Wednesday, September 30, 2015

anotherr miracle

Well, we talked to Wendy today  she is a nurse for Dr.. Wallentine.  It turns out that due to Wendy asking, our insurance has approved herceptim for my treatkejt; Normqlllly they would only approve Herceptime for the treatment of breast cancer but by some miracle they approved it for treating my cancer this time  I am so grateful.

Friday, September 25, 2015

More infuaiona

Yesterday was infusion #3 of optima  Our visit with Dr. Wallentme was good.  These infusions make me tired.  The headaches are very real.  JoLynne tries to keep ahead of them.  No small task   The headaches are very persistent  It is interesting this time i had a bump come up in the middle of my mouth.  I'm sure its is tumor pushing  It is annoying but I have seen the bump reduce in size by 10-20 % right after the infusion so in ways it is a blessing to know that something is working because I can feel lt shrinking  We continue to be very hopeful that optivo will somehow shrink this cancer down.  I have told Heavenly Father that I really need a miracle to shrink this tumor  This is something that I cannot do on my own.  I need His help  I know that He loves me.  I just hope that this time He is willing to heal me.

I am so grateful for JoLynne.  She is so kind and caring.  I really love her and I am grateful to her too.  She is such a good woman.  I am so blessed to have her

Thursday, September 17, 2015

a beautiful day

Every day I am grateful to still be alive.  Some days I am especially grateful.  Today was one of those days.

I have a niece who I love very much.  Her name is Katie Loveless.  Today Katie was married in the Payson Temple.  We were able to attend her wedding.  I woke up this morning and thought how grateful I am to still be alive and to be able to see my niece married in the temple.  The difficult thing for me is that about a year ago Katie's father passed away.  He was so healthy but something went terrible wrong and he fell into a coma from which he never woke up.  He was my dear friend and I miss him dearly.  Today was his daughter's wedding.  I found myself praying this morning that my brother in law, Randy, would be allowed to attend his daughter's wedding somehow.  I so wanted him to be there and for my sister Marie to be aware that he was there.  I had a distinct answer form in my head.  It said simply "Of course he will be there, it would be very hard to keep him away"  I believe that answer.  As we sat at the wedding I had a very powerful impression that Randy was in the room with us witnessing his daughter's wedding.  I was so grateful to feel his presence there on that wonderful day.  Katie looked so happy and beautiful.  Her new husband Jeff is wonderful.  I am so grateful for him and how happy he makes me niece.  I have spent almost a year writing a book called "Abigar Stories".  They are a collection of stories that I told to my children and to Katie when they were growing up.  I have made a special effort to finish that book before Katie was married so that I could gift it to her on the day of her wedding.  I finished it yesterday.  I told her I had written them down for her.  She has the only copy in print.  She began to cry.  I hope that she loves reading it.  I loved writing it because it reminded me of telling the stories to her the first time.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Some good signs

Well, I haven't blogged here for while.  I guess it is time to give an update

Let's see.  I had sinus surgery again.  The mass that had filled my sinus came back and I was having trouble breathing through my nose again.  The ENT surgeon agreed and wanted to go in and operate again.  I like breathing quite a lot so it didn't take much to get me to agree.  The surgery went really well.  It is interesting.  Last time when they operated they spent over an hour and a  half trying to intubate me by mouth for the general anesthesia but just couldn't do it.  Finally they ended up placing a tube down my nose instead.  It worked fine but made my sinus surgery a bit harder since there was a tube in the very nose that they were trying to operate on.  This time they decided to try again by mouth and for some reason this time it went right in, no problems.  This made for a better environment for Dr. Shippley to work in.  I was grateful.  I am also breathing again just great which I am also grateful for.  Breathing through ones nose is one of the great pleasures of life that most of us take for granted.

I also had eye surgery.  For various reasons the eye surgeon felt it would be better to close my right eye in a way that the top eyelid would grow together with the bottom eyelid.  Later, when I am better they can open my eye again but not for a little while.  That surgery also went well.

For some reason I am no longer waking up in pain in the middle of the night.  For the longest time I would wake up every night at around 2:00 am hurting.  I would go and take something for pain and wander around while I waited for it to work.  Sometimes I was out wandering the Cul de sac barefoot.  Sometimes I would just walk up and down the stairs.  Anything really while I waited for pain pills to work,  This morning I woke up at 5:00 am in pain and realized that I don't usually wake up in pain anymore.  Life is very good.

