Cancer for Dummies

ImageLike sharing stories, passing on advice/information is another tricky area.  We have all probably read something or heard something that could potentially be helpful.  Knowing when to share it or keep it to yourself is a challenge.  My friend, Nat, sent me a press release about a newly approved colon cancer drug.  I appreciated that the information was right from the FDA horse’s mouth.  We took the information to Dave’s oncologist who let us know that it wasn’t the drug for Dave at this time.  It sure didn’t hurt to ask though.  As far as drug trial or medical advice, I like having all the information in print from a reputable source.

Dave has a colleague at work who is a cancer survivor.  She believes strongly that the water that you drink should have a certain pH.  There is an expensive machine that she purchased that filters the water to the correct level.  Dave asked his doctor about this, and they had no objection to him trying it.  So this kind and generous person brings Dave gallon jugs of water each week.  She feels like it is something she can do to help.  I appreciate this because it is something that she tried, felt was effective, and thought Dave would benefit from too.  But she also took the financial risk out of it because she is using her machine and providing Dave with the water.  I would have to say that I would have been reluctant to spend thousands of dollars on something someone who was not an expert suggested.

My friend, May, was spot on when she shared her knowledge.  One afternoon, May stopped by to drop off an absolutely delicious dinner.  I happened to mention to her that Dave is experimenting with making various smoothies containing super foods like kale.  Turns out that May has a wealth of knowledge, but she waits until she knows someone is interested to share.  The next time she stopped by she brought us some things to try (while including the ingredients list so Dave can check with his doctor to make sure there is nothing objectionable).  I so appreciated all of her suggestions and advice and how she essentially waited until she was asked for it.

We have been very lucky to have friends thinking of us and sharing their experience and knowledge.



Because There is More to Life

This weekend, we are celebrating the marriage of Dave’s sister, Kris, to Franck.    We are so happy that they found each other.  They are blending their families, and we are thrilled to welcome Franck and his sons, Trevor and Josh into the tribe.  Dave will be officiating so I am sure the ceremony will be both meaningful and entertaining.  We wish them many many years filled with love and happiness.

I can’t wait to spend the weekend with some of my favorite people in the world.  When family gathers together, it is always time filled with laughter, stories and memory making!



Highs and Lows

At the dinner table, we have a tradition in which each person tells about their highs and lows for the day.  These are mine for today.

High – That’s easy.  Dave’s scan news was good.  His tumors remain unchanged in size and number.  In other words, stable disease.  There is a possibility that some of the tumors could be scarring which would indicate they are dying.  I am so hopeful that this is what is happening.  He has two more rounds of chemo to go, and then we will discuss what the next plan of attack is.

Low – Electronic communication from school.  I got two emails from Samantha’s school saying that she was marked absent from a class.  She swears she was there, and I believe her.  The schools also send interims via email every two weeks.  So, every two weeks I get to see how many assignments Grant has failed to turn in.  I think life was less stressful when you didn’t really know what your kids were up to at school in the day-to-day!

Bonus High – It’s Wednesday.  “Mom/Grammy makes dinner” night.  Now Mom is out of town, but those of you who know her won’t be surprised to hear that she made it ahead of time so I could just heat it up tonight.  Tonight’s menu is roast beef, baby red potatoes, cucumber salad, green beans, and homemade applesauce.  She also provided pudding and/or fresh fruit for dessert.  The fresh fruit didn’t make it until tonight though.  It has already been gobbled up.  The whole family is excited about Wednesday night dinners.  We are very fortunate folks.



Unofficial News

Dave got an email message today that said “things look good, if you know what I mean.”  It is unofficial because it didn’t come from his doctor.  But I know we will sleep better tonight with this information.  We don’t know if “good” means nothing has changed or if it means more.  Details to come tomorrow.  Thanks for the prayers, well wishes and support!



Hello? Can you Hear Me?

