Monday, March 22, 2010


Thursday Travis goes in for his 88th treatment.
It's a big number.
88 awful Thursdays.

We just hate Thursdays around here. If I could tell them where to go, I would.

Being Kidney Cancer Awareness Month, I've had it on my mind even more then usual. I've been checking the KCA page on Facebook daily, and am in complete awe of how many people this disease has affected, and how many lives it has changed.

It has most certainly changed ours.

Bear with me while I answer a few ?'s.

These ones are from my mom. I love my mom and am grateful for her feeding us whatever Trav is craving on Thursdays. She's good people.

Why does Travis act so healthy and happy, when I know he never feels good?

I'm not really sure how to answer that question. Travis most definitely doesn't tell people when he's not feeling well, and half the time he doesn't even tell me. I think Trav doesn't like the fuss of people worrying about him. And I think that if you let the cancer seep into every part of your life, it wins. So he pretends he feels good all the time, and life feels a little more normal because of it.

How do you both stay so strong and have so much faith and strength? How do you manage to do so much service for others when you are going through so much yourselves? What can we as a family do to support you more?

Mom, how do you expect me to answer these??

1) We aren't really that strong, and at moments you could call us flat out wusses. And I think we don't have near enough faith and strength.
2)We don't do near enough service, and feel like we could spend a lifetime trying to payback those who have shown us what service really is. We are very well taken care of and have some pretty amazing people on our side!
3)You could buy me lots of clothes. That would really help me out. :)
Really though, we have everything we need, and are thankful for all our family does for us!

Why hasn't Travis lost his hair?

Travis is currently on a chemo/immunotherepy drug called Torisel. It is injected just like a normal chemo through a port, but luckily the side affects don't include him losing his hair. We are pretty grateful for that.

How does Travis still work?

Trav's gets his treatments on Thursdays, and that is usually the hardest day but by Friday he isn't near as tired, but has some chest pains and headaches. He is lucky enough to have a job where he can work in his own area and enjoy the quiet. They treat him pretty good there and can tell when he isn't feeling his best and just leave him alone. I'm always pretty amazed at what a hard worker he is, and am so thankful that that is yet another thing he does for our family.

How exactly does a treatment go?

We just love the cancer center in Logan where Trav gets his treatments. Because he has been going there for so long, he knows the Doc. and the nurses pretty well. They know that he has left work to be there, and they do their best to get him in and out as quickly as possible.

He has a port in his chest that they hook the IV up to. He first gets a bag of benedryl. (This combined with the medicine makes him exhausted)! Once that is all dripped out, he gets his Drug injected. Usually he's there for about 2 hours. The Chemo room is a pretty big room there with 10-12 beds in it, and people hooked up to each one. (And most the time they are much older then him). Sometimes he listens to them and chats with them, but most of the time the benedryl kicks in and he just sleeps through it all.

Thursdays are most definitely the hardest day of the week. He comes home exhausted from the drug treatment and the benedryl. Usually his mouth is really swollen, and he gets pretty bad headaches, chest aches, with the occasional stomach pains.

I'd say for Travis the side effects are awful, but so is going to the cancer center weekly. He hates seeing so many sick people in one room, and some of them just look worse every week. As much as he loves the staff there, it's still a really depressing this to see week after week.

And for me it's hard to send him there knowing that for most people they have an allotted amount of treatments and then they are done, but for Trav, they are endless. He just gets to go for as long as they are working. (Which I pray is a long time!)

What do you need most right now?

Again, we really have all we need, but thanks again to the so many of you who are always doing such wonderful things for us. We are so blessed.

What is the hardest part?

That is a very loaded question, and I can think of like 30 answers right off the bat. In all honesty, it's all hard. (And forgive me if the whining really starts here).

Facing stage 4 cancer, with pretty awful statistics, makes your future pretty unsure. When we were first married we'd make plans for things we'd want to do "in 10 years" or "someday", and it's really, very hard to not be able to do that anymore. We feel a sense of urgency, like we need to fit our whole lifetime in right away. And it's just not possible to do that, but it's also really hard to stop trying.

(Am I making sense here?)

We've had to really think of things that I don't think any couple should have to do for many years to come. Talk about things that we just shouldn't have to talk about yet. And it just plain sucks.

So I guess the answer is really just the unknown of it all is the hardest part. But I'd also say that this answer changes daily. It's always different.

Do your daughters understand?

For us, it's been pretty hard to find the line of what they should know, and shouldn't know. They know Daddy has cancer, but they have no idea how scary it is. Just yesterday Adyson looked at Trav's orange bracelet and said "Dad, do you know what's worse then cancer? Waking up sooo early for school is way harder then cancer." We had a good laugh over that! They know that Thursdays they need to behave, and know that Dad's a little more tired then normal that night, but they still climb all over him and treat him like same ol' dad. And that's such a good thing! They don't treat Trav like hes sick, and remind us daily how important it is to just. live. And it's hard to feel too crappy with them around.

I think if things change with scans, and as time passes by, they will know what they need to know, but for now Dad is just Dad. We like it that way.

We as always, are so thankful for the continued blessings we receive daily. We have friends and family who are always here for us, and know that many of you are praying for us. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for fighting our battle right along side us. Sure love you all!


Kelli with Love said...

What a great post. I don't think I realized his treatments go for as long as they're working. How crappy! I am so sorry! Although, I'm glad they're working and that you guys make your "normal" life go on around it. That is SO hard to do! Your girls are absolutely adorable! I love that getting up for school is harder than cancer! Ah, through the eyes of a child. Love the innocence. :o)

Eileen said...

I have no words. My heart hurts. You guys are quite simply amazing. Thanks for the peek into your daily life with cancer. You and Travis are my HERO'S!

Cancer does indeed SUCK.

Trisha said...

Thanks for answering our questions.

It's pretty ironic that all the time you are trying to convince us that your family is not amazing, I feel more and more amazed by you. You are an inspiration.

Watkins said...

I think of you so much, Hayley. Thanks for sharing such personal thoughts about this horrible disease and how it affects your daily life. I know how it has changed our lives and how it has changed the priorities we have. That is the only positive thing I can think of that cancer has done for us. It has helped us realize for certain that our family and our relationship with each other is of most importance to us. You and Travis are great examples to me.

Super Mom said...

I have been just thinking about you lately. You are amazing and Travis too. I hate cancer too and it's uncertainty. Thank-you for your words. You are special to me!

Candace said...

Where do I begin to tell you how sorry I am for you and all you have to go through. It just isn't fair. My heart breaks for you just thinking about what you have to endure. I love you guys so much and I want the best of everything for you. Know that I will also be in your corner to cheer you up to help and to cry with. Love you.