"It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him." -Daniel 2:22
"Do not fear, for I am with you..." -Isaiah 43:5
"...we are not presenting our supplications before You on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Your great compassion." -Daniel 9:18
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Friday, September 26, 2008

Dog Days

These are the dog days of cancer treatment. Waiting. Enduring. Today Al will get his 8th radiation treatment. He has done really well. Some side effects, but he is managing them pretty well. The nurse says that the doc only wrote up 12 treatments, so maybe we misunderstood the 20 we thought he was going to get. So he just has to get through next Thursday, for now.
We go on Tuesday back to the onocologist for bloodwork, Aredia, consult with doc and more radiation. We don't know if the doc is going to go ahead and start him on some maintenance chemo or wait until the radiologist is through with him.
Not sure why, but his back has been feeling very good since he started the radiation. He is not having to take any pain medication. The radiologist says it is not due to those treatments, but he will take credit for it anyway.
God is just laying his hands upon Al's pain for now. His real struggle now is his attitude. It is very difficult to find a reason to your life, when the doctors have said, "This is as good as it gets for the rest of your life, but it will get worse." I would ask that you pray for Al's heart and mind to be renewed in Christ.
God continues to bless me through His Word. I have begun a new bible study about the life of David. It is, once again, right on target. In I Samuel 14:6 Jonathan says, "Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf". He knew that God could save him & bring victory through him, he just didn't know if that was part God's plan. The same with Daniel & his 3 friends in the furnace. They knew God COULD save them, but would He CHOSE to do so?
I have learned that obedience is more important than sacrifice.
Our struggles are personal. Not that we should not seek help and guidance from each other, but we have to have that one on one relationship with God. We have to have our own understanding of who God is, what our own salvation means, what our own faith is built on and we have to take responsiblity for own own actions and obedience.
We need to be following Christ. We do not choose the battles, He does. We just follow behind him, be obedient and BE PREPARED.
I have learned we need to always wear our Sunday best. Not clothes. God doesn't care about our clothes. He cares about our best heart! Our best worship...our best skills....our best friendship....our best love
I learned we need to take God's Word over the opinion of others
Measure the size of what we are up against, next to the size of our God
I hope you have a blessed and anointed weekend.
...if you are new to my blog and don't know our whole story, you can read all about it on my other blog: kaputman2.blogspot.com

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Radiation

Peyton, #2 grandson

Al has had a total of 3 radiation treatments now. The first one was the worst. He got chills and fever. His skin was hot to the touch. He was nauseated. But once he found out (the next day) that he was suppose to drink lots of fluids, it was better. He had also not eaten much before that first treatment & his nerves were probably pretty bad.
I sent out an all-points prayer email. It worked! The next two treatments were not so bad. It helped to have further instructions from the nurse about the fluids and they gave him some cream to put on the areas that might get "burned". He is doing well enough today to go to the deer lease with his friend Steve. Of course, he could go to the deer lease, even when he isn't feeling good, but I think he is.
He says he had lost all modesty. He has to change into "the hospital gown" with nothing but his shoes and socks on. Then he has to sit in the radiation waiting room like that until they are ready for him. They don't make those gowns big enough to cover very much of a 6 foot, 230 lb guy.
As he tells it, they lay him on the table & tie his feet together so that he doesn't move them. Then he has to stretch his arms over his head. We know what that does to the hem of your skirt, huh, ladies? (Sorry for the visual) Anyway, they are radiating his hips to his knees, so they have the gown up around his neck anyway.
When it is time to turn him, he is not suppose to move, so the nurses have to turn him. He thought it would be just a couple of nurses, the same ones each time. But NOOOOOO....he gets to show off his fine physic to about 5 new nurses each day. (He thinks the word is spreading about how buff he is - shhhhh, we won't tell him)
Anyway, although the primary job of the radiation is to arrest further deterioration of tissue, it has made his back feel better. Not sure if it is just the heat from the treatment or what......we'll take whatever we can get! Time is the only thing that will tell if the treatment is doing it's job.
Thanks for the emails and prayers.
Happy Birthday, Peyton!



Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hangin' in There





Kelsey, #1 granddaughter


Al went to radiology this morning to get some more tattoos! They have to tattoo tiny dots on you to mark the exact places where they are to do radiation. That way they can radiate the same exact spot every day. It took 2.5 hours.
He is in pain almost constantly these days. It seems like this problem is progressing very rapidly. The pain these days is mostly in his hips. He had thought it was his back, but since seeing the radiologist, now knows it is his hips (mostly). The hip problems are not the cancer. It is from the cancer treatment - namely, steroids. That is some nasty stuff. I guess that is why it kills cancer.
We are hoping the radiation treatments he will receive over the next 20 days will bring some relief. I am not sure, though, as I believe the treatments are mainly to arrest the deterioration of this area, not necessarily to heal anything.
It is all so much to assimilate in your mind. What the oncologist says, what the transplant doctor tells us, and the orthopedic surgeon, and the back specialist and the radiologist....they all have different ways of looking at the situation.
The oncologist see things in terms of longevity. He is trying every treatment he feels will prolong Al's life. His primary concern is Al's blood and the amount of cancer it contains.
The BMT doc (bone marrow transplant oncologist) looks at the completed procedure and what resulted from that. Knowing whatever the results, there is nothing further he can do unless another type of transplant is called for by the primary oncologist. Even limited success is a good thing for him (& us), it looks great in the research data.
The back specialist is only concerned with what is going on in his vertabre. He prescribes the physical therapy accordingly, even though other problems may make that a painful process. He can only recommend what he feels is the best treatment at the time. At least we postponed the plasty surgery to give the L5 time to heal, but what about the lesions in the L3?
The orthopedic surgeon is concerned with his entire skeleton. The operative word here being "surgeon" (no pun intended) - he wants to operate. Thus the talk about putting rods in his legs to shore up the femurs. Which really freaked Al out....
Enter the radiologist. He really seems like he is very right on. Let's do some radiation in just the areas that need it (right now) and try to preserve as much bone as possible so that if it should come to surgery, there will be bone tissue to adhere the rods and a new hip to. (A hip replacement!) Al was, again, freaked out with all this cavalier talk of replacing major portions of his skeleton.
So here we are. Trying to hang. Start radiation. Try to make some sense of everything that everyone is telling us and who is in charge of what part of his body. In a few weeks (before we even finish radiation), we go back to the primary oncologist who will want to start him on the maintenance chemo, Velcade.
We are so blessed to have such wonderful friends and family that keep us constantly before the throne of God. I know that at any given time of each day, that there is probably someone who is praying for us. It does make a difference. When Al feels so bad that he can not pray or I am too overwhelmed that I can not pray...that is where everyone else comes in.
With God's help, I have been able to stay strong before Al. Sometimes in my quiet time I cry out to God, but not for Al to see my anguish. Most days, I just try to stay in the moment.
There is no road map for this disease. I learned this past week that there are 7 different varieties of multiple myeloma. It is very hard to find 2 people in the same area that have the exact same strain. So we are unable to compare treatments and get an idea of what the future looks like for us from others.
But there is hope. More and more research is being done for this cancer. There are more treatments available today than there was even a year and a half ago, when Al was diagnosed. Just a few years ago, the prognosis was 3 to 5 years. Now, it just depends upon how well you tolerate the treatments. Some are living 10-12 years.
We also know that heaven waits for us when the battle is over and that God is the only One who is in charge of life and death. We know where we will spend eternity - together, along with most (prayerfully, all) those that we love.
Thanks to those who we interacted with this week - you are a blessing!
Kerry & Kelsey (oldest grandchild, see pix), CJ (getting me out of the house), Joey (thanks for meeting with Al on Sunday), Sherrie, Priscilla & Warren, Winnie (crying with me), Leslie, Diane, Ruth, Melissa, Lori, Ami, Sandra, Anne & everyone in Sunday school, Tim, Scott, Billy, Jeff & all the guys that encouraged Al on Sunday, Jill (giving me something to do), Justin (for being a great son & changing my tire & mowing & stuff)...if I didn't get to you, I will eventually.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Give me some time!

I am a new blogger. So, give me some time to get my feet wet with this stuff. I will get better - trust me! My friend CJ has been blogging and writing for a long time, now. She had been telling me I needed to do this. I am slow to jump on the band wagon, but when I do - I'm there for the long haul.
I have been journaling and writing emails to friends and family for over a year now. It has been very good for me as an outlet for all the thoughts and feelings I have been experiencing due to the extreme life changing events of the past year. I am hoping that by going web-wide I can get some feedback from others with these same experiences and/or feelings.
My husband was diagnosed with multiple myeloma (cancer of the blood) last April. It has been a rollercoaster ride ever since. He has been through 5 rounds of chemotherapy, 2 stem cell transplants and lots of tests. He has reached his plateau, but is not in remission.
He is going to start some radiation treatments to the 3 areas that are giving him trouble right now: the hips, the femurs, & the L5 & L3 vertebrae. They begin the 20 treatments next week, after which he will be getting on a maintenance program of lower doses of chemo called Velcade.
He has been getting very discouraged lately. He has been experiencing more and more aches & pains in his bones. He has begun to realize that he has to give up things he has always loved to do, like riding his motorcycle, snow skiing, water skiing, etc. His body will not longer stand up to hours and hours of laboring, whether it is for fun or for work. He can't spend the whole weekend mowing, weedeating, washing and waxing the vehicles, handling the hundreds of chores he used to.
We are extremely grateful to our Heavenly Father for all the love and encouragement He has made known to us through friends and family. It has been our saving grace. We don't know how people with no faith in Jesus Christ can withstand all the ups and downs of something like this. Knowing that however short our time together is on this earth, we will spend eternity together in heaven.
I would love to hear from others who may be going through this same experience. To hear how they are coping. Where they get information. What things have helped them. What they have learned through this journey.

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