Thursday, September 22, 2011

by sherry-

Terence came through surgery very well and has been sleeping all day.  He's on morphine, so I've been able to help him stay on top f the pain.

He's in good spirits (as he always is) and has already had his tiniest visitor Annie- our grand daughter.  As always, she provides comedy relief.  she has been carrying around a generic image of a prostate surgery (thinking it's Terence's)- because she is always so interested in stuff like this.  An hour into recover, and she had already requested the picture of "Papi's owie",  so Nadine (her mother) had to find a picture before Annie started insisting on seeing the real owie!  Cute.

The kids in the hospital cafeteria.
Thank goodness I had help at the hospital today. Whew. Just moving a patient around and dealing with drugs and etc. Etc. is etc. a lot of work!  Our kids were there to help and it's been nice having our son Eric ( a Navy Corpsman) help me with a few things- like showing me how to change parts of the Foley catheter.  My son-law is also A physician assistant, so he helps me oversee the pain management aspect, etc.

Any ways- Terence is resting. The surgery went without a hitch. Hopefully it will alleviate pain and blockage the cancer was causing. We'll know in a few days.

Thanks for your prayers everyone!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Night before surgery

by sherry
Yesterday Terence was able to visit with his long-time friend Ed Goetz (a friend from 8th grade through high-school and his University of Wyoming dorm mate!).  Ed and his wife Sherry spent some time in Seattle with Terence & I .  Almost 23 years ago, we were present at the others' wedding so we all had a lot to catch up on.  Sherry and I were further lavished with old college stories! 

Terence was glad to be able to see his old friend.  Terence told me  "having good friends like that make me feel rich".

Tomorrow, we'll be at the University of Washington Medical Center where Terence will be undergoing 'Greenlight' laser surgery for quality of life purposes.   Though the surgery itself may be minor, the results we are praying for are far from it.                                                                                                                                                Hopefully the procedure will reduce the requirement of post operative catheterization and allow Terence to return to a semi-normal life.                                                                                                
We're not concerned about the surgery itself (Terence is in very capable hands)- but the end result- since there is a 50/50 chance it will be effective for Terence due the unknown- how much and exactly where the cancer is situated will determine the outcome and success of the surgery.

Days have been tough while waiting for the surgery so tomorrow can't come soon enough for him!

He'll be in at 7:45 am tomorrow and hopefully home tomorrow night!  Thanks for your prayers!!!


Friday, September 16, 2011

Greenlight vaporization for Terence!

Laser light is used to destroy cancerous tissue.
Greenlight  Laser Vaporization-
by sherry
Terence will be having surgery done on Thursday (Greenlight laser vaporization).  The size of the cancerous mass in and surrounding his prostate, lymph nodes near his bladder and pelvis have extended into the rectal sling making it so Terence's urethra is almost completely closed off so he isn't able to empty his bladder with out intervention.

This is sort of unusual at this stage because most men with prostate cancer have already had their prostates removed (that wasn't an option for Terence since it was already so advanced at the time of his diagnoses).  Having been left with a cancerous prostate has allowed it to spread....causing the obvious problems.

Greenlight laser vaporization is a recent addition to the minimally-invasive techniques for treating BPH  (benign prostatic hyperplasia -which is an enlarged prostate).  Terence has advanced metastatic prostate cancer, not BPH so......this will be a little different for the doctor.

.....any ways......this is a relatively new procedure which uses the technology of high-powered laser light combined with fiber optics to vaporize the overgrowth of prostate cells quickly and accurately. As the surgeon directs the laser at the prostate, the intense pulses of light emitted from the fiber are absorbed by the blood. Within moments the temperature of the blood becomes so great it causes the nearby cells to vaporize. Green Light V. is being used as an alternative to transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) and has been shown to be its equal in terms of effectiveness in improvement of symptoms for BPH patients.

This technique is too new for long-term studies to have been completed, but after five years it has been shown to maintain its level of improvement in urinary flow and comfort, and for giving men a better quality of life.

Terence gets the "green light" for surgery.
 It will done on out-patient procedure, under general anesthesia.  The surgeon inserts a cystoscope (a tube equipped with a light) through the urethra to the prostate gland. A thin fiber is run through the cystoscope and placed in the urethra adjacent to the obstruction. Pulses of light radiate from the end of the fiber as the surgeon directs them towards the areas of overgrowth. The light is easily absorbed by the blood which becomes heated to the point that nearby tissues are vaporized. The doctor continues applying this laser light until the destruction of tissue reduces the restriction on the urethra. As the tissue is being vaporized the heat seals off the blood vessels, resulting in less bleeding than in other treatment options.

Terence will come home with catheter inserted to allow urine to drain from his bladder.  Hopefully this procedure will result in him having normal urinary function.  The surgery takes approximately sixty minutes.

Terence's surgeon told us that Terence has a 50/50 chance that this procedure will work for him since he's not sure what the cancer looks like in there; since this procedure is typically used for patients with BPH he's not really sure what to expect.   He may ave to do this the old fashioned way- and cut it out...if that happens, Terence will have a slightly longer hospital stay.

