Monday, December 19

Just want to let everyone know, James drain tube is out.  The next step is an appointment with our fav, Doc C and chemo next Wednesday.  We decided to delay to allow James to celebrate the holidays before starting chemo.  All is well for us.  James is soaking up plenty duck hunting for now because it will all come to a halt when chemo starts.
Please pray the chemo cleans up any microscopic cancer cell in James' body and we can return to life as "normal" soon!  
Be blessed my sweet blog followers!

Luke 1:30-31
30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS.

Wednesday, December 7

Roller coaster continues...

This cancer roller coaster continues for us.  James' surgery was a success...that was an up.  The AFP is still high...that's a low.  He is going back on chemo...that's the round and round.  What's next?
We take the good with the bad so we are gearing up for James to start chemo again as soon as the drain tube is removed.  This year really has been a roller coaster ride...keep your hands and arms in side the cart at all times, fasten your belts...the ride continues...

Saturday, December 3

Long overdue...

Forgive me, I am long overdue.  Here's a quick post:
  • James has recovered well from surgery.  He still has the drain tube until at least Wednesday when we see Dr. Curley again.  Blood work, liver function and protein levels looked great at his last visit this past Wednesday.
  • He had scans yesterday.  The surgeon will review to make sure the infection is gone and the liver is close to, if not fully, regenerated.
  • We will see our favorite doc on Monday to determine what is next.  More chemo is possible.  The surgeon is confident he got everything but it is possible microscopic cells remain in James' body.  We will discuss everything with Dr. Coscio on Monday. 
  • We are approaching one year since James' diagnoses.  It has been a long, hard road but we haven't gone through it alone. We are blessed beyond words. 
Put a little love in your heart and bless someone this Christmas!  Let a stranger see Christ in you! 
Love, love, love you all!

Monday, November 21

...a picture is worth a thousand words...

James' recovery is back on track and going wonderfully. 
We believe in the power of prayer!

Monday, November 14

quick update

we are home!  james has some pain today but we are otherwise good.  still working hard to get the minimum daily protein for james.  it is a real challenge.  i am hoping to return to work this week if james continues to improve.
today, i ask you to pray for my friend, joanna.  she will be having surgery tomorrow.  please pray her disease be removed without removing her chance to become a mommy.  please keep justin and jo in your prayers this week.  i hope jo's surgery is the last for a while...aunt donna, pawpaw, james and jo all since september! 
happy day my dears!

Saturday, November 12

Day 9 and counting...

we are just waiting on the final report from the cultures pulled from the infection.  that is our ticket out of here.  everything else is fine.  swelling is gone.  appetite is slowly returning.  little to no pain.  once we have the report, they will use it to determine which oral antibiotic to use to fight the infection.   going home today would be nice but we are not getting our hopes up until we actually see some discharge papers!
enjoy the beautiful weekend my dears!

Thursday, November 10

Thursday - Day 7 in the hospital

Things are improving one day at a time.  The swelling in James legs has gone down some and his feet are slowly following suit.  He is sleeping much better than he has in the past two weeks.  He is slowly coming around with his appetite which is hard because he is supposed to intake 150 grams of protein  and 100 ounces of fluids per day.  Yikes! I know its a lot but its what has to be down to regenerate a healthy liver without causing harm to the kidneys! 
The specimen taken from the fluid collection showed a bacterial infection to which the doctors have responded by adding a second antibiotic twice a day.  They are waiting on the final report to determine which antibiotic to send home with James.  The fluid is still draining though not as rapidly as before, James has still lost 12 lbs in four days and that has made him feel much better!
Stan and Granny's trip is drawing to an end.  They will leave early Saturday morning.  They have been by yesterday and are here now to see James.  I really hate we were not home to make the most of their visit but I know the hospital has been the best place for James. 
Discharge tomorrow is not likely due to the pending report.  We are looking at getting out of here Saturday or possibly even Sunday.
Thanks for your continued support through prayer! 
Much love to all,

Wednesday, November 9

For my husband,

When you’re weak, I’ll be strong
When you let go, I’ll hold on
When you need to cry, I swear that I’ll be there to dry your eyes
When you feel lost and scared to death,
Like you can’t take one more step
Just take my hand, together we can do it
I’m gonna love you through it.

