Chapter 15

***If you’re just joining the blog, it may be helpful for you to read the first few posts. This is a story about my walk with my husband Paul in his journey with cancer. These are the email updates that were used to keep everyone in the loop along with some of my own emotions and thoughts.

Paul Update 6.13.11

Monday, June 13, 2011 2:18 PM

Hello Everyone!

Well- seems like time just keeps getting away- and another week has flown by… Paul is doing much better! Thank you all for your continued prayers- I have no doubt that this is why he is healing and has made such progress.
He is eating!! Not just a bite here and there- he is actually eating meals. Mostly soft foods and soups- and it’s a gamble most days if it’s going to be okay- but he is trying new stuff and making an attempt!!

He had a Dr. appointment in Ann Arbor on the 25th of May- and the Chemo Department released him from their care. They said he has no more appointments with them- unless the radiology department wants him to come back. His creatinine levels were at 2.0 on that day. He was so nervous. We sat in the waiting room for an hour before they called him back… his palms were sweating and his heart rate was very rapid. He said he just knew they were going to keep him… he even packed a bag with his meds and some clothes… because he just had a feeling… When she said that he was released from their care- he exhaled and you could just see the color rush back into his cheeks. He was so relieved…

He ran down to the radiation department and spoke to the people that had cared for him for weeks… they all said how much better he was looking. They said his color was good- he had more spunk and they felt he looked great.

Since he has been home- he has planted the garden, mowed several times, planted strawberries, read a few books, taken a few new listings- sold a new home… did a few appraisals… had a few fires in the fire pit- had tree stumps ground up and started to clean the shavings… it’s all a little bit slower- but he is doing it! He is gaining strength and feeling better each day!

He seems to be getting stronger as he can eat more too- the canned food helped to sustain him, the 2calHN- just isn’t the same as swallowing some soup. He said as soon as he started to be able to sip broth- he felt more energy. It’s odd- and here is why I say it’s a gamble.. because some days he is able to eat oatmeal or even biscuits and gravy, then the next day he can’t manage the oatmeal.

He loves homemade creamed asparagus soup and has eaten that several times. Mushroom soup is his new best friend, but can’t handle clam chowder. Some things burn, there is no rhyme or reason. He can sip tea, iced water, and even has had a couple of Corona’s.
He has stayed very hydrated- and has only had to tube feed with the 2cal once in the past week or so! Most days he can get enough with soups and other soft foods. It makes me smile… I am so glad he can eat again.

The other problem with eating though, is the teeth! He can’t really chew because most of his back teeth were taken out. He has mentioned more than once that he wants to talk to them on his next visit about getting his teeth back. Also he is ready for the feeding tube to be gone… he is over it.

His next appointment is June 22nd and the 23rd. Radiation Department on the 22nd and a Renal Specialist on the 23rd. Not sure if they will do a Pet Scan or if that will be further down the road. He thinks they will run a scope and look at things that way. He said he thinks they will wait 6 months before they do a complete check to see if they got it all. The Renal Specialist is because of havoc the chemo raised with his kidneys. This particular kind was super hard on his kidneys. (They know he has some kidney damage… just not sure how much and what the effects will be long term.) This is another reason they keep checking his blood- the Creatinine levels should be .5 – 1.5 … His have been as low as 1.8… but are currently- or at last check- 2.0. It’s not super high… but enough to warrant concern.

Okay- so that’s what’s going on in our world… day by day- (I thank God that I learned how to live day by day in recovery… it has helped a ton!) We take each day as it comes- don’t expect anything from it… love it when it all just fits together… and don’t get too upset if it seems to be a struggle. We can appreciate the good for the good… and sometimes we can even be thankful for the struggles. It’s easy to find someone who has it a little worse off… if you look hard enough.
To all of our friends who have had graduation open houses… we apologize for not being able to join in the fun.. it’s just a little too early for Paul to be around crowds. We want to ease back into life and are saving up as much energy as we can- for Hailey and Cody’s wedding! Speaking of which… I better start looking for a dress… 🙂

Love and Blessings to all,
Denise and Paul

Paul Update 6.30.11

Thursday, June 30, 2011 2:26 PM

Hello Everyone,

It’s been another busy few weeks… But I felt I had better let everyone know what’s going on with Paul! He had an appointment in Ann Arbor on the 22nd and 23rd, and got good news.

The first day it was with the ENT department and the Dr. did a scope down his nose and into his throat. She said visually… There is no tumor! She also stuck her finger towards the back of his throat and felt around by his tonsil and said she could not feel anything either! She did say his throat is still quite swollen and irritated.

His weight is still down and varies day by day… He has probably gained back five to ten pounds of the thirty that he lost. He really wanted the peg tube gone, but she talked to him about the importance of gaining more weight to help his body heal and also convinced him to continue to use it for another six weeks. He should be steadily gaining weight, but because things are so swollen and painful- it’s a soft food diet right now. It’s hard to get the full nutrition his body needs on soups and Mac and cheese. So… The feeding tube stays and he will now supplement his daily intake with at least two cans of the liquid “two cal hn” each day.

The next day we met with the Renal Specialist and he went over his blood work. His creatinine levels were 1.7. Which is still a tad bit high… and may take up to a year to level out- but they are optimistic. He said there is slight kidney damage- but they won’t know to what extent until they see him long term… things are moving in the right direction!

He is gaining strength back- daily. He is now working regularly, and most days he is done by mid afternoon to come home to take a two hour nap. He is listening to his body and doing what he can. I love that he can do things. I get excited when he starts a new project or when he adds some new plants or herbs around the yard. He is in his glory- planting and moving dirt.
We bought a pop up camper last week too- life is too short to not enjoy it! His sister had a beautiful barely used pop up… and because he is her favorite… haha… she made us a nice deal. We will be happy campers soon!

Now… if that was the end of the update- it would be pretty darn good news… but it isn’t!!

He had an appointment in Saginaw today with his normal Dr. to go over regular blood work, and an overall check up. Drum roll…… He is no longer a diabetic, no longer has high blood pressure or high cholesterol!

Because of the weight loss, he is now off all of the regular meds! He did put him on a small dose of a high blood pressure pill, just to help further protect his kidneys. (Not because he has high blood pressure anymore!!)

I am amazed at how much Paul’s journey has become a story for other people to rejoice in. I had a talk with a woman at the gym this morning- she was diagnosed with breast cancer a few months back and is going to beginning her journey with radiation soon. Just sharing his news gave her hope. She smiled and said Praise Jesus… we have an awesome God.

Gives me chills each time I can share a piece of our story and it gives someone else hope. Another member who is on this email update list… told me in the beginning that God would use us to teach others- and that he would never forsake us. She was right. Thank you- you know who you are!

So- Happy Independence Day everyone- be safe. I’ll talk to you all soon. Oh… and did I mention that Hailey’s wedding is just 8 days away? Oh ya… it’s a good life… I am so thankful to be in such a good place today!

Peace and Love,
Denise and Paul

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