Saturday, January 28, 2012

In other news; I am taking the opportunity......

January 27, 2012
by sherry

Terence, January 27, 201
Not much to report lately; Terence still dealing with lymphedema, but we're finding ways to manage it.  It's terribly uncomfortable for him and he's still on bed rest orders (minimal exercise/no heavy lifting) and his new recliner is working out well!

Pure Adrenalin got him out of the house today- his friend Dean Taylor from Wyoming's "Best of the West TV show was in town (Puyallup hosted the"Washington Sportsman Expo") so Terence pulled up his boot straps (literally... he hasn't been able to get any shoes on for a week!!!), and braved the long walk from the parking lot to Dean's booth---it's a BIG expo.  He spent the day there- talking hunting and fishing.  He really enjoyed it, but when he got home his legs were really swollen  and they were painful, so he soaked in an salt bath. That seems to help somewhat.

Those boots are made for walkin'

The good news is that "Abby" (Abiaterone) seems to be doing something; no PSA results yet, but the cancer related pain in his abdomen has decreased quite a bit since he started 9 days ago. 

In other news; I am taking the opportunity (between Terence's chemotherapy and Abby and chemo again) to take care of my knee injuries- I am going in on Monday (Jan 30) for arthroscopic surgery on both my knees (!) I tore my meniscus  (inside and outside on both knees) and injured the cartilage under my knee cap.  I have to attribute the injuries to softball, racquetball and age, I've been living with it for about a year.  
Anyways, I am hoping to be up and about quickly.  Thank goodness my sister Charla cooked all those gourmet meals---Terence will have something (delicious) to eat!!!!

This time last year (one year to the day) I had my gall bladder removed- Terence was in-between his treatments so I took the opportunity to have the surgery, a dental check up and dental work done...this year---  I'll have my mammogram, my dental check up and knee surgery all in one week!!!!  It's tough dealing with personal issues like this when you're a care taker to this degree.  But you find ways~ or fall apart!

Terence will get new blood tests next Thursday to check his kidney (and other) functions- there are tumors surrounding his kidney ureters that concern the docs.  So they are keeping a specific eye on them.  

Of course, we're hoping the 'Abby' will shrink the tumors which will ease everyone's mind- as well as ease the kidney function and also relieve T of the lymphedema problem. 

So, there goes us for the next week or two!!!

Have a nice week end!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lymphedema=a really fat leg (among other things), by Terence

January 24, 2012
by terence

House arrest!  That's what this feels like. Lymphedema- due to the damage to the lymph system, and tumors on my kidney ureters, my body is struggling to rid itself of excess fluids. The fluids are collecting in my lower limbs. It started last Friday, when I noticed some swelling.
Right knee cap on Saturday
My right leg was twice the size of my left leg and my toes looked like  mini sausages! The skin was tight and puffy.  We called our doc. and  immediately needed to rule out  a blood clot, but I didn't have any pain, and I could move it pretty easily. I went into the  ER to have an ultrasound done to eliminate the blood clot possibility (I waited all night for the radiologist to show up- we were n the midst of a huge snow storm- so hospital staff was limited).  The ultrasound did not show a clot, just a really fat leg!!!!

As of today, the swelling has gone to my left leg and groin.  Lymphedema is a high protein swelling that may develop when cancer cells invade lymph nodes (as it has in my case). This type of swelling can occur in one or both legs, the abdomen or genital region after prostate cancer.

More blood work to be done to watch my kidney function, hemoglobin, etc.  Massage, Epson salt baths, (minor) trampoline work (to get the fluids moving- Sherry bought a mini tramp on Saturday!) and major leg elevation (she bought a recliner on Sunday! ), small walks to the mail box, leg compression (socks purchased yesterday), skin care regimens, no heavy lifting but lots and lots of rest.  Like I said, house arrest! 
My new recliner: ready for the Super Bowl.

