Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

Sunday, September 12, 2010

About Half Way There

God is good. I had a chest scan last week and it came back clean. The last couple of weeks I have been tired, but other than that the treatment is coming along. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays seem to be the hardest for me. We will update the blog as we get more or new news. Thank you for your prayers, they do give us strength. Oh and Caleb started walking on us since our last post. He loves to stand up and take off in his new mode of transportation. We hope this post finds in you good spirits and health. Take care and God bless.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Another Month Down

So it has been awhile since Michele and I updated our blog. We have been into the routine of living with me being tired. I can tell when I do to much. I have a certain amout of energy spurts and then I am done for awhile.

Michele and boys are doing great. Michele landed a job at Lynnwood Highschool as the new athletic coordinator. This should keep us busy this fall. Wyatt spent lthree days last week with his grandparents in Yakima and then slept the rest of the week. Caleb is using his words now. He says mom and Dad and shakes his head no when he does not like something we are giving him. He just now starting to take a few steps. It is so cute to watch him work at this.

We will update again when we have some more news to share. Thank you for your prayers. They are really working.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Into the Grove

Sorry it has been so long since we updated the blog. Since our last post we are just going through the motions of life. I am working full time and when I get home I spend time with my family and running errands. We have gone a couple of camping trips as well. Wow do those make me tired.

I think I am starting to settle into a routine with the side affects so Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays are the worst for the side affects. Thank you for your continued prayers and we will try to keep the blog updated more often.

God Bless

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Working Through It

It has been a couple of weeks since I updated the blog. We are pretty much going through the motions right now. I take the shots on Monday, Wednesday and Friday which makes Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays a little rough. I keep praying everyday that God will give me and my family the strength to make it through the day. I want to thank all of you who have prayed and continue to pray. It has been amazing to see how God is working in our lives. I will continue to update this blog as we move through this journey. Thanks for taking the time to read about what is going on and thanks for your prayers.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Getting Into the Grove

Sorry for not posting for a few weeks. I don't have a good excuse, just was not in the cards. I am back to work full time now. My first week back was four hours a day and my second week back was 6 hours a day. It was quite a struggle to get back into the routine of working every day. The shots make it even more difficult. I had no idea just how worn out I really was until I hit the 8 hours a day mark. After work, I would play with the kids and then crash around 8pm. I thank God I have a great team and bosses that allow me the flexibility to work through my health issues.

The family is doing great. Michele and kids are getting used to me being away again. Wyatt finished his first year of preschool and Caleb turns 1 on the 8th of June. I know it is amazing to think it has been a year already. Caleb is pulling himself up on everything, crawling up the stairs and he is just starting to think about walking. He follows Wyatt around and drives Wyatt nuts when he takes the cars Wyatt is playing with. So our word for this month is share.

My counts are doing well, so thank you all for the prayers and continued prayers. My Doctors says I am handling the meds so I she does not anticipate any reason why I won't be able to make it through the year. I just ask for your continued prayer for me to be able to work through the physical and mental challenge of being tired all the time.

Thank you all again for all your help. It has been a real blessing to have such a great group of family and friends and co-workers to help my family and I through this ordeal. God bless you and your families.

Friday, May 7, 2010

First Week Back To Work

Well we made it through my first week back to work. I worked fours each day. It was nice to be back at work. It will be a struggle to get used to taking this medication and how it affects me. I will be tired on those days after the shots. However, I am used to be tired with an 11 month old and a four year old.

Michele and the kids also had a chance to get used to not having me around all day. They took me to work each day and picked me up. It was nice to have them do this. Wyatt would say he needs to hug before I leave. He was excited to see the planes as well. He would see the tails over the berm and yell out, we are almost at your work daddy.

Next week I will attempt to put in six hours a day with a couple of trips to Renton. Thank you again for your continued prayers that my body can handle the medication and to have the strength to make it through the work days.

Thanks and God bless

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Back In The Game

Last week was an off week for us. My counts were too low to continue with the treatment as scheduled, so we actually had a week without treatments. At first we were really upset but once the doctor explained the statistics we felt blessed to have made it at full dose for the first four weeks. Apparently only 20% of the study patients actually made it at the high does for the entire first four weeks. The doctor said that almost all patients in the study experienced on and off treatment weeks whenever their body's couldn't handle the treatment during this phase of the game. We really needed the emotional and physical break from treatment. It was a nice break. Each day I got a little stonger and my hunger came back. I was able to play with the kids some and by Monday of this week I was feeling pretty good.

