• 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,  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…

  • 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,  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…

  • 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…

  • Adenocarcinoma,  Cancer,  Dan,  Dr. Duffy,  Gratitude,  Medical Jargon,  Metastasis,  NSCLC

    Dan’s Cancer

    So here is what I have learned so far. And this is all mostly in my own words so you know, it is probably 98% actually correct. Sometimes talking to doctors feels like I am playing telephone when I was a kid. Did I get the right message that we started with? And I honestly don’t know if learning more about the science of his disease helps me or hurts me. Which means it is both. I am simultaneously empowered by gaining knowledge and terrified by understanding the quiet, deadly nature of cancer cells. So if you want to learn more, keep reading. If you would rather not know, stop.…