Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Chemo #11

It is becoming difficult to keep up with the number of treatments Jimmie has had.  If I didn't post it here I doubt that I could remember at all.  The reactions to the chemo seems to have hit a plateau.  The day following Jimmie has a terrific headache (and sometimes the day after that as well) and just feels "washed out".  But he prefers to handle his office chores and keep as busy as possible to work his way through it.

We got good news on Jimmie's blood work this week.  When the doctor first tried iron infusions to boost Jimmie's hemoglobin the first testing showed improvement.  So we all thought, "Finally!  Something that helped!"  But by the next week the blood count was already beginning to slide down again.  After several weeks the doctor cancelled the iron treatments as a failure. I did more Internet searches and learned that the chemo drug Jimmie takes weekly often reduces the patient's hemoglobin count.  Lovely.  Another side effect we have to fight.

That's when I started searching the essential oils for help.  I ordered a new one and Jimmie had been letting me smear it on him for almost 2 weeks when the latest blood was drawn.  And his hemoglobin jumped back up by .7 on Monday.  That's the biggest improvement I remember him having at any time, even with the many transfusions in the hospital.  I know it is too soon to credit the oil with helping, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed just the same.  Especially since the doctor has run out of options.

- Linda

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


When Jimmie had thyroid cancer back in 2008 his doctors were spread all over the map.  This time not only have all of his specialists been in the same area, they have been in the exact same building.  We have driven there so often that I think our little Ford could make the trip blindfolded.  The only decision we've been forced to make each visit has been which button to push on the elevator.

But today the list of specialists dwindled to ONE.  The pulmonary doctor told Jimmie that he had graduated.  Yesterday's x-rays showed that the fluid that had been in his lungs since they collapsed during surgery is now completely gone.  Yeah!!  Jimmie was expecting the release.  He had not had the pleurisy chest pain in several days - not even after having chemo #10 on Monday.  Double Yeah!!

- Linda


Friday, February 10, 2012

I have added a new page on the tabs above - Newsletters.  Now you can see our Mission Reports as they look when printed.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Chemo #9

A little picture proof that Jimmie is doing well.

During Friday's chemo - right after Jimmie learned that the cancer in his lungs is shrinking,
and the cancer in his lymph nodes was completely gone!  

Preaching Sunday at New Hope Road Church of Christ. 

The only fly in the ointment continues to be the anemia.  After some initial improvement in Jimmie's hemoglobin at the beginning of the iron infusions, it dropped again.  The doctor cancelled the IVs of iron a week ago because tests showed that Jimmie's body is not absorbing it.  This Friday the doctor was once more simply shaking his head, not sure what to do about the anemia . . . never something you want to hear from the specialist on the subject.  They seem to think that the kidney damaged by cancer started the problem, but they don't know how to reverse it now that the kidney is gone.  So, this weekend I was hot on the Internet again trying to find out reasons why a body rejects iron.  And I ordered a new essential oil.

- Linda

Friday, February 3, 2012

Scan Report

I have to admit to a bit of trepidation this morning as we headed to the oncologist's office.  We were due to get the results of the CT Scan taken Tuesday, but this was a case of wanting to know and not wanting to know at one and the same time.  No matter how remarkable Jimmie's recovery has been from the surgery - and it has amazed all of us - the fact is that following surgery he still had cancer in 3 areas of his body:  

  • a small sliver of the tumor that could not be removed from the vena cava, 
  • a dot too small to measure accurately in one of his lymph nodes, and 
  • cancer nodules in both lungs that the doctor would only describe as "many".  

So this scan would answer a vital question - "
Are the treatments working?"

Jimmie has actually been taking 2 treatments.  One the doctor ordered and another our daughter, Julie, recommended.

1.  Torisel Infusions.  
          The fact that this chemo medication is not designed to kill the cancer has always been disheartening, but typical poisonous chemos and radiation treatments used to destroy other malignancies have proven to be ineffective against renal cancer.  So this medication only attempts to block the cancer from additional growth.  More disturbing were statistics I found online that said this medication only works for about 20% of patients.  But it was the best hope the doctor had to offer so Jimmie has been getting weekly doses.

2.  Therapeutic-grade Essential Oils from Young Living.  
          I had never heard of these until Julie began learning about their health benefits earlier last year.  As soon as Jimmie was diagnosed she enlisted the aid of her sister-in-law, Keely, and they began researching oils that might be helpful.  They found 2 that had given positive results for others battling cancer - frankincense and orange oil.  Unfortunately, neither had any research with renal cancer specifically, but at that point in time we were being told Jimmie's tumor may be inoperable.  After reading everything I could find about these oils and other alternative treatments that others emailed me, I decided to try the oils.  
          Jimmie was not keen on the idea.  Actually, he was dead set against it.  I suspect that the only reason he finally agreed, "under duress" as he put it, was because it was his little girl who was begging him.  But that distrust evaporated when he saw how much better he began to feel almost immediately.  So he has been getting daily doses of both oils since before surgery, but only half of the recommended protocol after surgery.  I did not want to overtax his remaining kidney that also had to deal with the chemo.

And something worked!  The report today showed 2 important results:
1.  There were no new cancer growths anywhere.
2.  The "many" existing nodules in his lungs had all shrunk - every one of them!  

The radiologist recorded a decrease in every nodule of 1 to 3 mm each.  I know that is a very small amount, but when the largest nodule measured 21 mm before surgery and now it is 18 mm, that's a reduction of 14%.  I can get very excited about that number!

But Jimmie is even more excited about something else today.  After learning of the good test results, Jimmie asked the doctor about going to Africa in August - and the doctor approved it!  There is a pill version of this chemo that Jimmie can take while traveling.  

So, while my first phone call was to Julie to tell her the good news, Jimmie's was to make plans for the Africa campaign.

I do not know which of these treatments God used to answer our prayers, perhaps both.  But whatever treatments have helped Jimmie we know absolutely that God is the reason that they worked.  We also know without reservation that the prayers of our brethren have been vital.  Thank you! Thank you! 

We still have a battle with the cancer that remains and the side effects of the chemo, but the future today is looking considerably brighter.

- Linda