Thursday, December 21, 2017

Merry Christmas and Thank You!

2017 is coming to a close and I wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Chad had his last doctor appointment of 2017 yesterday with Dr. Swain. A General Surgeon at our local hospital. He is the same doctor who removed Chad's appendix and essentially, unknowingly, made Chad cancer free :)

Chad has to have an annual colonoscopy and since his oncologist waited so long to schedule it, they couldn't get him in at the VA hospital so thankfully, we were able to go local. However, they're also packed and he won't have the procedure until March, 2018.

He is doing physical therapy twice a week and we now have a lumbar home traction device, so we're hopeful it helps him and brings about a less painful 2018.

For everyone out there who continues to offer support and friendship - we love you!

From our home to yours, we wish you all a very safe, happy and HEALTHY holiday season!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

PET Scan Results

This has been a very stressful few days. Chad's PET Scan was done on Thursday. The reason the test was ordered was because his whack job Oncologist ordered a weird tumor marker test and his results were elevated.

In an effort to calm my nerves, I did my own research and found that there could've been any number of reasons why the results were high and that it didn't necessarily mean cancer. Why did I have to do my own research? Because Chad's oncologist never called us to discuss the results.

Fast forward to a month ago when Chad took in his 24-hour urine test (Which was supposed to work in conjunction with the other test with elevated results) I checked and the results were posted within 48 hours. We never received any follow-up, yet again, from the oncologist so I, yet again, did my own research and was able to determine that Chad's results were on the high side of normal but definitely normal and didn't trigger any immediate red flags.

We carried on living.

Then the PET Scan arrived. We were told the results would be sent to Chad's oncologist within 24-48 hours. So Monday at the latest. We called Monday and left a message with the oncology office to see if the results were back. No response.

I called Tuesday morning - first thing. By the end of business day, still nothing so I called again. Left another message.

Chad did receive a call from Marion IL around 5 PM but there was no voicemail so we had no idea who it was or what it was about. (They call to remind you of appointments, etc.,)

So I called again this morning and said we had received a call, no voicemail. So if it was her, please call again. Sooner the better.

The end of the day was approaching and STILL nothing. I was losing my cool. Long story short, I called and was treated horribly. So much so, I ended the conversation in tears. I asked this asshat "Mike" who works for the oncologist office to let the doctor know that if she did not phone my husband with the test results within the hour, my next step would be contacting patients advocate office. Due to the man who answered the phone being a rude, condescending jerk - I called them anyways to file a complaint against him (left a message)

Wouldn't you know it. Within ten minutes Chad got a phone call from his oncologist.  I find it really sad and quite pathetic that a doctor,  an ONCOLOGIST, knowing how anxious and concerned your patiently obviously is - only bothers to make a phone call once they receive the threat of their negligence being reported.

Chad took the phone call and let her know he was dissatisfied with her communication. She seemed almost surprised he wanted her to phone him if the results were good. What? How are we supposed to even know that?  Of course you phone your patient to let them know the results of the damn test.

If you didn't catch that? None of this other drama matters, because yes.. the test results were good!

While she didn't give any in-depth explanation,  the results look fine and there's nothing of concern so - while I wish getting here would've been less stressful - it looks like Chad remains NED! (No Evidence of disease)

We thank God and we thank YOU for your never ending concern and best wishes. It was indeed the best belated birthday gift he could have received <3

Friday, November 17, 2017

Happy Birthday?

November 16, 2017 - We went to Marion, IL to drop of Chad's 24 Hour Urine test and to see the chiropractor. While he wouldn't even touch Chad's neck because he said it was so bad (from the images, said Chad needs surgery. Ha. No Kidding) He did adjust his back and give some exercises to do at home. The end goal is to get them to refer Chad to a local guy but it will take 6 visits with this guy since this is a new program with the VA here.

We also found out Chad's PET Scan has been scheduled. For. November 30th - 8 am. His Birthday. *sigh*

We won't get the results that day but we're really, really hoping it is going to be the best birthday present ever with another "NED (No Evidence of Disease) |Report"!

He's been doing pretty well lately, all things considered. We count our blessings.

Many thanks for the love and continued prayers.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Full Circle - Another Trip To The ER

In January of 2015 I rushed Chad to the hospital for crippling stomach pain. It was not the first time. A couple years prior - same thing. And it happened several times before I came in the picture. The visit in '15, is what inadvertently led us to his cancer diagnosis.

Since then it's been one thing after another including a massive hernia which was repaired a few months ago (June 2017).

On November 7, 2017 the stomach troubles struck again. I was working/at the gym when Chad was communicating how sick he felt. After he got home from work, with the help of his super awesome nurse Brenden (his son, he was SUCH a trooper) Chad slept for a little over an hour. Hoping he could just push through it. By the time I had gotten home, he had thrown up for about 6 hours straight with the exception of his nap.

