Wednesday, October 1, 2008

1/2 Way Through My Chemo Mile

Can you believe that yesterday I started my sixth chemo treatment? I hardly can! At times 'the finish' seems so far away, but for the most part the time between treatments really seems to fly by...its really turning out to be just like running a mile race, and I know I'll be done with 12 before I know it! Round five may have proved to be my most challenging yet.

I hope this counts as 'pictures' this post...I haven't taken any of my outsides for awhile. Here is the CT Scan from back at the end of August. I tried to choose a slice of myself that compares apples to apples of the first scan picture I posted a few weeks ago. Just to save you the hassle of scrolling, I'll re-post it.


1st Scan 7/08


Latest Scan 8/23/08

My mom was over at my house when we took a look at the entire scan...and it was pretty exciting to see tangible evidence that the chemo is working and doing its job. We both got a little emotional scrolling through my insides. I chose this particular one to compare because there are three pretty big tumors in the first scan, that you can see are noticeably smaller in the second. I still have quite a ways to go to get rid of all the additional ones not visible here, but I'm very encouraged seeing it for myself...I've said it before and I won't stop saying it, I know your prayers are helping.

I mentioned above that round 5 has been a bit of a challenge. I have felt the side effects more this round than the others, and the pain that I had all but forgotten that really led to the diagnosis was back this round. If you remember back from my ER visit while in Mayo during my first round, the doctors said that the pain could be a sign the chemo was working on my liver...so it's hard not to think that my pain returning could be a good thing... its what I try to tell myself :)

My mom went with me to my pre-chemo doctor appointment yesterday. We're getting to practice a little bit of extra faith after hearing the counts from my blood work. I've been mentally preparing myself, just like my doctor warned, that there may come a day when my counts go back up...my goal to stay positive and not to get discouraged. Yesterday was the day (probably not the last), and its been a challenge! The hardest part about seeing 'those numbers' go up from the previous blood work is wondering what the reason may be...is it because something is wrong, is it a coincidence, is it because I had to take a few pain pills to get me through, I ate beef the day before the blood test (first time since July!), have I been slacking in my diet too much, is my faith waning, is it because I went off the Avastin? A person really could drive themself crazy trying to figure it out. So I've tried to put it out of my mind.

Dr. Bachrach was slightly concerned, and said its even more urgent to have the surgery as soon as possible, so that I can start back up on the Avastin as soon as possible. My dad did me a huge favor and called the oncologist I saw at Mayo, MN who agreed with Dr. Bachrach's course of action, to have the tumor out ASAP and start back up on Avastin. Dr. Bachrach has been keeping him in the loop as well...it really makes me feel good to see them working together, like they really care about me as a patient and have no egos to worry about.

My CEA went from 5.5 two weeks ago to somewhere in the 7s, and my liver enzymes were also up, along with a few other numbers that I can't remember. I have my final two consultations with potential surgeons next week, and after I decide who, I could be having the surgery the week of 10/13. Still haven't made up my mind on laprascopic vs. traditional...so far leaning more towards traditional to give the surgeon a chance to take a better look at my liver, and make sure he/she doesn't miss any affected lymph nodes...but I'm waiting to hear out these last two Dr.'s opinions.

I'm having another CT scan this Friday, pretty anxious to see what is or isn't brewing inside of me! :)

I've been pretty horrible at responding to emails and returning phone calls lately, so I wanted to give a big thank you and I'm sorry all wrapped into one. I'll get around to responding eventually, just wanted to let you all know they are being received, and they are very appreciated :)

Much love and thanks to all of you for your support and prayers :)

20 comments:

suzanne said...

I can remember living for those number days and dreading them at the same time when Paul was going thru chemo. Ups and downs are normal but it just doesn't feel good to see it does it? I can really feel your concern. Just know that you will get thru this and that Heavenly Father is aware of you personally. That is certainly one big lesson that I learned. I'm not just one in a billion to Him. I really matter and I really count. My husband really mattered and he really counted. So do you.....

Anonymous said...

I am amazed by your sense of humor! Also, I want to report that since reading your blog, I did have all of the tests mentioned in your previous post, (ok, not the prostate one) some of which I have put off for years because I was "busy". Got a clean bill of health, thank you very much for the inspiration. I am trying ( I can hear Yoda saying there is no try, only do) so let's change that to thinking about eating better a lot more often than I did in the past. As always, you are in our prayers

Dyan said...

I'm sure that was hard to see the numbers that have consistently been going down crawl up a little again. But I'm glad you're still keeping your optimism high like the rest of us! And I'm pretty sure none of us expect a return call or email...we care more that you focus on yourself and not add any extra stress! It's more that we want you to know how much we care and support and love you! Good luck in your decisions for a surgeon!

Adam and Jessica Cooley said...

We love you!!

Our Family said...

Hey you! I'm sorry I comment on every post... I just want you to know how much we love you! We think of you every day and want you to know that you are ALWAYS in our prayers. Good luck with all of your upcoming decisions, and thanks for keeping us in the loop! :D
- Your fellow BzzAgent

scott and lindsey said...

