After more than a year of praying for the best and preparing for the worst, we got some positive news. The power of prayer is strong. Brandon saw his surgical oncologist this morning after having a CT scan yesterday, and the doctor said Brandon is responding to chemo. The lymph nodes in his lungs that had been enlarged on the last scan had gone down in size. The volume of ascites (fluid) in his stomach caused by the cancer was less. Some of the volume of disease looked to be reduced. Some of the nodules had remained the same size. And there was some thickening of the abdominal wall, which is consistent with the disease but also consistent with the formation of scar tissue. However, none of the nodules or evidence of disease appears to have increased or grown in size. The doctor was pleasantly surprised by the response Brandon seems to be having to the chemo. Granted, they said from the very beginning the chemo most likely would not eradicate the disease, but they did hope it would stop the progression and even reduce the volume, and that’s what it seems to be doing.
This isn’t to say that Brandon is feeling any better right now because he’s still extremely fatigued and nauseous. But we feel that if we can find better ways to control those symptoms, he has a better chance of improving his quality of life. We have to find a way for him to keep more food down. The doctor suggested again that he try more protein shakes/drinks. He’s very malnourished, and he not only needs to eat more but also needs to make sure he takes in the right nutrients. The malnourishment can cause some of the same symptoms as the cancer – fatigue, weakness, compromised immune system, and so on. This is a serious challenge in itself, but hopefully one we can overcome.
He has an appointment with his medical oncologist next week just before his chemo treatment, and he will discuss the results of the scan with us again and give us his thoughts and recommendations going forward. We are so appreciative of every one of you praying for Brandon and checking in on him, and we will keep you posted!
So much for Brandon having a week off between chemo treatments. He has been having an issue with what we think is part of the surgical mesh they used in his abdominal wall reconstruction last November, so we went to see the nurse practitioner yesterday. She wants him to see his surgical oncologist to get his take on what’s going on with that, so we have that appointment first thing Wednesday morning. She thinks something may have shifted due to the amount of weight Brandon has lost. She also had his CT scan moved up to today so the surgical oncologist would be able to look at it before he sees Brandon tomorrow morning. On top of having appointments three days in a row on his “off” week, he’s not feeling great. He’s having pain and nausea more often than not, and the extreme fatigue and weakness make the daily appointments difficult for him.
We’re not sure what the surgical oncologist will share tomorrow as far as scan results. He may just talk about what he sees relating to the issue with the past surgery, then we will have to wait until the appointment with the medical oncologist next week to hear what is going on as far as the cancer is concerned. Hopefully, he will share enough for us to have a good idea of what we will be hearing next week.
We are all praying for some positive news!
Brandon had another chemo treatment this week and needed to get another unit of blood as well. After staying up for about 3 weeks, his hemoglobin was low again this week. He’s had a rough couple of weeks with chemo, but he’s moving toward his “off” week next week and hoping to feel better.
He was able to get out of the house a couple of times last weekend with his family, which raised his spirits a bit. We hoped the unit of blood he got this week would boost his energy level a little, but it doesn’t seem to have done the trick yet.
He has a scan scheduled prior to his next chemo/oncologist appointment a week from Tuesday, so we can hopefully see what effect this chemo has been having on his cancer and find out if we need to change or add to the treatment plan. Although he’s trying to take in as much food/nutrition as he can, weight loss continues to be an issue.
He is so grateful for the love and support he feels from his family and friends every day! Thanks for keeping him in your thoughts and prayers!
Brandon had chemo on Tuesday. The good news is that his hemoglobin numbers stayed up during his break and his kidney numbers went in the right direction a bit. He hasn’t needed a blood transfusion now since July 4, so over three weeks.
He hasn’t been feeling great since chemo. That’s not unexpected, although we had higher hopes since they decreased his chemo dosage and gave him the Decadron to take to counteract symptoms in the couple of days following chemo. Hopefully, he will bounce back and be able to get out and enjoy the weekend with his family.
