Monday, December 21, 2015
He had his CT Scan, everything looked good. Blood results came back as well and they also looked good. As you know, his colonoscopy looked good. Still waiting on the endoscopy appointment date.
I've been doing a lot of reflecting these past couple weeks and despite all the hardships and difficult times. Despite his never-ending recovery which I know torments Chad both physically, mentally and emotionally - I still need to thank God every single day for somehow orchestrating the events to fall how they did. Dr. Sardi could've seen anything when he opened my husband up but thankfully we got our best case scenario in a very bad situation.
To all of you out there who have checked in and asked how Chad was doing, for those who have supported us throughout this crazy ride, for those who have showed love and warmth and compassion - Please know you changed our lives this year. You brought light when we were at our darkest and you provided strength when we were at our weakest and you lifted us up when we were at our lowest.
I realize this journey will be a life-time marathon and we're still just getting started. It's just important for us that everyone out there knows how much of an impact you have had on our lives and you will be forever imprinted on our hearts.
From our family to yours - have a VERY safe, happy and healthy holiday season!
Thursday, December 3, 2015
For every cancer patient in 'remission', the fear of recurrence is ever present. Due to the aggressiveness of Chad's cancer, he has to have blood work every three months and CT Scans every six.
Due to some problems during the Summer, this is more like a 9 month scan.
As I was waiting for them to complete the tests, a man approached me and asked me if I ever had a penny from heaven. I replied that I hadn't while inwardly concerned he was a bit unstable. He proceeded to hand me a penny with a cross cut out and said "There. Now you have."
All I can say is 'Thank you God.'
Dr. V reviewed the CT scan and while we will wait on the final results and our specialist opinion, prior to full out celebrating... we can breath a little sigh of relief because the doctor said the scan looked good!!!
All I can say is, ' Thank You God. AMEN'
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
one while I wait for my class to start at the gym.
Everything went smoothly today for Chad's colonscopy. Thankfully, the doctor said it went well and he saw nothing of concern. No cancer and no polyps! (phew). One down, one to go.
He also didn't see any scar tissue and while the area where they put his colon back together was slightly narrowed, it wasn't too bad. So as far as the intense cramping goes, we can rest easy knowing its not being 'caused' by anything. God willing... time and patience make it more bareable.
CT Scan is the big one. Tomorrow at 9:20. We have to travel all the way to Illinois for this one, so it will be an early start. We meet with his oncologist as well so hopefully he will have the results then and there.
Your continued love and prayers are always appreciated xo
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
that he remains cancer free and also, they can determine if there's anything happening in there that causes him the pains and cramping.
His CT Scan and Blood work is on Thursday. Again, asking for continued prayers that he remains cancer free. It's been a crazy journey this year and Chad had his 45th birthday yesterday! It was a nice little celebration of life which we will continue to do for the next 60 years :)
I Love You, Chad! You've got this!
P.S. Brenden's birthday is today, so it was a joint celebration! Hence the matching party hats!
Thursday, November 19, 2015
December 2, 2015 - Colonoscopy. Chad and I will be traveling to Paris, Tennessee for Dr. Williams to complete his colonoscopy. The hope is that, of course, everything is clear in there but also to determine if there is scar tissue or twisting causing Chad the intense cramping discomfort.
December 3, 2015 - CT Scan (With and Without Contract). We will be headed to Marion, Illinois for the scan, followed by an appointment with Chad's oncologist, Dr. V. The hope is that his scans come back 100% clear without any evidence of disease. In the cancer world, that's referred to as NED.
Aside from a sinus/head cold Chad can't shake (again) he is getting by. He can't take medications to treat the cold because they make him dizzy and nauseous. He had to come home early one day this week because he was so sick.
We also have some additional stress dealing with large medical bills that the VA is declining but we're still working on those, so we'll take them one day at a time.
For now, I am thankful for another day and as always - we appreciate your love, prayers and support :)
Monday, November 9, 2015
He thinks Chads weight gain could just be a calorie thing but not sure. He also thinks some of the bloating could be a result of IBS and/or pain killers. He didn't provide any clues or explanation to the cramping and pain aside from possible IBS.
What he DID do is schedule Chad for a CT Scan and a Colonoscopy. (which Chad needed anyways) He already has a 6-Month check-up scan scheduled for December so our hope is;
1. They move the CT Scan (with and without contrast) up a couple weeks
2. They allow us to go to Paris, TN to have it done instead of Marion, IL.
Since the CT Scan and Colonoscopy have to be done on different days, it would save us two-two hour trips, whereas Paris, TN is only 30 minutes away.
We will know more once we hear back from the doctors. I will keep everyone posted!
Much love for all your prayers and positive thoughts!
Thursday, October 29, 2015
He is having bowel movements but his belly is bloated and the pain points that used to bother him have returned. The bloating comes and goes but it also causes a stir of fear. I am sure that the increase in pain has to do with lack of medication. You can't just pour drugs into your body and then stop cold turkey and expect to feel normal. I am hoping and praying they arrive today, otherwise a trip to Marion is in our very near future. Like tomorrow.
Not to wish my life away but I also wish the GI appointment and CT Scan would hurry up and get here. I'd feel so much better knowing a doctor has looked around thoroughly and we can resume living with the little letters NED on our plate. (For those of you who don't know what that means, it's 'No Evidence of Disease') And also, that the GI Doc can find ways to help Chad deal with this never-ending pain. For real, he's always hurting to some extent. Obviously worse when he's working. :( And it seems lately his boss is giving him the worst jobs that cause the most pain. His surgery was almost 8 months ago and he's never had one single day where he's felt 'good'. Well he did have one and he ended up in the ER a few hours later with the mini-stroke. Sigh.
