Monday, January 19, 2009

More Decisions

I wanted to let you know what we found out today. We met with Dr. Bibawi at Richardson Regional Cancer Center for a second opinion on Wes's treatment. He was very helpful and explained things well. He strongly recommended we consider just monitoring Wes with frequent scans and lab work rather than going through chemo. He told us Wes's cancer was Stage 1A. That is there very best stage to be in. There are only 3 stages of testicular cancer where as other cancers have 4 stages (4 being the worst). Within each stage there are levels A, B, and C. A is the best and C is the worst. Stage 1A simply means that this cancer was discovered at the earliest level. All the results of his blood work were normal. He said it wouldn't be "wrong" to do chemo, but it would be "like killing a fly with a bazooka". Testicular cancer is very treatable and responds so well to chemo that if they found something while monitoring him closely Wes could undergo chemo at that time. He said if it were him, he would just get scans and lab work monthly rather than going through chemo. He also said since what he recommends differs from Dr. Roque, our first oncologist, that he would seek a third opinion. He was not concerned at all about the spots on Wes's lungs. He said that testicular cancer is very predictable in the way that it spreads. It would have to travel through his lymph nodes before it would reach the lungs. The spots are most likely scar tissue from an earlier sinus infection or bronchial infection.

All of this news was great to hear, however we are torn about what to choose now. It would be wonderful if Wes didn't need to have chemo. We are going to seek a 3rd opinion, at either UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas or MD Anderson in Houston. We are leaning towards UT Southwestern, and are hoping to get in to see an oncologist soon.

Please continue to pray for wisdom and direction.

Friday, January 16, 2009

New Update

Wes' oncologist just called today and said she would like Wes to do 3 treatments of treatment rather than 2 treatments she suggested at first. She didn't see the spots on the chest X-ray that Wes had yesterday that she saw on the original CT scans (taken before Christmas), but she said they are so small they wouldn't necessarily show up. She wants to play it on the safe side. I asked if we needed to do more scans and she said we did not. They probably would not show up. We are making plans to seek a second opinion on the treatment plans.

Thank you for lifting us up in prayer!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Update on Wes

Wes had his first oncology appointment at the Texas Cancer Center in Sherman this afternoon. Dr. Roque was very helpful and answered all our questions. She told us that the CT scans did show a spot on his lungs that was between 2-3 millimeters big. (This was a shock to us. We had not heard this before.) She had Wes do another chest X-ray today while we were there which, thankfully, found no abnormalities. She advised Wes to undergo 2 sessions of chemotherapy which will last 6 weeks. Wes will begin those on the 26th. He will go in to the Texas Cancer Center (in Sherman) for 5 days straight. He will receive the chemo through an IV for about 2 hours each day, coming home each day after the treatment. After two weeks he will repeat the 5 days of treatment. She said for him not to plan on going into work that whole weak he is going in for treatment. He will most likely experience nausea and fatigue and needs to take it easy. Each day after the week of treatment he should gradually feel better. She said most patients on this medication lose their hair. Three months after the treatment process he will be back to 75% normal. After about a year he should feel totally normal. (Hearing that was a little overwhelming.)

Thank you again for all your prayers and we are now praying that the chemotherapy does what it is supposed to do and that Wes will do well during the whole process.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Joy and Heartache

I have not updated my blog in quite a while. I think part of it was that I didn't know exactly what to write. I also knew that my emotions would well up, and I just didn't want to go there again. I am at a much better place now and want to share all that has gone on in our lives. Most of you know a lot of this, but I wanted to share it with those who might not know.

