• Adenocarcinoma,  ALK,  Cancer,  Chemotherapy,  Dan,  Dr. Duffy,  Dr. Kumar,  Hospital Stays,  Illinois,  Lung Cancer,  Rachel,  Rita

    A First Medical Update in Illinois

      I haven’t written a medical update in a long time. I know I shared the details in My Mega Post, but I haven’t kept everyone informed after that. To be honest, after his seizure in February and the “your husband’s heart might collapse” scare in the beginning of April, I was running on empty and not feeling very eager to communicate because I didn’t feel very inspired about life in general, let alone our family’s situation. I mean, I had my moments, but they just weren’t woven together in my mind for me to later sit down and write about. However, y’all deserve an update!  So much has changed. First of all, he…

  • ALK,  Bipolar Disorder,  Cancer,  Chemotherapy,  Dan,  Dr. Duffy,  Gratitude,  Hydrophrenosis,  Laughter,  Leah,  Lung Cancer,  NSCLC,  Optimism,  Raine,  Tumors

    Guess What? I’m Still Here. And It’s February!

      I ended the year 2015 with a bit of a bitter back glance (and a secret note to the future that I had better not get any more s**t.) This might come as a surprise because I talk so much about joy, gratitude, and hope in my writing on this blog. The truth is, after a year like 2015, full of a desperately sick husband on chemotherapy, a mother increasingly lost to me in the impenetrable fog of her own mind, closing two businesses that I started in good faith, crushing financial problems landing us in the office of a bankruptcy lawyer, and essentially pushing myself to the limits of…

  • Adenocarcinoma,  ALK,  Announcement,  Awesomeness,  Cancer,  Char,  Chemotherapy,  Dan,  Dr. Duffy,  Family,  Grateful,  Jim,  Joy,  Leah,  Lung Cancer,  Medical Jargon,  Metastasis,  NSCLC,  Optimism,  Photos,  Tumors

    Happy Friday (Great News!)

    The results are back and I bet you can guess by our celebratory selfie in the oncologist’s office that they are good! The MRI of his brain showed NO infection, NO clots, NO new tumors, and all lesions are confirmed necrotic–Dead. “Tumor necrosis” is the fancy medical term for that, and I feel like I want to carry a balloon around today with that written on it! What makes me even happier about this news is that there is also NO inflammation due to the necrosis. High five! The CT scan showed NO growth and NO new tumors. Double high five! Oh man. So relieved. Repeat MRI won’t be for…

  • Adenocarcinoma,  ALK,  Announcement,  Cancer,  Chemotherapy,  Dan,  Dr. Duffy,  Grateful,  Leah,  Lung Cancer,  Metastasis,  NSCLC,  Raine,  Tumors

    Our 3rd CT Scan

    Today we discussed the results of Dan’s 3rd CT scan with Dr. Duffy. To recap, the very first scan introduced us to NSCLC Adenocarcinoma in all its glory–to me, what looked like splotches of ink and dark blobs inside his chest. Our 2nd scan was the first scan to tell us if “IF” his initial chemotherapy rounds were providing effective treatment. We were pleased to discover –Yes! Dan’s tumors were either stable or reduced in size, including his primary tumor in the left lung. Of course, these are always the results we want to hear! The alternative would be that there are new tumors or existing tumors have grown. The week leading…

  • Alternative Treatments,  Cancer,  Chemotherapy,  Dan,  Dr. Duffy,  Essential Oils,  Fibromyalgia,  Gifts,  Grateful,  Leah,  Nature,  Photos,  Raine

    One Week in Photos 1/6 – 1/13

    I made a new friend recently, Jane, who advised me that she was inspired to wear lipstick in the New Year. She wrote, ” I have decided to embrace each moment by celebrating more and wearing red lipstick. Me, wearing red lipstick is a pretty funny resolution as I am someone who forgets I own make-up most of the time, but for me it means that I am wearing a badge of confidence in a way. A statement that draws attention to myself, something I tend do avoid in the majority of circumstances, the year of red lipstick.” This struck me so deeply. I, too, have never been one to…

  • Adenocarcinoma,  ALK,  Announcement,  Anxiety,  Cancer,  Chemotherapy,  Dan,  Dr. Duffy,  Grateful,  Holidays,  Joy,  Leah,  Love,  Metastasis,  NSCLC,  Optimism,  Photos,  Tumors

    The Friday Before Christmas

      It is hard to believe that three months ago to this day, we were receiving the shocking news about Dan’s cancer. All we knew at that time was that it was considered stage 4 lung cancer because it had spread to his spine, lymph nodes, and brain. In a strange way, I don’t even feel like the same person who received that news. I took that hit. And I survived. We both did. I don’t suppose you ever go back to the person you were before. Today, at Dan’s 3rd chemotherapy infusion, I brought in sandwiches for lunch from Potbelly (Dan’s request) and I was concerned the odor might cause fellow…

  • Adenocarcinoma,  ALK,  Cancer,  Chemotherapy,  Dan,  Dr. Duffy,  Flowers,  Grateful,  Holidays,  Hospital Stays,  Leah,  Medical Jargon,  Metastasis,  Nature,  NSCLC,  Oregon,  Photos,  Radiation

    Thanksgiving 2014

    One week ago, Dan was hospitalized again. Our experience taught me many things. #1, of course, again, is that everything around us is beautiful and luxurious. We are so lucky to have everything in place as it is, and enjoy it how we can. The comfort of our own bed, the taste of ice water, the moment when the dog nudges us in earnest, the laughter of Raine. We have a beautiful home. We have a car that isn’t causing us trouble. We have doctors who are a formidable and passionate team. We have each other. There are hard moments where I feel like I can’t reach across my anxiety…

  • Anxiety,  Backyard,  Dan,  Dr. Duffy,  Food,  Friends,  Gifts,  Grieving,  JD,  Jim,  Joy,  Leah,  Parenting,  Raine,  Sarah

    How Is Raine Doing?

    You know, they say children are resilient. I believe it. Raine has been doing so well. We are in a situation where we have great sadness, anxiety, and anger. Our hearts are breaking with it, but also many hearts of people around us and who know us are breaking. It would be impossible for a child to not pick up on that, so I am not naive enough to assume he is 100% unchanged. Just like I said for myself, if you see Raine, he is pretty normal. He isn’t anxious or frightened or sad. He doesn’t really know what is going on. So he might be acting out a…

  • Advice,  Alternative Treatments,  Awesomeness,  Cancer,  Chemotherapy,  Dan,  Dr. Duffy,  Family,  Gratitude,  Honestly,  Leah,  Love,  Medical Jargon,  NSCLC,  Optimism,  Oregon,  Photos,  Radiation,  Raine

    Thursday, October 16, 2014

      Every day is about adjusting to our new normal. But our new normal shifts like sand under our feet. I just keep walking in the sand, letting it slide around me. At least I have his hand in mine. Today I slept in while Dan and Char attended to Raine. I showered and took Raine to daycare. I went into Dry Goods and answered questions for the new manager. I bought several vintage suitcases. I upgraded our small garbage bin to a large garbage bin at Recology and also purchased a large bio-hazardous safety waste container for Dan’s used Lovenox needles. Debbie at customer service gave us a free month…