And when this road gets too long
I'll be the rock you lean on
Just take my hand, together we can do it
I’m gonna love you through it.

There really isn't much to report today.  All is well for now.  James is still struggling to get back his appetite but the nutritionist gave me some new ideas for getting some extra protein to him.  I took a break from the hospital this morning while Stan and Granny visited.  It was nice to spend some time with my sister and her babies.  There is still some swelling in James' legs and feet but he has lost 9lbs of fluid since Monday.  Please continue to pray his body heals and recovers as needed and we can be on the right track out of here!
Happy day to All!

Tuesday, November 8

james' drain tube is in place and doing a great job.  the tube pulled 850cc of fluid from his abdomen as soon as it was put in place!  i am sure one of the docs will be by later today and i hope to find out more details about the long will he need it?  will he go home with it?  how do we care for it???? etc.
james is back in the room resting and i think....
.................................................................ok i am back.  the doctor came in right in the middle of my post.  and i got some answers. 
  • the tube will stay in a couple of weeks.
  • yup, it will be coming home
  • the nurses will train me how to care for it.
  • staples will come out tomorrow as scheduled.
  • james will go home friday, best case scenario.  they want to monitor the drain output and make sure james' appetite returns.
  • the liver has begun the regeneration process and we really need to pump the protein to james.  if james isn't getting enough protein, the liver will start stealing muscle mass to rebuild itself which can lead to severe weakness and exhaustion and an even longer recovery. so we are going to do our best to avoid all that mess!
  • he should eat several small meals a day.
  • as we were told before, james will be run down and tired for the next six - eight weeks as the liver regenerates.
i think that's all for now.  as i was saying before, james is resting and i think i will join him.
for my local readers, be safe out there.  most of us are under a tornado watch. 
later my lovelies!

Off to a better start...

Every one take a deep breath..............and let it out, ahhhhh,  doesn't that feel good?
I am calm, cool, and collected today!  We finally know the source of all the problems.  Only took four days but I won't harp on that.  I am thankful we found the problem which will lead to the proper treatment and solution!
The CT scan revealed a large collection of fluid at the surgical site.  This fluid mass is occupying the empty space where the right lobe of the liver was before surgery.  This collection of infection is to blame for the largely distended abdomen and pain/tightness felt in James' side.  The fluid is compressing the (_insert big medical term here_)  vein responsible for circulation to the lower extremities.  This explains the horrible swelling in James' feet, ankles, and legs. 
As I type, James is having a procedure done to insert a drain tube.  It is unclear how quickly this fluid will drain or if he will go home with the tube in place. 
It is my prayer that James will experience immediate relief from the pain and be able to clear this speed bump on the road to recovery! 
Make it a terrific Tuesday friends!

Monday, November 7

Monday Madness

 For those that enjoy reading my sweet upbeat blog, this is not one of those posts.  I have had it and have decided to share the frustration.  You have been warned!

As you know, James was admitted on Friday after a follow up visit with his surgeon's PA.  He was admitted for:
  1. Lack of appetite
  2. Lack of bowel movement
  3. Shortness of breath
  4. Slight fever
  5. Anemia
And so far this is what has been done to treat him:
  1. Lack of appetite - NOTHING
  2. Lack of bowel movement - over the counter laxatives and stool softeners
  3. Shortness of breath - chest x ray, the same antibiotics he was getting at home
  4. Slight fever - NOTHING
  5. Anemia - Blood transfusion on Friday
So why are we in the hospital???
To add to it, the shortness of breath and lung problems have become very painful.  What do we do for pain?  Oh yes, narcotics!  Narcotics that put you so far out of your mind sleep is impossible.  If he is still hurting, do we further search for the source of pain?  NO!  What do we do?  More narcotics!  I am not a doctor and I don't play one on TV but it is my opinion that we should find and treat the problem.  Not the symptoms. 
I am frustrated.  I am sick of doctors saying one thing and doing another. 
Doc - "Well I think you should have a CT scan." 
Amy - "Hi nurse.  Do we know when James might have his CT scan?"
Nurse- "Oh the doctor didn't order one."
Amy - "So he's not having one?"
Nurse- "Well, I don't know but don't eat anything, just in case."
Seriously.  And how long is James not supposed to eat anything "just in case" they come get him for a scan the doctor didn't order?  See why I am frustrated?