All his symptoms pointed to food poisoning and he tried to get it to settle on its own. At about 8:30 after vomiting so violently I have no idea how he could still be conscious, we made the decision to take him to the ER.

It's never an easy decision. I wouldn't normally recommend people go to the ER for some sort of virus but in this case - I didn't see any other option. He could not stand, sit, walk - nothing. The only position he found any comfort in was kneeled over with his face in the couch. The second he tried to move - off to the bathroom he went.

As a wife, it's horrible to see. Being so absolutely helpless. Considering what happened the last time we went through this, I can't even begin to express the fear and concern that was shooting through me.

To be frank - while we are trying to remain optimistic, he has a lot of symptoms lately - paired with the blood test results that are just concerning. When cancer touches your life, it changes you. When you get a super aggressive strain, every ache and pain is worrisome.

When I say he was violently ill, I'm not exaggerating even remotely.  We arrived at the ER around 8:30 PM. The waiting room was full. We got into triage and once they seen his condition and knew his history - we were immediately taken to a room.

Again, he couldn't sit so picture Chad face down in the gurney, arms hanging over, butt up in the air - dying from the inside out. The nurse came in almost immediately, drew his blood and gave him anti-nauseous medication. She was a God send. Everyone there was.

Once the doctor came to see us, he said the blood work is what he would expect of someone who had been that severally ill for that long. He did say he was concerned though due to Chad's history and wanted to run a CT Scan to ere on the side of caution and make sure everything intestinal looked alright and also that his Hernia Repair mesh was still in tact.

All was well. The medication helped a ton and within the hour Chad had improved enough to lay back on the gurney. His Mom came to the hospital and she said ever since he was a kid, his stomach has put him through pure chaos when he had to vomit. It's intense. Very, very difficult to watch. I can't imagine what it's like to endure.

We got home and eventually got settled just before 2 AM. He woke up about an hour and a half later and began vomiting again. I really thought we were going to head back to the ER. Fortunately, he was able to keep a tablet down which calmed his stomach enough to fall back to sleep.

He has not gotten ill since about 4:30 AM.

We later found out, there is a really bad stomach virus going around the town. Apparently, Chad fell victim. I believe I even got a touch because I began getting sick but my stomach is a steel cage, so I'm alright (haha)

This is a mighty long post to talk about a stomach bug but it is representative of our lives now. It doesn't matter what it is, the mind goes crazy with the worse case scenarios spinning through your head. The harsh realities of life are overwhelming sometimes. I am just SO grateful for all the genuine and thoughtful people out there who truly understand what this is like. Who reach out, offer prayers and support and are truly in our corner. I will NEVER be able to properly express how much it means to me.

Much Love

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Appointment Update

Today we ventured to Marion, IL for two appointments.

Oncologist - This was much anticipated because we had a few questions. Mostly concerning the CgA (Chromogranin A) Blood test that she ran. Why did she run it? What were her concerns? What are her thoughts on the results being elevates.

She ran it because it is a new test she adds for all her patients. Something I guess she is doing just to dot I's and cross T's. Chad has had on-going stomach issues, so she wants to cover her basis.

Her thoughts on the results are inconclusive but she said she is not at all concerned about it because;

A) His CT Results were clear
B) His other Tumor Marker test are within normal range
C) All other blood work results look good

She is getting him to do a 24-Hour Urine test which will test his levels of protein. He's been instructed to do this previously by another doctor for his kidney so now we're armed and ready! She also said numerous other factors could contribute to elevated results on the CgA so by itself is not conclusive of cancer. (All this I already read on Google but it was reassuring to hear a live-human being say it out loud)

She is still waiting on approval for the PET Scan. Her intent to get this done is precautionary. Stated simply she said "Because he is young and a veteran" :)  So, she may be loopy and a bit weird but at least she is being pro-active which is refreshing.

Physical Therapy - This consult was just one of the many hoops to jump through to get some sort of better quality of life for Chad and his back pain. She was feeling around his back and was quite shocked at how tight his entire back seemed to be. She has put an order in for physical therapy (locally) and if the traction helps, they will get him a home traction device. So - there's some progress and hope in the distance!

Thanks for all your love and support and prayers. I can't speak for Chad but I am feeling more optimistic about at least the potential of less painful days ahead for him :)

Much Love!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Staying Positive - Making Progress

I wanted to take a few minutes to give a quick update. Chad is still doing alright. The back pain is ever-present but he just pushes through :) His attitude about life in general has changed so much lately - he is always striving to make each day count and be the best it can be and I am so proud of him because I can't imagine what it is like to just NEVER feel 'comfortable'.

So there's good and bad news.

The bad news is just foggy at this time, so I've been hesitant to share it but since I document everything in this blog (and it's come in handy so many times) - here we go.

