Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Dear Friends and Family,

It has been a little over 3 months since our last update and for that, we are very grateful!  B/c it means that for 3 months there have been no doctors and no tests and no significant symptoms!!  Thank you, LORD!!

We were able to be at our lake house in upstate NY, enjoying incredible weather, wonderful times with our children, grandchildren and friends, hearing great Bible teachers at Camp of the Woods and enjoying rich fellowship at church and the Ministry Center.  We even managed to get in 5 kayak trips.  That is a record for us!  I'll include some photos from those great times at the end of the update.

I know the main reason you read these updates is to hear what is going on with Dan's cancer treatment.  So I'll get on with it.

After a glorious 3 months of relative "freedom" (Dan only had to take one pill twice a day!), we returned home to Cincinnati last Sat.  We had a fairly uneventful trip home, stopping along the way to visit Megan in Columbus. 

You know, anyone I have known who has had a serious illness for any length of time, has often described it as being on a "roller coaster ride".  There are so many ups and downs and the changes are often abrupt and surprising.  The highs are often higher than expected and the lows are often lower than expected.  Today we experience a bit of that phenomenon.

GOOD NEWS # 1:  First thing Monday, Dan was at Jewish Hospital getting his CT scan and bone scan done.  Dr. Crane called right away with the results of the CT scan saying that it looked "stable".   We figured we would have to wait for our appointment with him to hear about the bone scan.  This morning we met with Dr. Crane and got the results of the bone scan.  That, too, showed no change.  In Dan's situation, that is GOOD NEWS!  They always check his kidney function and his blood pressure b/c those are two areas where the chemo can have an adverse effect, but both were in normal range.  We will be carefully watching the blood pressure b/c it was on the high side of normal, but anything with the word "normal" in it sounds great to us!  

BAD NEWS # 1:  After a quick lunch, we headed to Precision Radiation for his HD MRI.  This was to check on the effectiveness of his radiation last May as well as checking for any new tumors.  We had an appointment with Dr. Breneman right after the MRI.  His resident showed us both the MRI from May and the MRI from today.  The tumors that were treated in May are gone but there are 4 new tumors.  One of those is larger than any of the earlier tumors and it is located in the motor region of the brain.  

I can't say we were surprised.  It would be hard to surprise us, I think, at this point, but we were disappointed.  We can't help but hope that the chemo will get such a grip on the disease that it would protect the brain as well, even though we know that the brain is protected somewhat from the effects of the chemo.

GOOD NEWS # 2:  What is good news is that all 4 tumors are still small enough to be treated by the miraculous stereotactic radiation that does almost no collateral damage and seems rather like magic.  It requires that Dan take an anti-seizure medication prior to the event as well as steroids following it for a short time, but all in all, it is normally quite an easy procedure for him to endure.  Yes….I said "normally".

BAD NEWS # 2:  The whole medical building is under renovation and the miraculous machine that does that kind of radiation is out of commission for at least 4 more weeks.  The docs don't want to wait for 4 weeks (neither do we!!) so Dan will have to have this done at the Barrett Center at U.C. with an older machine.  This will not allow him to be able to use the mask that he has used the last 4 times he has had this procedure.  Always before, he could go in and have a special CT brain scan while immobilized in his mask a day or two before.  Then the neurosurgeon and the oncology radiologist would merge that with the special MRI to get a holographic image of his brain to plot out the exact intersections of the beams of radiation.  On the day of the procedure, once again, he would be immobilized in the exact same position in that mask and they could aim the radiation with precision.  

B/c they can't use that machine, he will have to have a metal "halo" screwed into his skull in order to keep a precise lock on his position.  That sounds really barbaric but I know they have done this for many different procedures for years.  Anyway…b/c of this, the special CT scan needs to be done on the same day as the actual procedure and that means that the two doctors have to plot out the map for the radiation on that day as well.  Dan will have to be sedated and anesthetized and will be at the hospital all day.  So this makes it a much bigger ordeal.

They have tentatively set this up for next Wed., Oct. 10 although they need to OK that with the neurosurgeon's office before we know for certain.  We should get confirmation tomorrow.
(This has been changed to Oct. 17 b/c the neurosurgeon was not available until then.  We are hoping to get bumped up to Oct. 10, but that is doubtful.)

As I think back over the summer, I'm so grateful for having the opportunity to sit in on some counseling sessions at the ministry center.  We even got to join in a bit in encouraging others about trusting God's love for them and His sovereignty in all aspects of their lives…..even when it doesn't "feel good" or seem like what we would consider "best".   Each time we remind others of the truth of God's Word, we are reminded as well.  So our disappointment is softened and we are comforted with the knowledge that He knows and it all will be for our (eternal) good and His glory.

We are so grateful to know that so many of you have been faithfully praying for us.  It is almost too much to take in, really.  But it is so comforting to know that.   So once again…thank you, thank you, thank you!  Jodee and Dan

Tom's family brought another family with them and one day they all went to......

The Extreme Adirondack Adventure.  They all had a great time and I was so intrigued by the photos, I'm in training now so that I can go with them next year :-)  The photo to the left is Morgan working her way across one of the more difficult challenges.  All of these are really high off of the ground.

Emma didn't want to miss out!  She took to this like a duck to water!

Matthew thought this was great!  

We had great food, especially when Tom and his friend, Brett, were there.  They did most of the cooking.  On the 4th of July we celebrated my sister, Nancy's, birthday with 2 of Brett's famous Mile High Apple Pies.  YUM!

When Megan visited, she participated in the Piseco Sprint Triathlon and made the front page of the Hamilton County Express! 

The sunsets were still glorious.........

The hikes were full of nature's beauty...........

The kayak trips were full of adventure........

......including the sighting of a bald eagle, although this particular fellow Megan captured on camera  right on Oxbow Lake.

As the summer wound down, the nights got cooler and there were even a few days when a fire in the fireplace felt good and the cabin was warm and cozy.......

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