Sunday, November 30, 2008

A low key T-day

This week's round of chemo has been pretty rough on Mike, so we just had a small dinner on Thanksgiving with my mom. Julia had peanut butter and jelly. No interest in turkey at all!

Mike's just been really tired and nauseous and not had much of an appetite. This coming week is an off week, so he'll probably start feeling back to normal just in time for a new round. Thus is chemo, I guess.

But we have certainly been counting our blessings this week. We have so much to be thankful for, especially days warm enough to go to the beach:

and nights cold enough for footed jammies:

Monday, November 24, 2008

Rock star

This is my husband four days after chemotherapy: in a bounce house with his 2-year-old. Seriously. He is so tough and determined not to let this stupid cancer get him down. His strength amazes me. If I were in his shoes, I probably wouldn't get out of bed. In fact, were it not for Julia, I wouldn't get out of bed as it is now.

We go back to chemo tomorrow. Mike's been feeling pretty good the past couple of days, so hopefully he'll be good to go for a big dinner on Thanksgiving.

Back to the bounce house: Julia was invited to my friend's daughter's birthday party at one of those places with all the inflatable stuff for climbing and jumping. It was sooo much fun. Julia had a BLAST. She went non-stop for more than an hour. I, on the other hand, was beat -- because it was mama who had to do all the climbing to get Julia up to the giant slides. Whew. I was sore and barely able to walk the next day. A sad state of affairs, I tell ya.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Another Friday night

at the Cherry house....

Julia "helped" me bake a pumpkin bread tonight. I'm not sure how this one is going to turn out though. Half of the flour mixture ended up on her face and pants. Then I got busy with typical mommy stuff like bath time and didn't get it out of the oven when the timer went off. So we'll see...
We really know how to live it up, don't we?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Quick update

Mike had the new chemo yesterday. It took about four hours once everything got rolling. The side effects are mainly fatigue and nausea. Aside from being a little tired, Mike came to work right after and went out and did interviews. This morning, he and Julia took a walk. This afternoon, he's appearing live on our newspaper Web site's sports "show."

Before, it would take a couple of days before he started feeling lousy. We're hoping that won't be the case this time.

Next chemo is Tuesday.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Back to the recliners

The new treatment starts tomorrow morning. Three drugs. Four hours. Our doctor here is on board with what Dr. Greco recommended. (By the way, Greco is from West Virginia, Westover to be exact... I love that.)

So Mike will have chemo tomorrow, one day next week, and then he'll be off for a week. Then the cycle will start over -- one day a week for two weeks, then off the third week -- for two more cycles. Then a CT/PET scan to see if it's working.

Mike's not thrilled to be headed back to the chemo room with its bright yellow walls, chipper nurses and fake leather recliners. But he's ready to be fighting this stupid cancer again. It's been almost two months. The side effects of the new drugs are supposed to be minimal. Mike of course is planning to work tomorrow afternoon when it's over... You know how he is.

So keep your fingers crossed for us.

Oh, and several people told me "oh, that's kind of a bad photo of Julia on the Dance Party entry. Kind of blurry." That's because it's a VIDEO!! That's right, there should be a play button beneath it or you can just click on it and watch her move and groove to the music. So worth your while, if you ask me.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Try, try again

We made it back from Tennessee tired, but in one piece. We spent more time in the waiting room than we did with Dr. Greco, but he seems to really know his stuff. He had been reviewing Mike's records and labs and he seems to think Mike has neuroendocrine tumors. I don't really know what that means. Some tests indicate this cancer started in the head and neck, a molecular profile that was done this summer indicated lung cancer. This doctor thinks it's neuroendocrine.
And he's the expert.

So he gave us a new chemo -- one he says the insurance company will/should approve. It's three drugs given in an IV two times over the course of three weeks, for three cycles (that's 9 weeks). Then he wants a CT and a PET scan to see if it's working. If so, we continue. If not, he prescribed a back-up chemo.

He explained to us what needs to happen -- we need to find a chemo that will shrink the tumors and keep taking it until the tumors shrink all they're going to shrink. Then, Mike would have radiation or surgery to remove what is left. So now I can picture it in my head and I will be willing it to happen with all my might.

So, we feel like our trip was productive. We liked this guy. He played it straight with us -- you need to have your affairs in order because you never know what will happen. This cancer is very serious. But he also gave us hope -- you have to keep fighting, you have to try everything. And he's seen people get well. He also said if we're at a crossroads again, he will be glad to consult with Mike's doctor. He seems to have a lot of tricks up his sleeve.

So here's to hoping the third time is a charm.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Dance party

A typical Friday night at the Cherry house...

Julia is over her initial disdain for Halloween and looooves to wear her ballerina costume now. She also loves to dance in front of the window where she can see her reflection.

And yes, that's Rick James she's groovin' to because, well, that's just how we roll...

Who do you think she gets her moves from?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Gearing up

Looks like we'll be flying to Tennesee after all, courtesy of our co-workers at Florida Today. When one of our editors heard we were driving, he took it upon himself to raise money in the newsroom for us to buy plane tickets. We feel somewhat awkward about this, but the gesture was so kind and generous. We were speechless, really. Imagine that.

So we're leaving Wednesday night and coming back Thursday night. The best thing is that we won't have to be away from Julia for too long. The drive is about 11 hours. Now, if anyone has any drugs to help me get through the flights... send them my way.

Now that the election is over (although don't tell Julia that, she keeps saying "Yaaay, John MaCain!" That's how she says it -- John Ma-Cain and Barack Obamba. She can also identify them on TV. How smart is that? She's TWO.) we're trying to get everything in order for our trip. We want to make sure the doctor there has all of Mike's records, every test, every CT scan, every lab report. We want to make sure he has all the information since it's unlikely we'll be seeing him again. We're hoping he can take a look and come up with something. Anything.

P.S. Sarah Cannon is Minnie Pearl! She battled breast cancer in the 80s and went on to become an advocate for cancer research. The center uses her trademark hat as their symbol.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tennessee bound

Finally, some positive news. We got our appointment at the Sarah Cannon Cancer Center in Nashville NEXT WEEK (Bonus points for anyone who knows who Sarah Cannon is without using Google...)

We were told it could take months so we are happy that we could get in so quickly. It's Thursday, Nov. 13. The short time frame means plane tickets are way out of our price range so we're driving up Wednesday and back Friday. We're still scrambling on the details. I think my mom is going to take off work and stay here with Julia, though it kills us to be away from her.

We're just happy to see someone who specializes in this cancer. Dr. Neel is a general oncologist, and even when we went to Moffitt, while the doctor had experience with carcinoma of unknown primary, his specialty was lung cancer.

Still no word on the drug front. I'm guessing our appointment in Tennessee will come before any news so maybe it will be moot.