Thank you for keeping up with Tony's status as he was battling cancer.

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Monday, December 28, 2009

All seems to be well. He seems to be getting by with less rest, and almost no pain pills at all.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Nothing eventful to report. He is doing well and had a nice but quiet Christmas.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Today was a great day. No headaches, no pain pills, no arm episodes AND he spent 5 hours shopping with a friend, attended Wednesday night Bible study, and visited afterward for close to an hour. He has that spark that tells you he feels good. Let's pray that this trend continues.

An ER trip, but okay

Last night (Tuesday) he went to the Emergency Room with a possible blood clot in his arm. The pain had built up over the day, and we decided to have it checked out. He did have a clot, but it was a small one in the small vessels near the surface of his skin. Apparently this kind isn't a serious life-threatening kind because they sent him home with instructions to just apply heat pads and take Tylenol or Advil as-needed for any pain.

He took a pain pill early in the morning, but had no arm episodes, so it turned out to be a pretty good day despite the ER trip.

Monday, December 21, 2009

No arm episodes today, and no pain pills required. Pretty good day.
He had his first treatement of the medicine to prevent blood vessel growth. It is an IV drip that he will get every three weeks. He had no adverse reactions to the medicine.

He saw the Anchorage neurologist today. The doctor isn't overly concerned about the episodes he has with his arm so long as they aren't true seizures.

He is back in bed taking a nap. The chemo medicine main side effect is drowsiness, and he has that in spades.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

He has had two episodes with his arm today. He has had one almost every day since the last hospital stay. We will talk about it with the doctor tomorrow. He visited with some friends today, but missed both worship services due to medicine side effects that make him very drowsy.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Nothing much to report. He's doing fine today. Hopefully we have lots of days like this.

Friday, December 18, 2009

He felt good yesterday. It seems like getting a good daily nap and adequate sleep is key to his well-being and recovery. He met with the local Anchorage doctor, and the doctor seems enthusiastic about working with the MD Anderson doctors on Tony's case.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

He isn't feeling well today, and so won't be going to Wednesday devo and class tonight.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

He's HOME!

Tony and Sherri are home. Thanks to the elves (whoever you are) that brought the food and Christmas decorations. It is beautiful, and the food is great.

Due in at 12:45 PM AST

Tony and Sherri's flight got off late. It is expected to arrive about 12:45 in Anchorage instead of noon.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Coming HOME!!???!!

Lord willing, Tony and Sherri will arrive Tuesday (tomorrow) about noon at the address below.

Great Circle Flight Services
6121 S. Airpark Pl

It is an awkward time of day, but if anyone wants to meet them, the address is off of Raspberry road on the way out toward Kincaid Park. There is room to wait for them if you are so inclined.
This is a non-stop flight arranged through the Corporate Angel Network. This network pairs cancer patients in need of transportation to and from cancer centers with corporate jets that have vacant seats going that way. This happens to be a ConocoPhillips flight.

They have moved out of the RV park and are in a hotel near the airport for tonight.

Thanks to ConocoPhillips and the Corporate Angel Network for this service, and ultimate thanks to God who is the architect of everything good.
He has taken the first of his new chemo medicine, and hasn't had any bad reactions to it.

If God will allow it, he will be back in Alaska about noon tomorrow.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tony hasn't felt well today, but is better tonight. With all the medicines he is on, they bother his system sometimes.

Tomorrow he is scheduled to start a new kind of chemotherapy. It is still a pill, but is different from the last one.

He and his Mom have tickets to fly home on Wednesday. Lord willing, they will be able to keep these tickets rather than change them for later.

Friday, December 11, 2009

He starts chemo Monday in Houston, but he has appointments with a doctor in Anchorage on Thursday, Friday, and Monday for the anti-vascular treatments. As the come-home date slips out, it at least becomes more firm all the time.

He still has the occasional episode with his arm, but the episodes aren't severe, and aren't very frequent. These are expected as he heals, and may last forever.