If you're out there and reading this and still praying for Chad. Thank-You.
Thank-You for always thinking of us. Thank you for continuing to pray for improvement as each day passes and of course, the biggest prayer of all is that he is and remains cancer free, forever and ever - Amen.
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
A Gastroenterologist is an Internal Medicine physician who specializes in disorders of the stomach and digestive system. This specialty includes the diagnosis and treatment of diseases involving the esophagus, stomach, small intestine and large intestine (colon), liver, gallbladder, and pancreas.
Chad has an appointment to see him at 11:20 am November 9, 2015. He is located in the Henry County Medical Clinic in Paris, TN. Door to door, it will be approximately 35 minutes commute time - which is much better than 2 hours to the VA hospital. It's not local in our town but it is better than waiting until January and traveling to Illinois.
I am keeping my expectations low but my hope is that they'll be able to give Chad a colonoscopy or whatever tests required to see if there is anything out of the ordinary causing him these extreme pains and cramping. Or if there's anything they can do to help minimize the discomfort. I'm of two minds - I don't want them to find anything and for this to be perfectly normal. But then Chad is left to suffer. But if they do find something, it concerns me what it will be and what will be involved for treatment. If further surgery is required, that equates more time off from work - right before Christmas. But really, that would be as good of a time as any since work is touch and go during the holidays as it is. We'd just have a quiet Charlie Brown Christmas and use the time to recuperate.
Of course, the biggest unspoken fear of all is recurrence. In my heart of hearts, I don't think that's it but this will, at bare minimum, be the first step in finding out what (if anything) is going on. Information is power.
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
This past weekend he spent in the woods with his father hunting. He got a couple deer too so while I was bored out of my mind, I was so happy he got to spend some time doing something he loves.
We did receive some positive news. I mentioned previously that Chad has been trying to get an appointment to see a GI specialist with the VA to see if they can figure out exactly what is causing these on-going issues. Well they made him an appointment - for January. *Big sigh*
However, with a bit of pushing he got them to approve going to someone local. Once he makes the call and goes through the red tape, it will probably be a couple more weeks until his appointment but we're hopeful he will be able to see someone closer to home (and still reputable) I'll update again once we have a date an/or more news.
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
His lower abdomen is giving him issues, as is eating. Every time he eats, he cramps really badly. I don't know exactly the type of pain anymore because when I ask, I get snapped at. So in truth, I have no idea what's going on. My heart hurts and my mind worries. I'm praying this is all normal but most of all I am praying that he gets some relief.
He's been trying to reach the VA to get an appointment scheduled with a GI doctor but that's proven to be quite a task. I've been told to tell him to try a few things, including changing his diet but he won't - so I have nothing left to do but PRAY.
So if you're out there and have an extra prayer for healing - please send it Chad's way. He could really use some help.
Thursday, October 1, 2015
His stomach pain is still bad, I don't know if it will ever truly heal. The usual sharp pains, cramping and discomfort that he's had ever since surgery. It's common for people to have these aches and pains when they get their stomach all torn inside out so I guess it's just one of those things we (he - who am I kidding) will have to deal with. We are blessed with another day on this beautiful earth and more positive news!
While I love you guys and all your support, it's my most sincere hope I don't have to write to you about anything for a long while. Chad has his scan in two months time. I am praying life carries on as normal between now and then. When that day approaches, you better believe I'll be calling on the prayer warriors and asking for as many good vibes as possible.
Thanks Everyone! We Love You!
Friday, September 25, 2015
While there he got a flu shot, and blood drawn to check both his B12 level and Thyroid.
They also put in for a consult with a GI doctor.
As always, many, MANY thanks for your continued love, support and prayers. We love y'all!
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
He also had an eye consultation and while he does have astigmatism, his eyes otherwise look in great health. He has been given a prescription but whether or not he actually needs glasses is left up to popular opinion. And whether he'd ever actually wear them is highly unlikely but it may be worth it if it helps with the headaches. Only time will tell.
Other than that, he has his usual aches and pains and cramping in his belly. We'll continue taking it one day at a time and I'll be sure to post once we get the MRI results.
Thanks to everyone for your continued support, love and prayers.
Friday, September 18, 2015
Chad has been extremely fatigued lately, seems to have constant headaches and his body just feels tired. His legs are bothering him (I think those can be attributed to his varicose veins),his wrist is still painful (the one with the metal plate) and he still can't fully shake this sinus thing. It keeps coming and going - mostly coming.
It's difficult sometimes to not self-diagnose him with every type of cancer you can imagine because let's be honest - that's the fear. Anytime cancer touches your life in an intimate way, any and every ache and pain immediately morphs into the worst case scenario in your mind.
With that said, in my heart I believe he is okay and will continue to be okay. He's approaching 45 years old and I think some of these aches and pains can be attributed to that. He essentially had 7 months 'off work' and in that time wasn't able to be as active as he used to be. During that time his body also took one hell of a hit with surgeries and recovery. Now that he's been back to work for about two months, it's taking its toll. Naturally, Chad continues to push through. Probably a little more forcefully than he should but that's the southern man in him :)
A friend I met through this cancer journey had suggested Chad get his B12 level checked. We will definitely follow up on that because I had him take a few of my B12 supplements 'just to see' and I think it did make some improvement. So big shout out to Denise Wesley for that tip. And also huge congrats on the positive news. Her husband Tim had quite the appendix cancer journey thus far and they had their scan results today and they very encouraging! Sometimes I don't know what I would do without the people from my Facebook Support Group. There's a lot of sadness in the group but there is also a lot of hope and tons of information. The people are truly a blessing.