I gave myself my first injection on Monday and that afternoon it was all coming back to me. The chills, fever, and not feeling well. On Wednesday of this week I was able to give myself the second shot and I had chills today, but nothing like Monday. We are praying that this lower dose fewer times a week, will allow me to be back at work. I will only have one week of shots instead of the two we had planned, but with God's help and all your prayers I am confident I will be able to make it through next week, when I return to work.

My family could still use your prayers as well. It will be quite a change for our four year old, to have his dad gone at work again. He has really been used to having me around, even though I have not been feeling well. Our 10 month old, well he just likes attention and food right now so he will be fine. Michele has mixed emotions, but I think she can't wait for me to back to work to get out of her hair and she can settle back into her routine. Just kidding.

These are big changes for all of us and we would again like to thank everyone for their prayers and help during this difficult time.

God Bless

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Delay For Phase Two

The good news is that we made it through the four weeks of the high dose. The bad news is my counts dropped and I had to pospone our start of the self injected doses. So this week has been a recovery week both mentally and physically. I did not realize just how worn down I have become. My muscles feel like jello and seem to have no energy. I slept most of the day Monday and Tuesday.

Michele and kids are doing well. Thanks to everyone who helped us out during the four weeks. It was very great to have meals, child care and other tasks that was done during the weeks.

Please keep your prayers coming that my counts will come back up this week so I can start my phase two of treatment on Monday.

God Bless

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Prayers Answered and Almost Done, Sort Of

My counts were up this week so I was able to continue the higher dose of treatment. Another sign that prayers do get answered. I only have two days left of the daily treatment and then I go for the three days a week for the rest of the year. This week has been rough, but I am making it through.

God Bless

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Going Into Week Four

Well it is finally here, week four. Week three went off with much fan fair. Same old symptoms and issues. Thank you for your prayers to keep my counts high and did not get sick. Everyone around me is sick so your prayers are still needed. I hope my family gets over their illnesses quickly since I am not much help around the house.

On Saturday I did feel well enough to make a pinewood durby track with a friend of mine. However, on Sunday, I sat around and watched the Masters. Michele and I were able to get out of the house this evening and go get some things we needed for Church and a new lamp for our front bath.

Thank you all again for help, prayers and assistance. I know Michele and I really can't say it enough. Please pray that my blood counts are up on Monday so I can continue the higher doses of the medicine.

God Bless

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Third Week and Prayers Needed

We have made it to the half way point. Yesterday I slept for about 7 hours because that first treatment of the week is a little rough. My blood counts are right at the min requirements for me to keep the high dose, so I could use your prayers that they will stay that way and not drop below. I could also use your prayers for strength. I am getting really weak. When you don't use your muscles they start to go away on you and I can barely walk a 1/4 mile before I am too tired.

My family could also use your prayers. It is tough to have me in this state and sometimes it does not bring out our best behavior. But we do love each other and we pray everyday God will give us the strength to make it through that day.

Easter weekend went great. We had some fun family time, searching for eggs and seeing what was in our baskets.

God bless.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Another Day With Treatment

We had a great time on Saturday celebrating Wyatt's birthday. We had about 15 kids and half as a many adults. God was good and I was feeling up to having the company. Wyatt was a ham and loved all the attention. After two hours and a ton of sugar we sent the rest of the them home. It was a construction theme party and Michele did a great job with the decorations (with help from the Kenoyers). One station did back fire on us. We had set up a hammering station with rigid styrofoam. The kids were supposed to hammer golf tees into the foam like nails. However, someone got the idea that if you scrapped the foam it created snow. Oh yes it does. We had that stuff all over the basement. The first child came up the stairs. He is two and he was covered from head to toe. Michele being the smart one, grabbed our air blower and took them all outside and made a game out of blowing off the snow. The "snow" melted and we relocated the basement floor and furnature after dilegent work from our gracious friends and my Mom. I am sure we will continue to pull this stuff out of the carpet for weeks to come. But the kids had a blast and that is what really matters.