Chad's oncologist ran a new Tumor Marker test called Chromogranin A (CgA). It is to test for carcinoid tumors. It doesn't tell you where they are, just that they're present. The tumors, if present, are usually slow growing, benign tumors. Now there are several factors that can create a 'false-positive'. When patients are on PPI's (medications) and any number of other factors including diseases and even what you ate, can affect the results. I give you this disclaimer because Chad's results were considerably high. We didn't even know his quack-job of an oncologist ordered the test, let alone why. All of his other test, including his most recent CT Scan can back good and clear. Chad does take PPIs and has for about 6 years - so I am hoping and praying the reason his results are high is as a result of that.

With that said - we're not ignoring it. I sent the results to his specialist in Baltimore about a week ago. Still no response there. We touched base with the VA about a week ago, asking why no one was in touch about any of the results (Both for his back and bloods) and finally people followed up yesterday. "Everything Looks Good" is what both his RN from the local clinic said AND the oncologist. Chad had to specifically ask about the CgA test.

His oncologist seems a bit ... dumb. For a lack of a better word. Only after Chad asked about it did she think comment on it. Long story short, the test isn't conclusive of anything on its own. Especially considering all the possible side effects and medication. So since Chad is so young and it's better to sit on the side of caution, his oncologist is going to put in for a PET Scan. This is kind of scary to think 'something' could be happening inside him, cancer related. But I am going to use every ounce I have to pray it's not cancer and there are no tumors. I believe it already. The PET Scan is still a good idea though, so we're grateful to have the opportunity. It's an expensive test and if the VA is willing to foot the bill to really check things out, we're on board.

The good news is - All the blood work (including his normal tumor marker tests) and all the imaging tests (CT Scan, X Ray, etc.) All look good and clear.   I think it would be irresponsible to ignore all that and focus on the one negative thing. So right now, we're just making sure we've covering our bases.

So that's that stuff.

October 25 -  Oncology Appointment
October 25 - Physical Therapy Consult

We head up to Marion next week for those two meetings. Hopefully he can start physical therapy, sooner - rather than later and really get some of his back issues under control and feeling better. And after six years of him going to the chiropractor here in town, his doctor is putting in for a Chiro Consult as well! Would be amazing if they could cover that and he could go more frequently because he almost always leave there feeling better!

So that's where we're at right now. A little nervous but hopeful! If you pray, continue for cancer free days and hopefully improvement in the back pain situation!

Much love to all! xo

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Quick Update: CT Scan

Chad called his oncologist and she is out of the office. The earliest they could get him in for a CT Scan is October 16th. He called his local doctor again and she said his best chance is going to the ER here, locally. She doesn't think we should be waiting until the 16th if his pain is that bad. He is going to give it a day or two and if not better, we will take him to the ER here in town. Explain what is going on, the pain, the bloating, history of cancer, dehydration, etc., and see if they will run the test here. The doctor wanted Chad to go today - but he won't.

So, it is what it is.

Thanks for your continued prayers and support.

So Over This.

Is it okay to be frustrated? Because I am. Probably not as bad as Chad though,

The Good News: Blood has stopped.
Bad News: He is soooo sore, tender and BLOATED.

We thought he was over this. We thought he was getting better. And here we are again. Getting worse. again.

We have to go to Marion for an X-Ray. I am trying to convince him to get in touch with his Oncologist to have the CT Scan/Oncology appointment moved up so we can get it all done at once and start figuring out what is actually going on.

For right now, I am frustrated. I just want him to smile again. :(

Much Love xo

Monday, September 25, 2017

Tough Times In The Neighbourhood

Chad had an appointment on Friday with his doctor, as well as blood tests. People have asked how everything went but I was waiting for the blood work results prior to posting. The appointment itself went fine but there's some other stuff happening that is deeply concerning.

The Appointment: Due to staffing issues, Chad hasn't really had a proper doctor in a couple of years. He finally has one and she seems pretty decent. She reviewed his history, addressed his most current concerns and has started the ball rolling to address his back issues.

I checked the blood results and everything looked decent there. He still has a high reading in one area that hasn't changed in about a year. And he is also showing signs of dehydration which the doctor called on Friday. I think Chad is finally on board with consuming more water ;)

His oncologist ordered a new tumor marker test called Chromogranin A but that blood needs to be sent all over hell and creation before we get those results.

The Bad News: This is the concerning stuff. Chad has had pain, pressure, bloating and cramping again. Saturday night, after we ate he was having really bad pains and had to lay down on the couch. He later came to me to inform me that his bowel movement left a toilette full of blood. This is never a good thing. It has happened before and the doctors ran tests and nothing ever indicated a cause. His colonoscopies were always clear but he is do for another in a few months.