Not coming home Saturday : (

The oncologist wants to start his chemo on Monday, and watch him for a couple of days before he leaves. So he will be in Houston at least through Wednesday of next week. The oncologist said he wants Tony to start the medicine that stops blood vessel growth on the following Monday under the supervision of a doctor he recommends in there is a glimmer of hope that he might actually come home next week.

As usual...nothing is constant except change.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Maybe coming home Saturday

He is feeling good, and should be dismissed from the hospital tomorrow. His oxygen levels are good without the need for supplemental oxygen. He is back to his fairly normal self. We are little concerned that his blood pressure has returned to normal, but continues to fall every day; however, the doctors are not worried.

The doctors are split on whether he should fly home right away or not. Some are saying it isn't a problem (mostly the men). Some are saying it is risky because of the recent pulmonary problem (mostly the women). Some are saying it will always be risky for him to fly, so fly now or fly later is all the same. I think it is going to come down to his choice, and his choice would be to board a plane straight from the hospital.

If he does come home this weekend, they would fly straight from Houston to Anchorage...non-stop if possible. He would like to stop and visit in Fayetteville, but the doctors are advising him to get home as directly as possible. I think there are still a lot of things that can go wrong, and they want him in travel mode as little as possible.

Let's pray that whatever the doctors and Tony decide, that it works out well. Pray for his Mom too, she will be a nervous wreck on the plane worrying about him.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Might be coming home at end of week?

The physical therapist and occupational therapist examined Tony today, and both were very pleased with his recovery. He is still sore in the chest area because the lining around the lung is irritated, and will be for a couple of weeks.

The oncologist still wants to try and get Tony back on the original plan of an anti-vascular medicine and a chemo medicine. It might be able to start in about 10 days, but he needs to talk to some other doctors before he decides.

There appears to be a good chance he will be discharged on Friday and allowed to fly home on Saturday. That is not a promise, but that is what the doctors are thinking at the moment.

As is often the case, we have something to look forward to, but little is certain or decided.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

He has to be still for 24 hours following today's treatment, and there is some physical therapy involved before he can be discharged. The doctors are meeting today to plan out things. After that, hopefully we will have a new latest-estimate for when he can come home.
He has had the procedure to install the clot-catching 'basket' (I am sure there is a proper technical term for it) and is back in his hospital room. All went well according to his Mom.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Still improving

He is getting around his room fine...just has to haul a rolling pole and a bunch of wires with him.

Sometime tomorrow, they plan to install the basket to catch any blood clots before they can reach his lungs. It could be anytime tomorrow between 7am and 5pm.
He is doing much better today. He can sit up and move fairly comfortably, and can walk around some. His breathing and pulse are returning toward normal, and the oxygen tube isn't bothering him today.

An X-ray has found a clot in his leg too, so they have plans to put a basket in his leg to catch the clot in case it busts loose. We don't have any more info on the lung clot status.

One of the doctors thinks he can still return to Alaska late this week. Tony hasn't seen the other doctor yet to get his opinion.

Tony's spirits are much improved. Thank you for your continuing prayers.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

He has improved a bit more. He is managing his pain well with medication. He is on oxygen which irritates him...he doesn't like having that tube under his nose. He is eating well.

The doctors will meet on Monday to decide what's next.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

He has improved a little more. The specialist said everything is fine. We weren't there to quiz about what 'fine' meant, so we will just have to settle for for 'fine'. His pulse and blood pressure are coming back down toward normal. Pain medication is controlling the pain.

Sherri has rented a room in the hotel across the street. It is connected by an enclosed sky bridge to the hospital so she easily pop in and out as he wants to visit, rest, sleep, whatever.

Expectations were that he would be hospitalized for a couple of days. We don't know what impact this has on his return date to Alaska.

He is doing better

The doctors think he is past the worst of it. He is on pain medication because it hurts where the clot is. The blood thinners are working well. There is a chance the clot can move again and cause more trouble, but the doctors don't think it will. This is a common thing for cancer patients, so the hospital is very familiar with this.