I spent most of the day on Sunday, after church, resting and sleeping. I think Saturday took it out of me. The good news is I did not get as sick on Monday after my treatment. I was told usually on the Monday after the weekend you get pretty sick again and praise God that did not happen. This week I have been just run down. I don't have any energy, but I am not feeling really sick like I was.

Thank you again for your prayers. They are obviously working for me and I can't thank you enough for taking time of your day to pray for my family and I.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Week One

I haven't forgoten about posting my progress with the treatment. I got my first IV on Monday and by that afternoon I was shacking like a leaf. I would use the example of going out into the winter cold, in your underware, with a wet head and try to keep warm. I had rice bags on me and Michele was trying to help as well. By the time the shakes had tappered off, my muscels and joints hurt pretty bad. I just kept praying to God that he would give me the strenght to deal with every day. After about three hours I started to get a really high fever. It went away just about the time I went to sleep on Monday.

On Tuesday, I woke up and felt pretty good. I was surprised by this. Howerver, after my IV, the side affects hit me about 45 min. These were not quite as bad, but they were still not fun. Wednesday was more of the same. I actually slept most of the day after my IV, but of course that night I couldn't sleep. So today I had the chills again and I have been sleepy, but I decided not to sleep so I could sleep tonight.

My food intake has gone down quite a bit. However, I am eating more than I thought I would. Thank the Lord for antinausia medicine. I needed it on Monday and I have been using it ever since. I am allowed to have advil and the antinausia medice to help with the side affects. Oh and don't forget the power of prayer.

Thanks again for prayers. They truely do help my family and I get through this tough time. Also, thank you to all who have voluteered to help us. It truely means a lot.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Into the Unknown

Well we made it through my two weeks of work. I was surprised how just working four hours could cause me to be so tired. I would joke about coming home and taking a nap, but I wasn't really serious about doing it. However, I fell asleep almost each day, espicially the first week. I have to keep telling myself this is a journey and not a sprint. This is one of the toughest things about this whole experience. I am used to getting sick or injured and then recovering and going on with my activities. However, this is going to be a real test of my patience. But so far, God has been wonderful through this and I just keep praying he will give me the strength to make it though the next phase. I am also praying for my family. I hope they too will have the strength to make it through this next four weeks, of daily treatment.

We will continue to update the activity calendar as we know more about how I will be feeling. Thank you for continued prayers and willingness to help us. It is truely amazing how God works in our lives in times like this. Just remember what is really important in life and give them a hug.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Back To The Grind

It has been quite a roller coster over the last few weeks. Quite honestly it seems like I was given the news yesterday, but I know it has been about five weeks now. So I thought it best to come back to work for four hours a day for the next two weeks. I just needed to balance the cabin fever with going back to fast and making my recovery take longer.

Today was nice. For those of you who work for Boeing you can relate the return to work issues we deal with, but for me the process was pretty easy. It took about 45 min and I was back in action. I had over 55o e-mails and my black berry needs to be reset but other than that it appears I am good to go. It was great to see my co-workers again. On the way home I did have the realization that I don't think I have fully wrapped my brain around exactly what has happened to me. I am sure as time goes on this will start to sink in more and more.

My family seems to be doing better as well. It was hard on them to see me go back to work, but since it was only for four hours we could get through it. Wyatt was in preschool most of the time and when I got home he came running out to meet me. It was really cool to see how excited he was to see me. Even Caleb had a huge grin on his face when I walked into the house and he looked great, despite being covered in his lunch. Michele has been truly amazing during all of this. She has been so strong. At one point, both Wyatt and Caleb were sick and I was needing pain meds every four hours. She was up all night and all day keeping us all going. Over the past week she has finally been able to get some sleep at night, since all of us boys are now sleeping better. On a lighter note, Caleb has decided that his baby food is no longer good enough and he wants to eat what we do. He keeps reaching for and mouthing whatever Michele has and it is the cutest thing to watch. Today he has actually had some "real" food and did great with it. Man they grow up fast.

I thank God every day that this initial process was so quick. He knows that waiting would have been really hard for me. Again, he has been amazing during these past few weeks and has been my rock.