Another instance...
Phlebotomist - "Mr. Abell, I am going to stick you for a blood draw. Ok?"
Mrs. Abell - "Will you please use his port?  His veins have just about had it."
Phlebotomist - "No, I can't use his port.  The nurse said to stick him, Mrs. Abell."
Mrs. Abell - "Do not stick him.  I will be right back."    To the nurse: "Why does she have to stick him?"
Lazy Nurse - "Oh he doesn't want to be stuck?"
Mrs. Abell - "No.  We had a surgical procedure to put in a port so he would not have to be stuck so often."
Lazy Nurse- "Oh well a nurse has to do all blood draws from the port."
Mrs. Abell - "He's in room P320 and I suggest you hook up to his port if you would like lab work."

Did she seriously question that he didn't want to be stuck?  Really?  Does anyone want to be stuck in the veins with a needle?  He has had so many IVs and blood draws in the past ten days that his arms are black and blue with bruises.  The crease in his arm at his elbow looks like a target and they are continually sticking a needle there.  And you are going to send someone in to poke him one more time, when it can be avoided if you weren't so busy sitting at the nurse's station watching YouTube.  Ugh.  Everyone says. Go home and get some rest.  Take some time for yourself.  Take a deep breath and calm down.  To that I say: No.  If I am not here, I don't know what's going on and how to properly care for James.  And more so than that, they don't know how to properly care for him.  If I am not here, do you think some one is going to get him ice water every hour?  No.  Do you think someone is going to walk and talk with him?  No.  Is someone going to make him coffee at 3 AM?  No.  I am here as long as he is here but I am at a breaking point this morning.  I have not slept in a bed for eleven nights.  I have watched my husband suffer.  I have seen people show up for a paycheck and nothing more.  I am just so over it.  The light we saw at the end of this tunnel  seems to be so far away now.

Sunday, November 6

this weekend...

james is still in the hospital.  he has a lot of swelling in his feet, ankles and legs that hasn't gone down with lasix so they will do some tests today to check for blood clots.  he has the beginning stages of pneumonia on his right lung.  it is very painful for him to take deep breaths.  he is on antibiotics and regular breathing exercises to treat this.  he has not run fever since friday and his appetite is slowly returning to normal.
he may go home tomorrow but we've heard that before so we are not getting our hopes up.  we are ready to get off this roller coaster ride!

Friday, November 4

James is getting a unit of blood now.  I expect to see one of the doctors tonight to give the results of the chest x ray.  We have the preliminary report and it looks like he has pneumonia and/or pleurisy.  Please pray for his lungs to recover so he can make a full recovery from this surgery.  I will pass along info as it becomes available. 

Back In...

At James' appointment this morning, it was decided he should be put back in the hospital.  The pain seems to be unrelated to the surgery.  Combine that with a slight fever, lack of appetite and bowel movements and you've landed yourself a hospital stay.  They will be running some tests on James through out the day.  He may come home tonight or stay a few days.  We just don't know. 
Prayer needed,

Thursday, November 3

after lots of coughs, i went to the doctor yesterday to find out i have bronchitis.  two shots and two prescriptions later, i am on the mend.  stan and granny arrived this evening and i welcome the help they will provide.  i will return to work on saturday and it is much easier to focus knowing stan is here with james. 
james' days are up and down.  it changes from one minute to the next.  the pain seems to be a bit worse today.  he is scheduled for blood work and a visit with the p.a. in the morning.  he will go back next wednesday for the doc to remove his staples.  pray the drive to houston will not be so rough on him. 

many have asked so here it is...a little FAQ
 Q: what will we learn from the surgery?  did they do any tests on the tumor?
 A: the tumor and lymph node were sent to pathology and we should have a full report by the time we see the surgeon next wednesday.