From the first conversation, I knew that Saturday was going to be a rough day.  Saturdays before chemo weeks are hard.  Saturdays before chemo and scan weeks are the worst.  I started my day being peppered with questions about how I had handled assorted issues during the week.  None of my responses were adequate.  I kept reminding myself that Dave is anxious.  I turned the other cheek.  I remained calm.  I even identified the elephant in the room.  “I understand that you are stressed about Tuesday, but let’s try not to let it ruin the weekend.”

It was such a beautiful day that Dave asked what I wanted to do.  I mentioned that I would really like to go to the National Book Festival.  This idea was met with utter silence.  So, I came up with alternatives.  There was the Dulles Plane Pull or a multicultural festival in Reston.  But the reality is that I was frustrated.  I wanted to go to the Book Festival.  I took a deep breath and swallowed down my words.  We ended up taking the dogs to the dog park and then headed to the multicultural festival and had a great time.

For weeks, we had a dinner on the calendar.  I asked Dave to run to the store to grab something that I needed to bring with us while I took a shower.  When he got back he had hundreds of dollars of groceries and a full trunk load of bags.  Everything except the very thing I had asked him to get.  So after a day of tongue biting, repressing feelings and being understanding, I snapped.  Honestly, I told him that I felt like my thoughts, ideas and needs were completely ignored.  This went over well as you can imagine. So, Dave headed off to the dinner, and I stayed home with Parker and Grant for a marathon of Tanked.  I was sad to miss an evening that I know was full of interesting conversation, laughter and intellectual topics.  But I was relieved to have a break from the stress.

For those of you who have said I am strong, supportive, loving, giving.  I am.  Except when I am not.

Today will be a better day.



can you hear me now

Scan Alert

This is a shout out to our prayer warriors, our “sending good vibes” peeps and our positive thinkers.  Dave has his next scan on Tuesday, September 25th.  Let’s keep up the good work and get great news on Wednesday!

I appreciate all the supportive responses I am reading on the blog, and I just want to reassure everyone that hope is alive and well in our house.  We truly live in a place of hope.  Wandering down the dark alley of “what ifs” would surely keep me from ever sleeping again.  So, we keep optimistic and appreciate all that you are doing from your different corners of the world.

All my love,




Those of you who know our families know that we have an amazing support network.  Dave’s parents have been so supportive even though they live a full day’s car ride away.  They were here for both of his surgeries, paced the waiting room with me, ate bad hospital food, and did whatever they could for all of us to make life easier during those challenging times.  My parents who live twenty minutes down the parkway have been there for us in the day to day.  They have made MANY trips to the orthodontist, pediatrician, orthopedist, and dentist.  They have run errands for us, watched kids, and attended any and all kid events.

When school started back up this fall, my mom made the most generous and greatly appreciated offer.  She said she would be happy (or at least willing) to make dinner for us once a week.  We decided on Wednesdays since I work later on that day and we also tend to have evening events.  Usually I come home to a kitchen with snack dishes in the sink and general disorder.  At best I come home to a clean kitchen with an empty sink and stove.  Yesterday, my kitchen had a yummy array of food for dinner – shepherd’s pie, broccoli, a delicious salad with jicama, mandarin oranges and almonds as well as brownies and fresh fruit for dessert.  It was so nice to not have to think about dinner but to just sit down and enjoy a family meal before we rushed off to our different events.  What an incredible gift – not just the meal which we very much enjoyed, but also the gift of time.  We could enjoy a half hour of family togetherness gathered around the table.  Then Parker and Dave took Winston to puppy class, and Samantha and I went to a college event.  Dinner was the respite from the day and a chance to recharge and reconnect before we headed out again.

This morning I noticed brownie crumbs on the counter.  This is the conversation that followed between Dave and me.

Me: I can’t believe someone is eating brownies for breakfast.

Dave: Are the brownies not supposed to be eaten?

Me: No, it’s fine if they are eaten but not for breakfast.

At this point I looked over at Dave who had a plate with telltale brownie crumbs covering it which he was sliding to the side of the table.

Me: Oh.