My Dad's Journey with Cancer

Jan. 18, 2018

I am always late these days. Always. Even if I plan ahead and try and leave early it never works out. That is the story of my life right now. That being said, I am late on writing this post. My dad went in for his monthly blood work and shot. The usual happened, it started with his bloodwork, followed by the shot, then the meeting with the doc. Unfortunately, not everything that happened was the normal routine check-up. My dad’s blood work came back a little concerning but an organ showing distress is concerning. His kidney is working overtime and not functioning as well as it should be. The doc would not do the MRI to check the progress of the tumors. Every 3 months, we wait for these scans. We hold our breath hoping that results continue to amaze us. 3 months feels like a very long time to wait to find out the status of the tumors. Now, we need to wait awhile longer. He has to wait until his kidney function looks better. This journey is incredibly lame. I do not know how fighters, survivors and family members hold together during times like these. My dad has been fortune and I am so incredibly thankful for that. But even when little bumps in the road come along it can be really scary.

My dad is strong. Incredible. Funny. The most interesting man in the world. 😊 He has come across little hurtles and big ones always getting to the other side. This is another hurtle that I have no doubt he will jump over quickly and without much effort. I will post again when he gets his MRI and new bloodwork. It may be a little late…but I will let you know.

 

Thank u for your continued prayers. I truly believe they are working!

Oct. 11, 2017

Life is a journey. It is filled with insignificant events that you forget, events that are unforgettable and events that you remember but wish you didn’t.

I obviously cannot speak to any insignificant events my dad has had because he could never share them with me as they have been forgotten.

If I had to guess on events that my dad will never forget would be his “glory days.” These days were in his 20’s. He talks about how he always went to the lake with his buddies and picked up women.

When he met my mother, a waitress at the time, through a working relationship where they always went to the same restaurant and sat in her section.

Their wedding day. There was a blizzard and all guests were crammed into this little chapel.

His work life- Airborne, Stamps.com and FedEx. He met so many amazing people through work that he still has now. Some of his best friends. Friends that are always there for each other.

His older son, Brad. Let’s just say he remembers a lot about Brad because Brad was an unforgettable kid throughout his teen years. He is so proud on how far he has gone in life.

Scott, his youngest son, who he loves listening about Scott’s golf game and how they can talk numbers. Anyone that knows my dad knows he is all about the numbers.

And of course, me, his favorite (and only) daughter. I do not know what he says about me but I imagine it is how I played soccer and he tried to trade me to another team when I was probably 7 or 8. And how I was the easiest kiddo out of all 3 of us.

I bet he remembers all 3 of our weddings and the birth of his grandkids.

These are all the good memories he has about life and stories he tells often.

One that I know he wished never happened and wish he could forget was the day he was diagnosed with cancer. We all wish we could forget that day. His journey has been rough. Really rough. He has literally been fighting for his life. Everyday. Over the last 2 years, he has received good news more often than bad news. (Super lucky guy!)

Well, he is continuing the streak of good news! He got his normal 3 month checkup at CTCA which consists of bloodwork and MRI. The bloodwork was not the best. It shows his kidney and liver are struggling. This is not too surprising as he only has one kidney and it is working overtime. The liver is the only place in his body that has tumors. So it is struggling too.

 There is no cancer anywhere else in his body! That is a major win! The cancer has not spread anywhere and is being contained to the liver.

Today, the radiologist told my dad that he only has a dime size of cancer in his liver. He does have many spots but they only had up to a dime size. Remember, he had it on his pancreas, lymph nodes, and all over his liver.

Let me explain this more clearly. They have been tracking two specific tumors. They were the 2 biggest prior to the PRRT.

Tumor #1 has gone from 0.8cm to 0.4cm since March 2017. That is a 50% reduction!

Tumor #2 has gone from 0.9cm to 0.5cm since March 2017! That is almost a 50% reduction as well.

I know being diagnosed with cancer and fighting it is something that he wishes never happened and could forget it all but today is an unforgettable day. An event that I hope he remembers when he is having a rough day. An event that makes fighting cancer a little easier. An event that brings him some relief that all these treatments are making a difference.

Although we wish that only good things happen, like hitting on women on the lake or getting married during a blizzard or his 3 kids that have kept him busy since the day they were born, we all have things in our lives we want to forget.

For me, this is something I will not forget. This is the day that I smiled and said my dad is not going anywhere. My dad will watch his grandkids grow up. My dad will teach me how to be an amazing parent like has always been. Today, is a great day.

 

I love you dad. I’m so thankful for you. I have to tell you that you are in most of the events that are unforgettable. In most of the events I will never forget.