 Q: how long is recovery?
 A: james can not lift, push, or pull anything over five pounds for eight weeks.  during that time, the liver will regenerate itself up to 90% of its normal size.  we can expect james to be very run down and tired during this recovery time because his body is burning all the calories and protein he intakes to rebuild the liver. 

Q: then what?  what happens next?
A:  james will be monitored during recovery for any indication that cancer may still be in his body.  if there is something still there or the possibility, james will undergo a clean up chemo to makes sure everything is gone.  he can not have any chemo until he is 100% recovered from surgery and released by the surgeon. 

Q:  when is a good time to visit?
A:  probably another week or two.  james still isn't sleeping much at night so he sleeps through out the day.  and i know i am sick but we are trying to limit the chance of james catching anything.  a cough or illness would send us in reverse on the road to recovery and i do not want that for him.  his body has been through enough this past year without adding an annoying cough or cold. 

Q: what can i do to help?
A:  continue to pray for james daily.  we know this works! 

we are grateful for and love everyone this blog reaches.  thank you so much for your support this past year!  we are blessed by each of you! 

Tuesday, November 1

there's no place like home

james' at home recovery couldn't be better!  we have been walking and continuing breathing exercises.  james has done a great job staying ahead of his pain by taking pain meds on schedule.  he was able to get some sleep last night but we are both still behind!  i think i might be coming down with something so i have scheduled a doc's appt tomorrow.  i have some chest congestion and a cough.  i hope the doc can give me something so i don't pass this along to james.  we are looking forward to seeing james' dad and granny this week!  they will be staying with us for nine days to help with james so i can return to work.  we can't wait to see them!!! 

Monday, October 31

home sweet home

we made it home today around two.  i got james situated then headed to the grocery store for prescriptions and high protein food.  the trip home really took a toll on james.  he is exhausted and hurting a bit.  i will update again later but would appreciate if everyone would hold off on visiting for a day or two.  james has not been sleeping well and now that we are home, i would really like to give him a chance to rest. 
the lift chair has been a real life saver for james!!!  good idea!
love to all~ amy

Saturday, October 29

Out on a date

Tonight, we busted out of the room to a romantic hot spot recommended by one of the docs.  We hopped three elevators to the 24th floor of the hospital to the observation deck.  We enjoyed the music of a piano, sipped delicious cocktails (water), and watched the sunset over the west side of Houston!  It was a beautiful view of the city!!! 
James has felt good today.  Little to no pain all day.  They are leaving the incision open so I counted the staples...38!  He is being held together by 38 staples!!!   James is walking regularly, using his breathing exercise thingy, and transitioned from liquids to food today.  There has been no mention of discharge and we are not rushing it.  If they can keep him comfortable here, there is no reason to rush home!
Please pray for a restful night.  James struggled to stay asleep last night sleeping no more than two hours at a time.  Little sleep at night makes for some loooonnnng days! 
Goodnight my little peaches!

Friday, October 28

Evening update

James is practically jogging down the road to recovery!  He had a great almost totally painless day!  He has done his breathing exercises hourly as ordered and walked six times today!  We are practically running laps around the nurses' station and down the halls! 
Tonight, James is experiencing what is called "deferred" pain in his shoulder.  From my understanding, they had to do some real mulling around to get the lymph node out which includes disturbing nerves.  James real pain is from the surgical sight but through his nerves his brain is telling him his shoulder hurts.  Weird huh?  The strange thing about it, his shoulder hurt before surgery.  I thought it was sore from shooting his gun during teal season but now I wonder if the tumor or lymph node was bothering a nerve?  Maybe. For now, the pain management doc has given him a shot in his shoulder and he was given pain meds around 6PM.  Needless to say, he is pretty drunk right now but at least he isn't feeling any pain!
In other news, Pawpaw is doing the same as James in Conroe.  He sat in a chair most of the day, walked twice, worked on this breathing exercises and talked to his favorite grand daughter on the phone!!!  
Thanks to everyone!  We love you!

up and at 'em

james sat up in the chair and walked two laps around the unit!  he is still pain free for now!  wahoo!
we should be moving to a regular patient room this morning.
love yall!