My personal opinion is he may have had a SBO (blockage) that has finally begun to clear but in doing so caused inflammation/irritation of his colon which produced the blood. He's only had one bowel movement since (maybe two) and there's been a bit of blood there, but not as significant.

Today he has the same pressure/pain in his side and under his rib cage. He is going to put in a call to his doctor and also go see his chiropractor after work.

As always, I am hoping and praying this is nothing serious. It's just so difficult sometimes when you consider his history with aggressive cancers. I will update whenever I have something to share.

Many, many thanks for all the love, continues prayers, blessings and signs of support that you all share. Those of you who actually care - it shows. It really does. And \it always warms my heart xo

Hopefully the next time you hear from me on here, it will be with a bit of better news!


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Appointment Tomorrow!

I realize I have not posted since Chad returned to work after his hernia surgery. That's good news, right? For the most part - he recovered well. His hernia repair seemed to have been a success!

With that said, he's had some underlying issues that have gotten worse. He is cramping again while eating and he is also feeling nauseous. He also has some tender spots in his abdomen. In addition to the digestion related pain, his back has been giving him a lot of issues and we're not entirely convinced its not his kidney or something else.

Fortunately, Chad has a couple doctor appointments tomorrow. Both blood work and he'll be seeing his doctor. Our goal is to try and find a source for the pain and also for him to start the ball rolling again to get physical therapy and pain management for his back.

My biggest prayer every night is that his cancer never, ever comes back. I also pray for continued healing - one day at a time. These past (nearly) 3 years have been a whirlwind and I just crave pain free days for him. 

As always, your love and prayers are super appreciated. xo

Monday, July 31, 2017

Back To Work

You know it's time to post a quick update when folks are writing, wondering what's going on. :)

It fills my heart with such gratitude, that amongst all the chaos in the world, people out there still have our family in their hearts. So thank you for that!

I am happy to report that Chad is doing fairly well! He has more digestion issues and odd pains but all considered - he's recovering nicely!

He has returned to work today! It's a bitter sweet moment, I am sure. Thankfully he enjoys his job but I am sure he'll miss being away from me for hours on end (ha ha) Just Kidding.

As of right now, we're just trucking along and taking life one glorious day at a time!

Thanks for all your love and support!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

And The Doc Says...

Chad had his appointment with Dr. Swain this morning in reference to the knot that appeared after a painful sneeze. The knot has grown to a large golf ball sized sac exactly where the hernia was.

Dr. Swain performed an Ultra Sound and while he admitted he couldn't tell if the mesh was still intact by the images obtained, he was confident that it is likely just a sac of fluid/blood/etc., that will hopefully resolve on its own.

It could take months but we have a follow-up appointment with him in two weeks. For now, we're hoping for the best. Chad asked about having it drained but I guess the risk of infection is too great, so we're going to be patient. (I suck at being patient!)

Thanks for your continued love and prayers. xo

Friday, June 30, 2017

Hopefully Nothing But...

Last night Chad was bending over and sneezed. This resulted in an epic amount of pain and the appearance of two knots on either side of his scar, just above his belly button. He spoke to the doctor today but due to it being a Holiday weekend, they can't see him until Wednesday morning.

Hoping and praying it isn't anything serious but I'll update everyone once we know more.

As always, many thanks for the continued love, prayers and support.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Recovery Update

Thank-you for caring! So many people have been touching base to see how Chad is - so I've decided to do a quick update!

He's doing pretty well! The second day of recovery was the worst, as expected. His belly is still distended and he has similar pain as he had from his major surgery in 2015 - Stinging and burning.  There is the obvious bruising and eating is still difficult. Sadly, I don't think there's much hope for improvement in that department, which is devastating.

He's already tired of 'relaxing' and is constantly trying to find things to do that won't get him yelled at by yours truly :) He's been to the movies and a baseball game thus far, though he paid for it dearly the next day! (haha) We have an appointment Wednesday morning with his surgeon as a follow-up and should know more then!

Thank-You so much for keeping him and our family in your thoughts and prayers. It fills a persons heart to know people are thinking about them! So thank you :)

Much Love! xo

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Surgery Complete!

We arrived at the hospital at 8 am to register and get him prepped for what we thought was a 9 am surgery. They take him back and my mother in law and step daughter and I wait in the waiting area. After an hour and having not had a nurse come to get me - I went back and found him in a room with two cute nurses. Hmmm. lol Just Kidding.

They had him ready, so we brought in the troop to sit with him until it was time to take him away. He was super tired and fell asleep the whole time. He insists they gave him something to make him tired - not sure!

Long story short - we waited hours and hours. It was brutal. It wasn't until around noon that they actually came and got him. Dr. Swain did some see us prior to surgery and we were able to ask questions but it was still large in part - "We'll see when I get in there" type of thing.

