Monday, July 27, 2009

The Last Treatment!

Alan had his last radiation treatment today! Everything went great and the Dr. was very pleased when Alan told him he could tell the pain has let up in his back. Dr. Tae told Alan that is a good sign that the radiation is working and hopefully we will not have to do surgery. The surgery is just so risky, so we are praying that it does not come to that.

We will still come back to Houston next Sunday and Alan will have scans Monday and our normal Dr. Amato visit. Dr. Tae did say today that we might not be able to see the full change of the tumor from the scans on Monday, but when Alan has his next scans (about a month from the 3rd), we should have a good indication of how much it has changed. We will see Dr. Tae then also. Still not sure what to expect on the 3rd. We are hoping that Alan will start his new chemo treatment then. I'm calling it his own personal "cocktail". It will be a mixture of chemo drugs just for Alan.

We will be heading home tomorrow. My dad joined us on this trip, so he and I are sharing the driving. We are going to meet up with Jeff and Lisa Woods this evening for dinner. Jeff is down here meeting a Dr. at MD Anderson. We are praying they find out something for Jeff's tumors. I know they are a little overwhelmed in the big city.

Anyway, just wanted to give everyone an update and just ask that you continue to pray for Alan. We are both ready to be home with our kids and get Sydney ready to start 1st grade...WOW!!! Anyway, that's a whole other post.
Love and Prayers to you all!

Friday, July 24, 2009

We Are HOME!!

Ok, I'm not really going to be long with this, but I just wanted to let everyone know we made it home safe and it was a wonderful reunion with your kids and family! It's such a weird feeling coming home when you've been gone for so long. It's been two weeks, but it feels like so much longer than that. Sydney looked like she had grown a foot, Carson is saying so many new words, and Jet (the puppy) grew a foot....really, I think this dog grew like two feet. He's huge! Anyway, we will really only be home around 43 hours before we have to go right back. Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Please just continue to pray for Alan. I don't even know what else to say or ask for except for prayers. Prayers for healing, travel and strength!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wednesday's Treatment

I don't have much to report today. Alan seems to be feeling ok today. Yesterday, he kind of had that "floaty" feeling from the treatment Monday, so we'll see how he feels tomorrow. We will be heading home Friday after his Friday morning treatment, so this will probably be my last update for a few days. We will be heading back to Houston either Sunday afternoon or early Monday to get to Houston for the 3:00 appointment Monday on the 27th. Looks like we will be coming back home Tuesday. I found out this morning that Alan will have to be back in Houston August 3rd for his scans and etc. So, I guess we will see what the radiation has done. I've had people tell me you won't be able to see much results for a month or so and some have said the tumor(s) were larger, but that is normal, so we don't know what to expect! Anyway, hope you all have a great week and wonderful weekend. Sydney has already informed us that after church Sunday we are eating at Johnny's Pizza! Fine with me. I'm ready for some Johnny's. Thank you all again for everything...the love, the prayers, the's wonderful. We couldn't ask for a better support group.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday's Treatment

I'm drawing a blank on what to title my post...Houston, Houston Update, Treatment # today is Monday's Treatment!

Actually, I'm going to go back to this past Saturday. Alan and I headed to Katy, TX to check out the Bass Pro Shop and the VERY LARGE outlet heaven! It's about 20 minutes west of Houston. The trip there was crazy. I ended up on the toll road (thanks to the GPS) and was freaking out about it, but after a $1.50 later, we made it. (Later I found out I didn't have to take the toll road) We got to the mall and Alan started feeling a little light headed and just not so great. We ended up getting a bite to eat, thinking that would help, but he still did not feel too well. We headed back to the Bass Pro Shop and walked around a little and of course picked the kids up something and came back home. It could have been the radiation or he might have been having a little anxiety from everything going on. Anyway, we came home and just took it easy the rest of the day. Sunday, he felt much better and we went to the movies and watched "The Proposal"...great/funny movie. It was good to laugh.

Monday....Neither Alan or I slept very well last night. I think we were just worried about today. We were excited that our preacher, Bro. Eric, was going to be here with us for the day though. He came over from Lake Charles and got here in time to go with us to the appt. We were at the Dr. today for about 2 hours. Alan got his treatment and then we had to meet with the Radiologist Oncologist and then the Neurosurgeon. Alan has a team of about 6 people...Radiologist Oncologist, Neurosurgeon, Physicist, Radiation Therapist and the nurse. After talking to the neurosurgeon, we learned that the tumor is in Alan's spinal canal. He is saying that it appears to not be in the spine. Apparently the spinal canal is at the base of the spine and that is where the tumor is and attached to the 2 or 3 vertebrae and pressing against the spine. Apparently it is also in some nerves. This would be so much easier to explain if I had pictures or was extremely knowledgeable in this area, but I'm, just go with me here. The neurosurgeon also talked about Alan having surgery if the radiation does not do what we need it to do. He said the surgery is very hard....alot of bleeding, the possibility of not getting all of the tumor b/c of location and it is a very hard recovery, so we will continue to pray that the radiation gets it. I am not 100% sure about this, but the Dr. today said that since Alan is getting the high dose, then we should be able to see results about a week after treatment.

