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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Day After.......And Kara and Adalina

Yesterday was emotionally draining for Tim and I.  We were expecting the worst, but praying for the best.  And yet when we received the bad news, I think we were in shock.  I don't think your mind can actually prepare you for that kind of news.  And when Tim prayed at dinner last night, "Lord, spare my life" I just lost it!  He had to take one of my night time PMs to turn his brain off!  I soooooooooooooo know what that is like!  It took me a little while to fall asleep, too.  But, realizing the seriousness of the health issue, both of us were compelled to spend more time near one another.  While I was typing some of his sermon notes from Buffalo Baptist, he came up to the "formal living room" where I was and read from his iPad.  Then, as I read and he watched old movies on his iPad, we were both in the "man room."

So today we spent an hour + on the phone with the assistant to Dr. Stewart, the new doctor on Tim's Stage 4 Metastatic Melanoma case, Robin.  We briefly met Robin in May 2012 when Tim was getting ready for his first cancer surgery.  She took great pains in explaining the procedure that Tim would be undergoing and I will briefly describe that here.

First of all, the treatment is NOT chemotherapy, to which I am thankful for, because of all the side effects, not to mention the damage it does to your whole body.  Melanoma is an immune-based cancer and the treatment for such has really improved in the last 5 years.  Tim will have Immunotherapy with a high dose of Interleukin-2 (IL2).  Here is a bit of information I pulled off the internet:

"Interleukin-2 is a protein normally present in small amounts in the body. It does not directly attack cancer cells.  It has powerful effects on the body’s immune system and enhances the ability of some white blood cells, called T-lymphocytes, to target and kill the cancer cells.

The FDA has approved the use of IL-2 in the treatment of metastatic renal cell cancer and metastatic melanoma.  It has been available to patients since the mid-1980s, when the treatment was first offered in clinical trials. Fifteen to 20 percent of patients who received this treatment experienced shrinkage of their tumors. Some patients experienced a complete response after high-dose IL-2 treatment, meaning that their tumor went away completely. The majority of patients who experienced a complete response have stayed in a remission for many years. These successes led the Food and Drug Administration to approve high-dose IL-2 as treatment for metastatic kidney cancer in 1992 and for metastatic melanoma in 1997."

This high dose is to rev up or boost the immune system to fight the cancer, I believe.  There is a chance that it will not work and they would have to go to Plan B which she touched on briefly, but I didn't take notes on.  We will deal with that when and if the time comes.

So, for now, we are waiting on Robin to call us back with an appointment for a stress test.  Tim is already scheduled for a week's stay in the hospital the week of November 4th.  This treatment requires hospital stay and is monitored very closely.  While there are not side effects like in chemotherapy, there are still side effects that effect the immune system.  Robin will be e-mailing us the PDF document that we will share with family members and you can read it and understand better why the hospital stay is required, as well as the stress test.

So, assuming everything is OK with the stress test, and we have no reason to doubt that it won't be as Tim is completely healthy other than the cancer, he will spend a week in the hospital (5-7 days), be home for 1-2 weeks with no restrictions of duties, go back to the hospital for another 5-7 days of administration of the IL-2 and then back home again.  This is considered "1 course."  I believe he will be home for a month and CT scans will be made to see if the IL-2 helped to shrink the tumors.  And we go from there.

I think we can both safely say that we feel better after the conversation with the nurse today.  While he is in the hospital, the IL-2 will be administered every 8 hours and his BP checked every 15 minutes.  So, while he will have no restrictions when he gets home, he will be very tired because he won't get much more than a cat nap while in the hospital.  I will be allowed to stay with him 24/7 from what I gather.  That might not be necessary, probably, but we will see how things go.  That being said, there will be no reason for you, our children, to come and have to take time off work.  I will have my laptop there and we can skype as there is wifi throughout the hospital.

OK, now on to some pages I did of Kara and Adalina with some new kits that were release in the Scrap Art Studio shop today.  I'll put the credits below the pages as I know you are not interested in that part.

Credits for the top 2 layouts:
Color Play 15 Kit { Breathe } by Cilenia Curtis

Credits for the bottom 2 layouts:
CP15 Day Dream Bundle by Lynne Anzelc (aka Aria)


Judith said...

Hang in there, my Witchy Sista! "Lose it" when you have to because it releases our hearts and minds to move into a stronger place for a little while longer. Our prayers (and our shoulders!) are lifting you up as you walk beside Tim through this. Please give him a huge hug from my son Josh, who is following all this and keeping you in his heart, too.

Your pages are just stunning, as always. You have a real talent with these beautiful kits! I hope it really IS Art Therapy for ya :0) Love always!! ~J

Vicky said...

OK, J! So, I'm not at all sure what you mean by "witchy sista" LOL! I've seen you call Georgia that, too! I always wondered about that! Hmmm.....aside from that, LOL, please give your son, Josh, a BIG hug back for me! It does lift our hearts and strength to know so many people are praying! And, thanks for your sweet comments on my pages! I guess they are a sort of therapy!

kathy rn said...

Dear Vicky, sent you a friend request. My heart is so deeply touched by Tim's illness.. I am lifting him up in prayer as I type this. I know that whatever the path is that he will trod that he will, ever, be alone. I pray and trust that soon we will be praising God for his healing. I cannot imagine what your hearts are going through, but know that there are so many who love and care for you, and are lifting you up to the Savior. Praying, Kathy Gammell

Vicky said...

Thank you, Kathy! I will accept your friend request when I get over to FB. Thanks so much for your prayers and comforting words!

Tammy said...

Hugs and prayers, Vicky!!! And I love your layouts (as always). The last one is just gorgeous!!!!

Vicky said...

Thanks, Tammy! :D

Lisa said...

Praying for you and your family!

Vicky said...

Thank you, Lisa!