Ar 12:42 I got the call that the procedure had started and was going well. About two hours later Dr. Swain came to report that the surgery was a success! Chad had mutliple hernias within the same area and compared it to a slide of swiss cheese. He was able to repair it using a large single piece of mesh and everything went according to plan.

While inside, he had a look around and didn't see any kinks or obvious reasons as to why Chad has so much trouble with bloating and digestion.  This surgery weighed heavily on my mind for a couple reasons but the biggest one was cancer. The type of cancer Chad has is tricky (like most cancers). I've read so many horror stories in my support group about CT Scans that didn't pick up the cancer. See, it grows and can produce this mucin like substance that coats the abdominal cavity. It doesn't always show up on scans and since no one ever seems to be able to explain what is going on with him, my biggest fear was that cancer was the culprit.

The last time this doctor operated on Chad, he gave us a cancer diagnosis. So, I was nervous. Worried. And nervous. But thankfully, Dr. Swain did not see any evidence of disease at all! *Victory*

Chad's belly is swollen and there are eight incision points. I am not sure why Dr. Swain did so many as my understanding is it's usually 3 - but I think due to Chad's previous surgery and perhaps so he could have a good look around, there's more.

His biggest complaint is a sever burning sensation around the top but an ice pack helps it big time!

This did end up being an outpatient surgery (Thank God!) and he's home resting. We both slept on the sectional last night. Sleep was tough to come by but it's way better than a hospital room! (lol, at least for me. Chad would've had an actual bed there) Stairs are a bit of a challenge so going up and downstairs right now isn't an option.

I sincerely want to thank those of you who checked in, prayed, sent well wishes etc., It means so so so much I'm not even kidding. The past 2.5 years have been full of ups and downs and we're very blessed but also very tired. It just means so much to both of us (and our family) to have you guys supporting us through this! We love you xo

These are a couple pics of him enjoying his milkshake upon release and last night, being playful for the camera lol

Monday, June 19, 2017

It's Time...

Today we are heading to Marion, IL to the VA hospital for Chad's CT Scan and Oncologist Appointment.

Tomorrow, he is getting his long awaited Hernia Repair Surgery.

Emotions are running high and unreasonable fears are creeping in.

I am kindly requesting that anyone out there who believes in the power of prayer, to please send some Chad's way. We pray for clear CT Scan results today (No Cancer!) and for a successful, complication-free surgery tomorrow! Our prayers for best case scenario is that Dr. Swain is able to repair the hernia without any trouble, sees absolutely no sign of cancer anywhere and also is able to see/fix Chad's digestive track.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Much Love

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Fast Approaching

The surgery is fast approaching. June 20th will arrive before we know it. I continue to pray (and ask for prayers) that the surgery is a success, zero complications, that there are no surprises when they open him up (Everything looks good, no cancer) and God Willing, Dr. Swain is able to somehow fix whatever is broken and Chad's life ends up being, at least a little, less painful!

June 19th - The day before the surgery is Chad's Semi-annual CT Scan as well as a meeting with his oncologist. Same prayers as above and he remains cancer free!

Many thanks for your love and prayers!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Hernia Surgery

In the chaos that was last week, I got side-tracked from updating the blog. Chad has heard back from Dr. Swain's office. He is the General Surgeon who originally found and diagnosed Chad's cancer back in 2015 and also the surgeon who will be repairing his hernia.

The surgery is on June 20, 2017. A little less than one month away.

Chad took the call from the doctor so I am unable to provide specifics until the surgery package comes in the mail.  My guess however, is that Dr. Swain will at least attempt the repair laparoscopically and while in there, have a look around to see if he can figure out/fix some of Chad's digestions/bloating issues.

Of course, my prayer is that everything goes well and when he does go inside, he sees nothing major of concern (In other words, NO CANCER) and successfully repairs his hernia without complications.  I imagine the hospital stay depends on the surgery performed and the outcome. It could be anything from an outpatient stay to a week in the hospital. Once we know more - you'll know more!

Neck Surgery - Dependent upon the hernia surgery. We do have approval for it though. We're still waiting on further approval for physical therapy and pain management.

Many, many thanks for the continued prayers, love and support!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Surgery Consults

Both consults for Chad's impending surgeries have been completed.

Neurosurgeon - April 26 - Dr Hall. We went to see Dr. Hall again yesterday to get the ball rolling on scheduling Chad's surgery. While the timing is up in the air, we have three things in motion.

1. Actual Surgery - Since Chad's hernia surgery is more urgent, that will come first. Both may happen at relatively the same time, it depends. However, we cannot officially schedule this surgery until we know the date of his Hernia Repair, as Dr Hall requires at least two weeks between surgeries.

2. Physical Therapy -  This did help Chad previously, so Dr. Hall has put in another reccomendation for more PT, pending VA approval.