I guess that is it at the moment. We are trying to stay positive, it's hard at times, but we know we serve an amazing God and there is a reason for all of this. We know there is....we'll figure it out. We love you all and I'll update as things change or we find out new information. Please just continue to send us your prayers and please say extra prayers for Alan and just give him the strength to get through this....emotional strength, physical strength. I pray that Alan will soon have some relief from his back pain and will once again feel normal.

We Love You All and thank you for everything!

Friday, July 17, 2009

1 Treatment Down!

Alan had his first radiation treatment today. We left the hospital around 1:30. Everything seemed to go well, so we will just continue to pray that this shrinks the tumors and gives Alan some kind of relief from the pain in his back too. Alan is doing well and feeling as well as he normally does. We have taken it pretty easy this afternoon. We went to the grocery store and got a few groceries so we don't have to eat out all of the time. It is so nice to be able to stay at a house especially while having to be down here so long. It is a wonderful blessing! I'm not sure what our plans are for the weekend. Maybe we will catch a movie or visit the Bass Pro Shop. I'm sure that will make Alan happy...:-). There is plenty to do, it's just getting there. Houston is the 4th largest city, so I'm pretty proud of myself for getting us around. Thank goodness for the GPS too!!

Update on my is not staph, so it is the spider bite. Obviously I have not seen it in a week, but the update is it's not looking too pretty. The good news is that it is not staph, so she will be able to be around the kids more. Sydney has been at her summer babysitters most of the week and Carson has been at Wee School, so my parents and Alan's get a break here and there.

We just continue to pray for Alan's healing and hopefully we are on the right path with the radiation. A good friend, Felicia Toler, left this on my facebook page today and I loved this verse, so I want to share it with all of you:

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him." James 1: 2-4, 12

Alan has been so strong through all of this. Yes, it's hard...some times are harder than others and people tell Alan all of the time that they do not think they could be as strong as he has been. Alan tells them, that yes, you would be...look at your children....your family. You will put up a strong fight so you can see your children and be with them. Only God knows your plan. Regardless of what it is, we will still put up the fight and we will preserver.

Thank You All!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Finally...A Plan!

Alan finally got the call today around 3pm from the therapist that will be giving him his radiation. I guess around 1:00 today I started making phone calls trying to see if they had Alan's plan mapped out yet and this person told me to call that person and that person told me to call this person. It was crazy. One person told us it can take up to a week to get a plan worked up and that really upset us. Our Dr. and our nurse both told us Alan would have his first treatment this week, so we were both confused after that conversation, I mean, we want them to take as long as they need to, but when you are told by the Dr. you will start "this week", then that is the plan....right!! Anyway, I finally got in touch with Dr. Tae's nurse and about an hour later, we are scheduled. I really think they were still just working on the plan. Anyway, here is the schedule:
1st treatment, tomorrow at 11:30 am
2nd treatment, Monday @ 11 am
3rd treatment, Wednesday @ 11 am
4th treatment, Friday @ 8am
5th treatment, Monday @ 3pm

We will be in Houston through the weekend and all next week. We kicked around the idea of the kids coming, but we think it might be best if they just stay in AR. We plan to come home next Friday after Alan's treatment and will be home for the weekend and then will probably get up early Monday morning and drive down for his treatment. We are not sure how many days we will be here that last week. I'm sure Alan will have more scans and we will see Dr. Amato again.

Please, just pray, pray, pray that this works!!! It's just really hard right now. Is this a BAD dream, b/c I'm ready to wake up please! Our faith is still strong, but regardless, it's just hard. I'm not going to lie, Alan has had a tough time dealing with this news. I try to be strong for him and if you know me well, then you know I'm hard headed and not the most emotional person and I will have my moment of weakness, but right now, I want to and need to be strong for Alan. I can do that. It's in my blood!! ;-)

I want to mention a wonderful person by the name of Hannah Sullivan. This sweet child lost her battle with brain cancer not too long ago. I was and still am so inspired by her story. She was a blessing in so many ways. I can't imagine being so young and going through what she went through and still having the most amazing faith in God. Her mom Jill left a comment on my last post and I recommend that if you get a chance, check our her blog ( I have not had a chance to look at it yet (next on my list), but I'm sure it's wonderful and inspiring. They are a great family, although I've never met them, I can just tell. Wait, I take that back, Hannah's father was my Vice Principal when I was in High School. It's so strange how paths can cross again. Please remember this family in your prayers as well.

