• Adenocarcinoma,  ALK,  Cancer,  Dr. Kumar,  Metastasis,  NSCLC,  Scanxiety

    Bone Scanxiety

    Dan hadn’t caught up mentally and I saw he was disappointed. Why an x-ray? It’s just his leg falling asleep when he is in bed at night – probably because of a pinched nerve in his back. However, I understood what Dr. Piers wasn’t directly saying–check the spine for cancer. I made the decision in a split second. “I want the x-ray.” Get it done. In the meantime, Dr. Piers prescribed Gabapentin at a low dose to try at bedtime for the pain. At this point, I don’t care that we are adding one more ingredient to his pharmaceutical cocktail. So be it. I am vehement that Dan gets better sleep.…

  • Announcement,  Awesomeness,  Cancer,  Cardinal + Finch,  Dan,  Gifts,  Grandpa Don,  Honestly,  Leah

    Young Cancer Family Starts Gift Business – We Need Your Help!

    {Medical Update: Dan’s shoulder replacement surgery was successful! He is such a rock star; he was sent home the following morning. Like, 24 hours later–In a giant hospital t-shirt that said “get moving,” super tight scrub pants, and no shoes. Clearly, I was not prepared with an overnight bag. He started physical therapy after two weeks of resting and is driving, cooking, and managing his pain well. We are keeping a close watch on his edema for signs of infection but so far so good!}   I developed this little hobby of making gift boxes full of wonderful goodies. I pretended it was a real business and gave it a…

  • Adenocarcinoma,  Alcensa,  ALK,  ALK-Inhibitors,  Anxiety,  Cancer,  Corey,  Dan,  Honestly,  Leah,  Lung Cancer,  Nick,  NSCLC,  Radiation,  Scanxiety,  Surgery,  Surgxiety,  Targeted Radiation,  Tumors

    Medical Update – Shoulder Surgery & Radiation Results

    We spent a Saturday evening in Chicago celebrating the 40th birthday of our bestie, Corey. (Shout out to Corey! He is the reason we ended up dating and getting married.) Dan had just enough energy to live it up and enjoy being with friends. So this guy likes to keep me on my toes. Wednesday Dan will have surgery for a complete shoulder replacement. First thing I know is that his shoulder hurt while golfing, and then all of the sudden we are in for a matrix bionic shoulder. Ok, that might be extreme, but I have seen the sling he will need to use and it kind of makes…

  • Adenocarcinoma,  Anxiety,  Cancer,  Coping,  Dan,  Gamma Knife,  Lung Cancer,  Metastasis,  Parenting,  Radiation,  Raine,  Targeted Radiation,  Tumors

    Talking to Raine About Daddy’s Radiation

    It was a quiet Monday night. We finished dinner and Raine was anxious to watch the tv show The Voice, his latest obsession (he is rooting for Noah). Rather than head for the living room, I asked him to stay at the table for a talk. I was flying by the seat of my pants in an attempt to tell him about Dan’s radiation appointment the following morning. Dan didn’t even know it was coming. *** First, I busted out his creepy puzzle that reveals all of the anatomy of our bodies. It lets Raine place puzzle pieces in layers–skeleton, organs, muscle, and skin, as well as the clothing worn on…

  • Adenocarcinoma,  ALK,  Cancer,  Gamma Knife,  Lung Cancer,  Metastasis,  NSCLC,  Radiation,  Tumors

    Medical Update Update – Some Zapping

    Classic doctor office wait. I suppose I could have waited one day for the update, but for once I wasn’t on top of my game and didn’t even realize there was an appointment this morning at the gamma knife center. I thought Dan was only getting an MRI, but he was actually discussing the results of last Tuesday’s MRI. The decision is to perform targeted radiation. The focus is three areas, two of which could have been remnants of his original mets that were initially treated when Dan had whole brain radiation. The third is the spot we recently decided to watch more closely. This doctor wants to target it…

  • Adenocarcinoma,  ALK,  ALK-Inhibitors,  Cancer,  Chemotherapy,  Dan,  Dr. Kumar,  Lung Cancer,  Medical Jargon,  Metastasis,  NSCLC

    Medical Update: More MRIs and Stopping Chemo

    “And one has to understand that braveness is not the absence of fear but rather the strength to keep on going forward despite the fear.” – Paulo Coelho Based on MRI results in August, we spoke with our new radiation oncologist, Dr. Mackenzie McGee with OSF, as well as the opinion of Dr. James L. McGee, and have increased the frequency of these scans and now have them at the gamma knife center in Peoria. There is a spot that could be brain mets but it hasn’t changed recently. It will be more closely monitored if they find enhancement, gamma knife radiology would be the next step. In other news: With…

  • Adenocarcinoma,  ALK,  Anxiety,  Beer,  Bipolar Disorder,  Cancer,  Coping,  Crappy News,  Dan,  Flowers,  Grieving,  Leah,  Lung Cancer,  Metastasis,  NSCLC,  Radiation,  Scanxiety,  Tumors

    After MRI Results

    Dan is super chill. There just isn’t much that can ruffle him. He gets scanxiety (scan anxiety) just like the best of us, but he never really worries or freaks out. The only way I know how to describe him to people is that he is “zen.” There’s not much that can ruffle his feathers. He keeps an even temper, always maintains his sense of humor, and is focused on the simple things each day. I know this sounds super amazing–and I get that. However, I just have to share a caveat that I am MARRIED to him and have loved him for nearly 15 years and that which is the…

  • Adenocarcinoma,  ALK,  ALK-Inhibitors,  Cancer,  Coping,  Hope,  Lung Cancer,  Medical Jargon,  NSCLC,  Podcasts,  Research

    Podcast: “Fighting Cancer” from TED Radio Hour

      At certain moments in time, I do like reading books, listening to podcasts, or watching documentaries related to the science of cancer. It is helpful for me in mitigating the anger and depression while knowing loved ones who died, are actively dying, or living precariously with the disease, like Dan. For someone who completely hated the subject of science in school for 20 years, I really am fascinated by it now and really geek out often with certain subjects. Expect me to share what I find–good or bad–more in this space. I listened to this podcast today while driving to and from work. I like to hear the individual voices who…

  • Cancer,  Chemotherapy,  Dan,  Grateful,  Home,  Moving,  Raine,  Scanxiety

    We Made It To Gillman

      I am too exhausted to share about our moving week! The good news is IT IS OVER. We have officially made it to Gillman. We have beds to sleep in, the pets know where to find their food, our couches are situated, and the tv/electronics are in working order. Hallelujah. The weight and burden of another move (with another downsize) just one year after we relocated from Oregon to Illinois has now finally been lifted from us. Even Rocco and Hobbes seem to sense that the ‘Great Anxiety’ has passed. With their relief, they are napping hard and basking in the sunlight of their beautiful new back yard….Or if it is…

  • Announcement,  Anxiety,  Art,  Cancer,  Chicago,  Dan,  Doug,  Food,  Hospital Stays,  Lung Cancer,  Lung Cancer Community,  NSCLC,  PTSD,  Scanxiety

    Medical Update – Spring 2017

    The prelude to winter began with Dan’s hospitalization November 1st. I spent the day wrestling with my intuition that I needed a significant break–things were getting to be too much and I felt super fragile. I talked to the HR manager at work and decided to take a leave of absence for the month of November. I came home and told Dan, only to discover he was developing a fever. I needed to take him to the ER so my abrupt decision suddenly seemed genius. Honestly, I felt like I really couldn’t put a price on the relief I felt to not have to call in and get a shift…