Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Remember when I said...

"And we know how things can change", well, things have changed for Alan's treatment. As of today, he is not going to be doing the radiation. After a little more researching and council consulting and b/c of a few recent test results, it is not going to be in Alan's best interest to do the radiation.

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

Alan's Treatment Starts Today

Today is the first day of Alan's Radiation Treatment in Little Rock. Nothing has changed as for the treatment duration. It will still be 5 days a week for 5 weeks. Unless Alan is not feeling good, then he should be home every weekend. I am in Crossett this week for many different reasons, so Alan's dad and my dad are splitting the week to stay with Alan in Little Rock. I will be staying with Alan next week. It was soooo hard to say goodbye to him yesterday evening and watch him drive off. I feel guilty for not being with him this week, but unfortunately, there is only one of me. I pray that this treatment helps Alan more than hurts him. Hopefully he will not have any side effects from this, but of course it is possible. He will start an oral drug called Sutent after his radiation treatment. That too can cause side effects, so again, we will just have to wait and see. Please remember our whole family during these weeks. It's going to being difficult emotionally and physically, but not spiritually b/c our Lord will get us through this and we believe and trust in him.

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

When it rains, it pours!

I must have one of the most depressing blogs to read!

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

Fall is for...

weenie/ marshmallow roasts and camp fires! This past Saturday Alan's parents had the church youth out to their house for some roasting. We took Sydney and Carson out a little early to have our own fun before the "big" kids arrived on the hayride. We roasted a few weenies and made S'mores. It was fun and relaxing, O...except for the part when Carson wanted to hop from one log to the next...the whole time! We took turns with that. We were still there when the youth arrived on the hayride and Sydney was totally eating it up! She got to hang out with the big kids for a little while.

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

The PET Scan is in!

Alan got a call from Dr. Ross today with the PET scan results. She said that the PET scan looked really good and that there is no "definite" tumor. This does not mean they are ruling out tumor, but it does mean that there is a less likely chance that it is tumor. This also means that they will not have to shoot Alan with a real strong radiation which is wonderful!!

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

Alan's Update!

Get ready....it's a long one!

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

A Few Hair Bows!

I'm changing directions from my recent posts. We have had about a weeks break from Dr. appts. with Alan, so I thought I would share some recent hair bows. These 3 bows are special order bows made for someone, but I thought I would post pictures of them. Yes, I continue the hair bow business and still sell them at Carlynne's. I've got a new Crossett Eagles embroidery bow in the works and another new bow I'm going to start doing. Hopefully I will find time soon to post these pictures. I'm planning on taking a new stock of hair bows to Carlynne's tomorrow.

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

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

No Treatment Yet!

I know that many of you know, and many of you don't know that Monday, Oct 6th, Alan was told to come to Little Rock and he would be starting radiation. This would be 5 days a week for the next 3-8 weeks. We did not find this information out until Monday morning, so I worked most of the day to get caught up on some things, we get the kids situated and off we go to LR for what we think will be a weeks stay and radiation therapy.

We met with Dr. Ross this morning (Radiation Oncologist). This was a very interesting visit with her. She had a lot to tell us and I'm sure Alan and I looked like a deer in headlights after she was through talking. Basically, the Radiation Oncologist, Urologist, and Oncologist all believe that this spot growing back could be just scar tissue (which we all hope), but the Radiologist that read the scans and did the report believes that it is the tumor growing back. There is no way to be 100% sure w/o doing a biopsy. They do not want to do a biopsy b/c it is so deep inside of Alan and there is the risk for it to spread if it is a cancerous tumor growing back. Before we met with Dr. Ross this morning, the three Doctors had a "Pow Wow" about Alan's case, which was nice to know that they are all working together to do what is best for Alan. Basically what Dr. Ross told us was she wants to take Alan's case to a council of Drs. and get some more opinions, which we think is a great idea. She went through the possible side effects and apparently b/c of where the radiation will be directly pointed, there are possible side effects with many of Alan's organs, again, just go with me here b/c it has been a long day and I hope I'm explaining everything correctly. Anyway, they don't want to do radiation if they do not have to, but they want to make sure that they kill it if it is cancer. Also, she said that if it is scar tissue it will start to shrink, but if it is a tumor, it will continue to grow. They are going to do another scan in about a month and see if it is growing or shrinking. What we are not sure of is if they are going to start the radiation before the scans. One point Dr. Ross did make, in a quick way, was if it is a tumor, then it is growing too fast for the radiation to have any effect on it....again, hopefully it is not a tumor. We go back Thursday, October 16th to meet with Dr. Ross (Radiation Oncologist) and Dr. Beck (Oncologist) and after that visit, we should know more about Alan's treatment plan.

