Sydney loved all of the waterfalls. That's what she is looking at.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I have really never mentioned the stage of cancer that Alan has, but it was never really told to us either. After finding out that the cancer had metastasized to Alan's lung, he is considered a Stage 4. Yes, that is the highest level and a place you do not want to be at, but we are not looking at that number. We are just looking ahead and prepared to fight whatever comes our way.
While waiting for scans and Dr. appts, you always meet up with other patients of Dr. Amato's. Dr. Amato specializes in Renal Cell Cancer and Prostate Cancer, so all of his patients have something very much in common...the same cancer. While waiting for Alan's scans, we met some very interesting and informative people. One young lady (33) was from Chicago with RCC and there was another couple from St. Louis. This just shows you how wonderful this Dr. is that they would travel that far for him. Amanda, the lady from Chicago gave me a very neat website to check out:
This is a great website for anyone dealing with cancer...any type of cancer.
There is also another website I found out about, but it is still in the works. All proceeds for this website will go to Dr. Amato's research and help to purchase supplies he might need.
I'm sure I'll be posting when this website is up and running. I'm really excited about this. You guys know how I love to be involved and especially when it benefits my loved ones. I have been praying for the right foundation to donate to and it basically just fell in my lap. See how God works!
We also found out that the Houston Marathon will be going on when we go back for Alan's next appt. which is January 19. The Marathon is the 18th. Dr. Amato and some of his patients run this, so we might try and make it to cheer them on. Maybe one year Alan and I can participate...hehe. We'll see!!
Thanks again to all of our friends and family and most of all to our Lord. We love you all.
God is Great!
Saturday, December 13, 2008
So, I guess consider this my first addition to the "Tour of Homes", lol. Come on girls...are ya'll going to play this game with me??? :-)
***Pictures really do not do these ornaments justice***
Thursday, December 11, 2008
1. Take pictures of your favorite Christmas decoration or tradition.
2. Leave a comment under this post letting others know you are participating so they can check out your blog.
3. Post your pictures and a description. If you want to share your secrets, we would love to hear them!
4. If you want to label your post as "Tour of Homes", that is fine or whatever you want.
5. Please post by December 25th.
Thanks you guys. I think this will be fun. This is for anyone that views this blog or just happens to come across it.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Love and Prayers!
Saturday, November 22, 2008
And no, Alan did not lift these deer by himself. My dad was there for one deer and Mr. Steve Shields was there for the other. He is still not able to lift much weight.
30 lb. cat
29 lb. kid!
Saturday, November 8, 2008
This is the sky walk that connects Memorial Hermann Hospital to MH Plaza. This is where I took most of these pictures.
I took this picture standing in the sky walk. Every building you see here is either a hospital or something I mentioned above. That very last building you see at the end in the middle is Texas Children's. It was huge!! I know it doesn't look like it in the pictures, but believe me...it was huge. You can see all of the cranes on top of the buildings. This place is still growing.
Another picture taken from the sky walk. Most of these buildings are related to Methodist.
This is a side view of Memorial Hermann. I never did get a front view...very pretty though. This is also a very large hospital. We saw alot of air traffic coming to this hospital during our waiting.
This is downtown Houston. I took this picture from the 16th floor of Hermann Plaza while waiting for Alan to have scans done. This is a really neat city, but we just didn't get to check out any of the "attraction areas." By the time we had a day of walking waiting, scans, waiting, Dr. appt, waiting...waiting some more, we were worn out and just wanted to grab something to eat and crash.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Let's start with the bad news.
While we were in Houston, Alan had actually 2 CT scans done. The first one was not done to Dr. Amato's liking (long story), so we did another one Wednesday morning. The second scan did confirm that there are two nodules in Alan's lower left lung where the cancer has spread. This is not lung cancer. It is the RCC that has spread to the lungs. It is not uncommon for it to spread to the lungs since it is a vascular cancer. It can also spread to the brain and this is why Alan will have MRI's of his brain too. We have questioned these areas from the beginning, but some of the Dr. in LR felt like it was probably nothing, but Dr. Amato says they have grown since the PET scan. This was a big blow. It was basically like hearing it all over again that Alan has cancer. These areas are small, but there are actually a total of 5 areas on the lungs that will have to be monitored. Two that are obvious, but the other 3 are about freckle size. We just take a deep breath and again keep praying.