3. Pain Management - The third go with this really seemed to help Chad have very little pain. Dr. Hall has submitted further pain management shots

General Surgeon - April 27 - Dr Swain. Dr. Swan was on the agenda today. He did not have the actual CT Scan images yet from the VA so the schedule and plan for surgery won't be confirmed until he has a chance to review those. He is hoping to do it as  laparoscopy and suggests Chad may have multiple hernia's, he's not sure.  He also provided some possible reasons as to the on-going, never ending pain and bloating that no one else seemed to have any answers for.

I mentioned previously somewhere - Dr. Swain was the doctor who took out Chad's Gallbladder and Appendix and originally found Chad's cancer. Due to his surgical skills - and the fact he even removed the appendix - it can be said that Dr. Swain essentially saved Chad's life. With that considered, we have always wanted to go and thank him for the work he did and the care he provided both before, during and after surgery. But we never did. Until today. We bought him a little thank you gift and gave it to him today.

Chad explained the impact he had and one of the funny things... When I mentioned to him that Dr, NOT something they usually do. He said they rarely even look at the appendix and basically gave praise to God for that. While I agree, it just solidified that Dr. Swain is not only a great doctor, but a great person.
Sardi said had the cancer remained in Chad's body another six months, we would have had a very different outcome (Probably would've burst, causing Stage IV Metastatic disease) - so the insight to even remove the appendix was a life and death decision. Dr. Swain responded that that was probably a higher power because that is

That's all for now. I'll update more when I have dates and details.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Trip To Marion

Brief Update!

April 18, 2017 - We went to Marion, IL for a couple appointments. Chad had an ultra sound on his kidney and they ran a bunch of blood work and have him doing some other tests. I thought they were doing an actual procedure to test the functioning of his kidneys but apparently not.

We also met with his new oncologist. Her name is Dr. Sujatha Rao. She seemed nice enough but we basically just spent the whole appointment watching her dictate notes about Chad and his medical history.

It was just bizarre because all the information was there already and had she reviewed this prior to us getting there, it would have went much more quickly. With that said, she seemed nice enough and gave a decent first impression. She attempted to change his Scan/Blood Work schedule but I told her we preferred to stick with Dr. Sardi's schedule and she was totally fine with that, so that was great! The appointment was just a general check-up, so nothing to report.

April 26, 2017 - Chad has a follow-up Consult with Dr Hall, his neurosurgeon. I imagine we will schedule his neck surgery. This has me nervous.

April 27, 2017 - Chad had a Consult with a General Surgeon here in Murray to have his hernia repaired.  Talk about things coming full circle. The surgeon who he has the appointment with? The same Dr. Swain who first found Chad's cancer. Crazy!

Thanks, as always, for your love, prayers and support! x

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Blood Pressure

This is just a mini update. I have mentioned before, this Blog has been a life saver over the past two years because doctors are always wanting to know dates, times, behaviours and such and fortunately, as a result of this blog, I can usually answer the questions. Soooo.. here we go.

For those who follow along, Chad had his consult last Thursday. We ended up spending the day in the ER because his blood pressure was high. They ran blood tests, EKG, Chest X-Ray and a Head MRI and everything looked A-Ok. As a follow-up, he had an appointment tomorrow night at the VA Clinic.

Today, he went to work and had a bad headache. He went to the clinic on campus (He works at a University) and his blood pressure was 152/100. They gave him Clonidine and it brought it down to 120/71. They had him lay down and eventually, get up and walk around and drink some water. After a few minutes they took it again and it was back up to 130/90.

They told him to take the afternoon off. We decided to go to his VA Clinic today instead of tomorrow. We took his pressure on the way to the clinic and it was 128/100 or something similar again. Once at the clinic, the nurse took it manually and it was back down to normal.

The directive at this point, was to use our home monitoring system and keep track of his blood pressure on a chart. The nurse will phone in the findings to Chad's doctor and they'll either up his current medication or try him on something different.

I just woke him from a nap and it was 110/76.

So, for now - we're monitoring it and waiting to hear back from the doctor about his medication. I'll update in a few days when I know more (with hopefully good news)

Thanks for your continued love and support! x

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Consult One - Complete

Today was... interesting. Long. And Interesting.

Chad had his consult to get his hernia repaired. It didn't quite go as planned.

The surgeon who performed the consult (Dr Hayley) told us the hernia was worse than he anticipated for two reasons.

1. It was larger than they're used to repairing.
2. History of infection. When Chad had his Right Hemicolectomy, his wound got an infection. They had to open it up, to drain it and allow it to repair on its own.

The VA Surgeon said the mesh that they had available is not the desired kind and also that he would have to basically re-open almost his entire wound.

