• 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.…

  • 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,  Cancer,  Dan,  Flowers,  Grateful,  Holidays,  Honestly,  Hope,  Hospital Stays,  Leah,  Lung Cancer,  Metastasis,  NSCLC,  Oregon,  Raine

    My Mega Blog Post

    We have enjoyed a beautiful start to Spring here in Carlton, Oregon. Raine enjoyed celebrating Easter with egg hunts, gifts, treats, and time with friends. Dan’s exam and maintenance chemo treatment on the Friday that followed Easter was without concern or change. For Christians, Easter is a celebration of Hope. I remember learning about Easter’s entire procession as a child in Sunday School. What stood out to me was the palm fronds waved and placed in adoration of a spiritual leader. And then the death of such a beloved teacher and inspiration, to be followed by the mystical resurrection of his body. It was fascinating for me to contemplate as…

  • 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,  Grieving,  Illness,  Leah,  Lung Cancer,  Metastasis,  NSCLC,  Raine,  Rocco,  Tumors

    Medical Update: The Left Lung + Platinum Chemotherapy

      Let me do my very best attempt to bring you up-to-date with Dan’s health. After the last CT scan, we did in fact proceed with two more platinum chemotherapy infusions (pemetrexed, ruxolitinib, and cisplatin) -rounds 5 & 6. After round 5, he was bed ridden for a week. His taste buds and other fast growing cells continued to struggle at the assault and he lost his tolerance for more food–cheese, garlic & onions, potatoes, for example. I tried not to worry as I woke him periodically for his meds, water or juice, and small bits of food. It was difficult to get him to eat much at all. One night I woke him and he…

  • 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…

  • 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…