Thank you all again for your prayers. I can't tell you how much they have helped me and my family during this difficult time. It is amazing how events like this bring us all closer together.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Tube Out, Help Needed Calendar, and Comments

Thursday was another milestone in my journey. I met with my surgeon, Dr. Harmon and he said the scar on my arm is doing great and he was able to remove most of the stitches. The skin is still pretty tight and I can't straighten my arm yet, but I am slowly working to that goal every day. I broke my collar bone when I was in college, so I have experience in stretching out my tendons.

He was also able to remove the drain as well. Man what a relief that has been. After 14 days I was ready to get it out. I was tired of draining, measuring and tracking my fluid. I was able to take a shower Friday. Wow was that nice. It is amazing how much we take for granted. I never realized how good my showers actually were. Today was a great reminder of this.

I also wanted to take the time to thank everyone for your throughts and prayers. They have not gone unnoticed and they have helped me and my family so much. Thank all of you have sent cards, brought over food and offered to help take care of our boys and do other things for us.

One question we have been asked since this started "is how can we help you". We were not prepared for the out pooring of love and number of people who wanted to pitch in and help us with whatever we needed. To be honest, we were caught completely off guard and had no idea how anyone could help us. Luckily for us we have the internet and some industrious friends. We have created a help needed calendar. Michele and I add activities and dates to this calendar and then folks can go in and sign up to do what is open. You will need to be patient with us on this one, because we are still updating this, but the link is at the end of this post.

One final note is we were able to figure out how to get comments posted on the blog as well. Sorry for not figuring this out sooner, but better late than never. The comments won't post right away, but they will post. Please feel free to share comments. Michele and I have tried to make sure it gets to everyone, but if you find out we missed someone please let us know or send them the link.

Thank you all again for your prayers. God has been amazing in getting us through to this step in the process. I thank you for your continued prayers for my family and I as we heal from the surgery and get ready for the interferon treatment. I will post more on this as we get closer to the treatment date of March 22nd.

Link to the calendar: www.lotsahelpinghands.com/c/623437/login/

Monday, March 1, 2010

Test Results and Next Steps

We got all the test results back and they are all negative. Praise the Lord and thank you all so much for you prayers and putting me and my family on prayer chains. It really has helped us through this. I will now venture out and do the interferon treatment. It is administered at the doctors office every day for four weeks and then three times a week for 48 more. Yes, for all those math types out there this is a full year. I was told this will cause me to have flu like symptoms and I will loose my apatite which in turn cause me to loose some weight. So Michele has commissioned operation get Walter fat. Speaking of this, thanks to all of you have dropped food off for us. It has been great and I am eating more now.

I hope to get the drain out this week and continue to fully recover from my two surguries. Once again the Lord has been working in me this week. Michele and I have grown so much closer to each other and the Lord through this experience. It is in times like these that we truely have our faith tested. I can say it is our faith and everyones's prayers that have helped us get to this point.

I will update again later this week to let you know how I am doing once the drain is removed.

Thanks again and God Bless

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Post First Surgery:
Goal: 1. Remove more skin around the original cancer spot on Walter's arm
2. Locate and remove the lymph nodes that connect to the original cancer spot
a. To see if the cancer spread to the nodes

Our Surgen Dr. Harmon was able to detect and remove three lymph nodes under my left arm. He also removed the rest of the tissue around the original tumor. Luckily for me, Dr Harmon was able to pull my skin together on my arm to avoid an open wound or worse yet a skin graft.

Initially on the operating table they sliced each node and found no cancer. However, after further testing(days later) in the labs they found 3mm of cancer on one node.

ByFeb 16th, we had to prepare ourselves for more surgery to remove the remainder of nodes in Walter's armpit while removing the tissue around the original nodes where cancer was found. We had a day to schedule all scans (to look for cancer in all of Walter's vital organs etc).

Walter: I was crushed. I was honestly hanging my hat on the results being negative. I honestly don't remember the rest of the day Tuesday. I was in quite a fog and hoping that maybe the information was wrong and it wasn't going to be cancer. Michele had a difficult time that day as well. We called my parents and they came back over that night to help us through the next few days.

Wednesday Feb 17th:
I went to go to my PET/CT scan and the machine ended up breaking down. Talk about playing with your emotions. Why would the machine break down, maybe this is a sign and I don't have to go through this anymore. So onto my post op/pre op appointment with Dr. Harmon. He said my scar was healing great and explained what I could expect for this next surgery. I still could not believe I was dealing with this issue. The labs did come back and confirm the cancer in one node. Since I was not in the mode to prolong this, I decided to go ahead with the surgery.

