Sunday, February 21, 2010

Chemo Again...

I just wanted to let everyone know that I started chemo again on Thurs, 18 February. I haven't felt very motivated to update my blog. I guess if I don't talk about it, it didn't or won't happen. Wouldn't that be nice!

Having a recurrence of my cancer is something that we knew was a likely possibility, but something we neither expected nor planned for. (Denial has been one of our strong suits.) We had never researched what would come next if the cancer returned. Since surgery, we have gotten opinions from 3 doctors.
The first opinion was from my doctor in Seattle with whom we have been doing the study vaccine. We then got an opinion from my oncologist here in Ogden, and then another one from my breast oncologist at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. All three of the doctors are on the same page, relatively speaking. Which is to say, that no one has the answer. No one knows how successful the treatments will be. At least they all mentioned the same chemotherapy drugs....
So, the plan is to do weekly chemotherapy treatments for 4-6 months. I've never done chemo consecutively for that long, but we will see how it goes. I will get another PET scan in 2-3 months to see if the chemo is effective.
This has definitely knocked us for a loop. I'm not sure which has been harder, this or the initial diagnosis. That may sound odd, but we really do well living in denial.
We are recovering from our shell shock and are so grateful for all of the faith, prayers, service, cards, flowers, and meals.

Much love from grateful hearts,
The Stanleys

Where is Ryker?

I'm the only parent in our family who can say that they have never lost any of our children, but yesterday I did get a little scared. I thought Ryker was in his room taking a nap, but when I went upstairs to get him he wasn't in his bed. I quickly turned around to look in the other kid's rooms but found Ryker tucked away on the middle shelf of his changing table. (And yes, he has been potty trained for about 8 months. We just haven't gotten around to getting rid of the table.)

Valentine's Day 2010

Bruce is Mr. Breakfast, which evidently induces big smiles.

Pink initial pancakes.

Yummy pink heart pancake.

Happy Valentine's Day!
The Stanleys

Ryker turns 3!!!!

I can't believe my baby is 3! What a wonderful time it has been. Ryker brings love and laughter into our family. He is incredibly smart, expressive, and insightful. He may be the baby of the family, but in a lot of ways he is the third parent. For some reason, he is the one to remind his older brothers what they should be doing. I love how he uses our words to get the boys back on track. Ryker is a great player. He has an amazing imagination and can have fun with any household item. Ryker is very kind, thoughtful, polite. He does not like his hands dirty and likes to tell me to put things away, but in his own world he is a total 'pack rat'. Although he still needs a nap, he fights falling asleep and can be heard playing and talking to himself an hour after bedtime. Ryker loves to sing songs, read books, paint, color, and cut paper. He has been my steady companion since my surgery. He has been so gentle and helpful. His hugs, kisses, and pats lift my spirits!
Love you, my Rykie Roo.

Ryker's family birthday celebration was a little delayed because of my hospital stay, but the beauty of being 3 years old is that you can celebrate your birthday any day as long as there is a cake and some candles.
Ryker was very opinionated in chosing his birthday theme. For some reason he was very stuck on bowling and also wanted to add balloons and presents to the cake.

Ryker opening his presents.

Family bowling.

Never thought I'd need gutters!

Ryker's new 3 year-old smile.

Landon's smooth style, perfected with Wii bowling.

Xander- satisfied with his performance!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

New Fight

Dear Friends and Family,
Jeanel was finally able to leave Huntsman on Wednesday evening and is currently recovering at her sister Suzette's house. She is very sore, tired, and emotionally drained. The ovarian pathology results came back today, and are most consistant with adenocarcinoma, poorly differentiated likely from a primary breast cancer, with 2/5 lymph nodes positive in the periaortic lymph nodes. All other biopsy results throughout the abdomen were negative. We think this means more chemotherapy in the near future and the battle will go on.
When we did the initial mastectomy we essentially "debulked" the tumor (got rid of the major source of tumor that could spread throughout the body). In essence, that is what we have again done, by getting rid of the ovary and the positive lymph nodes. These were the only areas big enough to highlight on the last PET scan. The purpose of more chemotherapy will be to further reduce any smaller residual areas of tumor in her body to keep the cancer in check. The hope is then we can return to another season of remission such as we have had for the last 9 months.
Thank you for your many notes and words of support and continued prayers,

Cancer Never Sleeps

Dear Friends and Family,

First and foremost we wish our youngest son Ryker Thomas a happy third birthday today. We miss and love him on his special day.