Long story short, he is recommending Chad for an out of VA-Consult for the hernia repair surgery. The 'normal' next step would have been to send us to St Louis for a consult but after our experience with that hospital with Chad's cancer, we were very much opposed to that idea. Dr Hayley basically agreed that for the complexity of the repair, Chad would be better off going outside the VA. It was quite interesting to hear a VA doctor basically say the care received at VA Hospitals is subpar.

So now - we wait for the decision on that.

In other news. Chad woke up with a pretty bad headache, borderline migraine. When they took his vitals, his blood pressure was high. After the consult, they basically made Chad go to the ER.

Gracious. It took ages to get into a room. Ages to see a doctor. Once the doctor arrived, he did a quick look-over and ordered blood work, an EKG a chest x-ray and a CT Scan on his brain. FOR A HEADACHE! Mind blown. It took about 4 hours in total. All the test came back fine, so they gave him a blood pressure machine to monitor it and if need be, I guess follow-up with his primary physician.

If nothing else, I am thankful for them being thorough and going above and beyond to make sure he was alright. It took way too long but at least there is peace of mind that everything appears to be A-Ok.

That's all for now! Thanks for your continued love and support!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Dr Sardi's Office Has Been In Touch

For those just tuning in. We have been trying since the beginning of December to get Dr. Sardi,  Chad's specialist in Baltimore, to review his latest scans. For peace of mind, more than anything.  It is always a good idea to have someone who is intimately familiar with a disease to be involved. Appendix cancer is tricky and if the doctors or radiologist are unfamiliar with it, they may not know what to look for.

Originally we were told that an in-person visit was required. Due to various circumstances, it just wasn't feasible to travel at this time. When I wrote to cancel our appointment, by the grace of God, Dr Sardi had passed along the great news that he would review the scans and let us know by Friday of last week.

Dr. Sardi is a super busy man so we were just waiting patiently to hear from them and the call came today! His assistant called Chad and told him that everything looked good! The hernia was visible in the scans and it may be the cause of Chad's cramping/pain. They had no answers to his bloating.

It's a tough situation sometimes. It just sucks so bad that Chad hurts and no one knows 'why' but I can't pretend I am not super relived to hear that Dr. Sardi sees no evidence of disease. It just fills my heart with gratitude for both Dr Sardi for taking the time to look - and for God, for watching over us.

We're blessed and just so so thankful! <3

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Hello World!

I have been meaning to update for a few days but ran into a slew of computer problems.

Briefly: We did meet with Chad's primary physician and they have submitted another request for Chad to see the neurosurgeon and also to address his hernia. We also got them to draw blood for his tumor markers. Which reminds me, I should check online to see the results of those.

In another turn of events. I wrote Dr. Sardi's office earlier this week to confirm cancellation of the appointment. I received a response back and was told;

"I am working with Dr Sardi to review his images. We received your email. I will be reviewing this week he just returned from out of the country.
Have a good day I hope all is well. Please write me a summary of how Chad is doing and any questions you have for Dr Sardi."

I am not sure what changed but I am super happy to hear that they will hopefully be able to read the scans. I was told we would hear back by Friday but that date has come and gone. Hopefully next week! 

That's all for now! I'll keep you posted!

Thanks for the love and support! xo

Friday, March 17, 2017

More Red Tape

Remember how I said Chad had a neurosurgeon appointment on March 20th - FINALLY?

Wrong. Long story short. Tri-West has, yet again, dropped the ball. It turns out that not only did he not get approval for the appointment but now he has to start all over with his primary physician because it's been a year since the original request. (I won't mention how we've been going through this since November and it expired a few weeks ago).

Now -  Wednesday March 22, he has an appointment with his primary physician and we will go from there.

Still no response from Dr. Sardi.

Thanks for your support and love xo

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

I Forgot - Baltimore

I forgot to mention, during yesterday's brief update - Baltimore.

Chad's specialist works out of Mercy Medical in Baltimore. We had an appointment for March 24th for him to review the scans because they refused to do it without an in-person visit.

It doesn't look like we'll be able to make the trip. I am not absolutely certain yet but it's unlikely. With the finances involved, even with vouchers from the airline - it'll be costly.  We would have to kennel the dogs since I have no one reliable to care for them. Transportation to and from. Hotels while we stay, etc., etc., I am fine with spending the cash but Chad on the other hand... He gets in these moods where he just wants to give up and not bother. He's a grown man, I can't force him.

I emailed Dr. Sardi a week ago to see if there's anything he can do but I have not had a response. Dr Sardi is a great surgeon. The experience we had two years ago was a wonderful one. Since then though, it hasn't been the best. Unfortunately. :(

Anyways, if anything changes - I'll remember to post. xo

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Finally - Progress - Dr. Hall Coming Soon

Brief Recap:

Cancer Stuff - Chad is doing pretty well in this area. He has his usual problems of still not being able to eat barely anything. We went out for dinner the other night and he kept the food down for less than an hour. I'll spare you the details but I felt really bad for him. He CAN eat, just some days are better than others and it's only ever small amounts at a time.