We didn’t want to say anything about Brandon’s family vacation until they were back at home because of the whole “don’t post online about being out of town” when the house is empty. Brandon was able to make the trip to Florida with his family. We really weren’t sure he’d be able to get through the airport and onto the plane, but the Decadron injection he got before he left helped him just enough to be able to do it.
He had a couple of days when he was able to go out to eat and actually enjoy a meal with his family. He had a couple when he tried to do that but had to cut it short because he wasn’t feeling well. He was able to walk to the beach once or twice but couldn’t stay long at all, of course. A big part of his time was spent in the condo, but he spent good time with Avery and was able to see her enjoying the beach and sunshine. It gave him an opportunity to truly get away from the routine this cancer has created in his life.
Since being home, he hasn’t felt very well. He continues to lose weight, even though he seemed to be eating a little more in Florida than he had been able to before. He has appointments at the cancer center tomorrow and will begin his next round of chemo. Please say a prayer for him!
We haven’t updated in a while because Brandon hasn’t had any “new” news in a while. He’s on a break from chemo until next week. He did see his oncologist last week and got a new medication to use during the week of chemo to counteract the side effects he’s been experiencing. They gave him an injection and some fluids that day, and it did seem to help give him some energy and improve his appetite. They also decided to decrease his chemo dosage and see if that helps.
Avery is enjoying spending some time with her daddy while he’s not feeling quite so sick. He’s been able to play with her a little more and get out and do things he hasn’t felt like doing in a while. Let’s hope the medication gives him the same kind of relief following his next chemo treatment.
Brandon hasn’t had to see a doctor or go to a clinic in 6 days. Seems like a long time. He’s feeling about the same, which isn’t great. He still has no energy to do the things he’d like to do. He was able to get out of the house over the weekend to run a short errand with Kristen, but he was hoping to feel up to doing more. The medication they gave him to help with energy didn’t do the trick, and the medication they have been giving him to help with nausea doesn’t always work either. Of course, he’s getting a one-two punch since his cancer is in his abdomen. If it’s not the chemo causing nausea, it’s the cancer itself. He’s trying his best to eat and maintain weight, but it’s a difficult battle for him.
He’s on a break from chemo for another week, but he has an appointment to see his oncologist on Thursday. They will run labs, and perhaps the doctor will have some other ideas for treating his symptoms.
Brandon has the heart and the will to fight, and that is what’s important. His body needs to get with the program! As always, we are praying for his strength and energy to return.
We want to wish everyone a happy and safe 4th of July!
Brandon is spending the 4th at the cancer center getting another unit of blood. He went for labs on Monday, and his hemoglobin was low again. He thought it was going to be since he was feeling so fatigued. Hopefully, this will make him feel better and he will be able to at least go outside and watch the neighborhood fireworks with his family tonight.
Brandon seemed to get through this last chemo treatment a little better than the one before. He still ran a fever and felt nauseous, but the fever didn’t last as long or run as high. The nausea comes and goes. He is just totally zapped of energy though. The care team prescribed a medication that they thought might help him with that, but it hasn’t. He and Kristen made plans to see a movie and get a bite to eat on Saturday, but they had to cancel and stay home because he just couldn’t do it.
This is supposed to be his “off” week, no doctors appointments or chemo. But we think he will need to make an appointment for labwork to see if his hemoglobin is running low again. If so, another unit of blood may be in store for this week.
He is trying his best to eat and maintain, if not gain, weight. That isn’t really working out for him at the moment. He’s had days when he’s able to eat a couple of meals a day, plus a few snacks, but the symptoms interrupt him when he’s trying to string several days of good eating together.
We are praying for his energy levels to rise and his appetite to increase, as well as the nausea to stay away.
Brandon just finished his chemo treatment. It’s his first time getting chemo two weeks in a row, so we’re saying a prayer that the side effects don’t get any worse this time. He is getting another unit of blood today too because his hemoglobin had gone down a bit, so he’ll be here for a while longer. It’s been a long day for him because he’s had back-to-back appointments since 10:30 this morning. They’re going to try some new medication and new dosing of current medication to see if they can help with the nausea and fatigue. Let’s hope it works!