovery

It has been a week since I returned from the hospital. My recovery from the second week of IL-2 has been much slower than the first week. At the end of my first recovery week I had enough energy to play 18 holes of golf (riding in a cart). I am no where near to having the strength to do that now. I can do about 1 hour of light activity (i.e. cooking) before I run out of energy.

I am hoping that I can recover my energy by the end of the week so I can return to work. Meanwhile, I am spending lots of time on the couch watching the Olympics.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Better Than We Expected

Nate was awake all day yesterday and finally went up to bed around 9:30pm. He was able to sleep flat last night with only a small headache when he woke up at 4:30. This is amazing since last time he had to prop himself up almost to a sitting position because the pressure in his head was too much. His headache went away within half and hour and he was able to get another hour and a half of sleep! His nausea is completely gone and the swelling in his face, hand and feet is minimal. He thinks that maybe he had too much sugar (mainly from apple juice) during the first week of treatment which may have lead to the horrible migraines he suffered for the first few days following that week of doses. His main issues right now are fatigue and grogginess. This is definitely an answer to prayer.

Thank you for the e-mails and comments they mean a lot to us. Sometimes comments don't show up immediately because we have elected to approve them before they go online. Now that I can approve comments, I can get them up earlier.

On Friday while we were still at Karmanos we were pleasantly surprised to find that Brian (who Nate had met the first week of treatment) was our new neighbor. Since I couldn't eat in the room due to Nate's nausea, Brian and his wife Katie invited me to eat in their room. Our neighbor from home Caroline had dropped by Thursday night to have dinner with me. She had picked up Thai food from Eastern Market which was wonderful. I had so much left over that Brian, Katie and I were able to enjoy it for lunch -Thanks Caroline!. Katie and I went for a nice long walk outside in the evening which I hadn't done before because I didn't feel particularly safe by myself (Karmanos is downtown Detroit) and I didn't know the area. They showed me pictures of their recent honeymoon (camping in Hawaii) and we watched part of the Olympics opening ceremony. Some interesting things I found out about them is that Katie went to Hope college and is now a teacher. Brian is finishing up his teaching degree in History and Spanish. They like attending Mars Hill Church near Grand Rapids and were both camp counselors at Spring Hill Christian Camps. There is a link to Brian's blog on the right side of our main page.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Home Again

Nate had a rough night sleep but woke up feeling a little better. He actually watched some t.v. which he hadn't done in several days. At 11:30 we were able to leave Karmanos for home. Since Nate hadn't been on his feet much all week we thought it would be safer to take a wheel chair down to the car. We were so relieved to get home and after freshening up Nate ate a bowl of cereal-his first solid food since Monday. We are excited about the Olympics and look forward to watching it during the next couple weeks while he recovers. Morgan and Landon are still with my mom and Jim in Naperville, IL and will most likely come home later in the week.

Friday, August 8, 2008

6 Doses Complete/Week 2

Nate was given a dose at 3pm Thursday and another at 7am this morning. He had a very rough night sleeping and has decided that he doesn't want anymore. The doctor came in this morning and said that was fine. She said there has been no evidence that having more doses equals a better response. So this afternoon they will start taking him of some of the other drugs and we should be able to go home in the morning. He is very much looking forward to getting rid of the 15 lbs of water weight which is visible mostly in his face, hands and feet as well as getting over the nausea that he's had since monday.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

4 Doses Complete/Week 2

Wednesday Nate was able to receive two doses of IL2. He had to skip the 3pm dose due to low blood pressure again. The drug is what lowers his blood pressure which has been mostly below 100/60 and going as low as 80/40. He was extremely lethargic all day with on and off nausea. This morning he was not given the 7am dose either and said he felt like garbage when he woke up. He hasn't eaten anything solid since lunch on Monday but the doctors say that is okay. He mainly drinks a combination of Propell and water. Hopefully he will be able to get 3 more doses by Friday night.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

3 Doses Complete-Week 2

Yesterday Nate ended up having to skip the 3pm and 11pm doses due to low blood pressure and poor kidney function. He spent most of the day sleeping only waking for the nurses and visitors. This morning he was feeling better and was back in good enough shape for the 7am dose. Since he's been getting extreme nausea 4 hours after each dose his nausea medication was changed from right before a dose to two hours after. This seemed to work well yesterday so he's glad about that. We are hoping that he can get 4 more doses by Friday night so that would be a good thing to pray for since as of now he's only had 3 doses in three days. The last time he had 6 by Wednesday morning.
Last night we had six men from our church stop by to pray with us. It was wonderful to have them so thank you to those who were here. Nate said he felt like a blanket of peace had covered him during that time.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Beginning Week 2

Monday morning we headed downtown for the second week of doses. When we went to check in at 8a.m. there was some mistake because Nate was not in the schedule, we were told to sit down until things were figured out. We waited two hours before they gave us the papers we needed for Nate to go get a pic line put in. Turns out they didn't know we were coming either so they had to add us on. The lady said it would be about a half hour to which Nate and I laughed because we knew it would be much longer. We went and grabbed lunch at Subway then waited three hours before they took him in. By the time we arrived in our room on the 5th floor it was 2:30.

Nate was started on his first dose around 4p.m. and began to feel the side effects early. He had chills and nausea a few hours later so he requested demerol and fell asleep. He skipped his 11p.m. dose so he could sleep through the night which he will most likely do every night. Dr. Flaherty said he was expecting Nate to get about 7 doses this time around since the side effects tend to be much worse during week 2. Nate slept through the night and felt much better in the morning. He started his 2nd dose at 7:45.

By Wednesday last week Nate was feeling much better and was able to resume normal activities. We hope he can bounce back just as quickly next week but have been warned that it could take longer. The kids were scheduled to go with my mom to Grand Rapids to visit with my brother John, his wife Sally, and their three kids until mid week. There was a camping trip that my dad's side of my family takes each year at Gun lake. We were of course not planning on going but with Nate feeling fine we decided last minute that I would take the kids over to the campground Saturday evening, spend the night in our tent and then leave them with John and Sally on Sunday. We had so much fun camping I am very glad I was able to do that with them and to visit with my extended family.
While I was gone Nate was feeling well enough to go golfing with our friend Mike. He ended up getting a 90 on 18 holes which he said was his best ever. After golfing they went out for dinner and watched a movie!