Anyway, God Bless and we love and thank you all for everything. Just lots of prayers.
I'll update hopefully tomorrow on the first treatment.

Still Waiting!

We are still waiting to hear when Alan is going to start his Radiation treatment. We never heard from the Dr. yesterday and I have already put a call in this morning. Hopefully we can get this going today. If Alan does start today and does not have treatment again until next Monday, we are probably going to come home for the weekend. We have also talked about the kids and family coming down here to stay, so that is still up in the air. There are so many things to do in Houston and the beach is just down the road, although I'm not sure how it looks since last years hurricanes. Anyway, so many things still up in the air. Just wanted to give everyone a quick update on our waiting game.

Also, a few other things:
Alan's Oncologist is with Memorial Hermann (located in the Medical Center), his Radiology Oncologist is with Methodist which is just across the street from MH. I know many people think we are at MD Anderson and I completely understand the thinking in that since MD is what you think of when you think Houston. Actually, our Dr. was at MD many years ago, but now he is the Director for the Memorial Hermann Oncology Department....yes, he's the man! They are building a new Oncology Dept. as we speak and it is huge! Can't wait to find my way around there.

One thing I forgot to mention and this is a little scary, but unbelievable at the same time. Alan's Rad. Oncologist told us the other day that if this was 6 years ago, then they would have told Alan to go home that there would be nothing else for them to do. I can't believe that....just 6 years ago. That's crazy to me. Thank goodness for good research and good Drs.

Hope you all have a wonderful day!
Love and Prayers!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Houston Update!!

I know many of you already know the difficult situation we have been faced with and many of you are waiting to hear, so here is the new situation.

Monday, Alan had his scans in Houston. Many of you know that Alan has been in a great deal of pain with his back for about 3 months now. I have mentioned it many times in my post, but Monday we found the exact cause of the problem. Alan has a tumor growing into two vertebrae and the cancer is eating away the bone in his vertebrae. The tumor/cancer area is about the size of a 50 cent piece...very large. It was like you could see the teeth marks where the cancer was literally eating away the bone. It was awful to witness and see this. Comparing Alan last scans from about two months ago, you really would have never guessed the cancer was growing in this area. Dr. Amato said he would had called it a shadow and checked it again in the next scans, which obviously he did and that's what he found. We couldn't believe what we were hearing. The tumor is pushing into Alan's spine and if this is not taken care of ASAP, he could loose all bodily function in the lower part of his body. Extremely hard words to hear. The areas in Alan's lungs have not changed at all, which was ok with Dr. Amato b/c that would be another big issue we would be facing besides the places on the spine. As soon as we gave Amato the word, this is the plan:

Alan is going to start Sterotactic Radiation hopefully today or tomorrow in Houston. He will have 5 treatments directly to these cancer spots. This is a very precise radiation and very high dose. At this moment, we are waiting to hear if he will start the treatment today or tomorrow. We were at the Dr. office from 1-5 yesterday afternoon, very long day....thanks to insurance mostly...ughhhh! Anyway, Alan has been fitted for his brace, so we are just waiting to see when he starts. We should be in Houston around 10 or so days. Thankfully, my aunt has a very good friend that lives in Houston in a very nice house and we are staying with her. She lives only about 5 minutes or so from the Medical Center. Mrs. Joan's husband died many years ago from fighting cancer, so she has been in our shoes and has graciously opened her house to us.

A little info about the radiation, Dr. Tae will be Alan's Radiology Oncologist. He is pretty much the pioneer with this type of treatment. They have been doing it for about 5 years and have treated over 400 patients with an 85% success rate, so that was good to hear and he was very nice. He works very closly with Dr. Amato. Dr. Amato called him personally when we told him we would be doing the treatment in Houston. We have all heard that radiation does not do anything for Kidney Cancer and that might still be true somewhat, but with this type of radiation, they are finding different results with RCC. Again, this is why we are in Houston b/c we want the best, although it is EXTREMELY hard to be away from our wonderful and supportive family and friends. We are really missing our kids at the moment. Depending on Alan's schedule, we might try and make it home for the weekend. Just depends on how he is feeling too.

At the moment, Alan is not on any chemo. Obviously, the Afinitor did not work along with the Sutent. After the radiation, Alan will get back with Dr. Amato, and Amato will be doing some experimenting with Alan's tumor block. He will be combining different meds. to hopefully see what will react to Alan's tumor and get rid of this freakin cancer!!