Finally, I had my second infusion of PD1.  I wondered if I dreamed that phone call from Brystol Meyers but I guess I didn't.  Our treatment this time didn't cost us a single penny.  I can't tell you how grateful I am.  Another miracle really.  This time with the PD1 I didn't have nearly as much pain but that is because JoLynne took measures to make sure I didn't.  She gave me pain meds and steroids before the PD1 to make sure I didn't have that terrible pain again.  Last time it felt like someone was trying to take my head apart with a crowbar.  It really hurt.  I was literally curled up in a fetal position on my bed crying with pain.  You would think that by now I would be good at pain  and I guess I am but not at that level.  That was too much even for me.  JoLynne and I continue to pray with all our hearts that this PD1 will be an answer to our prayers and will finally defeat this cancer.  In additon to PD1 I am also breathing oxygen 24/7 based on another study that we found.  I am also taking Asprin every day.  Again, another study that we found.  Really, we are just trying everything we know how.

I had a sweet text from my doctor in Houston.  On Labor day she told me that she took her four year old to the butterfly exhibit.  Somewhere in the exhibit is a wishing well.  She gave her four year old, a shiny penny to throw in the well and make a wish.  He threw in his coin and wished, "Please help Dr. Vogel and Dr. Kenny to get better"  Dr. Kenny is another friend of our doctor who is fighting cancer.  Honestly it bought tears to my eyes to think about that little four year old wishing us to get better.

Okay, a few good signs.  Since the second infusion of PD1 I have been so tired all of the time.  It seems like I can sleep almost all day.  This is what you would expect if it was working.  Secondly, for the first time in a really long time I am gaining weight a little.  Back before PD1 I was doing everything I knew how to gain weight and nothing worked.  Literally I was eating about 7000 calories a day and still not gaining weight.  I don't know how that is even possible but it was.  Cancer is a wasting disease meaning that when you have cancer it is really hard to gain weight.  The cancer eats up all of your calories.  

Now I am eating about 3-4 thousand calories a day and lo and behold I am gaining weight.  I am up from 150 to 158 now.  Again, I don't know why but it seems like a good sign, I am grateful.  I feel better too.  Really, other than being tired, I feel pretty good.  I spent the other afternoon providing dental care at one of my charity clinics and loved doing that.  I have been going back into work again a little bit as well.   I really love seeing the people that I work with and my dear patients.  I have such a positive work environment.  Here in the near future I hope to be to work a little more if I can just wake up.

Okay, the third thing is interesting and maybe the most promising of all.  It is almost exactly four years ago that I was diagnosed with cancer.  Before that I had taken my charity, "Share a Smile" out of the country on a fairly regular basis to help the poor outside of our country.    Often those trips were the results of spiritual promptings.  I felt led by Heavenly Father about  where I should go and when.  Well four years ago all promptings about traveling ceased.  There was absolutely no inspiration for me to travel anymore.  I guess I just felt like it was more a time for me to stay home and get better.

Well, about 3 weeks ago I went to bed and had a very vivid dream that I was traveling again with Share a Smile.  In my dream I could see the faces of the children that I was helping.  I could see the looks of gratitude in their eyes when I helped their mouth pain go away so that they could eat again without pain.  It was all very vivid.  We were in Cuba.  It was a beautiful dream, I enjoyed it very much.  The next night I went to bed and once again dreamed that I was in Cuba treating patients.  This time I could see so vividly the faces of Cuban dentists who were helping me.    They were so eager to learn from me.  Once again we were treating mostly children.  Again I woke up again surprised that I would dream about Cuba twice in a row.  Well the next night I went to bed and guess what, yeah, you guessed it.  Cuba again.  Very vivid.  This time when I woke up I thought, "Well, maybe this is more than a simple dream.  I think I am being prompted."  In order to make a trip to Cuba I need to be pretty healthy.  I am hoping that God knows something that I don't yet know.  So, I am having faith that I am going to get better and I began planning a trip to Cuba.

I am working right now on getting an official invitation to the country.  I am a member of lots of societies.  One of them is called the "International College of Detnists".  I contacted the incoming president of the college.  He is very interested in  helping me get invited to Cuba.  I have already arranged at least four dentists from the US to go with me.  I just got notice that Aribex will be willing to donate a portable x-ray unit to the cause.  I am in the process of ordering new portable dental units to leave behind with my new friends I am going to make, Cuban dentists.   I am just assuming that I am going to get better.  What else can I assume.  If God is prompting me to go to Cuba, then He must be intending to control or remove this cancer.   That sounds good to me.

So I would have to say that I am feeling pretty good and that my heart is literally brimming with hope for great news about this cancer.  We are still praying as hard as we know how.  By the way, I really appreciate all of your prayers as well.  I told my doctors in Houston that nearly all of my patients pray for me daily.  They had a hard time believing me.  I insisted that it was true. At the end they just said, "You are so lucky to work in an environment like that and to have patients who love you so much"  I have to say, I agree.  Thank you to all of my friends, patients, followers etc who have basically prayed me alive up to this point.   I love each of you.  But mostly I am grateful to God who, in his great mercy, has seen fit to preserve my life.  I love Him.  My life is a gift.  I intend to use it in His service making the world a better place.  I will forever be grateful to Him and His Son.