Aug. 15, 2017

Autumn enjoyed the news about grandpa too! Her happy dance while listening to the video. What does your happy dance look like? :)

Aug. 15, 2017

Oh Happy Day! Today has been a fabulous day! My dad went to Louisiana to see his oncologist yesterday to get some testing done to see how the last (and final for now) PRRT treatment did. And…we continue to have good news!
The cancer has shrunk again! And we get to continue to say that the cancer is ‘stable.’ We do not know exactly how much it has shrunk but should find out next week. The cancer that showed back up on the tail on the pancreas is now GONE! How is that not a miracle??
The tumors now take over about 10% of his liver. I will take that 90%. If we were in school that would be an A.
My dad didn’t want me to mention this because he only likes to share the good but I believe this is good. In June, he got some scary blood work back about his liver enzymes and (one) kidney that he has. The blood work showed that they were struggling to bounce back after the PRRT treatment. Based on the bloodwork taken yesterday and today, they have now bounced back and looking better.
In addition to all this good news, my dad is no longer going to be taking treatment for at least 6 months (if he chooses which it sounds like that is what he is choosing). Chemo is also an option right not if he wanted but he deserves a ‘vacation’ from this (crap) medicine. However, he will continue to get his yucky monthly shot as it does help stop the tumors from creating hormones.
The oncologist continues to make it clear that the tumors will start growing again. Based on a 0-10 scale about how fast growing his tumors are he is a 3. I like that! Of course, I’d prefer a 0 but a 3 is for much better than 4+.
My family and I moved down here to be close to him during this stressful journey. I have to say it’s been amazing to be able to call each other to hang out and can hang out as quick as 15 minutes. I don’t think my whole family has been together since high school…I graduated in 2003. We are together again and I cannot describe how lucky I feel. I do really miss WA since the weather here is not pleasant for an 8 month pregnant lady. But to be close to my dad, my hero, my friend, my inspiration and my whole famly makes that disappear.
My daughter fell asleep in my arms as I read this to her. I hope it doesn’t have the same effect on you 😊
I’ve attached two videos. One because I’m happy and the other because..well…it’s adorable! :D

May. 11, 2017

My dad has been a busy man for the last 1-2 weeks. Last week, Brad, Scott and my dad went to the Grand Canyon for a guys trip. Supposedly they walked 25 miles over the course of a few days. I have not seen their FitBit steps to prove this but I guess I will believe them. They got to see many waterfalls including Havasu. On Sunday, May 7th, it was time to leave and go home. They expected to take a helicopter out but because of gusty winds they decided it was time to ‘man-up’ and hike their way out. My dad claims it was 10 miles, all uphill, very rocky, against the sun and wind but against all odds they made it out in only 5 hours! Oh! And all 3 of them were carrying 50lbs of camping gear on their backs too. Dad, didn’t you say it began to blizzard too? 😊

He walked out of the Grand Canyon on his 2nd year anniversary of being diagnosed with cancer and 1 year after having the Whipple. If that isn’t giving cancer the finger I don’t know what is.

The following day, Monday May 8th, my headed went to Houston for his final PRRT treatment! As always, they scanned my dad and measured two tumors they have been tracking since the beginning of his treatment. In November, before his 1st PRRT treatment, two of his tumors measured 2.5cm and now after 3 treatments those same two tumors are measuring 1.3cm. That is almost a 50% reduction!! These results are not typical..at all. This is what doctors, scientists, and patients hope to hear but rarely ever do. So my dad has done it again! He has shown us that he is one of a kind and that God is helping him through this journey.

He is heading back home today to relax and limit proximity to friends and family because he still has a lot of radiation in him.

My dad will get a gallium scan in about 6-8 weeks to see (in HD) how the treatment effected the rest of his tumors and not just those two. The research shows that people that did PRRT remain stable for 3 years after when only doing the monthly injections. Stabile in the cancer world means little growth.
This is not the end of the story. My mom has already found what will be coming next. She communicates with people in Europe and other countries to get information and experiences on other treatments that are out there that we may not know about yet. She has mentioned a pill treatment next that has shown great results so we will see if that is next. My mom is on top of all of it! She clearly loves him very much and wants him around. Thanks mom!

Thank you for all your continued support, love and prayers! It is obviously working! Two years ago, we were told he only had 3 to 6 months to live. Worst moment of my entire life! He has just hit 2 years and going strong. My dad has accepted that he will have cancer for the rest of his life (I am still hoping for a cure) and has a very good attitude. He may not feel good everyday but he perseveres. His caring heart and love for his family shows every second of every day. He is truly an amazing man!
As for his next adventure, he was talking about a Mt. Everest trip….