He will see a pulmonary (lung...I assume) specialist later today. When the doctor said his lung was damaged, what he meant is that blood supply was temporarily restricted. We don't know at this point how bad the damage is or even if there is permanent damage. In either case, even if some lung tissue dies, the nurse says that won't be a long term problem...people live on one lung, and only part of one of his may be affected.

His attitude is improving, but last night was the low point of his treatment so far. Last night, he didn't care any more. He is heading back toward normal now, but isn't there yet.

This will change his cancer treatment plan. He can't have the treatment to reduce vascular growth for quite a while (whatever that means), but he should be able to do the chemo. He will have to be on a blood thinner for a long time (don't know how long).

If this had to happen, it is a good thing this happened now. It would have been much worse if he had started the medication to stop new blood vessel growth. It would have been worse if he and his Mom had been in the car on the way back to Oklahoma. It would have been worse if they had been on the plane flying home.

I thank God for his work. I thank God for your prayers. I thank God for friends. I woke up friends in Houston at nearly midnight last night, and they went to be with Sherri and Tony.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Serious trouble

Tony is in the hospital with a blood clot in his lung. Part of the lung is damaged, we don't know how much. This is a life threatening development. He is on blood thinners to dissolve the clot, but this is a critical juncture.

Please do NOT call Sherri's cell phone. She is low on battery and needs it for the hospital and doctors to contact her. Tony is severely depressed by this, and is at an emotional low.

Please do not try to get out where road conditions are bad. We don't want anyone getting hurt trying to get to the hospital. There is an ice storm in Houston, and Sherri is stuck at the hospital. Flights in and out of Houston are reportedly cancelled.

Please pray. Pray for his health, pray for the doctors, pray for Tony, pray for Sherri, pray for Randi, pray for me...please pray!

In the ER again

He is in the Emergency Room for pain in his chest, shoulder, neck, ...not sure about details. He is being checked for a possible blood clot in his lung since that is not uncommon with his type of tumor.

The ER is packed, so it may be a long time before we know more.

The Treatment Plan

Tony will be staying in Houston a few more days, but this isn't really bad news. It could be very good news. He expects to be able to leave Houston on Wednesday or Thursday, and be back in Alaska by Saturday or Sunday.

The tumor was very vascular (lots of blood vessels feeding it), so he is going to receive an IV drip medication every three weeks that will prevent the formation of new blood vessels. This is intended to starve the tumor so it can't grow anymore. He will also be on a chemo medicine (different from his past one) that should attack what may be left of the tumor. This medicine is oral, and taken for two weeks followed by a week off. This chemo medicine doesn't usually make you feel sick. He will fly to Houston every six weeks for a checkup with the doctors.

The phrase above, "what may be left of the tumor", is intentional because the doctor isn't sure if what is left is tumor or scar tissue. Even if it is scar tissue, there could be microscopic fingers of tumor left that you can't see during surgery or on an MRI.

He will start chemo, and get the IV drip on Monday, hang around a couple of days for observation of any adverse reactions, and then be turned loose to leave.

The main disappointment in all of this is he had plans to see his friends in Fayetteville on Sunday, and those plans are now scuttled.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Nothing new to report on the health front.

The following clarifies some past misinformation. At one point in the past, I had mentioned we were going to Houston to have a "special MRI" that could identify tumor from scar tissue, etc. But when a normal MRI was taken instead, I assumed that we had misunderstood something and maybe there is no such special MRI. It turns out there is such a test, but apparently the standard MRI was enough for the doctors to know what was going on. Anyway...just clarifying.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tony had a minor numbness episode today. It was smaller than normal; it only affected below his right elbow, and only his pinkie finger completely, and it lasted only 5 minutes. He still felt 'not right' afterward, but a nap at home cleared that up.

They reported it to his doctor, but there is no action to take other than a little more anti-seizure medicine if he thinks he needs it. He went