Friday, June 7, 2013


Dear Friends and Family,

As you know, the last high definition MRI and CT scans showed that Dan had 10 new tumors in his brain.  The oncology radiologist set up three appointments for stereotactic radiographic surgery (or "zapping the tumors" in lay terminology)  so that they could radiate all 10 without exhausting Dan or  causing too much pain for his back.  The procedure requires total stillness and that his head be encased in a form-fitted plastic mask and  literally bolted to the table.  With his back issues, they were not sure how long he could tolerate being immobilized.  

This past Tuesday, they did the first procedure and he did so well, they were able to do 5 of the 10 with only a little break in the middle to remove the tight mask from his face and let him move a little bit.  That appointment took 2 hours.  Dan was encouraged and felt he could do that again today.

This afternoon, he had the second appointment and they were able to complete the treatments to all of the other 5 tumors.  It seemed to be important to Dan to get it done in two sessions.  I told him if it were me, they'd only need one, b/c with my claustrophobia issues, they would have to put me to sleep, period!  I don't know how he does this while being conscious, but I suspect your prayers are playing into it quite a bit.  We praise God for helping Dan to get through this in only 2 sessions!  And I'm grateful for a friend who kept me company while I waited during both of those sessions!  Thanks, Jennifer!

Please keep praying for us.  We have a meeting with the primary oncologist early Tues. morning to decide what comes next in terms of chemo treatments.  We are both thinking Avastin but are not sure of the other choices just yet,  or even if there are any other choices.

We are still moving ahead with our "normal" plans for summer, holding them loosely, but remaining hopeful that we will still be able to spend much of the summer in upstate NY.

Thank you for praying for us…we FEEL it….and we are grateful!!  Jodee and Dan

Saturday, June 1, 2013


Dear Friends and Family,

Tues. I was driving home from Florida…coming home from a trip visiting my sister and brother-in-law in GA, then stopping by in Haines City to watch Meg swim the open water leg of an IronMan Relay, and then on to spend a week with my mom in Pompano Beach when Dan called from the oncology radiologist's office.   Dan had stayed behind in order to have his brain MRI that is needed every 3 months.  When the doctor stepped out for a moment to take another look at some earlier scans, Dan called to let me know that this MRI had found 6 new tumors in his brain.  We had arranged for him to call me from the doctor's office to let me know what was going on so that if I had questions I could tell him and he could ask the doctor.  

I have to admit that I was taken aback some by this.  I had expected them to find more tumors.  The oral meds just did not seem to be able to suppress the cancer in the brain.  But he has never had that many at one time before.  He explained that they would be treating them just as before, with the stereotactic radiographic surgery, but that they would most likely need to do it 2 sessions b/c it would be difficult for Dan to be totally immobile long enough for them to treat all 6.  They would get started right away by sending him right then for a high definition CT scan, which they then merge with the MRI to create a holographic image of his brain which they use to plot out the exact paths for the radiation.

It was going to take awhile to process that information.  Dan was at home thinking about it and I was in the car, so I had lots of time to roll it around in my mind.  Both of us were wondering if we should be pressing for him to go back on Avastin, the chemo that he was on for 2 years that seemed to suppress the disease completely.  The only reason he had to stop taking it was b/c it was adversely affecting his one kidney.  But it took 2 years to build up that toxicity and he has been off of it now for 2 years.

I was feeling a bit unsettled and decided to just keep driving until I got home that night.  It isn't unusual for us to stop overnight on our way home from Mom's.  It is an 1,100 mile drive.  But sitting in a motel room just wasn't appealing to me at that point and I was holding up pretty well, so I just kept driving.  With the longer days, I didn't even have to deal with much darkness.  I arrived safely at about 10:15 p.m.

Yesterday Dan got to attend the Memorial Golf Tournament in Columbus with Megan.  Her marketing company does their web site so she was able to get tickets and a parking pass.  Plus one of her friends has relatives with a home on the course where they could rest and get some relief from sun or rain.  He told me that his radiology oncologist's office might be calling with the schedule for the treatment for his brain tumors and left me with his schedule so I could straighten out any conflicts.

When the gal called with the schedule, she said they were scheduling THREE treatments b/c there were 10 "iso centers". She really did not know the significance of that, but I was afraid I did.  I asked her if that meant that there were now 10 tumors and she could not tell me.  I suspect she realized that she had given me information that I had not had and should not have heard from her.  She told me that she would leave a message for the doctor to call me to answer my questions.

Awhile later, Dr. Brenneman called and yes, after the high definition CT scan and merging it with the MRI, they found 4 more tiny tumors that need to be treated.  He apologized for our finding out from the scheduling person. So our 6 tumor "event" has now become a 10 tumor event.

Dan seemed to take it in stride but I have to confess it shook me up a bit.  Both of us would love to find a way to stop this disease…all the while reminding ourselves that GOD KNOWS and He is still in control of ALL that touches our lives. It is one thing to know this but sometimes my emotions lag a bit behind my brain.

The 3 treatments are scheduled for June 4th, June 7th and June 11th.  In the midst of that, I'll be returning to the cardiologist for an echo cardiogram and a follow-up appointment.

Then last evening, after Dan returned from his golf outing, he showed me that he has hives all over. We are thinking it is most likely a reaction to his chemo.  He has a call in to the doctor this morning to find out what needs to happen about that.

So….you know what comes next….we need more prayer.  I feel stupid saying it, it is so obvious and yet I feel guilty for asking.  You all have been so generous and faithful with praying for us day in and day out for over 5 years!!  We know you each have health issues and hard things that touch the lives of your families, too.  But when the LORD brings us to mind, please pray for wisdom for our doctors and for HIS grace to fill us with faith and trust in His plan for us.

Thank you so much for sharing this "adventure" with us!  Jodee and Dan