Sherry has always wanted to buy me a recliner but I have always resisted - believing that recliners are for old men (coincidentally,  my father-in law recently got one for his 90th birthday so that sort of proves my point). .... well at least  the Super Bowl will be a little more enjoyable in a new recliner (along with my new thigh highs and scrotum sling)!!!!!!!

More than anything, I am mad. I really *dislike* what cancer is doing. I  read other blogs of men who are fighting prostate cancer at this stage and it seems that cancer runs it's course- it's no respecter of persons.  Man, it makes my blood boil.  Prostate cancer works overtime to strip a man of  identity and dignity.

Zech. 9;12 "Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope;
   even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you"
I stayed in prayer most of the morning today.  As Sherry always reminds me, "we need to become prisoners of hope".  

Prayer, reading the promises in the bible and surrounding myself with others who have become prisoners of hope is one way  to keep discouragement and frustration away, especially when under 'house arrest'!

Thanks for your prayers, phone calls,
emails and cards.


Friday, January 20, 2012


*Relief*  No DVT (blood clot) in his leg- but Lymphedema instead.

An evening of E.R./ Urgent care and radiation confusion!

Lymphedema occurs when the lymph system is damaged or blocked. Fluid builds up in soft body tissues and causes swelling. It is a common problem that is caused by cancer and cancer treatment.

The new tumors and growth in Terence's pelvic area has compromised his lymphatic system.

So Terence is finally home from the E.R. and was told to stay off his feet, at least until Monday (it's Friday)- when we speak with his oncology nurse.  I suppose we'll get some tutoring then.

Meanwhile, I've been doing some research on how to manage it.....

We're both resting today, we've spent every day this week at the hospital and we're both tired.  Good timing too- we've been in the middle of a snow storm- it's been snowing here since last Sunday and has increased since Wednesday; the bridge is closed today (due to falling ice from the cables)- so we're peninsula bound tucked away at home next to the fire place- and it's fine with us!

Sherry & Terence

Monday, January 16, 2012

Something good to believe in

January 16, 2012
by sherry

I'm trying to stay focused and centered today- because anxiety becomes an unwelcome visitant especially when new CT scans and tests are scheduled....

Tomorrow Terence has his new scans and Weds. we meet with his oncolgist to discuss the results and direction of treatment since the chemo wasn't effective. 

Every day there are new issues that indicate cancer progression and I attempt to overcome the anxiety sometimes by the minute; because cancer is so...."in our face". 

It's much easier to quote the faith scriptures and quotes when adversity pertaining to life and death are not daily concerns.  I suppose that's what the scripture is referring to when it says that God reveals himself as we go from "faith to faith"- and  truly, we live by faith (that is: every day, choosing to believe), Rom.:1:17 Believing is a big thing!

When cancer in it's full force is in your face, every moment, every day, it's tough not to give  the oil to the squeaky wheel. And yet...

Today Terence is working to overcome pain, managing the morphine intake, back to having to self catheterize ( no Foley catheter!), every day the urine retention increases...1200 cc....1300cc...1400 cc.....bone pain....bladder pain.....fatigue......the squeaky wheel.....

So you can see how easy it is to become anxious- when you see and experience the progression.  But then there's faith. Not easy, but it's what makes things possible. Believing makes it possible to face the day. It makes it possible to get up and fight.  It breeds hope in our inner being and is the arch enemy of anxiety.

Today, I am anxious. Today Terence and I are choosing to believe that all things are possible with God.

"Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26


Thank goodness there is something good to believe in and something to hope for!

Terence & I, October 2010, Hawaii
~ sherry



Wednesday, January 11, 2012

No more chemo

No more chemo.
January 11, 2012

What was supposed to be a 6 month chemo regimen only turned out to be 12 weeks. The chemotherapy wasn't as effective against the cancer as they had hoped and It turns out that each round was becoming more and more difficult for Terence so in all honesty, he (and I) were relieved. 

We try not to think about what this really means but simply rejoice in the fact that he has some relief. He woke up today (after yesterdays infusion and having the urinary catheter removed) feeling like he has a new lease on life (amazing what an infusion can do!).

