Monday, April 26, 2010

Radiation Planning.

Today we went to O-town to get Trav all set up for his radiation treatments. They apparently have a great radiation machine here, (state of the art, she called it), but they do the mapping and the planning, and the tattooing (is that a word?) there.

The Dr. first showed us Trav's spine, and I can officially say I know that man inside out. I've seen his brain, spine, and abdomen pictures. (Is it wrong to admit that those pics, especially the brain, freak me out a bit). (Okay, a lot).

Then they took Travis to a room to x-ray him with a grid, over and over again. Then they markered him up, tattooed him, and gave him a CAT scan to make sure that they had those tats right where they should be.

He has 3 little spots going down his chest on the right side, and one on each side. And you should have seen Adyson's face when we told her. It was like he went against everything we've been teaching was pretty entertaining stuff.

Yeah. He's badass. 5 tats in 1 day.
All he needs is a Harley, a leather jacket, and maybe a Mohawk, and we are set.

Radiation will start on the 10th. And only 5 very high doses. We both are a little nervous about how his body will react, especially because his weekly drug treatments already knock him down a bit, but we are feeling pretty optimistic. Everyone reacts differently, but the most common side effect seems to be fatigue. And we can do tired around here just fine. In fact, Trav's mastered it. : )

Thanks to all, again. Will we ever be able to repay all the kindness shown to us?

Friday, April 23, 2010

MRI results.

Trav's MRI showed no cancer in his spine!!

I cannot tell you how shocked I am. When we met with the radiation Dr. the other day, she was pretty convinced that the results wouldn't be so good.

He does have a bulging disc now. But hey, we will take it!

(It's slightly sad that a bulging disc is good news, isn't it?)

Thanks for all your prayers. We are spending the weekend worry free, and I may even sleep tonight. (Cross your fingers.)

Monday, we head to Ogden to get set up for radiation. And Trav gets some tattoos on his back. SEXY!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thank you.

Today I went to lunch with one of my best friends. While we were eating at Cafe Rio (YUM), we were just chatting about what Travis and my day tomorrow will be like.

I said, "Isn't it strange that tomorrow I will be just sitting at home waiting to see if Travis has cancer in his spine? And instead of being totally crazy that I am sitting there waiting for that life changing news, it's just normal for us."

Not to say that I'm not freaking out, because I have miniature birds flying around in my stomach already, and tears are creeping out of my eyes frequently, but this is just life for us now. It's strange. It's strange that it seems normal...does that make any sense??

The past few days we've had a lot of support from family and friends. Plates of brownies, cookies, (Um, people your not helping my emotional eating!!:). People bringing us their favorite "cheer up books", offering to babysit, having their kids mow our lawn, dinner. And the most common phrase is "What can we do?"

Another friend called today just to see what was going on, and told me to remember that all of our friends are going through this with us. They are all fasting, praying, and freaking out along with us.

And I can't tell you how much we appreciate it.
I just wanted to say thank you.
I've got my hopes up that the spine is in good shape, and he really just has old man arthritis, but if the news comes back not so good, I know we have a lot of people who are here to help.

Thanks for being our silver lining!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Another MRI

We were able to meet with the Radiation Dr. today to see if we could come up with a plan for Trav's radiation.

She said that when you get RCC in a bone (like his rib), it's almost certain you will get it in a few areas. (Brain and Spine). Since he had his brain cleared last week, she wants to see what his spine is looking like.

If you remember, he had some pretty bad back pain a while back, but the x-ray made it seem like it was most likely arthritis.

She feels like because of the growth in his rib, and the back pain, it is time to do an MRI on his spine. She thinks that is the best way to see what's really going on.

So Friday, Trav gets yet another MRI.
And we wait.

I'll be honest, I'm bracing myself for bad news this time. She made it pretty clear that she thinks that this is the case, and that if it is there, it has probably been there since we found out the cancer was back, but it was too small to see.

We will hopefully get results on Friday, and then on Monday go to Ogden to get another CAT scan and tattoo's and the radiation plan. If it is in his spine, the Dr. will be able to get him zapped there too.