The Good News!
The area on the outer left side of Alan's abdominal wall that was questionable, Dr. Amato feels pretty certain that is nothing to be concerned about. He does not see a mass in that area and thinks that it is just scar tissue and post op. The second area of concern was deep inside of Alan right around where the renal vien was (left side). This area had the appearance of tumor, but after looking at the scans we had done in Houston, Dr. Amato also felt like that was just inflammation or post op surgery tissue. He started to order a biopsy of this area, but it was just too risky. There is a blood vessel right beside it and if they hit it, then there is no was for them to make it stop bleeding. This questionable area also had staples all in it, so it is just hard to imagine that the surgeon put staples all in a tumor like that. These spots will still be monitored, but we feel alot better about these areas.
Dr. Amato showed Alan and I all of the scans, including the PET scan which we had not seen. Again, he was great and showed us everything and explained everything as we went through the scans. It defiantly helped to understand more after seeing them.
For Alan's treatment plan, he will start the Sutent Monday. Dr. Amato wants to start him on this first and if it does not do what it should, there are back up drugs. Surgery is also an option for the lungs, but we hope it does not come to that. There are side effects to the Sutent. Basically the same type of side effects that chemo would have. The drug works in cycles. Alan will take the pill daily for 4 weeks and then off for 2 weeks. During these 2 weeks off, hopefully Alan's side effects will diminish and he will be back up for the next round of pills. That is why they give patients the 2 weeks off. At the moment, Alan will be on this drug indefinitely.
I know there is more to type about, but I'm off work today to try and catch up around this house and just take a breath, but I'm also about to take Carson back to the Dr. This little man just can't seem to get well. I'm going to post some pictures later of the Medical Center in Houston. Have any of you ever been to this? It was crazy. I had to take pictures. Really an amazing place that is actually growing. Hopefully I'll post those tonight.
Just remember us in your prayers. I know everyone is. Just when we think things are looking up, then something else comes along. We'll get through this and Alan will live a healthy life again soon.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
When we went for our appt. with Dr. Beck, he told Alan that he wanted to send him to Houston to see Dr. Robert Amato. He specializes in RCC and apparently he is #1 in his field in the states. So of course, that is where we want to be. Dr. Beck basically told Alan that yes, he could start him on the Sutent and see how it does and if Alan was a lot older then that is exactly what he would do, but Dr. Beck wants Alan to see Dr. Amato and hopefully he can get a great plan made up for Alan. Dr. Beck can still treat Alan in Little Rock after we get a plan, but he just would rather Dr. Amato get Alan's plan together. Dr. Amato does many interesting test and trials with RCC patients. Can you imagine the look on mine and Alan's face when he said Houston. We just weren't expecting that one. Again, we will go wherever we have to, but it was just another one of those unexpected moments in the crazy roller coaster ride. Dr. Beck said that Dr. Amato might want to do a biopsy of the questionable areas in Alan. Alan's Drs. in LR have not really wanted to do that because of the risk, but Dr. Amato might do it. We just don't have any idea what to expect. All we do know is that we have an appt. at 1:00 in Houston on Monday. Can you believe we got in that quick. No, we are not going to MD Anderson. We will be going to Memorial Herman Hospital. This is the hospital that Dr. Amato is associated with. We will leave tomorrow to head to Houston. The nurse said to plan to stay for 3 days, so I'm planning for 5..:-). Please remember us during our travels and remember our family and our kids. Sydney is really being strong thru all of this and has pretty much just come to terms with our situation.
Sydney wanted hair bows all over her head, so this is what we came up with.
Is this not the cutest little pumpkin ever!!!
In case you are wondering Sydney was "Bratz Bat". She wanted to be a bat...I don't know!