I know I have jumped around on this post, but I'm just typing as things are coming to my mind. I didn't take very good notes this time in my little pink notebook, but I was in shock and just trying to take everything in. I told my mom I had a bad feeling about this trip and I was right. Has not been a good trip. They best part was I had to get some new clothes b/c we only packed enough for 2 nights, lol! Luckily, staying at Ms. Joan's, we can wash clothes!

I can't thank everyone enough for your prayers, calls, texts. I've had so many comments on facebook and hopefully I will update my status next. We LOVE you all dearly and I will update as I can. I'm using Ms. Joan's laptop. Thanks again for everything and also a quick update on my mom and dad. My dad is recovering well from his surgery and my mom...well, now they are thinking she might have staph infection instead of the spider bite. They won't find out until Friday.

Our new bible verse, John 11:4.

I'm sure I've forgotten some info, and I'll post again later!

Love and Prayers,

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Houston and Prayers!

So, July 13th is fast approaching. This will be Alan's first scans in about two months. I can't believe it's been that long. We are very anxious about this trip and praying that we see/hear grand results with the Afinitor. We are also praying for good results with his Pulmonary Function Test and his cholesterol test. He will also have these test done Monday after his scans. All I can say is this is a big day and PLEASE remember us in your prayers!! Alan is still dealing with many side effects the main ones being fatigue and the mouth sores. He is also still having MAJOR issues with his back. It's like when it rains it pours! I think mentally, we are exhausted from always worrying about something else hurting and why is that "certain spot" hurting or why didn't the Sutent work, is the Afinitor going to work, and so on, and so on! And then when you think about it, August 31st will be a year since we started this and that makes it even harder to think about everything. I remember that day so vividly. Why can't Alan be the one to just take the meds and that's it. Scan here and there and everything is clear. I'm praying and waiting for that day. I know I shouldn't ask "why", but it am....sue me. It's in Gods hands...I know that and that is why I have some type of peace with this.

I have a few other prayer request:

#1 My Dad!
My dad will be having a spot cut off his shoulder Monday. Yes, it is Melanoma. This is not the first time that he has had to have this done, but it's still skin cancer and scary!
#2 My Mom!
This week while my mom was helping my granddad clean up around his shop, she was bit by a brown recluse spider. I know...not good. Anyway, luckily she got to the Dr. pretty quick about it and he got her on some pretty strong meds. She has to keep her arm in a sling and not do much activity. As far as we know, my grandad was not bit.
#3 Jeff Woods
Jeff has been battling a certain type of brain tumor for about 10 years now. After many ups and downs with this battle, the tumors are now showing up in his liver. Jeff and Lisa will be traveling to MD Anderson in Houston to meet a new Dr. and hopefully give Jeff some other options to make these nasty tumors go away for good! Too bad we can't get appointment times together and all travel together! Jeff and Alan have been friends for a long time. We pray they find the right answer!

I know there are many others out there that need prayers, so just pray for anyone that comes to your mind, but at this moment, these are the ones that have come to mine! We will be getting back late Monday and hopefully I'll update my blog Tuesday with our news! If you're in my address book, be looking for the usual text, :-)!!
Love and prayers to you all!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

"Tee Tee In The Potty"

That is the song we sing when we start the....dun, dun, dun...dreaded days of potty training! Yes, it has begun. Carson is potty training. He has been ready for a while, but I'M the one that has been putting it off. I just wasn't ready, but it's time. So, we started Sunday and I think he peed in the potty like 5 times in one hour, lol. He loved it when we all danced in a circle and sang "Tee Tee In The Potty!" and of course he got two smarties after each time. Sydney was like "How many times do we have to sing this song!" I said, "as many as it takes!" So of course we let him run around the house without a diaper. During that time, he peed on the Wack A Mole game, on his couch in his room and on the rug in the living room. I thought to myself, "O yeah, now I remember why I hate potty training so much!" Yesterday when I got home from work, we stripped him down and let him go. He did tee tee in the potty once and then did a #2 on the blanket in living room. I was thinking.."Come On!!, you've got to be kidding me!!" Alan cleaned that up and I cleaned Carson up and it was time for a bath...for the kid and the blanket, lol. He tee tee'd one more time before bed. He likes to stand's very interesting..:-)! So anyway, wish us luck and if you have any suggestion for potty training a little boy, PLEASE pass them on!!

BTW, the picture I posted with this is not what we are training him with. I just think these urinals are the funniest thing, but who knows, I might resort to this. Anyway, it was a good laugh.