Anyways, so in MY HEART - I believe Chad will be fine. I think once he kicks this sinus thing, he will start to feel better. Hopefully the doctors are able to help him sort out the cause of the headaches and the TIA (or whatever it was) he experienced last week.
As always, I'm hopeful and putting it in God's hands (with a few little pushes from me to get the doctors to listen of course)
I'll post again Tuesday.
Peace and Love.
Thursday, September 10, 2015
Chad has had sinus issues for a little over a week, seems he couldn't shake it. Today? He felt "Good". He texted me to tell me he felt "Good". You have no idea how long I've prayed to hear those words.
Within two hours, Chad was leaning over the dinning room table, telling me to take him to the ER. (insert heart break)
Long story short; he was at work having a ghey ole' time when suddenly he felt weird. Feet tingles that ran up the length of his body. Sudden onslaught of sweat, his skin went white as did spots of his vision. He got nauseous, both arms and hands were tingling and his legs were weak, buckling beneath him. He had a hard time swallowing and eventually speaking. In his mind, he was having a stroke.
The symptoms did not last long, aside from the dizziness but his fear did. He was having a hard time calming down and catching his breath because he truly believed he was dying. In my non-medical opinion he had the initial symptoms and then became panicked. It was at this point that he called his boss for a lift home and eventually - to the hospital.
When we got to the ER, they took blood, EKG, and an X-Ray of his heart. They gave him medication to calm his anxiety and monitored his blood pressure. After an hour or so, the doctor returned and said everything looked good and asked Chad if he was ever in combat and had PTSD. Chad said he did have PTSD but not as a result of combat but because of his wife dying about 15 years ago.
The doctor basically wrote everything off to a PTSD attack. While definitely possible, I wasn't entirely satisfied and I questioned him about it being a stroke or mini-stroke. He said the symptoms were aligned with that but he didn't think it was due to various factors. (I believe that it did NOT affect only one side, no sharp headache, etc.,) I still wasn't satisfied so I asked about the sinus stuff, could it be related. Possibly.
Good lord, why it is every time we visit the Calloway County Emergency Room they seem more concerned about getting you out of there than finding out what the hell is actually wrong? The doctor did prescribe some medication to clear up congestion along with anti-dizinness and anti-anxiety medication.
When we got home, Chad called the VA and the receptionist told him to wait until his appointment at the end of the month.
Yeah. No. I called back and spoke to a nurse and explained the scenario and we're going in tomorrow morning so she can check out his ears and hopefully get the MRI/CT Scan of his head scheduled. It will be another trip to Marion, IL but well worth it. The symptoms may have alleviated almost completely but there is still a cause and we have NOT traveled this far in health ordeals to take a back-seat in the decision making process.
So once again, I ask for prayers. Prayers for good health. Prayers for the doctors to figure out what happened and prayers for strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Tuesday, September 8, 2015
To say that freaked me out, would be a huge understatement. Chad has no problem telling me he feels lousy but I could tell it was concerning him. It was bothering me too and I kept telling him to try and act normal. When he put a whole bottle of salad dressing on his salad and sat there and laughed about it, it really worried me. That's just not Chad. So I took a breather and consulted my BFF. Google. I couldn't find much of an explanation except reaction to drugs or low blood pressure.
I came back out, grabbed my keys and told Chad to get into the car - that we were going to the pharmacy to get his blood pressure checked. He agreed, which also confirmed that he felt something was wrong. He is very stubborn and would not have humored me and most definitely not in the middle of dinner. Thankfully his blood pressure was spot on. He flat out refused to go to the hospital so we came home and kept an eye on him. Within a few hours, he felt more normal and he feels okay this morning.
Chad has had a Sinus infection/flu for a few days and I think his reaction was based on the sinus medication. He took one yesterday and didn't react like that but perhaps it was in combination with his regular medicine - I don't know. But man. That was weird.
Whenever anything feels 'off' for him, I get this worried pit in my stomach. Hopefully the longer we go and the more clear scans we get, I won't feel every health issue is a catastrophe... In the mean time, thanks for humoring me!
Friday, August 28, 2015
Anyways - Blood Results are back and everything looks normal! Phew! *Small Victory Dance*. The tumor markers are never a sure bet but being normal is most certainly better than being elevated - so Yay!
Chad's been doing alright lately. Still having bloating issues, pains and cramping but he is making a sincere effort to try and appreciate the days he's been given. The change has been decidedly noticeable and I hope he is able to maintain the positive outlook. It definitely makes for brighter days. Literally and figuratively!
Thanks again for all your love and prayers!
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
So - as usual - we are hoping and praying that they are well within the normal range. We are also asking our friends and family to please keep Chad in your prayers tonight and tomorrow. God has been so good to us and you guys have been so amazing at helping us through these moments of nervousness and anxiety... I can never thank-you enough. You'll always have our gratitude.
Thursday, August 13, 2015
God willing Chad still is and will remain cancer free. I read so many stories of other cancer patients who are fighting so hard, all the time, all day long, just to rid their body of this nasty disease. Nevermind recover from it.
I sit here in awe, wondering "how do they do it?" What Chad faces with his normal aches and pains seems impossible but these people are up against so much more. Surgeries upon surgeries, complications, chemotherapy treatments and the list goes on. How do they really manage?
Chad has always been thin but he's never really taken care of his body and I think everything is beginning to take its tole. His wrist is still sore, his knees are getting really bad, he has varicose veins in his legs that are causing him big problems, he is once again getting nauseous when he eats, he still has stomach pain and he can't sleep more than a few hours because he has had this cyst on his kidney for years that causes him incredible pain. The guy always feels terrible and it really, really sucks.
But then - I always think about 'what could have been'. Yes he is in pain but goddammit he's alive. Alive. And all things considered, doing well. So yes, these aches and pains while I wish they would ease up - are a blessing because it means he is waking up every day and he's still in my life.