Our good friends Julia and Grant McDougald...aka...Snow White and Dopey Dwarf.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
When Alan and his dad went for the first treatment Monday, Dr. Ross basically just told Alan that things were not looking as clean cut as she would have liked. The radiation was going to hit his other kidney, liver, probably his spinal cord and his bowels. Because Radiation Therapy has not really been proven to help with RCC, and since it looks like it was going to be doing more harm than possibly good, Dr. Ross decided to just not do the radiation and Alan is going to start with the Sutent (oral drug). We hope to hear from Dr. Beck tomorrow to see when he wants Alan to start this drug. There are still side effects with the Sutent, but at this moment, we are just so excited that Alan is not going to have to go through the radiation and he will not have to be away from his family. Man, what a blessing!! The radiation might still be in the future, but that will be if the Sutent does not do what we need it to do. We also found out that Alan's other kidney (the only one he has) is not functioning normal. It is not life threatening, but it was just another red flag as to why to not do the radiation.
Our Dr's in Little Rock have been so wonderful and have really taken their time with Alan's case. At times we thought maybe a little too slow, but we are just glad that they have considered everything for Alan and what is best for him. I would much rather them take their time than just jump to something.
I have probably left out some information, but I had ZERO sleep last night due to my sweet angel Carson. He is still not feeling 100%.
Thank You Lord for answered prayers! I know we have had some powerful prayers coming our way and they are working. Thank You!
Monday, October 27, 2008
Thank you so much to everyone. There are so many of you that I would really like to write thank you notes to and I'm not saying it's never going to happen, but I just don't know when it's going to be. I've been trying to make my own notes and every time I get on the computer at home, something else comes up and I get side tracked. One day, maybe it will happen..;-).
Love to All!
Sunday, October 26, 2008
This past Wednesday night, Carson starts throwing up. He has had a little cough, so we first thought that maybe he coughed so hard that it made him throw up, but he also threw up a few other times after that so that made me think stomach virus. The next night he didn't sleep...still coughing. Sydney has also been struggling with a little cough, so Alan and my mom took both kids to our wonderful Dr. Khanfar Friday...RSV...both of them! Khanfar says he is seeing about 8 cases a day of RSV. So, we start to tackle that and then I wake up Saturday morning around 5am throwing up and the big "D". I finally got out of the bed around 4 yesterday afternoon stayed up a few hours and then started feeling bad again with fever. I thought I was getting over it and then the fever hit...weird. I had chills so bad all night and then started sweating it off. Poor Carson did not sleep good at all either. Poor Alan had to deal with the sick kids Friday and Saturday...O yeah, and me, and we are just praying that Alan does not get any of this!
On a Better Note...
I found my wedding ring!
Poor Carson...I sure blamed it all on him, although he might have still put it in this particular place. I'm actually embarrassed to even say where I found it. Let's just say it was in a weird place and I have NO IDEA how I missed it. I know we looked there...we looked everywhere. Anyway, it is found. I really have no energy today, but I came running through the room yelling "guess what, guess what" when I found it. Alan thought something was wrong.
What a weekend!
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
O, look...there's Carson and Nena jumping from a log!
Sydney and Papaw roasting a weenie on a real stick. Us "city girls" used wire coat hangers, lol!
Still jumping and hopping from log to log!
I'm preparing my s'more and it was Goooood!! Nena is already eating hers.
Alan's getting his marshmallow ready.
Sydney striking a pose!
And look, we're still jumping!
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
I can't help but be a little skeptical of the results just b/c we have been given great news in the past and then shot down again. I pray that these results are correct and that God has taken care of Alan. We need something to be in our favor. Unless something changes, and we all know how that can happen, Alan should be starting his radiation Monday in Little Rock...still for 5 weeks.
Can I just say that this is the worst roller coaster ride I have ever been on! Too many ups and downs and loopty loops!! Just to make things a little worse, I have lost my wedding ring!! This is the most precious piece of jewelry I own. Alan had the whole set made for me. I have a really bad gut feeling that Carson has dropped it in a trash bag, commode or some strange place. We have turned our house upside down looking. I think I'm going to have to break out a metal detector! O yeah, I never did a post on this, but a few Mondays ago on our way to LR, a little ole lady backed in to my car!! I have had this car for 6 years and I have never had the first scratch or dent! I just don't think I can take anymore.
