Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve

This chemo treatment is one long continuous IV over the course of 48 hours. Derek has been drifting in and out of sleep all day, and he says he feels lousy. No wonder, with surgery yesterday, and chemo today (not to mention the enemy within).
It looks like we'll keep taking him to Primary's for each treatment. He will receive chemo every two weeks (yes, 2!) The next one will take five continuous days of IV drip, also in the hospital. Any blood transfusions can be taken care of in Cedar or St. George. Those will have to happen whenever his red blood count gets too low.

In between times we have to be extra careful about sanitation in our home. Derek wants visitors, but we have to be cautious because his immune system will be low. So, everyone who comes has to wash hands and remove shoes. It is vital that he not be exposed to even a cold or flu during the times when his white blood cells are wiped out by the chemo. Maybe phone calls or emails would be best during these times.
There is so much that we don't know about this. Maybe that's a good thing. We'll take this one step at a time. And for those of you who have endured or helped someone through cancer, our hearts go out to you!
---(posted by Jeanne)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Today Derek had a "port" implanted in his upper chest so chemo treatments could be administered. While he was "out", they also took bone marrow samples to see if the cancer had spread there. They will know the results next week. He begins his first chemo treatment tonight, and will continue treatments throughout the year. The more we learn about what lies ahead of us, the more overwhelmed we feel. After listening to the many doctors that filed in and out of Derek's hospital room telling us what to expect, I left for a walk along the corridors and did some soul searching. One doesn't need to walk far to find others who are dealing with some heavy trials, and I saw people I wouldn't trade places with. As Dave and I have looked back at this past month,
we've seen the Lord's hand in our lives. Derek was blessed to be able to complete his mission, and he had an amazing experience that happened the last three weeks that confirmed that he was where he needed to be at that time. I'm keeping a list of the tender mercies that we have seen so far, and the list grows every day.

Monday, December 28, 2009

December 28, 2009

Several of you have asked about what is happening with Derek and his treatment since the blog isn't updated daily. Here's the latest: Derek is in SLC waiting to begin the first round of chemotherapy. He'll be up there until Friday and then we wait to see what side effects he will experience. We are basically playing the waiting game.

Mom (Jeanne) has declared her own war on the cancer with her main weapon: a Juicer. :) Derek is a great sport to drink her spinach and carrot drinks. Her new motto is taken from the movie Ratatouille, "You know, once you muscle your way past the gag reflex, all kinds of possibilities open up." We are all benefiting from her new approach.

Thank you so much for your love and prayers! We would like to give a special thanks to the Leavitt family for offering their condo for our use during Derek's treatment. It is a great blessing.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

December 23, 2009

Derek will undergo further testing (bone marrow) and then will begin chemo treatments this coming week. Fortunately, he has been able to stay here at home while we've waited for all the tests to come back. He has amazing friends who are supportive and involved in his life.
Thank you everyone, for your kindness and prayers!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

December 19, 2009

First of all, we want to sincerely thank you all for the outpouring of love and caring you have shown to us these past few weeks. In the midst of our celebrating the return of Derek from his mission to Australia, we learned that he has a malignant tumor that has invaded his lower back. You can imagine our feelings when we heard that unwelcome news! As we've been trying to wrap our minds around this, so many of you have wrapped your arms and hearts around us, bearing us up with your prayers, fasting, phone calls, e-mails, and visits. You have helped us more than you know. Already, we have seen small miracles happen.
Derek had been experiencing back pain a couple of months before the end of his mission, but doctors there weren't able to find the cause. He toughed it out, serving faithfully until his release. We then took him to Dr. Bunker here in Cedar City, who ordered the necessary tests to find the problem. We were referred to the Huntsman Cancer Institute in SLC, where we met with doctors. We were then sent to Primary Children's Hospital, a facility better able to treat this kind of cancer. Derek endured a number of tests to see if and how much the cancer has spread. At this point, it looks like there are symptoms in his lungs, but not on the surface of his bones. We're now waiting to hear about the last test, then we'll travel to SLC again to meet with doctors and begin a plan of action.
What is the likely plan? They spoke of chemotherapy to shrink the tumor, surgery, then more chemo. They want this plan in place before Christmas.
Derek is such an upbeat person, with spiritual insight and maturity. We are praying for the miracle of his full health to return. We are optimistic, and we ask for your continued prayers in his behalf.