I just wish it was easier for him. I am trying to get him to focus on some of the lesser things, one at a time. We'll get him some compression socks to help with the veins. I am trying to convince him to come to water aerobics to help with his joints. We will look into a new bed to see if that helps his back. (He hates my bed but I love it. It's about ten years old though so I know we need a new one. I just don't want some cheap-ass thing that will be as hard as a rock and I don't think we can afford anything decent) But we've got to try something, right? Right.
Onward and Upward.
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
The swelling in his wrist is pretty much gone, though he still has some slight puffiness and it is still tender near the bone - but - he is doing better. His belly has been giving him issues too but I think this will be a life-long battle in that area. (I am fine with dealing with that for another 80 years ;) hehe)
It's not just the belly pain but discomfort because his bowel movements aren't always regular. Since he doesn't have a gallbladder and is missing a bunch of his colon/intestine - the digestion process is just different. So when things get 'backed up', it really affects him. But he's a soldier through and through and he pushes on.
So on the health front, alls as well as it can be and we're still taking it - one day at a time!
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Thankfully, his wrist plate looks fine. Unfortunately, he has a skin infection called Cellulitis. Hopefully, a week of antibiotics, anti-inflammatory and (more) pain pills will make this particular bump in the road, go away.
So it's not amazing news but it's definitely good compared to what we were afraid of. There has been significant improvement today. Yesterday, his arm looked like a balloon and he had debilitating throbbing pain that, literally, brought him to his knees a few times. Today, the swelling has gone down and the pain has subsided to manageable.
Compared to what he went through for the first eight months of this year, today was a field day.
Monday, August 3, 2015
He is currently in a lot of pain and since he can't get an actual appointment with the doctor for at least a month, we're heading up the Marion VA hospital tomorrow to go to the ER. (So much for not having to go back there until December, eh?)
I have no idea what this could mean. If they have to replace his metal plate, he will no longer be able to work. Which will put him on disability - which will be very hard financially. I don't even know how that works. Or of course, he will need to find work in another field which will prove to be quite a task as well. I worry most for his peace of mind. It is one thing to go through cancer and all the related surgeries, treatments, medications - and get back on a semi-normal track. Only to have another wrench thrown in his face. It hurts my heart.
So - if you're out there and reading this. Pray for healing. Pray for good news. Pray for nothing majorly wrong. This guy has had enough to deal with this year and - well so have I. (lol) God's been so good to us so far, I'm hoping for one more miracle.
Thanks in advance for your thoughts, love, prayers and support. Hopefully this is only a minor set back on Chad's route to feeling pain free.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Here is a look into his soul. Chad and I were having dinner tonight and he asked if I had made a post somewhere recently because it seemed several people checked in on him, 'out of the blue'.
I told him 'the usual' but nothing worthy of note. Just that things are 'same ole' with respects to pain. Before I give you the glimpse - let me tell you - those of you who still check in, still send him messages, still ask us how we're doing or if there's anything you can do - thank-you. When this first happened, we got so much love and support and with each piece of positive news, life slowly moved back to 'normal'. But once you get cancer or it becomes a part of your life, nothing is ever normal again. I cannot put into words how much it means to him - both of us - when someone still checks in. So thank-you. It makes a difference.
Now onto that glimpse. As I was reading him the most recent updates from this blog, I started bawling. I don't know why. I don't know why I am sitting here now with tears streaming down my face. We wake up every
day and go through the motions, act strong, take life as it comes but it's still hard. It's still raw.
While discussing his pain; Chad made a comment that he will likely be on pain pills all his life. That it is difficult for him to grasp or accept that he now has limitations that he didn't have before. So in my 'let's try to be positive (even though it's annoying) attitude' - I told him when he gets to feeling down to try and focus - not on how far he has to go - but how far he has already come. That yes, it may be difficult to jump down off your work truck but two months ago, you couldn't even have climbed up there to begin with.
His response? "The only thing I see is December. My next test."
I think everyone who has cancer gets what is affectionately coined "scanxiety". Every three months, six months, one year, five years - it's time to take those scarey tests that may reveal your cancer has come back. We all hope, wish and pray for those three little letters that mean so much - NED! (No Evidence of Disease) so we can carry on living another 3, 6, 12 months pretending we're not scared.
Even if you're fortunate enough to remove cancer from your body, it never leaves you. It never leaves Chad. It kills me from the inside out to hear that all he can focus on is December. But I get it. I can't focus on December. I take life day by day now, it's all I can do. It's all I WANT to do because each day in itself is a blessing and I don't want to waste one. But that's easy for me because I didn't have an ugly mucus filled tumor removed from my body earlier this year. I didn't stare my mortality in the face. I didn't beat cancer.
Thursday, July 23, 2015
We take this life one day at a time now. Thankful for every moment. For his sake, I wish his moments were a little less painful. :( Thank you in advance for your time, thoughts, prayers and love.
Thursday, July 16, 2015
A brief update on the Cavitt front. He is doing decent. He had a couple good days where I would even throw the word 'normal' around *gasp*! Then his pain came back and pretty much remained consistent.
He did a somersault onto the bed the other day (Which should, in itself, speak to how well he is doing lol) but I think he's been paying for it ever since. He's been having much more pain, cramping and nauseous - comparable to what it was like during the earlier days. He is feeling 'better' today - but not good. I don't know if it was the activity or some Chinese food we had just not settling well... Regardless, a couple tough days.
Cancer sucks. It never leaves your mind. I read this entire blog between last night and this morning and sat here blubbering like a baby. What a journey. To those of you still out there following along - thank you. Thank you for your love, kindness, support and prayers.