That night I finally broke down. I just couldn't deal with this anymore. Why was this happening and then guilt, there are others who are worse off than me and I should just suck this up and deal with it. I have become closer to God through this experience and the only way I survived the various tests etc. was through prayer. God helped me get through this process along with everyone's prayers. So thank you all again for praying for me and my family.

Thursday Feb 18th:
Second surgery. I had my final scans that morning and that afternoon I went in one more time. Dr. Harmon was able to see my nodes, which is not usually the case, so he did not have to remove as much as he thought he would. I have a drain inplace now and when I get to a certain level I can get it removed. All the scans came back negative so that is great news.

Since Friday morning I have been just sitting around and recovering from the second surgery. It is taking longer than I was hoping, but I have to keep telling myself it is ok to relax and let others help me. I have been able to finally write this down and put it out there for people to see and read. Each day is getting a little easier to handle and deal with the news and my recovery.

We had a group from our church come over on Sunday Feb 21st and do a prayer session. I have never been a part of something like that before and it was really cool. I am not one to be the center of attention or outword in my faith, but this experience is slowly changing me for the better.

Thanks again for all of your thoughts and prayers and I will post some more information in the next couple of days.

What's Next: Interferon Treatment (starting March 22) We will post more later on this.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Our Journey

In a Nutshell:
Friday, Feb 5--Found out that Walter had Cancer
Monday, Feb 8--Saw Oncologist
Tuesday, Feb 9--Saw Surgeon
Wednesday, Feb 10--1st Surgery to create margins around original cancer & locate central lymph nodes (ended up being 3 in his armpit)
Thursday, Feb 11--had to wait for official labs to come back on central lymph nodes (details in next post)

Detailed Description Below:

On Friday the 5th Michele received a call from our primary care doctor's nurse, Julie.  She said, "Walter needs to come in today and you need to come with him"  We knew that couldn't be good news.  Ten days previously Walter had an old scar removed.  Just to be safe our Dr. (Dr. Bacon) sent it off for testing even though it didn't look like anything we should be concerned about.  Later that afternoon we received the news that is was the C word.  That's right, those three words you never want to hear from your Dr, "you have cancer.  Well I was told I have Melanoma.  Dr. Bacon and Julie (his nurse) were wonderful through this initial part of the process.  They had already arranged an appointment with an oncologist (Dr. Johnston) for that following Monday.  Even though God was amazing to help us get in quickly, that weekend was a little rough for all of us.  I felt in total shock that weekend, and it seemed like I would wake up from this dream anytime. 

That following Monday we met with Dr. Johnston.  She was great at giving us all the information we needed to get through the next couple of steps in the process.  So we started to rule out that I had stage 3 Melanoma...it could be merely stage 2.  Once again God is good because he acted quickly and helped us get into the surgeon's office that following day.  Tuesday we got into see the surgeon.  Dr. Harmon explained what he was going to do.  He was amazing at putting my mind at ease.  I had never gone through surgery before and he could tell I was a little up tight.  God again was smiling on us and the very next day there was a cancellation and we were on for surgery.     

This entire time, God brought amazing medical personnel into our lives.  All of the people at each of the offices surrounded us with kindness and hope.  We had to take Caleb with us and he was the light of the show at each office. 

Surgery Day:
I was pretty nervous, but with God's help I was able to make it through the day and Michele thought I looked cute in the gown and blue cap.  (and no, no cameras allowed so no pics)  The surgery went very well.  Dr. Harmon was able to remove the rest of the skin around the original tumor and he was able to close the area without using a skin graft or keeping the area open and having it close over time.  God was good again.  The skin is tight and I wear a sling, but I could not be happier with that outcome.  Dr. Harmon was then able to get three lymph nodes out of my left arm pit and the initial scan in the operating room showed no signs of cancer, so I was closed up and we had to wait for the results from the lab. 

The entire time our family and friends have been truly amazing to us.  We could feel your prayers, we loved you kindness and willingness to help in any way we needed it.  God has been an amazing force during this entire process.  Without him we would be truly lost. 

Well this will do it for my first official post.  I will update in awhile what happened after surgery and what the labs had to say.  Love you all and God Bless.