5 days of high doses.

It's gonna be a loooong couple of months.

And the worst part?
Travis was told golfing is gonna be rough, if not non-existent for the rest of the summer due to his rib hurting pretty badly because of the radiation.

Give the man Stage 4 cancer and he does okay, but tell him golfing is out, and he's a mess. (I kid).

We will keep you posted. And thanks again for always checking in!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pity Party

Yesterday I was feeling pretty sorry for myself.

We sat in the room to meet with the radiation Dr. and I was brought back to the day we found out Trav's cancer was back (with a vengeance).

It's hard to explain how easy it is to pretend we are just a normal family. We get pretty used to our life the way it is. It's always there, but we push it back to the farthest darkest corners of our minds till something reminds us of the severity of it all.

Sometimes it just slaps you in the face. Travis will get an ache or pain and my stomach is just in knots for fear that the cancer has taken over another spot in his body. His cankers take over, and it reminds me we are facing something pretty ugly, but for the most part, we are more then happy to deny it, and pretend it's not there.

Back to yesterday.

I sat in the room with the Dr. and just kept wondering "How did we get here? Why us? Why do I have to spend a good chunk of my life worrying about the future? And why does Trav have to go through it all?"

Yesterday I was reminded again how crappy cancer is. I just felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders and left the office thinking about cancer in his brain. Cancer in his spine. Wondering when it will spread, praying it hasn't spread.

I'll admit, I threw me a pretty great pity party. I was a super baby yesterday.

Then this morning I woke up to sun.
I woke up to good news from the Dr. (no cancer in the brain does something for the soul).
Then the Radiation Dr. called and said she has already spoken with the specialist in SL. (Doctors who do things quickly also do good things for the soul).
She thinks that we will do only 5 radiation treatments in really high doses.
Yesterday we were thinking 6-12 weeks of daily treatments, so this is an upgrade.
(We will meet with her on Tuesday and know more then).

Tonight after I got over my selfishness, I checked the blog of someone we know (through the blogging world) who is battling esophageal cancer. My heart just dropped when I read that he had a scan on Friday that revealed his cancer has pretty much taken over. He is young, they have young kids. They don't have a lot of options left for treatments, and are trying to find the balance between fighting, and trusting in the Lord.

I'm ashamed to have spent the day yesterday feeling sorry for myself. Please don't read this and feel like you need to comment on how I'm entitled to have a bad day. I know I am. I know that it's ok, but am writing this down to remind myself that we have been pretty lucky during our fight compared to some. We've had miraculous results, and still have options, and time.

I'm so thankful for that. I'm just going to give myself a little attitude adjustment and try a little harder to treasure what we have. I think it's a good reminder for all of us.

Keep my blogging friends in your prayers. They deserve that.

MRI results

Trav's results for his MRI were good. (Thank Goodness!)
Now his results will be sent to a specialist in Salt Lake and we will wait for them to come up with a plan, and we will go from there.

What's new?!

Thanks so much for praying, and crossing toes, fingers, and any crossable body parts! Love you all.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Waiting for a plan.

This morning Travis and I met with the Radiation Dr. We were there for quite a while, but I'll give you the gist of what we learned today.

First, she really isn't %100 sure on how to treat his rib. Renal Cells don't react super well to radiation, and she just wants to get a second opinion from a Dr. in SLC who really understands how to localize his radiation to get optimum results.

We are completely OK with as many doctors as possible checking his case out so he gets what he needs. Unfortunately there is no way to get rid of the spots on his ribs. This will once again, just slow down (or hopefully stop) progression.

I'm a little disappointed about that. I had my hopes up that they could zap it and it would disappear!

Second, she really wants Travis to get another Brain scan to make sure nothing has spread there. She just wants to make sure she has all the information she can get to send to the other Dr.

The MRI is tomorrow, so once again, we are asking for your prayers, and fingers to be crossed. (Do you feel like we just ask and ask?)

Eventually he will need an MRI done on his spine, but the contrast used during an MRI is really hard on Kidneys. Since Travis only has 1 (and 1 with a tumor at that), she'd like to space them out a ways.