You our lighthouse in this crazy storm and you keep us grounded and moving in the right direction. Thank-You.
Sunday, July 5, 2015
His biggest problem right now is his cramping when he eats and absolute lack of appetite. Even this he can manage and deals with. However, the pain is the most difficult obstacle to overcome. He has a stabbing pain in the bottom left side of his belly button, which doctors contribute to scar tissue. He's been given medication and it has helped with some of the pain in other locations but this one remains constant and consistent. We're beginning to think there may be another, more serious reason for this but time will tell.
God willing, the pain subsides and he can just go one day feeling half way 'normal'. If it is something more serious, I hope the doctors are able to resolve it quickly, efficiently and without further complications.
I will keep you posted.
Thanks in advance for your thoughts and prayers!
Sunday, June 21, 2015
He still suffers from pain, which we assume comes from scar tissue - so God willing, he adjusts alright. He has admitted some fear or nervousness and I wish I had magic words to make everything okay. All he can do is give it everything he has, as he always does but not over-do it!
If you're thinking of our family tomorrow - please send up some positive thoughts for Chad's return to work!
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Chad had lab work done yesterday here at the clinic about 35 minutes away. Today we traveled to Marion, Illinois to the VA hospital. All the blood work came back normal, Dr. V reviewed the previous CT Scans and everything looks good there. He will be forwarding the results to our specialist. Dr. Sardi for review. Dr V did prescribe yet more medication for Chad to address his burn pain that he has been having in his waist-line area but other than that, things look great!
Chad still has cramping and the occasional pain but he has been cleared to go back to work in about three weeks - so we are thrilled!
He also went to see the dermatologist to get some moles checked out. There is a history of Melanoma in his family so considering what he's been through over the past six months, he was vying on the side of cautious. The dermatologist said everything looked fine and he wasn't concerned about anything!
The most beautiful thing is, aside from blood work in three months - we will not have to go back to the VA hospital until December! (Provided nothing catastrophic happens) So let's have a toast, a cheer and a prayer to and for NORMALCY!
So, at the end of the day - I would consider this one a success :)
Monday, May 25, 2015
|Chad Enjoying Time With His Family!|
Chad is doing pretty good. The previous pain he used to have in his upper left quadrant seems to be much less severe and his eating is getting moderately easier. But as in life, when one thing gets better - something else gets worse. He now has that horrible burning along his lower abdomen/waist area again and a stabbing pain that radiates from his scar outward. He may have pulled a muscle or detached some scar tissue or something as a result of lifting something or moving a certain way, so we'll give it a few more days to see how he does.
But with all things considered - I think things are moving along. His dermatologist appointment and follow-up with Dr. V (oncologist) is next week - so wish us well! Praying his moles are nothing to be concerned about and his oncologist is able to reccomend further treatment to address his pain.
Our other big prayer is that he is cleared for work. I have mixed emotions because financially - we NEED his income. We are running out of money fast and there is no one left to ask for help anymore. On the other side, the very last thing I want him to do is cause himself further pain by over-doing it. God willing, Chad will be able to walk the line and get back to work without risking injury.
If anyone in Murray has a job that pays well - that doesn't involve heavy lifting and bending - holla! lol
Sunday, May 17, 2015
Chad has had some decent days and he's had some rough ones. He still cramps really bad when he eats - this is one thing I wish would show some improvement. There are some days (when he's not eating) that he feels half normal. He is a trooper, that's for sure! To think what he's been through and while he isn't one of those 'in your face optimistic' types, he really has handled this like a champ.
There are some people who face obstacles, not even close to cancer, and curl up into a little ball and cry to anyone and everyone who will listen - all the while waiting for everyone else to fix their problems and make things better. But not Chad. He really has taken every bump and turn like the true hero that he is :)
June 3, 2015 - marks another visit to the VA in Marion. Chad will be seeing both a dermatologist to get some moles checked out, as well as his oncologist. God willing, we'll have easy days until then!
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
He will just make an appointment for June when Chad goes to see the dermatologist about the moles. This is fine by us since our car troubles continue to haunt us. Dr. V has suggested he may consider up'ing Chad's nerve medication next month to see if it helps reduce the pain but for now, he is supposed to reduce it to 3 a day since they are making him nauseous.
So as it stands - life is moving along.
Monday, May 4, 2015
Today has been hard for me. Just general stress from life. For example; our vehicle, which we were hoping would be the reliable transportation we so desperately needed, ended up getting some serious problem in the back end, that will likely end up costing around $500 (if we're lucky) to fix. I can't seem to shake this messed up shoulder. (or back) I know I should go to a doctor myself but I have a whole slew of excuses why I don't want to and believe it or not - a lot of them are valid. How much is enough? How do people continue to find strength? I know these things aren't the end of the world and we'll figure them out. Just on top of everything else - I need a vacation. A quiet escape where life is easy. "Normal". Just for a day.
And this is ME. I can't imagine how Chad must feel. And this blog is about him, not me! lol Just if you're out there and a 'care giver' - I know you'll understand. Sometimes the hardest thing is sitting back watching someone you love hurt and there's nothing in the world you can do for them.
His doctor appointment is still on the 14th. I am not sure if he'll run another CT Scan or just prescribe some more/different medications. I'll keep you posted.
Tomorrow is another day. Another chance. Another blessing. And I'll continue to be grateful and continue to thank God for each one.
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
I want you all to read this. If Cancer has touched your life personally, you can relate. If it hasn't - PLEASE take the time to read it. The full article can be found here. It was written by
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
He came down to my office yesterday morning to show me that not only had it spread to the right side, but it was also significantly
darker. He also told me he was having pain on his right side (everything was always happening on the left) where the blotches were. I posted to the online support group as well as we consulted both the VA Oncologist PA and Dr. Sardi's PAs - all of which agreed the best course of action would be to head to the ER because it looked like an infection.