Our fight with cancer has always been an ongoing battle. We have enjoyed the last 9 months essentially cancer free. Our lives in many ways have returned to normal, with Jeanel and I returning to full work duties, her hair and energy has come back to normal with the exception of being crazy curly. We have been to Wisconsin , Chicago , and Disneyland, and Jeanel has enjoyed all of her trips to Seattle with me, her parents, her sister Suzette and my sister-in law Brooke. We truly have been blessed with a wonderful season of health.

Thursday 1.21.10, Jeanel was due for her routine PET scan. This required her to be on bed rest the day before and limited activity the day of the procedure. She woke up at 3:00 am with right lower quadrant pain. Ever the martyr, she waited until morning for me to push on her abdomen, and immediately I suspected an appendicitis. Her mother brought her to my clinic in the morning, and while the white blood cellcount was normal, her doctor and I suspected appendicitis. The PET scan was followed by a CT scan, and the results were suspicious forovarian cancer with one aorto-caval 1 cm lymph node. Otherwise PET scan was normal. We consulted OB/GYN and were referred to Hustsman Cancer Center in SLC to GYN ONC (cancer surgeon that take care of female cancers). After a very rough night on Thursday (due to pain), we met with Dr Soision on Friday at 11 am. After reviewing the scans and chart, he stated he was fairly sure this was a benignovarian torsion, but was willing to admit her to the hospital and operate the same evening.

Jeanel was taken to the OR at 6:15 pm, and at 8:45 he came out and informed me of both good and bad news. Bad news: this was cancer of the ovary on the cryosection taken intraoperatively. The good news was that he didn’t see any other cancer. The tumor was 11 cm in diameter on the right ovary, and there was no torsion of the ovary. However, once the cancer was found, this meant looking through the entire abdomen for any other cancer seeding including checking the diaphragms, running the entire bowel, biopsying lymph nodes, and removing the greater omentum. He also removed the uterus, both ovaries and ovarian tubes and the appendix (our request). She has a long vertical midline incision from the bottom of the ribs to the pubis and 41 staples.

We have loved the Huntsman Cancer institute. The building is absolutely beautiful, and the room spacious, comfortable and ornate and the view is second to none of the entire Salt Lake Valley . The aides and nurses have been very attentive and kind as have been all of our doctors. This all being said, they did make a big mistake the first night after the surgery. Jeanel was supposed to have had an epidural placed in the operating room and a PCA pump (pain meds on demand). Instead she was left with a highly inadequate dose of dilaudid that she initially could only request every two hours. Her dilauded would only last for 20 minutes and then she would be in a lot of pain. I stayed up with her all night as she begged and pleaded for pain meds trying to talk her through this. The resident in the night did increase the dilaudid to every 1 hour, but still this was not adequate. When her resident/surgeon came in at 0530, I insisted that they should switch to morphine, or a PCA pump or something additional because of all the pain she was in. The resident/surgeon had no idea that she had not been on the PCA and epidural through the night and immediately apologized and ordered these. Several hours later she finally had some level of pain control with the PCA, but by that point was far too painful to position for an epidural. Needless to say, it was a very rough first night. I feel bad I didn’t insist on more sooner. It has been a long time since I have done a surgical rotation, but I should have known better. My deepest apologies to Jeanel.

Besides a mild scare the day after surgery for a possible blood clot to the lungs (acute desaturation of oxygen, chest pain, shortness of breath and tachycardia for 15 minutes—with a negative CT angio of the chest) we have had an uneventful hospital stay. She has weaned off the NG tube, and is tolerating jello, pudding, broth and water. Tomorrow we will wean off the pain pump, and the urine catheter, and hopefully the IV and oxygen. The current plan is to be discharged on Tuesday. Jeanel plans to go to her sister’s house until she is ready to be around the kids again.

So now we are left hoping for the pathology results to be a stage 1 A ovarian cancer, in which case the surgery is curable. Alternatives also include more advanced stages of ovarian cancer, or metastatic breast cancer that has taken over the ovary. We continue to pray for our miracles and are grateful for the miracles we have received.

Thanks for your love, prayer and support,