He should have blood work coming up before long, I will have to check with him on that.

Neck Stuff - Chad has been dealing with the neck spasms for over a year now. They caused him to lose his job last year. We've been back and forth with the VA for awhile now trying to get his neurosurgeon appointment re-approved. Finally, it has happened.

March 20th - We will be going to see Dr. Hall on March 20th. Most likely, surgery will be scheduled and I am sure he will order another MRI to see if the damage has gotten more severe or not.

In positive news, a couple weeks ago we went back to Dr. Love (His Pain Management Doctor) and it seems like the shot has actually worked this time. He seems to be doing decent in that area!

That's all for now! Thanks for your continued love, support and prayers xo <3

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The New Normal

For fear of sounding like a broken record, I don't update as much anymore.  Things are still the same.

Cancer Stuff: Two years ago today we were in Baltimore as Chad was getting prepped for surgery the following day. So tomorrow will be his 'official' two-years cancer free! We had received the results from the colonoscopy (a few polyps removed but all was well) and he was admitted into the hospital.

Life sure has changed since that day. While the health is still touch 'n go, with all things considered - we have been blessed by God in the most wonderful ways. God willing I can post these same type of updates for the rest of our lives. He's a fighter, that's for sure.

I had the CT Scan results sent to Dr Sardi, out specialist in Baltimore. After going rounds with his receptionist, who I used to love but who has been kind of rude for the past year and a bit - we were told that our specialist would not review the CT Scans without seeing Chad in person first. I understand that they may have protocols but traveling right now is difficult for a number of reasons. We do have an appointment booked for March 24th but I'll be surprised if we make it. Chad's already told me to cancel. It's just heart breaking because he REALLY wants Dr Sardi's perspective but they're not willing to help us at all unless we get there in person. Sad. :(

Neck News: Tri-West has yet again declined Dr Hall's request for appointments. This is getting really frustrating because Chad spends endless hours on the phone with these people trying to find out why. According to them, they see no reason why it shouldn't. He spoke to a lady Monday and she personally put in a phone call and said he should hear by the end of the week. God willing it's an approval and he can get this surgery once and for all.  He still has on-going pain and flare-ups and while he's miserable, he continues to push through it.

That's life in a nutshell. It's tough but it's good. We appreciate your love and support xo

Monday, February 6, 2017

So Tired...

As far as the cancer journey goes - everything seems to be okay. The scans and blood work and still pulling in our favour which is the biggest blessing. Chad still has stomach pain and I doubt he'll ever enjoy eating again but he pushes through. He also has had some scary moments with bloody stools but they happen as a one-time deal. His recent colonoscopy and scans show all clear so we just keep an eye on it and pray for the best.

Unfortunately, cancer isn't his only demon. As most of you know who read these updates - for a year now Chad has been dealing with sever neck issues. He has blown vertebrae in his spine which causes him an intense amount of pain and spasms. Some days are better than others. This weekend has been bad. Very bad.

He was supposed to have surgery in December but the VA screwed that up and truth be told, the timing was brutal with moving.

We've done everything the doctors have suggested. He's had physical therapy, he is in pain management now. The injections are not helping, nor are the muscle relaxers. His neck is getting worse and surgery is imminent. It's tough because he's still new at work but there's never going to be a 'good time' and sadly, it's the only option we have left.

He had to call in sick today because the pain has not let up. The reason I write this update? The medications aren't working. The stretches aren't working. Heat isn't working. Sleep isn't working. I turn to prayer because right now I feel the only thing that will help him (and me) get through, is prayer. Strength from the big man upstairs.

I'm exhausted. It's annoying because he's hurting. He's moody. He's tired. But there's nothing I can actually DO to help. I think of how hard it is on me and can only imagine how hard it must be on him. So if you're still reading. If you believe in prayer. Please, please - send one up for Chad. To find some relief and for the VA to hurry up.

Thanks for your support.

Friday, January 6, 2017

2 Years Today!

There is a term in the appendix cancer world called "NED" which stands for No Evidence of Disease. Most people hope to receive this distinction after their major surgery and then for the rest of their life as their scan results are read.

Chad's big surgery was in March of 2015 - however, they ended up finding no further traces of cancer - which means his cancer was all removed  *knock on wood* in the original surgery which was on..... January 6, 2015.

So today? TWO YEARS NED! :) Chad's scan was in December but we assume (and hope and pray) that those results remain the same. Today will mark the day that he is 2 years, cancer-free :)

Congrats Chad! You're worth celebrating!

With that said, he is in pain today for his neck and shoulder and, as per usual, can't get into the chiropractor - so any prayers of healing would be appreciated!

Much Love for your continued support!