In the beginning of December Wes felt a lump in his right testicle. He immediately made an appointment with a urologist and was able to see him fairly quickly. The doctor examined him and took blood and was pretty concerned. He told Wes to get a sonogram that afternoon. A couple days later we went to the doctor to discuss the results of the blood work and sonogram. The blood work did not show any cancer markers. The doctor was not surprised and let us know that there are two forms of common cancer in the testicles that don't ever show markers. He said he was 95 percent sure the mass was cancerous (based on the over 1 inch size and hardness of it) and recommended that it be removed immediately. Six days later the doctor removed his whole testicle as well as extra tubing leading to the abdomen. The surgery went well and when the doctor came out to talk to us he told us that he went ahead and cut the mass open after he took it out. He said that it definitely looked like cancer. To quote him, "I will eat my shoes if it is not." We got a pathology report a couple days later that told us that the mass was cancerous. Three days later Wes had CT scans on his abdomen, chest, and pelvis to check if it had spread. Thankfully, other cancerous masses were not found. The scans are not able to detect individual cells, so the urologist has referred us to an oncologist and told us that more than likely the oncologist will recommend some chemotherapy. The soonest we can see the oncologist is Jan. 15th. We are extremely grateful for the news that no other cancerous masses were found, but we will feel more at ease when Wes is through with all the chemotherapy. Wes is healing very well from his surgery.

The girls have been great through all of it. They have been careful with Wes (OK, except for the first night after the surgery when Abby ran in and jumped on him, jabbing her knee right into the incision.) They were very understanding of the fact that Daddy couldn't lift them or rough house with them for quite a while. Their precious prayers on his behalf brought such joy to our hearts.

Our church family has been amazing! They brought us meals, visited us, prayed for us, and were extremely caring. We had friends who helped take care of the girls, which was a huge help.

We appreciate all the prayers you have lifted up on our behalf. The notes of encouragement, love, and support shown to us blessed us more than you will ever know. We feel so blessed and loved. We are thankful to have such wonderful friends and family.

Other than all of that we had a great Christmas. We tried to do a lot of our same things we usually do during the Christmas season despite all that was going on. The girls and I had a blast making sugar cookies, cutting them out, baking them, and then decorating them. Those cookies were my weakness this year. The girls always have so much fun with the icing and sprinkles we will probably decorate cookies for all the different holidays through out the year.

We celebrated first with Wes's family in Arlington on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning and then we headed back to Denison to celebrate with my Dad, Gina, my brother and sister and their families. Heather and Caleb came from Nashville and were able to spend several days in Texas.

We rang in the New Year with some of our friends from college down in the metroplex. Aaron and Janet kept the girls. They had a cousins sleep over. We plan on returning the favor sometime soon. The girls adore their cousins. It will be even more fun when Aivlyn gets older.

Avery started back to school this past Monday and Abby and I started back today. My students sure looked like they had all grown over the break.

Abby loved drenching her cookies with icing and then pouring as many sprinkles that could fit onto the cookie. More is better, right?

Yummy Christmas lunch!

Christmas Eve at Nana and Paw Paw's house.

Santa brought the girls some musical instruments. Now we are officially the Encalade Rock Band. We plan to tour soon.

Avery already knows the rock stance.

The Encalade cousins early Christmas morning.

Lexi chillin' in her warm sweater.

Dad and Gina gave all the grandchildren hermit crabs. At first Avery was terrified of them but the very next day she was holding them and playing with them. We started of with Pooh and Monkey Boy. Pooh died a few days ago. We aren't sure why. He was the one that has been the most active. He would always win the crab races. Ha! The girls changed Monkey Boy's name to Marsha. (I guess they wanted a girl's name???) They like Marsha to play with their other toys too.

Even the Barbies enjoy the new pet. Ha! Poor Marsha is just hoping she doesn't get trampled!

Well, come sit on my lap...

Hi Marsha!

Avery is extremely flexible and strong! She loved doing flips on the sliding trapeze.

Caleb going down the slide.

Abby shows everything on her face. "I am a little scared, but this is really fun!"

Grandpa watching all the excitement. Thanks for treating us to such a fun place!

Pick-a-boo, Abby!

Can you tell that she enjoyed posing for Heather?

Do you like my toe touch? You are never to old to have fun on these blown up things!

Abby working her dance moves in midair.

Wes consoling Avery. There are bound to be some small injuries during all the excitement.

He probably should not have attempted this slide one week after a radical orchiectomy. I think it was a little painful.

Tripp's first Christmas. I think he enjoyed it!