She said we are in no hurry to get this done, so we can take our time and make sure we have the right plan in place.

So, we will keep you posted. In the mean time, I will be spending my days tomorrow a little antsy and worried. And drinking a whole lot of Dt coke!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Waiting again.

We weren't able to meet with the Radiation Doctor today, but have scheduled an appointment for Tuesday. I know that some of you are wondering what's going on, so I thought I'd let you know that once again, we are waiting.

What's new? Doesn't it seem like we are always waiting? ; )

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


When Travis finally spoke with the Dr. today, he was a little concerned about the growth on his ribs. We were hoping it wasn't big enough for him to be worried, but that's not the case.

The Dr. wants him to meet with a radiation Dr. (probably on Thursday) to come up with a plan and see if the radiation will help.

We are nervous about another treatment being done. It seems Travis is finally getting used to the crap he gets from his immunotherepy drugs, and now he may have to start something else.

We are however, excited about the chance that the radiation may shrink, or remove the cancer from that spot. The rib causes him the most pain, and it would be quite nice to have it gone!

Wish us luck in the next few weeks!

And as usual, thanks for caring.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Results and an Easter Message.

Results first:

We have yet to hear from the Doctor, but being the impatient people we are, Trav went and picked them up and we read them for ourselves. (It would have been a Looong night if he hadn't!) It looks like there is no change in his lungs. The spot on his rib is slightly larger (again, stop growing!!), and the tumor in his kidney is slightly larger. The report said that there is nothing unusual on his liver, which is giving us a little hope because there used to be a lesion there, but until we talk to the Dr. we aren't getting too excited about it. That could easily have been an error. But fingers crossed....
We are both thinking that the Dr. wont be super concerned about the growth because it seems very small, but we will see tomorrow for sure. We are feeling much better, and might even sleep tonight! Imagine that.

And Easter Message:

Travis has to write the message for our ward bulletin every few months. I just loved what he wrote this month, and wanted to share it. Have I ever mentioned how awesome my man is? Now you can see for yourselves.

I love this time of year. As spring pushes away winter, life begins again. I love clearing away the last of the dead flowers to reveal new green buds sprouting out of the ground. Feeling the sun after what seemed like an eternity of absence. I can't wait for the smell of fresh cut grass and spring rain. It is a great time of year. It seems like the perfect time to celebrate life and the resurrection of our Savior.

When I think of Easter my mind tends to wander to the picture of the Savior kneeling against a tree in Gethsemane. There he is feeling the weight of the world on his shoulders. All of mankind's flaws pushing down on someone who had never had to endure this kind of anguish, because of his perfect existence. He was there with purpose, wishing for the pain to end, but understanding that his mission had to be fulfilled to save us all. My mind then moves to the scene of the cross, where after a full night of suffering he had to be humiliated in front of peers and strangers and die with robbers. A man who had loved, healed and even brought back the dead was forced to hang with common thieves.

Then the Savior of the world rises again. He overcomes death for all of us. All mankind is given the gift of life forever. One day we can all overcome death because of him. As I tell my wife often, I get to dump this "rental" body and get a perfect replica. What an amazing gift! President Gordon B. Hinckley once said, "No event of history has been more certainly confirmed. There is the testimony of all who saw and felt and spoke with the risen Lord. He appeared on two continents in two hemispheres and taught the people before His final ascension. Two sacred volumes, two testaments speak of this most glorious of all events in all of human history. But these are only accounts, the faithless critic says. To which we reply that beyond these is the witness and the testimony, borne by the power of the Holy Ghost, of the truth and validity of this most remarkable event. Through the centuries untold numbers have paid with the sacrifice of their comforts, their fortunes, their very lives for the convictions they carried in their hearts of the reality of the risen, living Lord."

I know that Jesus Christ suffered for each of us. He felt each of our burdens so he could lift us out of our own personal winters and help us find our spring. He will always be there for us if we let him. That is why we can lean on him; trust him to guide us. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend as well. We sure appreciate you all!