Long night, Good morning

It was a long night and we were up with the chickens this morning!  James spiked a high temp, had an unstable heart rate and blood pressure.  Good news is his pain has been very well managed and has been very comfortable.  He tried getting up late last night but was too dizzy.  We will try again this morning.  His sweet nurse let him have ice chips early this morning.  He is handling that well so he may move to clear liquids sometime today.  We'll likely see the doc early this morning.  I will update then!
Make it a fabulous Friday!

...and the doc just walked in...
Everything looks good.  Drain output is good...did I tell you James has a drain tube?  It should come out before we go home.  They are bumping up his fluids a bit and he will come off a few machines and tubes today.

Goals for the day-
  • breathing exercises
  • sit up in the chair
  • walk around the unit
  • continue to manage pain
  • and the best of all...clear liquids!  James likes this one!

Thursday, October 27

James will be in the overnight recovery unit.  The surgery was intense and the doc thinks extra observation is in order through the night.  James has been stable in recovery and this is just precautionary.  He should move to a regular patient room tomorrow.  He's still somewhat groggy and heavily medicated but he has no pain at this time.  I am hoping he will stay ahead of his pain and not try to tough it out this time around.  I will post as things happen and do my best to keep everyone updated.  I am exhausted today but it is so worth it!
We are so thankful to God for making it possible to remove this nasty disease from James' body. 
Love to all,

Out of Surgery...

Spoke to Dr. Curley and Dr. Coscio at 10:22 AM and James is out of surgery.  He did great in surgery and is in recovery now.  They were able to successfully remove the liver tumor and the affected lymph node.  The surgeon informed us James has a fatty liver.  He was not pleased about this.  A fatty liver takes a bit longer to recover and regenerate.  When James wakes up, he will be on the South Beach diet for the next ten weeks!  I'll let you know how well he takes this news!  For now, I am thanking God for answered prayers.  I am eagerly waiting to see my husband!  Thanks for the out pour of love and support!  You'll never know what it has meant to us
May God bless you all today, my friends!!!

i got the hook up...

because our favorite doctor is in the operating room, we've been updated. 

8:55 AM
Dr. C says, " I am on my way to join them in the OR."

9:01 AM
Amy says, "Can you please let me know something?  I am freakin out here!

9:12 AM
Dr. C says "They are doing it.  Won't be a repeat of last time.  He is doing fine."

9:17 AM
Dr. C says "Liver tumor is OUT! Working on lymph node."

I want to scream and shout praises in the waiting room!  Maybe even dance!
Giving Him all the glory!

...and we're off

they took james back and should begin surgery at 7:30.

prayer specifics
  • the doc can find and remove all affected lymph nodes and the tumor.
  • there will be no complications accessing and removing the lymph nodes.
  • the surgery will be a success and not aborted again!
  • steady hands and clear focused mind for the surgeon
  • limited pain for james
i will update again later. love to all.

Monday, October 24

Here's a quick update...
  • James and I will go downtown on Wednesday for pre-op appointment with the surgeon and pre-op screenings.  Surgery is still on for Thursday.  We find out the time of surgery on Wednesday.
  • Pawpaw Blanton had a heart attack on Sunday morning.  He is doing much better now and will have a 5 bypass surgery on Wednesday.
  • Aunt Donna started the first of twenty radiation treatments today.
I have been in and out of the hospital with Pawpaw for the last two days.  It has been a long week and it is only Monday. I am so glad God is in control! ~Amy

Thursday, October 13

worth a shot...

so with the upcoming surgery, james and i are trying to prep our home to be more patient friendly.  we learned from the almost surgery in march that our furniture sits too low for james to get up and down comfortably.  so we are exploring some options...
  • do you have or know of anyone with a power lift chair that we could borrow or purchase cheaply?
  • do you have or know of anyone with an elevated potty seat? 
  • do you have any tips for making recovery easier?
we are looking into renting the items he needs and we might be able to get some things covered by insurance but if we can find what we need second hand within our budget it would be easier!
leave a comment on here, email, or call if you have any connections!
much love my darlings!

