Some of you will understand why keeping up with this blog has been … difficult. It just seems way down on the list of things to deal with. In some ways we just don’t care about it. We marshal our resources and try to keep our heads above water dealing with the day to day. Writing info for a blog takes time, energy, and is a constant reminder of your situation. Elaine likens cancer to a box on the top shelf of a closet. You know it is there and you can’t throw it away, but you try to ignore it until you have to take it down off the shelf and deal with what’s inside – then put it away again. So please bear with our infrequent postings.
Lowell finished chemo at the end of August 2010 and did fairly well with it all (all things considered) – except for the lasting neuropathy from one of the chemo drugs. We were told that most patient’s neuropathy gets better when they stop chemo, but it is now March 31, 2011 and Lowell still suffers from it. That is the bad news. The good news is that Lowell has been off of chemotherapy for seven months now and his scans haven’t shown any real tumor growth, although we know abdominal scans aren’t perfect. But just in the last two months his CEA tests (blood tests that measure protein growth associated with gastrointestinal tumors) have more than doubled. We just read online that CEA tests may be artificially elevated from arthritis inflammation and ulcers, so we are hoping that is the reason for the sudden increase, since Lowell does suffer from arthritis. Even with that growth his doctor feels Lowell doesn’t need to start chemo again for at least another month or two. They will continue to check his blood every month, but even a month or two longer without chemo is great news.
Lowell has been experiencing some pain in his stomach, which has been of some concern. We don’t know if it is related to the cancer or something else altogether (like gastritis or ulcers, etc.). It is hard to know what to think, so we are taking it day to day and paying close attention to what foods seem to cause him more pain – or which make him feel better. When you take as much medication as he has to take, it makes sense that the stomach wouldn’t be happy with all of it.
The doctor who first saw something wrong with Lowell last January and ordered the scan that showed an enlarged appendix, saw Lowell again this January. When the doctor walked into the room he broke out in a big smile. He told us that he had been afraid to see how Lowell would look after a year, but when he saw Lowell he was optimistic and thought he looked great. He said, “You don’t realize how much better you look than the patients I usually see with this aggressive cancer.” Lowell does look great and you wouldn’t really know to look at him that he is suffering with this terrible disease.
We are mindful of the many prayers in Lowell’s behalf - and we know they help. Praying for grandpa has become such a part of our grandchildren’s daily prayers that when our little three-year-old granddaughter was recently asked to give a prayer in Primary Sunday School, she included her grandpa in the prayer. We know that this is in the Lord’s hands and He can heal Lowell - or not. We have faith in Jesus Christ and in His love for us. He knows our situation and needs and we trust in Him. Thank you for your continued faith and prayers in Lowell’s behalf. We can’t thank you enough.