We're hoping and praying this will work for Terence.  Otherwise, well.....we'll cross that bridge if we get to it!

The good news is- other than cancer- Terence is perfectly healthy!!!!!  No heart, liver, lung or kidney problems :D.

Still believing!


Thursday, September 15, 2011

As far as seasons, phases and transitions go....

Season changes by sherry
I was outside walking the property today and was bonked on the head - overtaken (literally!) by a host of pine cones falling from the trees!  The squirrels are busy 40 feet above, getting ready for the season change and filling their store houses for winter.

I stopped to watch- being mindful of transitions of all kinds–from one season to another, life phase to life phase. I used to leap past these moments, without much thought- simply checked out, distracted with food, shopping, kids, internetting, etc. never really appreciating what change usually brings and appreciating the past. Now I try to catch myself in those in-between moments.

For me, because of cancer and it's prognoses, there is some grief associated with letting go of the past season and entering the next. Like it or not, I find myself thinking, "was this our last summer together? Was this our last trip to the cabin?".

As far as seasons, phases and transitions go, we are entering into a new one in Terence's health.  We just returned from the surgeons office- after a long morning- of waiting and more consulting with his oncologist, Terence will have surgery next Thursday-  it's only a "TURP-" (which is a resection of the urethra)- the rest of tumor that is crowding his bladder and rectal sling can only be taken care of by chemo, (can't be cut out separately like we hoped!)- so chemo will follow after the surgery. The other option is to remove/take everything out: bladder, prostate and rectum---but no use in doing that until we try chemotherapy & radiation.

  Since it's only a TURP and not major surgery now, we're hoping it will only be out-patient or overnight. If he stays in longer, I will be staying at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance house, downtown.  We'll see.

All his pre-op stuff will be done in the next few days (in Seattle). We're both a little tired but ready to move on and get stuff done.

Meanwhile.... until surgery next week- Terence is starting a new treatment that will 'disable' his bladder function, so he will have to self- cath every few hours.....this will be less painful for him. He starts today.

Keep him in prayer, it will still be a LONG week while he waits!!!

I enjoyed my trip to Vegas (marking the close of summer) was a special trip and very fun (flew out for a reunion with my sisters and first cousins), but upon return I hit the ground running, getting ready for this next phase or season of treatment for Terence.

 Eccl. 3:1
"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven"
The word translated "season" means "a fitting time" or a "set & determined time".  

Now is the time for surgery and chemotherapy.... it is a fitting treatment for Terence right now. And there purpose in this season; a purpose of God through man that is carried into execution.

How long it shall continue, and in what circumstances we are not sure, but the seasons are appointed by God Himself.

A new season is upon us, the squash is almost ready for harvest!
Entering into a new season has anxieties, but Terence & I are trying to trust in the providence of God knowing that He has determined particular things to particular times. 

New season. New purpose. Instead of anxiety, perhaps we can anticipate the good things that the new season is bringing?

Still believing!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Snapping out of it!

Even as I love the autumn season, it is full of anxiety for me. I have a tendency to think of what the fall and winter may 'look like' for our family- in dealing with cancer.  Surgery. Chemotherapy. Then what???? A great amount of anxiety is attached to each moment I think about it.

I also start to mourn the ending of summer-the last two weeks of September when I feel the crispness in the air at that time, which brings less sunlight and longer mind will involuntarily wander off as I wonder..... "will have another summer together?"

Get it together Sherry! Snap out of it!

Take it one minute at a time.
One cognitive adjustment that helps me relieve anxiety is reminding myself that I don’t have to think about 2:45 pm when it's only 10 am. All I have to concern myself about is the very second before me. If I am successful at breaking my time down that way, I usually discover that everything is fine for the moment. 

Pay attention to my breathing.
Another easy exercise I try to ground myself in the moment to manage anxiety is to concentrate on my breath–and move it ever so gradually from my chest to my diaphragm–because the extra oxygen sends a message to my prefrontal cortex that every thing is just fine even though the fear center of the brain (the amygdala) doesn’t think so at all.

Above all
I rest in this: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God" (Philippians 4:6).  So I pray and petition God for a miracle- every day!

~ Blessings,

Monday, September 5, 2011

Eh. Cancer.

"Eh. Cancer." There aren't many days or times where Terence would say that.....he's typically up beat and positive.  But sometimes cancer gets the best of us.

This has been a painful-struggle-of-a-week for Terence.  The cancerous tumor is seemingly pushing around a bunch of stuff down there (not very technical, but I'm too tired to think of the correct verbage).  Terence's quality of life is a daily struggle and it's so up and down.  He has his monthly oncology appointment on Weds. so he's just trying to hang in there to discuss what his options are -----Dr. M has been discussing a TURP/surgery- so we're wondering if it's time.

HIs PSA results came in- up to 264 (11 points)- but now it's all relative- we're not freaking out over an 11 point jump in a matter of a month, because it has been 50X worse.

Meanwhile it's an "eh, cancer" day.  Not gonna give it much thought today. Too exhausting!