Wednesday, October 12

It never hurts to ask...

So after the pet scan two weeks ago, we asked Dr. Coscio again if surgery was possible.  Knowing us as well as she does, she had already emailed the images to the surgeon.  His assistant call last week to let us know he would reconsider the operation because James' tumor and lymph nodes have been stable for a while now.  We went downtown this morning and Dr. Curley agreed to surgery on October 27.  
James and I know there are risks involved but we are ready to take some risks to achieve results.  We are very excited about the upcoming operation and the possibilities it brings!  
Things should be quiet for the next two weeks.  James is to exercise daily and eat a low fat, high protein diet to prepare for surgery.  Surgery will probably be four hours and James will remain hospitalized 5-7 days afterward. 
Thanks for joining us on this journey!  We appreciate the love and support from everyone!!!
Love to all,

Tuesday, October 11

Life Happened

Saturday we were back again for the second night of the ten year reunion.  James and I spent the majority of the weekend with our good friends, Justin and Joanna.  We partied like rockstars on Friday but we were feeling our age by Saturday night.  The dinner was delicious and the company was good.  Afterward, the four of us, Justin, Joanna, James and myself, headed out to the after party.  As we sat on our bar stools, yawning over and over, Joanna and I kept asking "what has happened to us?" The young women in this place looked like children and seemed to be a lifetime younger than us.  The four of us have spent many nights sitting by fires visiting or fishing all night long but then it came to me...
What has happened to us???  In the past two years, among the four of us we have:
  • Lost Justin's dad
  • Lost 4 grandparents
  • Had 4 family members battle cancer
  • Joanna and James have both been diagnosed with different but equally life changing incurable diseases.
  • 2 unsuccessful surgeries
  • Justin and I have had to cope with the fact that we can't "fix" our spouses.  We can only support and love them through the pain.
  • Both couples are faced with the possibility of infertility
So as I was thinking, the answer came to me.  Life happened.  We are not the same people we were just two years ago.  Life happened.  And while all that we have been through when you type it out really is a lot of hurt and misery, we are all better because of it.  These trials, obstacles, and tough times have taught us to look to God for strength, cling tight to the precious bonds of marriage and cherish our friendships! 
It is my hope that the four of us attend James and Justin's twenty year reunion together.  I pray in the next ten years, James and Joanna's conditions will be behind us.  I pray when we go out for the next reunion, we have to pay a babysitter.  I pray we can look back on this time and smile.  As for now, I thank God we are not who we once were and we can lean on Him through the trying times! 

Saturday, October 8

My how time flies...

when you're having fun!!!  This weekend we are hanging out in Huntsville for James' 10 year class reunion!  We had a great time laughing, dancing and meeting/catching up with old friends!  And tonight...we do it all again at a Dinner and Dance! 
~Bobby, Amy, James, Joanna and Justin~
~Good times~

Wednesday, September 28

Here's an update:
  • James was scheduled to have chemo last Wednesday but his WBC/ANC were too low due to the cold he was fighting.  He got a white blood cell booster and chemo delayed for a week.
  • James has been having some issues that led Dr. Coscio to order a PET scan.  James had the scan on Monday and today, we learned there was nothing new or alarming on the scan.  We are very thankful for this even though it doesn't explain the problems James has been experiencing.    
  • After normal blood work today, James got chemo and will be on the bag until Friday.
Prayer request~
  • Aunt Donna will continue to recover from surgery.  We saw her today and she's looks great but still has some pain.
  • Pawpaw is having eye surgery tomorrow.  Pray this goes well.
  • Please continue to pray for Uncle Ed as he is recovering from his accident and may need another surgery.
Thank God for being so good to us all!!!