As you are likely aware by now, Chad's Medical Coverage is through the VA - so unless we wanted a hefty bill - we had to go to their hospital, which is is Illinois. The only time they'll approve other facility care at an ER is when it is life threatening. Since this wasn't, we didn't want to risk getting stuck with even more bills we can't pay.
At the end of the day, the trip was, THANKFULLY, a waste of time! lol But it was well worth the peace of mind when not only did the blood tests come back negative for any infection, they also ran the CT Scan and it didn't show any blockages (Or anything else to be concerned about) which was something we were wondering about since his bowel movements are still not what they should be!
Alas, we resume being patient and let his body recover as it will. :)
Friday, April 24, 2015
This cancer isn't new but it is rare and due to so many misdiagnosis in the early years, there's a lot left that is unknown. There are a few things we know now about this cancer that we didn't - say - 15 years ago. As with any cancer, the best chance at beating this is catching it early. Followed by ensuring your get the best treatment. That treatment depends on your pathology and that is where things get tricky.
When we left Baltimore, Dr. Sardi said chemo would not be necessary. As far as he was concerned, Chad was cancer free. The biggest fear to him, is recurrence. Some people who were in the same boat as Chad, did do chemotherapy. Preventative or Maintenance - to decrease their chance of recurrence.
I've always been of the position, that we attack it aggressively and even if it's only a 5% assist in avoiding recurrence, it's worth it. But that's easy for me to say - I'm not the one who had to do it. I've struggled with the possibility of chemo from the day we heard no lymph node involvement! Had there been cancer invasion there, chemotherapy would've been required. Due to it not spreading - it ended up being a personal choice. Chad's choice. And he didn't want it. (Who would? I hardly imagine anyone goes to sleep at night hoping they get to try some chemo in the morning)
My fear? That his fear would hinder his chance at remaining cancer free. So I put thought into it. I put research into it. And I put prayer into it. I decided not to push it. Go with the flow and see what the Oncologist said. When he said there was less than 1% benefit - it seemed a no brainer. For all we know, since so little is known about appendix cancer - it would've hurt more than it helped. Chad already has so many issues to deal with, no sense adding potentially devistating side effects to the plate because let's face it - Chemo is hard on the body.
So our plan?
In three weeks we will return to Illinois where they will perform further blood tests and a CT Scan. They will use this CT Scan to compare it to his future scans for cancer and also to make sure that everything has gone back to where it is supposed to.
Then he will continue to have his blood work every 3 months and CT Scans every 6, in hopes that we never ever, ever, ever, EVER see this godawful, hateful and disgusting disease again.
In the mean time, he has some new pain medication that is supposed to speak to his brain and tell it to stop recognizing this scar tissue as something hurtful. God willing, Chad continues to get a little better day by day and within the next 6-8 weeks, real life resumes.
Financially speaking, it's going to be very, very tight. So that's a concern but we'll work through it! if anyone in Murray has any side work that doesn't require him to bend or lift anything heavy, Let us know! (Ha ha)
Many thanks to those who still follow along with these far-too-long-and-too-informed blog posts. We appreciate your love, prayers and support!
Chad and Shan
Thursday, April 23, 2015
I was concernee because our first meeting with him went less than extraordinary but this time, he was super friendly and stepped up to the plate big time.
He's given chad a bunch of stuff to help with pain (which they believe is related to scar tissue/nerve pain) This medication may require a bit of an adjustment period but God willing, it helps him.
He has new medications to assist bowel movements, as well as some general guidelines. He is not allowed to work for at least another 4-6 weeks which will be a strain financially but if he does too much, too soon - he could risk severe damage.
We are coming back on May 14 to see if the pain meds worked , further labs and to get a CT scan to have a look and see how things are going inside. His tumor markers (blood tests he had done this morning) came back and they look good! So all in all - good news!
This is an update from my phone, so forgive the typos. Gotta go, meds are ready!
Friday, April 17, 2015
Our family and friends have been amazing in supporting us and donating money to get us through. But money doesn't last forever and I am starting to get stressed out. I know this is mostly in my head but I am a worrier and a planner by nature and it's hard for me not to look ahead.
We are okay for now but there's a chance Chad may not get back to work until June and when I try to plan and figure out how we're going to get through, I can't lie. I get panicked. I know it's just a matter of pinching more pennies and not buying anything unless it's an absolute necessity but it is so hard to keep life 'normal' sometimes. Gas alone lately costs me up to $40 a week. I know that may not seem like much but it adds up and quickly. Chad's diet is different than it used to be so we have to buy more healthy food and man - what a difference that makes on the grocery bill.
Really, I am just venting. I know in my heart, everything will be okay. I just stress out because I don't want Chad trying to go back to work until he is physically able without hurting himself or risking further injury, you know? Paying a few bills on time, just isn't worth the risk. But we'll get through.
Just once more obstacle.
Hopefully on the eve of April 23rd, I will have good news. That they ran some scans and everything is healing okay. That Chad's pain has let up considerably, that Chad will not need chemo as the potential perks don't outweigh the risks and that Chad is feeling great and will be going back to work and getting his life back on track by suchandsuch date! That's my goal.
In the mean time, I'll continue to ask you for your prayers, love and support. That bad pain Chad had the other night has alleviated slightly. We just pray for even a slight improvement, each day.,
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
The feeling of helplessness. The worry. The fear. The uncertainty. The inability to understand and gauge for myself. Relying entirely on someone else to describe exactly what is going on. Pardon my language - but it's fucking hard.