WOW, that was alot!!

SO, that's basically it for now! That was alot and I'm not even sure if I mentioned everything. Are you wondering if Alan will be doing radiation after all of that information...more than likely yes, he will still do it. After Dr. Ross's long spill, that was pretty much her recommendation at the end even though they can't tell for sure if it is tumor or scar tissue. Yep, you would think after so much research that they would be able to tell.

If anyone has any knowledge about situations similar to this, please fill us in on what you know. We would really like to hear your story!

Thanks to all and we love you!!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Alan's Recent Dr. Appts...Not the Best of News!

Dr. Beck (Oncologist)

Alan and I visited with Dr. Beck Wednesday. The conversation started out with how Alan had been feeling since he got home. (I know I didn't really update on how Alan was doing when we got home, but he was hurting pretty bad for the first few days). Anyway, Alan was doing well and feeling pretty good, just still weak from loosing so much weight. I guess since this past Tuesday, Alan has been able to tolerate pretty much any type of food, so that has been good. Then the conversation went in to the type of therapy Dr. Beck wanted to put Alan on. Apparently there are not many meds for this type of cancer (1) b/c of Alan's age and he still has a long life to live and a family to raise, and (2) b/c the cancer had not spread all over his abdomen. Dr. Beck wanted to research some different meds for Alan. Next he wanted Alan to do a MRI of his brain and a CT of his chest, pelvis and abdomen. We were able to fit the MRI in Wednesday and the CT b/t appts on Thursday. So basically when we left Dr. Beck, we were still not sure what kind of treatment Alan will be doing, but we were to come back in about a week to talk about it more. Off to do the MRI we go.
Dr. Mooney (Urologist)
We had a great visit with Dr. Mooney Thursday morning. Basically just a check up. He felt good about Alan's progress since he had left the hospital and his incision was healing great. We also let him know that Dr. Beck had ordered the MRI and the CT. He was glad to know that was already being done. We got out of Dr. Mooney's office around 10am and Alan could not eat anything two hours before the CT which was scheduled for 12:00, so we went to a neat place and I took a few pictures of Alan. No, he was not excited about his photo shoot, lol.

After a few hours and no lunch, we are off to do the CT. We got that finished up and headed to see:

Dr. Pollock (the surgeon)

Basically the appt. with Dr. Pollock was just a check up to see how Alan was doing and he was doing pretty good, so that was also a short appt.

The Not So Great News!

So, we go and grab a late lunch at Buffalo Grill (the best hamburgers in Little Rock, not even kidding!) and then we head back to our home away from home to start to load up. Alan gets a call from Dr. Mooney and he said there was something abnormal looking on the CT scan around where the renal vein was that they removed. Dr. Mooney was thinking maybe it was a blood clot or an aneurysm. He said he could not imagine that it was a tumor growing back already. He wanted Alan to have an MRA done which is a test that checks the blood vessels, but we could not have it done until 3:15 Friday. Apparently they do not do these test until the afternoon. So, we stayed in LR on more night for this test. After the test was complete, we waited in the waiting room about 45 minutes waiting for the ladies up front to tell us we can leave, but that didn't happen. Instead the radiologist came out and when he did Alan and I both said at the same time "O NO". When "the man" comes out to talk to you, it can't be good news. So he pulls us to the side and says that it is defiantly not a blood clot or an aneurysm and that Dr. Mooney said we can go home and we just need to get in touch with Dr. Beck Monday. Nope, not a good enough answer! So, of course, we just point blank ask him, "Is the tumor growing back?" He beats around the bush a little and says" Yes, that's what it looks like." We were heartbroken and could not believe what we were hearing. Alan just had surgery 3 weeks ago and it is already growing back. Everyone felt so confident about Alan's surgery, but you just never know. Those cells are microscopic and you just can't tell if you get everything. We have no idea what is in store for next week. Alan will talk with Dr. Beck Monday and we will go from there. He might have to do a stronger form of therapy like chemo or radiation.

Remember us in your prayers. I just still can't believe this is happening to our family and to Alan. Thank you to everyone for the calls, the meals. I can't even tell you how much it means to us. O yeah, Alan is back at home with me and the kids. We are so excited that daddy is back with us.