Thursday, September 15

Promotion, Chemo, Birthday and Kansas...

Now you know why I haven't been more regular with posting on the blog!  I would apologize but I am sure you are tired of hearing it!!!
Here's what is happening in our world...
  • I accepted a management position at work.  I trained in Houston last week and started at my new store in The Woodlands on Sunday of this week.
  • James was well enough last week to get chemo.  Dr. C was on vacation so we will see her next week.  James has had a hard time kicking his cold.  He only had fever last Tuesday but the cough and sinus drainage has stuck around.  He started antibiotics yesterday to try to knock it out!
  • On Tuesday, I celebrated my 27th birthday!  James gave me a beautiful personalized bracelet and I feel that I should brag on his great taste!!!  I worked Tuesday but it was still a great day!
  • I think I had let everyone know over the summer my best friend, Lisa, was moving to Kansas.  I have missed her terribly and decided two months without my best friend was enough so I am typing to you from Kansas!  James is not on chemo this week and has not been sick like he was on past chemos so he will survive a couple of days without me! 
  • I would like to ask you to pray for James' Uncle Ed tonight.  Uncle Ed was involved in an accident at work that resulted in burns on his arm and face.  I heard from James' mom he would have surgery tomorrow.  Please pray for Uncle Ed and Aunt Mary!!!
I would like to remind everyone again just how great is our God!  He is providing for James and I everyday and it is amazing to see how it is happening!
Love from KS,

Tuesday, September 6

Prayer Request

James has come down with a cold.  He's got it all...itchy watery eyes, runny nose, cough, nasal and chest conjestion, fever, and body aches!  He is scheduled for chemo tomorrow but I don't know if that will happen!  Please pray he feels better real soon!!!
Goodnight my blog readers!

Wednesday, August 24

A little at a time...

We are chipping away at this tumor a little at a time.  The tumor has decreased in size and the AFP is continuing to go down.  This chemo is a marathon, not a sprint but it is doing its job while allowing James' body to recover and heal from the previous chemos.  Monday's scan showed nothing new for concern.  For the time being, James will continue FOLFOX chemo regimen which is every other Wednesday and hooked up to the bag until Friday. 
~Praise the Lord~
  • Blood counts are up.  AFP and tumor numbers are down!!!
  • James is feeling so much better!
  • Aunt Donna is recovering from her final round of chemo and will return to work full time before her surgery in September.
  • We got to spend lots of time with Uncle Ed, Aunt Mary, James' mom, Lauren and two sweet little boys last weekend and we will get to do it all again this weekend with my extended family!
  • Ask for comfort of Kelly, a breast cancer survivor friend of mine, who's mom lost her battle to cancer last weekend!  My heart is broken and relieved she is finally cured!
  • James' tumor behaves itself and continues to shrink.
  • Pray for rain and relieve from this heat!
  • Ask for safe travels for family members coming to Texas this weekend.
  • Ask God to bless Ryan and Brandy as they enter into the life long commitment of marriage. 
  • Say a special prayer for James' Granny Abell too, please!  She had a couple of spells this week!
Hope all is well for my dear blog readers!  Have a happy Wednesday!
Much love to all,

Saturday, August 13

After another round...

James is still feeling fine.  He had chemo Wednesday and came off the pump on Friday.  His tummy is unsettled and he has a slight headache but otherwise good!
Scans are scheduled for August 22 and we are happy to report his AFP is still going down! 
This week - 
  • James and Tate will continue going to the Lake
  •  We will see the Texans play a preseason game.
  •  Attend a Sports and Outdoors Banquet hosted by a local church
  •  Have Uncle Ed and Aunt Mary visit from California
  • And watch the Friday night Fireworks after the Astros lose yet another game!!!
I will update with pics as I can!  Pray for great scan results!
Love to all!

Sunday, August 7

Not much to report.  All is well in the Abell household.  James is feeling great and has been taking Tate swimming in the evenings.  The temp here has been over a hundred degrees all week long with no end or rain in sight!  James will have blood work, doc appointment, and chemo on Wednesday.  We will likely schedule scans at the next appointment!
Hope all our blog readers have a blessed Sunday afternoon!
Love to all,

Wednesday, July 27

God is so GOOD!