Chad has had pain all day and hasn't had a bowel movement since yesterday. I am so worried he is on the verge of an obstruction. It may be nothing, it may be something. I know some pain can be 'normal' but I also just wish the appointment with the GI doctor was tomorrow instead of 9 days away. The VA has been amazing for our family, I can't complain. I just hate feeling so helpless and at the mercy of them and a 3 hour drive to get help. The only way we can get actual medical attention without waiting forever and making the trek is going to the ER but in order for them to approve out of VA care, it HAS to be extreme.
So we're left waiting. Grinning and baring it and hoping it will pass on its own.
God please, let this pass on it's own. :(
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Chad and I headed to Mayfield today to see his primary physician in an effort to get a referral to a GI surgeon who can try to order some tests/scans to figure out if everything in Chad's digestive system is okay or if there is something actually causing the pain and cramping.
We were originally slated to go see the Oncologist on April 14th, so we were hoping to make the appointment on that same day since traveling is such a distance/expense. Unfortunately, the GI surgeon (I guess there's only one?) is out of the office that week - so that appointment is on April 23rd. Fortunately, we were able to reschedule the oncology appointment for the same day.
I would rather not push everything back a week but it beats having to make that long drive twice. God willing life will be relatively uneventful until then.
Monday, April 6, 2015
The weekend was relatively uneventful (which brings me great joy now-a-days), with the exception of Chad and I nearly having a heart attack while watching the Kentucky Wildcats play (and lose) Boo!
He had a couple tough days with his pain and cramping. While everyone we speak to and everything I read suggests this is 'normal' - there's got to be something out there he can get for relief. The last few days have caused him intense cramping that made him feel like he wanted to vomit. Not good.
Vomiting would be very bad, which is why it is essential to keep sickness and germs OUT of this house. The very last thing he needs right now is a cold. His doctor is back in the office this week, so hopefully he will be able to set up an appointment with a GI doctor and/or give him some anti-cramping medication. We'll see!
On the wound front, it seems to be healing nicely. Pardon the quality of the photo, my battery was dead last night while trying to take a photo so I my phone didn't have a working flash.
Here's hoping to better days of healing!
Friday, April 3, 2015
"Dr V" will be his oncologist and the first (and only) encounter we had with him was less than pleasant. During this entire ordeal, while definitely challenging - most of the medical professionals we had dealt with were compassionate and wonderful. Dr V was the very first person that frustrated us beyond belief and left us feeling discouraged. Granted, in the end he did what we requested and we got where we needed to go - but that doesn't make my first impression of him any better.
This is the same individual who refused to look me in the eye when I spoke. The same individual who wouldn't even read the material I supplied for him. He was insistent that Chad didn't need anything more than a right-hemicolectomy. He was basing his opinion on absolutely nothing of course but it was his opinion nonetheless.
Thankfully, he was right. Chad's cancer did not spread and while I am beyond grateful that Dr. V was right, I won't pretend I am not dreading his "I Told You So" attitude that he is bound to have. But let me tell you this; If he even so much as TRIES to take that road with us, tries to disrespect us, I will have chosen words for him. From Day One, we have always had the hope that things would work out the way we prayed they would (and did) but there was still always a chance - they wouldn't. Still is really because who knows what the future holds. The road we took was long and hard but we have no regrets because Chad has something he would NEVER have had with going with the VA. Peace of mind. And that's priceless.
We know Chad received care from one of the very best specialist in the USA for Appendix cancer. He knows his surgeon was thorough and knew what to look for. He was a surgical oncologist who lives and breathes this cancer every single day and he is far better than anyone within the VA network. I will give Dr. V a second chance but he better ensure this time, he is as prepared as we will be.
Which brings me to the reason for this post. Decisions. Chemo or no Chemo?
There are very few people who catch this cancer as early as Chad did. Some doctors (including Dr Sardi) say Chemo is not necessary. Some will say, depending on the pathology, it may decrease your chance of recurrence. At the end of the day it really is a personal decision.
My fear? Dr V won't even make it an option. Then again, Chad doesn't want chemo (of course he doesn't, who would?) but I would like to know his best possible line of offense. I don't want to keep playing defense incase cancer comes back. In my mind, everything possible should be done to prevent it, and if six months of chemo even gives him a 2% higher chance of ensuring it doesn't return, it's worth it to me. Provided he doesn't get too sick. That's the kicker. Is it worth it? Will his quality of life suffer? Will he spend hours hooked up to an IV, will it be pills? Will he be miserable and sick and unable to function day to day? Or will it just be another pill that can, in the long run, strengthen his chances.
Decisions, decision. Worst part is, I don't trust Dr. V. I don't trust his opinion or his decisions. So I need to make sure I am as well prepared as humanly possible prior to going into this meeting.
If you read this, please pray for clarity. Please pray for strength and please pray that Chad's recovery gets a little better. I get concerned as some symptoms don't seem to be getting better - then again, he's literally one month out of surgery. Patience.
Monday, March 30, 2015
We still have to pack the wound and change the dressing twice daily but that's a small price to pay. God Willing, his stomach pains and cramps will begin to subside some. That's his biggest issue right now in terms of being comfortable!
Thanks everyone for keeping in touch with us :) We are waiting on Chad's first appointment with the VA Oncologist. Hopefully life will be uneventful for awhile eh? ;)
Saturday, March 28, 2015
Haven was working so we'll take her next time but we also are considering having a little gathering somewhere for those locally (or who want to travel). We've also contemplated starting a small non-profit organization that can help families, the same way that so many have helped us. Chad is thinking about a charity baseball game and stuff. All this will come in due time but we really want to give back and help people who end up in the same crazy seat as we did. We won't be able to do a lot obviously but even if we can help a couple families a year, it would so be worth it. Cavitt Cure would be it's name. :)
Kentucky plays tonight in the Elite Eight, so I don't need to tell you what we'll be doing!