Prayer to break the chain of cancer
 Sunday's collective prayer and reading the bible helped get Terence through a really tough week; and we believe it will continue to propel him forward changing cancer's course in his body.

What next? Scans were moved up to the 17th, oncology review (and discussion of the next course of treatment) on the 18th and PICC line dressing changes and flushing on the 19th.  It doesn't look like they are taking out the PICC line, so  another chemo cocktail may be in his future. Not soon, we hope.
Terence's main oncology nurse said she was going to be proactive and begin to prepare all the insurance paper work for Zytiga (the newly FDA drug approved for POST chemo). It's a very expensive (5K a month) so she wants to get a head start on finding ways to get it in our hands in the least expensive manner.

Zytiga was recently approved by the FDA this yearI remember when Terence was newly diagnosed it was still in trial and our doctor said "hang on, there will be new drugs out there that will be ready for you when you need it"There are so many advances being made, that if you can literally can wait 6-12 moths, something new comes out. Unfortunately sometimes that is still not quick enough. Within the last 8 weeks, we have lost 3 friends to prostate cancer. So we understand now what Dr. M meant when he said "Hang on".  He literally means, hang on, because there are advances being made, just hang on!!!!  When dealing with a terminal diagnoses, 6 months means a lot.

Zytiga (Abiraterone) is a drug used in castration-resistant prostate cancer  (prostate cancer not responding to androgen deprivation or treatment with antiandrogens).  Abiraterone was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in April 2011. In Phase III trials, it extended median survival to 14.8 months versus 11.2 months placebo and the trial was stopped because of the successful outcome.  

We have several friends that have been on it and it lowered their PSA and was effective in sustaining them for about 4-6 months before it became ineffective (all of Terence's treatments have averaged success anywhere from 3 to 6 months before having to move on to the next one).

We think this will be the next step, but I suppose until we review Terence's scans next week, we won't know.

Of course, there's always the miracle.  We never stop hoping and we never stop watching for it, not only for Terence, but for all of our friends fighting this disease. 

We hope and pray for a cure but never stop believing for a miracle.


How many of you are willing to have a moment of prayer at the same time every week? Let us start with Monday Mornings at 9am eastern 8 am central and 7 am on the West coast. 
Pray that a cure is found for cancer. 
Spend 60 seconds in prayer with me just once a week. 
Pray that God will lead the minds and hands of cancer researchers to find a cure.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Chemo cycle 4/ day 67

Chemo cycle 4/ day 67
by sherry

The days after Terence's chemo treatment are tumultuously quiet.  

Isaiah 41:10
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Keep Walking

"If we are facing in the right direction, 
all we have to do is keep on walking"
 With that said, on to Terence's update.  He went in for his fourth cycle of chemotherapy yesterday.  It has had a cumulative effect on him so with each cycle he has become more tired and more nauseated, more everything!  Any ways, between his lab reports and the increased pain he has had, Dr. M had decided that the chemo is most likely not working.

So... yesterday he received his last dose of chemo (4 cycles=12 weeks total) and we'll wait 2 more weeks (Jan 17) and follow up with new scans and a oncology appointment the next day to discuss what the next course of treatment may be. We just keep moving forward. That's the right direction.
Keep walking.  Keep walking.
January 4. The day after. He's home, resting.
One of the other issues he has been having is that his body is not able to void his bladder.
 That meant, he finally had to have a (semi) permanent catheter inserted. He wasn't thrilled about that as you can imagine, but he really didn't have a choice.  Today was pretty painful for him, but I am thinking he may get used to it by tomorrow? I'm not too sure!

All I know these days, is that we're headed in the right direction-------so we keep moving forward. We keep walking, keep walking, every day by faith.
God's grace has been sufficient for this journey we've headed into!

Thanks for prayers every one!


                      Stand with Seattle in prayer for Terence this Sunday, January 8, 2012
                            from 9:00 to 9:15 am.  More information to follow!