I can't believe you're on the 6th round already! It really is flying by so quick and I'm so happy that its working. Don't get discouraged- i know its easy to, but you're halfway- alot can still happen. Your positive attitude really makes me reflect so much in my own life. Some days I tell myself- "you know, I really need to be more like Susan right now!" I'm curious to hear how everything goes.. be sure to keep us updated. We continue to pray for you and think about you everyday. Love you girl!

Lauren Porter said...

Keep running- your halfway there!! Just like any race there is a point half way through that you get exhausted and you fall back a bit. Then you pick up the pace so you can finish first. I am sure your body knows it is half way through and you will win this race.

Amber said...

Thanks for the update, I am sorry that this last round was not much fun. Good job on making it half way through like a superstar! Just think-so much has changed and you are only half way! I wish you lots of inspiration on choosing a doctor/surgury--that has got to be almost as hard as having the surgury yourself. :-)

hlmortensen said...

Hey Susan!
I'm anxious to hear what surgeon and surgery you decide to go with. I'm also anxious to hear how your next CT looks, as I'm sure you are too!!! I am glad to be able to know that you are being watched over and that you can recieve the guidance and comfort and perspective that you need to help you through this trial. Don't forget to ask for preisthood blessings as often as you need to. They are always comforting to me. You are doing a great job! Keep your chin up. ;)Love ya lots!
Heidi

Melanie said...

Keep up the fight you can do this. Life always throws us obstacle that is how we grow I am sorry yours has been so difficult. You are in our prayers and so many others stay strong.

Mike Steph Brooklyn and Carter said...

Bumps are always put in the road to remind us to push a little harder. I love your optimism and know you are going to continue your strong fight. We are thinking about you all the time. I hope you know that no one expects you to return messages, we send you texts, emails and mail because we love you and want you to know we are thinking of you, not because we want anything back! Good luck with the search for a surgeon, we will be praying that all goes well! Love you Sus!

Andréa Morrow said...

wow, the scans show a huge different and I am so thankful for you! I'm telling you the more pictures, the better.. you want them to share this experience as it has passed with others and having the physical evidence of what happened is good (at least for me, and I even wish I took more pics in the hospital..even through the bad times..unfortunately which was the whole time, but I am thankful I have those pictures I did take)So, we would like to come by and visit..we'll call to see when a good time is!

Louie said...

Hey, us Boyses just wanted to leave our empathies and love with you guys. We know the chemo game very well and how the blood numbers go up and down. Our little Brody is still recovering from luekemia. That experience for us makes us extra sensitive to what you are going through. Faith works, and we are praying for your faith and ours. Keep your chin up, keep running the race! You will get through. Let us know if we can help with anything

thearringtonclan said...

Hello Susan
Brian from our ward in Mesa gave me your blog address... please check ours out..
www.thearringtonclan.blogspot.com
We wish you all the best...
Maxine

Anonymous said...

Lots of luv to you, Susan, and Justin. The prayers and good thoughts continue and continue. I love your posts, the pics, the video - for sharing your journey with all of us. It helps us to pray very specifically for you too. You are absolutely amazing and know that you are SO LOVED!
Good luck with these pressing decisions. YOU CAN DO THIS!
Hearts over and out,
Summer : )

Pam said...

We're friends of the Arringtons and I got your blog address from their blog. You are a very courageous and optimistic person. I hope you get well soon. Keep up the good fight. Your great attitude will certainly help. And thanks for the reminder about all the screenings.

Pam Walton
www.strongarmor.blogspot.com

Los Peña said...

Your amazing! Thank you Susan! You are in our prayers always. Love Jose and Gabby Pena

Kelli said...

I know I don't know you personally, but what an amazing person you are! Funny, bright, and amazingly beautiful inside and out! I am so sorry to hear of your health. Please know you are now in my prayers and will be for a long time. I am a friend of Justin's from high school and a Kempe told me about you. My daughter is having major surgery next week too. So, you will be included in my fast and prayers. Stay strong, know it's in Heavenly Father's hands and in that, it can't be wrong. I look forward to seeing all your progress! Stay POSITIVE!

Dani said...

This is Dani, Dyan's cousin and Suzanne's daughter (who commented first up above). We met many, many, many summers ago in about fifth grade or so. :) Anyways, I hope you don't get tired of reading comments, but I just want you to know that I chanced upon your blog awhile back and that you have been in my prayers since I read about your diagnosis. I don't have anything profound to add, but just want to echo some of the words above, that Heavenly Father knows and loves you and will never give you a trial that you cannot overcome. You are certainly an inspiration to all of us in the grace and faith and courage and determination and strength that you have shown. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

Anonymous said...

Hang in there Susan.

Every time I see you you look better & better. That has to be a good sign. Your attitude & spirit rate you as one of the toughest people I have ever known. And believe me when I say that puts you in there with some pretty tough folks. Remember, god always sees you & hears your prayers. Please get better soon.

As always you are in my prayers & thoughts at all times. See you on Nov. 15th.
I promise not to wear my g-string. That is unles you think it will help raise awareness or bring the TV news cameras. If so then I am there if you can cover the bail money. I hear uncle Kent has one too so better be prepared with enough bail for two.

All the best to you & Justin,

Uncle Bob.