Friday, March 27, 2015
His stomach pains that he's experienced over the past number of years may still be unexplained, if not caused by the cancer (that [part is unclear) - but for now, we'll take it as a blessing that we can check that one off of the list.
Chad is having an okay day. His wound is healing but he still has a follow-up on Monday with the VA surgeon. We are also waiting for our first appointment with the VA Oncologist to discuss Chad's Health plan for the future. Scans, Blood Work and ... Chemotherapy (if required)! Continued thanks for the continued prayers and support! x
Life in the Cavitt house hold is moving forward. We spent last night cheering alongside the Big Blue Nation. Chad's daughter came over and I must admit they made a striking pair :)
Thursday, March 26, 2015
People don't generally stick around and look for support when life is good. They move on and live. This road has been so difficult, I cannot even put into words the amount of conflicting emotions that have gone through my head. When I first started to research thing, the statistics scared the living hell out of me. I just found my husband less than five years ago - I was not ready to lose him.
I have always felt in my heart, we would get through this and it would be okay. The night of Chad's diagnosis I went to the Chapel. Now, I've never been a super religious person. I've always believed in God but I didn't necessarily grasp or connect the Bible to the beliefs I felt in my heart. This is a new journey I am on at the present time, so while I never would have said I was 'religious', I was always spiritual.
That night when I went to the chapel in the hospital and I got on my knees before the stained glass - I prayed. Or may I have just cried out loud but I asked God to help me because I needed Him more than I have ever needed anything or anyone in my entire life. If you're not religious, if you're not a believer - you may think this will sound like a whole lot of hog wash - but as I knelt there, hands clasped, tears rolling down my face in waterfall-like streams, I felt the warmest most calming sensation take over my entire body. It started at my head and went down the entire length of my spine, through to my feet. Was this a divine intervention or just a body reaction ? You decide. But for me, it meant - ever since that moment - I was putting my faith where it belonged.
Maybe I am what some coin a born again Christian. Maybe I'll never be as good as I should be or understand as much as I need to. But I am going to try, try to educate myself once again and build the relationship with God that I feel I need to.
I didn't mean to go on a rant about my beliefs, but it's semi-connected to my opening thought.
As I read through the posts on the Support Group, as I think about the future treatment options for Chad - I get so scared. I have to remind myself of the blessings we've already received. I have to remind myself of my faith and that feeling I had the very first night all of this went down and how God has been so good in carrying us through this journey. And even if we do encounter bumps in the road - everything will be okay.
But I still have fears. Silly or otherwise. Cancer is scarey and even though we've had positive strides thus far, I am still terrified. I know I have to live for 'now'. I KNOW I have to focus on the positive. And I still feel everything happens for a reason and we will beat whatever comes to us. But yes, I still get scared. So I still pray. And I ask you all out there who do the same, to please keep us in your prayers. That Chad's healing goes well and that nasty hateful disease never enter his body again.
He has reached a bit of a plateau at the moment. Some pains come and go, some stick around but I think right now 'patience' is key to his recovery. He just wants to be healthy again. Live again. Be normal. And he will. Just taking a little time! xo
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
The result was opening him up and giving us this bad boy to look at! I have to pack this wound a couple times a day to help draining and the end goal is that the wound heal from the bottom up, closing on it's own. Oh the joys of recovery. Minor set-back but fortunately, there was no infection present!
Chad has been feeling nauseous the past few days and has been having some bad stomach cramps, so we're praying these symptoms alleviate themselves over the next few days and his recovery continues!
There is a follow-up appointment with the surgeon who did this on Monday. God willing everything heals as it should between now and then!
Saturday, March 21, 2015
The first thanks goes to everyone who offered prayer, friendship, positive vibes and support. The second goes to individuals who donated to the fund and helped our family lessen those day to day concerns. These specific groups stepped up and really helped our family in a time of need.
Air Compassion For Veterans - They provided our flights for our first consult with Dr. Sardi. Their aim is to help veterans who need to travel for medical treatment and they were such a blessing during those first days. I am sure we will have to use them again (and they're more than willing, provided they're able) as Chad's VA insurance doesn't cover travel. Incredible group that helps our Veterans!
New Day Foundation For Families - A friend of mine from Facebook suggested I touch base with them, so I did. An incredibly compassionate woman named Chrissie got back to me almost immediately and completely touched my heart with her empathy. The conversations with her were almost therapeutic and they have completely moved me with their desire to help!
Southwest Airlines - While we didn't contact them directly, we had airline tickets from Dr. Sardi's office. They have a remarkable program that helps people fly to their treatments for free. It was so hassel free and they were incredibly helpful in transporting Chad on the return flight. It is absolutely amazing work that they do.
The Red Stag Tavern - While this is not an 'organization' like the others, they have stepped up in a big, big way. A friend of mine from back home is employed here and she brought forth Chad's story as a potential fund raising event. The amazing thing is, they selected our family and are hosting a fund raiser all week long and will donate a portion of their nacho sales to us. It's remarkable what people will do for people they've never met. So if you're ever in Halifax, Nova Scotia - you MUST stop by this establishment and have some great food! And please drink a Keith's for me, as I miss my favorite beer so much!
There have been other major contributions, such as both Chad and I's bosses who helped us in more ways than one. Of course our very generous friends and family - but I highlighted these organizations because this is what most of them do every day. They reach out and help people cover expenses that would otherwise cripple a family with worry. I urge you to read about them and if you ever want to contribute to a fund, find comfort in knowing these people truly do help families in need. They helped us. And we'll be forever thankful.