Saturday, May 29, 2010

May 29, 2010

Derek and my parents are on their way up North today. It's close enough to Derek being neutropenic, so they wanted to be close to Primary Children's in case Derek gets a fever. Since it's happened before, they want to be near a hospital that knows what's going on with Derek. My parents and I thank Aunt Jan again for putting everyone up; we know it's not easy. We also thank everyone for their continued support and prayers. Thanks very much.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

May 23, 2010

Derek received his last radiation treatment on Wednesday and is home for a week. It's been six weeks since he's been gone, and we're thrilled to have him home again.
Little did we know how hard radiation would be on his stomach. We figure it is because of the area being radiated, but it has reeked havoc on his stomach lining, so that he still can't eat. He is able to drink some water, but continues to be "fed" through the IV. The last time he ate real food was about 2 weeks ago, and will likely have to eat this way for another week or two, depending on how quickly his stomach heals. He spent the evening with a group of friends Friday and had to carry his "survival kit" (backpack of IV fluids) with him. We are so thankful for the faithful and understanding friends he has! He looks forward to being with them, and they have continued to stand by him whenever they (and he) are able.

He also underwent his 9th chemo treatment while at PCMC last week. (Five more to go, which may take until the end of the year because of delays from the dreaded side effects). At least he'll be able to eat again (we're hoping soon!) His beautiful dark eyebrows and eyelashes are almost gone and he is incredibly skinny, but he has what is most important: a humble and trusting heart, and an optimistic attitude.

Thanks to all of you who continue to care about and pray for Derek, who put his name in the temple whenever you attend, and who offer your help and service. We can't adequately express our gratitude for all your kindnesses. We love you.

Monday, May 10, 2010

May 10, 2010

Derek is being fed intravenously now, and the radiation treatments have been postponed until Wednesday. He is scheduled for chemo treatment, as well, but we'll see if they decide to go ahead with that. They actually wheeled Derek in to receive radiation today, but Dave didn't feel good about it, so he stopped the radiologist. He discussed his concerns with a doctor, who decided to postpone treatments. Derek received some red blood cells and is feeling more alive.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

May 9, 2010, Sunday

I wrote just a day or so ago, but I need to add to that. Yesterday Dave took Derek into PCMC because of a low grade fever and concerns about dehydration and weight loss. Derek hasn't been able to keep any food down, or drink as much as he needs. Signs seem to indicate some damage to his stomach, from the radiation. I'm sure they will look into that. I know that Dave won't allow the next radiation treatment to take place until they have some answers. Today they will give Derek something to help the food stay down. If that fails, they will give him "nutrition" through his IV. (I doubt he has any more weight to lose...) They are also keeping him hydrated, intravenously. Another chemo session is scheduled to take place this week, but we'll see...
I asked Dave how Derek was taking all this, and Dave said, "He never complains."

I feel comforted, knowing that Dave is right there by Derek's side. I feel that he is acting on promptings as he asks questions that haven't been considered or expresses concern over decisions made. He takes personal responsibility for Derek's well-being and makes sure he is informed. Yesterday, Dave stopped the nurse from giving Derek the neupogen that had been ordered, since it was twice the amount usually given. They checked back with the doctor, who changed the order to the correct dosage. They thanked Dave for catching the error. (Dave isn't obnoxious in his questioning. He actually apologizes before he expresses his concerns:).
He said that a doctor came into the room wearing several pagers. She was covering for four other doctors!
Dave has also noticed a difference in the women doctors. Generally, they express more sympathy, take more time, and seem to pay more attention to the details.
Dave will be staying in the Leavitt's apartment this week, so he can be closer to the hospital.
Thanks, Dixie and Anne!

Friday, May 7, 2010

May 7, 2010

I talked to Derek on the phone and he asked me to "update the blog so people don't think I'm dead". Life has been so busy that I've almost forgotten about this blog. Derek left four weeks ago (can it be that long?) for radiation and chemo treatments at PCMC/LDS Hospital. He and Dave have been staying at Aunt Jan's and Uncle Don's homes throughout this time. At this point, Derek has only 6 more treatments of radiation left (yay!), so he'll be done a week from Monday. After that last treatment, he'll begin his 9th chemo session. After that (around the 19th), he may be able to come home for a week or so.

It's been almost four months since we discovered that Derek had cancer, and during this time of emotional upheaval in our family, we have become more aware of the goodness of people. Our eyes have also been opened to the serious problems that many other people are dealing with. We've realized how true it is that we should "treat everyone as if they are in serious trouble, and you'll be right more than half the time" (Elder Henry B. Eyring).

During these months, we have felt a continual peace overshadowing our home. Although we're concerned, and our prayers have become more earnest, we have never felt panic or fear. We know there is a plan, we know that Heavenly Father is in control, and we have faith that He will do what is best for Derek. We believe, as Grandpa Payne would say, "Good will come of this".