Another Thank You to everyone! For your prayers, strength, kind words. It takes our wonderful Lord, Friends and Family to get you through these difficult times and we appreciate everything.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
We are back from yet another tiring two days of appointments in Little Rock. We met with Dr. Ross Thursday morning and again she had alot of information to throw our way. She pretty much went straight into Alan's radiation treatment plan. He will be doing radiation 5 days a week for 5 weeks. His particular therapy is called IMRT (Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy). We did discuss with her the possibility of doing his treatment in Monroe. She did some calling around and felt good about what Monroe had to offer, but Alan and I discussed it a little more thru the day and we decided that all of his Drs. are working sooooo great together already in LR, so he is going to do the treatment in LR. This will also be good for Dr. appts, b/c we can usually scheduled them on the same day or at least the next day. We are nervous about Alan doing the radiation treatment b/c of the side effects. There is no straight shot to the spot of concern. They will have to go thru some of his intestines and stomach. Dr. Ross looked at going thru the back, but it's not going to work out.
The plan was for us to just be in LR on Thursday, but we ended up staying until Friday for Alan to have a PET and CT scan done on Friday. We have just learned to pack extra clothes b/c we usually end up having to stay an extra day for either an unscheduled Dr. appt. or more scans. Bringing up the PET scan, we should have the results back from that Wednesday or Thursday and from that they will tell how much radiation they need to use. The PET scan should also show just how "hot" that new growth is. Even if it shows up not real heated, we will still be doing the radiation. No, radiation has not been proven to help alot with Kidney Cancer (RCC) but it should at least help with the growing and spreading of the tumor. Going back to the "new growth".....we also found out from Dr. Ross that there have been at least 5 radiologist that have looked at Alan's previous scan and they have all said tumor. The reason they are saying this is b/c this new growth has blood vessels growing in it. If it was scar tissue, then it would not have a blood supply. Still, most of our Drs. just can't imagine it already growing back and the surgeon and urologist still say they got everything. No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. We also found out that during the surgery, they did have to remove the tumor in 2 sections b/c of it's size, and it looks to be where they had to detach it is where that "positive margin" area is and where the tumor is growing back. I have not looked at the scans to know for sure where it is growing back compared to the first tumor. I meant to ask to see them while we were with Dr. Ross, but I never did. This new growth is about 2cm in size.
Something else we found out was Alan's cancer is a Clear Cell Cancer. This is a more aggressive type of cancer, which also plays a factor in to why it could already be growing back and why we defiantly need to get started with treatment. Alan will also be taking an oral drug called Sutent. We are not sure if this will be with the radiation or after.
How is Alan doing you ask, he is doing pretty good and his spirits are good. He is still sore and actually seems to be alot more lately. I'm sure he is trying to do too much. He is putting on some weight, so that is good. He had a large knot come up where he had that PIC line in. Dr. Beck looked at it Thursday and said it was an infection, so he takes a strong antibiotic immediately (remember, no spleen!). We keep antibiotics with us at all times.
Please continue to pray for our family. These next 5 weeks or so and going to be difficult. I will not be able to be with Alan much and he will be away from his family. I still have to work when I can and need to be with our kids. It's still so hard to believe all of this and I know that there are so many of you have have gone through troublesome times such as this. I always tell myself it could be worse. It could be one of our kids, Alan could have cancer all over his body...there is always something. Heather, I look at Brady all of the time and can't imagine what all you guys have gone through. Man, what a fighter!! Again, I've probably forgotten some information, but my brain just does not work like it used to. I've been doing some crazy things lately!
We love you all and thank you for your prayers!!
God is Great!!
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Please remember our family Thursday. We will travel to LR Wednesday night for Dr. appts. Thursday morning. We really have no idea what Thursday holds for us, but hopefully will come home with good spirits and good news.
Love and Prayers to All!
2.25" Apple Green w/ 1.5" Apple Polka layered on top
2.25" Shocking Pink w/ 7/8" Polka Dot layered on top
1.5" Brown w/ White Polka Dot