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Sunday, February 26, 2012

{Is The Fight Over?}

In a sense, yes. Adam completed his final round of chemo yesterday and as far as we know, we are on to greener pastures. What started as a kick to the groin last August, we have been through one surgery, one hospital stay, four chemo rounds and no more hair. His very first dr's appointment was  November 7th, 2011 and look at us now. Crazy, huh?! I can't say that it has been an enjoyable ride, but it has definitely taught us a lot about what our strengths and weaknesses are. Our family and friends have been AMAZING. Simply put - we couldn't be any more blessed than we are with the tremendous amount of support that we have received during this time.

As far as the nitty gritty...here is what we know. On December 15th, Adam was admitted to OHSU for an emergency round of in-patient chemotherapy. On this day, his AFP test came back just over 56,000. (This is the protein marker for the cancer -- a normal person has between 0-4 in their blood). We were advised that in order for us to deem this a success, they (the dr's) would want to see the AFP number drop each time by a factor of 10. After the first round, it dropped to 6400. So close, not quite there...therefore it left me a little nervous. Then the next one came back at 233...HUGE! Way better than a factor of 10 and we were quite relieved to see this number. As of this last week, it was at 15. If it drops by a factor of 10, he will be back within normal range. He has a dr's appointment and CT scheduled in two weeks to determine if there are any remaining tumors as well as to get a better look at his spinal tumor that damaged the nerves in that area. I don't know what will happen if there are remaining tumors - if it will mean surgery, another round of chemo, or a 'wait and see' approach. There is a possibility this could come back because it had spread through his blood. According to statistics, most reaccuring testicular cancers happen within the first two years. I can only assume we will be aggressively monitoring this to make sure it doesn't get away from us. We will keep you posted on what happens with that Dr's appointment!

As far as Adam, he is doing good. He hasn't regained nerve sensation back yet, so he still has his catheter. But they are talking about testing it as we go through this next couple of weeks and that is encouraging. He had his best chemo week yet -- more energy and an appetite. But suddenly this weekend it is really hitting him. Everything tastes bad and he has NO energy. Poor guy, he is frustrated but I keep reminding him that this is the end of one phase and we have to be positive about that at least! Plus...there are no expectations. He has every right to feel crummy after all his body has been put through. He's allowed a bad day :) Hopefully as more time passes, he will get feeling better and stronger. He would like to return to work as soon as the doctor's clear him, so that is something that he has set his sights on. He hasn't lost a ton of weight which is really good. Right now he and Sophia are 'camping' in the living room and watching movies tonight. We make it work with what we have, right?!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

{Catching Up}

I guess I should begin this post by apologizing for their being such a lapse in posts. I am truly sorry for I know you all depend on these updates to see how Adam is doing and he isn't in the position of doing it himself.

Without revealing too much, there is a lot that cancer brings with it that you just cannot prepare for until you are faced with it. It can be overwhelming, angering, terrifying and absolutely heartbreaking. But you deal with it in any way you can and hope that your children aren't going to need therapy to deal with all that is going on. It is even more difficult when you begin this process with a plan and instead realize there is just no planning with these things. It doesn't help that there isn't a support system at the hospital for the family of cancer patients (or better said - a wife who has a young child that can't be left with a babysitter for day-long periods) and it is hard attending Adams appointments when I am not a part of the process or conversations. But I am trying to do my best!

With that being said, Adam is doing great with his therapy. He originally started with the protein marker being well over 50,000 and as of January 9th, his numbers were just above 6,000. Our goal was to be between 600-700 after this last round and we found out that it is just over 200!! So the chemo is doing it's job and we are hoping after his last round in two weeks, we will move on to the next phase. He has had a much harder time with side effects after these last couple of rounds. The nausea, loss of appetite, overall tiredness and lack of energy have been much more pronounced and lasting much longer. We are just trying to maintain at this point because avoiding is somewhat impossible. We have met with a nutritionist who helped to better explain what he should and should not be eating and how to measure these amounts to make sure he is not exceeding anything on a daily basis.

We do not know what is going to happen after this last round besides the follow up CT scans and MRI. He is doing physical therapy for his left leg because of the swelling. They believe this is because the lymph nodes on that side are swollen due to treatment and need stimulation to keep the circulation going. The nerve medication has been increased to help him stay comfortable. We are hoping this means the nerve is repairing itself but we won't know for sure until we have those follow up scans. He is now completely, shiny bald but some little whiskers pop up every now and then. The catheter remains as the nerve / muscle functions have not yet returned but this will be looked into further after the treatments and when we know what is going on with the location of the tumor in his spine. Otherwise he is doing well and we are very appreciative of the kind words and support from you all. Thank you!