Immuno-lull

A quiet week for us … relatively speaking. While the days & weeks without appointments or treatment are a welcome break in some ways, they also feel, as a friend of ours who is also in cancer treatment once mentioned on his blog, like a waste of time. What do you do? How do you “live with cancer” when you’re not busy dealing with it on a day-to-day basis? It’s a weird place to be some times, & requires a perspective shift a lot of the time.

So, since Darin & I both had a hot, sunny day off … we decided to be tourists in our own town 🙂 We enjoyed a fun ride up & down the Niagara river via Jet Boat Tours. Needless to say, because of the proper soaking we got, we have no pictures to share … but a warm, wet adventure it was!

Then Darin had the priveledge of being part of the musical team (he was on the keyboard) for a friend’s wedding on Friday. Thankfully he had the energy & stamina for it & was able to enjoy a fun time with great people.

He continues to have back & leg pain, & sadly came down with a nasty ear infection this week as well 😦 but other than that continues to be physically & mentally pretty OK. Ups & downs. Normal life. For that we are thankful. One week at a time.

 

The downs & the ups

Wicked Wednesday turned into Fun Friday 🙂

The follow-up visit with our medical oncologist provided us with reassurance that none of the spread of Darin’s cancer to other organs was unexpected (according to them) & was completely within normal limits for 3 months of time left untreated. Whew!? Some relief?! At least the treatment plan & the prognosis (whatever that is – only God knows) do in fact, remain the same. They too, hope for & expect minimum side effects with the Immunotherapy for now … & so far that has proven to be true. Some back & leg pain & fatigue, but that’s it … for now.

So … since we were all in Toronto already, on a beautiful, hot summer day … why not do something fun?!  Off to Canada’s Wonderland for us! For those that don’t know … we are a family of amusement park “junkies”, so Colin & his girlfriend were able to join us for part of the day … & a day it was. Several hours of thrills & spills 🙂  lots of fun was had by all. Capped off by our “thrill seeker” sons putting themselves in a human sling shot!! Enough to put a few more grey hairs on this mom’s head!!

What a great opportunity to forget about cancer for a while. Such a nice break, from an otherwise relentless situation of concern. While we’ve not been able to get away for a longer vacation this summer, which has been hard, we are learning to appreciate the short breaks we do get. Every day is a gift. We need to remember that.

Fun Friday led to a slower Saturday & a simple Sunday. Time to relax & just be.

Looking forward to 2 whole weeks without a trip to Toronto. Let it be so!

Thank you for journeying this roller coaster with us. God bless us every one.

FINALLY! Treatment #1! … But …

Sadly, it turned into yet another wicked Wednesday. What’s with the bad news always coming on Wednesdays?!?

While Darin’s early morning blood work & physical exam was fine & all was good to go for the Immunotherapy treatment, one last review in the clinical trial lab area brought very unexpected bad news. Again. WOW.

The CT scan from last week has revealed that while we’ve been waiting all this time for tests, scans & biopsies, this horrible disease in Darin’s body has spread. Ugghhh 😦  NOT AT ALL what we’d hoped for today. He now has small “spots” on his lungs, liver & under one arm pit. Wow. More bad news! How much more can we take?? 😦

The good news, however, was that as far as we know right now, the treatment plan remains the same … thankfully.

So the IV infusion went ahead, although somewhat delayed … & another appointment set for Friday to meet with our  medical oncologist to review the recent findings. Our cancer saga continues … with it’s MANY twists & turns. For tonight, we are discouraged for sure. BUT … so far Darin’s still physically OK. No real side effects yet … thankfully.

For all the kind words of encouragement via social media & modern technology today … we are thankful.

To God for His continued sovereignty & power over the waves of uncertainty in life … we are thankful.

 

 

We are almost there …

Well, after 2 different diagnoses, 2 different treatment plans, A LOT of tests & scans, & almost 3 months later(!), we are almost there … ready to start treating this thing that has invaded Darin’s body. He is ready. We are all ready. Cautiously optimistic & anxiously hopeful to just get on with it.

He is feeling pretty well these days, which is awesome & weird at the same time. Makes it easy to ignore & even forget that he has such a serious disease. He’s enjoying our backyard pool  & playing the piano most every day. As usual he did an amazing job on the keys in our church service again today 🙂 He will continue to work P/T at Columbia Sportswear as he is able. They have & continue to be very kind & understanding.

On one of our VERY early morning trips to Princess Margaret this past week, Darin & Dave had time to wait between appointments, & found a beautiful rooftop garden patio on the 16th floor of the hospital. What a great place to retreat to! Gives you an incredible view of the city & it’s many diverse people & neighbourhoods, & makes you thankful for so much.

So after one more biopsy tomorrow morning, the plan is to start Immunotherapy by IV infusion,  with a drug called Pembrolizumab on Wednesday morning. That will continue once every 3 weeks for a year. Bring it on! We’re hoping & praying for amazing results, few side effects & complete healing. We know ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE because God is on our side. He remains in control, & we trust in Him.

Thank you for journeying this long & winding road with us. We continue to feel suppported & encouraged by our family & friends. God bless you everyone.

So we wait …

For more results … & more tests. With only one MRI this past week, & many more appointments ahead of us next week, it feels like we are in limbo. That’s not a comfortable place to be when a loved one has a horrible, incurable disease. But while we wait, we live …

We enjoyed a couple of beautiful, hot summer days last weekend … making memories with family & friends. Colin & his girlfriend & Leah & her boyfriend each visited NOTL, giving us a chance to do normal family things. Spending quality time together … times we cherish now more than ever. So much to be thankful for. Each day is a gift.

This coming week will include more blood work, another CT scan, another MRI, another biopsy & the signing of the consent for the clinical trial for Immunotherapy at Princess Margaret … with plans for Darin’s first IV infusion on Wed. August 17th. Only God knows what our days will look like following that. We are hoping & praying for minimal side effects of the treatment. Time will tell …

While we wait, we hope … & trust … & remain faithful … to God & his almighty plan for us. We don’t understand & it’s not always easy, but “it is what it is” & worrying doesn’t change anything. Darin maintains that “the joy of the Lord is our strength” … & in that we believe. One day at a time …