Jake, Ben and I returned home this week after a trip back to Arkansas from July 3-13. We planned the trip before my mom knew about her chemo treatment dates so we didn’t get to spend as much time with her as expected, but fortunately for us we did get to spend some time with her the weekend before and after she returned home from CTCA.
Thank you all so much for your continued prayers for my mom and specifically for her first round of chemo treatment. So far she has tolerated the treatment very well with no nausea! What a blessing! We are truly thankful!
Here’s an e-mail update along with a few pictures sent out by my step-dad the day after they returned home from treatment.
E-mail update dated 7/12/09:
Dear Family & Friends,
We just got back from CTCA late yesterday afternoon. It was a busy week…filled with lots of oncology appointments, questions, prayers, tears, and a high-dose chemo treatment. As most of you know, Judy had originally planned on receiving only palliative care for her pancreatic cancer since it is inoperable. But, now after a number of consults and encouragement from CTCA staff she has decided to give both chemo and radiation a try. The staff made it quite clear that she can discontinue her treatments at any time if she so chooses. Without going into detail, I’ll just say that with the latest advances in equipment and techniques there at the Cancer Treatment Center, side effects are kept to a minimum. Not only have we heard that stated by the doctors, nurses, and technicians, but we have also heard those same encouraging comments coming from past and present patients. Our ultimate goal, of course, is to extend Judy’s life through healing.
Right now, we are scheduled to do preliminary PET and CT scans for radiation on July 27th. That one day at the hospital also includes making a vacuum-fitted mold for Judy… to insure the accuracy of the radiation beams. Then, on August 2nd we’ll drive back up to CTCA again to begin two months of treatment. It will begin with a surgical placement of a Port-a Cath just under the right collar bone. That will allow IV access for chemo infusions and prevent damage to the peripheral veins in the arms. We will be living there for that period of time as Judy will be receiving daily radiation, Monday through Friday, for eight weeks and concurrent IV chemotherapy, once a week, for 6 weeks. She will be treated on an outpatient basis.
Please pray that there will be no side effects, and that the good hand of God will heal my lovely wife through whatever means He chooses. We bless each of you for your continued earnest prayers.
Our love and prayers to you,
Addendum e-mail update dated 7/13/09:
Déjà Voux Family & Friends,
Last night after I had emailed the latest update I was pondering “everything” that had taken place in the last couple of months. Sometimes when things happen so quickly, we forget the most important things…or rather, people. I’m adding this addendum for that reason. In addition to all of you we love and express our deepest appreciation, I must also add Connie, my younger and only sibling, who has been a faithful prayer warrior for Judy and me from day one. She has spent time ministering to us both times we’ve been in Zion, traveling in from DeKalb, Il. It is quite a sacrifice for her to make the trip since she has pulmonary fibrosis and is on oxygen nearly 24/7. Thanks, Sis…we love you!
Also, I thought I’d add a few pics (of the many taken) for those who live quite a distance away or for those who have not seen Judy for awhile. Once again, we send our love and blessings to each of you!
1 – Judy at the XNA airport contemplating our first visit to CTCA.
2 – Our trip from O’Hare to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America via stretch limo, compliments of CTCA.
3 – Outside the Cancer Treatment Center in Zion, Il.
4 – Judy and Connie…enjoying an early breakfast at the motel. As you can see, Judy is quite jaundiced (yellow).
5 – Judy and Dr. Vashi, her gastroenterologist, discussing medications and treatment on our first visit to CTCA. This was taken before Dr. Vashi placed the biliary stent to relieve her jaundice and its symptoms.
6 – One of the RN’s starting an IV prior to the ERCP and stent placement.
7 – Judy and Dr. A., her oncologist, after discussing treatment options and talking about his relationship with Jesus. This was taken on our second visit to CTCA. It’s obvious by Judy’s skin color that Dr. Vashi did an excellent job of placing a temporary plastic stent.
8 – Judy is being comforted by Tammy, a Radiation Oncology nurse who had just explained the risks and benefits of radiation treatments.
9 – Judy is actually eating supper during her first chemo treatment last Thursday. Outside of extreme fatigue on Sunday after our arrival home, she has not experienced any other side effects from the treatment. That’s a real answer to prayer since it was 5X the dose she will be receiving in Aug/Sept.
In His hands,