Sunday, April 12, 2015

Ryan's Second-Line Chemo

As I pull up our van to pick Ryan up near the City of Hope fountain, he comes limping towards me with his head down. I start to worry a bit.

He sets his backpack into the front seat, barely able to lift it. Then he struggles to get into the seat.

By this point I'm concerned.

"How are you feeling?" I ask, trying to remain calm. "What's going on?"

Breathless, he says, "If this is how the chemo is going to be, I don't know how I'm going to handle it."

Then I see the smile playing on his lips.

That stinker was pretending!!!

It's only the second time he's gotten me all worked up for nothing in the past three years, but it definitely worked.

He was just a bit drowsy from the Benedryl they have to give him. But other than that, he felt pretty good.

After few side effects that deviated from the ones with his 5-FU, we breathed a sigh of relief this weekend. It feels like we can manage to handle this line of treatment, too. Praise God!

We're hopeful that it's effective and that he can even get off the Taxol if everything goes well in a few months, as his doctor suggested.

But we must wait and see.

Please join us in praying that as the Taxol and Cyrazma build up in his system, Ryan can continue to work close to full time and enjoy his life, as he has in the past. Please continue to pray for that miracle - that God heals him of his Cancer completely!

Thanks, prayer warriors! We love you!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Ryan Update - 4/2/15

On Good Friday, 2,000 years was seemingly the worst day in history.

Jesus died on the cross that day. And to everyone, including His disciples who scattered and grieved, it seemed like defeat.

The day before Good Friday this year, April 2nd, seemed to be one of the worst days in Ryan's Cancer journey.

He will need to have a stent surgically placed to hopefully help improve his kidney function and decrease his pain.

That was the better news of the day. But we weren't happy about it because it means multiple and frequent surgeries for this issue that may or may not work.

His scan on 4/1/15 showed noteworthy tumor growth, especially around the lymph nodes near his left kidney. 

This growth means that Ryan's primary chemo stopped working. Apparently his cancer, an aggressive adenocarcinoma, has been growing for a while now.

The doctor will put him on a recently FDA approved second-line treatment  - Taxol and Cyrazma. 

Ryan also has high blood pressure, probably due to his kidney not functioning properly and the effects of his other chemo. Recently they put Ryan on high blood pressure medicine. It's not been effective so far, so in order to allow Ryan to start the Cyrazma, they must get his blood pressure under control. Until that point, they won't give it to him because of the risk of stroke. But the Taxol is more effective when used in conjuction with the Cyrazma.

Some of the not so fun side effects of these drugs -- total hair loss, high blood pressure, and pretty decent peripheral neuropathy. He used to have a drug at the beginning of this journey that caused this. He's regained so much ground and now we're back to square one. We didn't ask about mouth sores but tiredness is always a given.

I think the worst part of all this change is that second-line treatments are notorious for not being effective. That's disturbing in a big way. 

We are praying for more time.

The other worst part (if there can be two) is the fact that he will have to get chemo infusions weekly at the hospital, every three weeks on and the fourth week off. We aren't sure what this will mean in terms of work schedule, but losing that much "free" time has brought both of us low.

They reiterated the fact that they weren't there to cure Ryan's cancer, just manage it.

With all that said, I think back to the disciples and how they must have felt on Good Friday a little over 2,000 years ago today. Yet, when we fast forward three days in history, when Jesus rose from the dead, they realized that Good Friday, was indeed good because Jesus paid for our sins IN FULL that day. 

That's why Easter is the best day that ever happened to any of us!!!

Nothing about cancer is good, but we serve a good God who overcame death so that we can have eternal life with Him when it's our time to die. We have hope in God because we know He has our days numbered and He will be with all of us, no matter what happens during Ryan's Cancer journey.

Please join us in praying for Ryan right now. And our family in general. The big, scary unknowns of the future are looming large and we would like to feel some peace in the middle of this storm.

The biggest thing you can do is pray for us. Thanks, prayer warriors. We love you.