I just want to sing this morning...

"God is so good.
God is so good.
God is so good.  He's so good to me.
He loves me so!
He loves me so!
He loves me so!  He's so good to me!"

We had a great visit with the doc this morning.  James' blood counts are all making their way back from being beaten so far down by the first two chemos.  Everything is almost within normal limits and his AFP has decreased!  It has made a small drop and we are grateful for it!  We are at MD Anderson for the 3rd round of chemo.  James' next chemo treatment should be somewhere around August 10 and he will have scans sometime after that!

  • James is feeling so much better!
  • God is meeting all of our needs just as He said He would!
    • "19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen. " Philippians 4:19-20
  • Aunt Donna is feeling better from her treatment last week and she only has one more treatment to go!
  • Please say a prayer for my sister and her family as they set out on a ten day road trip!
  • James continues to get stronger and heal from past treatments and stays healthy so this chemo can kick this thing!
Don't forget to email Lauren to purchase your wristbands!  She's got plenty of 'em!
Much love to all!  Have a blessed Wednesday!

Monday, July 18

Treatment II of the New Stuff

James went to the doc on Friday and got this second dose of the new chemo.  He's has some mild tummy issues but nothing as bad as he experienced with the previous two chemos.  Continue to pray that he will continue to recover from the previous chemos and pray the new chemo will be effective!  He will have scans after three months on the new chemo!
Loving a rainy night,

Friday, July 15


As a fundraiser for James and Amy, I am selling silicone reminder wristbands.  They are available in green, the liver cancer awareness color, and camouflage with the words "Always Abell" imprinted.  The wristbands come in three sizes: Large, Medium and Child.  Large bands are 8 3/8" around, medium bands are 7 3/8"  around and child bands are 5 7/8" around.  I am asking for $2/band or a donation to James and Amy of your choice.  You can donate via paypal using the button on the right sidebar or mail donations to James and Amy.  Please email your orders or questions to me at  Please include: mailing address, quantity, sizes, and colors desired! Please indicate if you plan to mail your donation and I will send you the mailing address.  I will begin distributing the bands July 25.
Thank you in advance for supporting my brother and sister in law.
James' Sister

Friday, July 8

It has been a while but I am happy to report that all is well around here!  James is feeling fine and looking good.  He went to the coast to fish yesterday with his buddy from work and got a little sun/wind burned.  Besides being beat from a day in the sun, he is doing just fine!  As it stands now, he will get blood work, see the doc and have another round of chemo next Friday, June 15.  We're hoping for another uneventful round!
If you are busy tonight, come by UPS for some BBQ benefitting James and Geno!  We'll be out there from 5:30 until 10!
Be blessed my blog friends!!!

Sunday, July 3

Q&A Time

What is causing the pain in his side?
  • The tumor.  We have to remember he is sporting an 8 cm mass on his liver.  Changes in the tumor or too much activity can aggravate the tumor and cause pain.
Why is James running fever?
  • It is tumor fever.  The doc keeps sending us to the ER because if there is an infection in the liver it could be dangerous.  However, James' blood work and cultures continue to prove his liver is functioning fine and it is just the tumor causing the fever.
  • Unless James develops new symptoms, we do not have to go to the ER for fever anymore.
What is causing James to be so anemic?
  • Iron deficiency caused by so much chemo.
  • Because of so much chemo, his body is not producing red blood cells as fast and the red blood cells are not lasing as long in circulation.
  • All these things will fix themselves in time.  For now, I am working in extra red meat, leafy green veggies, and beans into the diet.\
Is surgery still an option?
  • No.  Dr. Curley is not willing to risk doing surgery at this time.  It is too hard to tell how many lymphnodes are involved and the risk of leaving affected ones behind is too great.
No surgery, no clinical trials, now what?
  • Another new chemo.  It is not specific to germ cell tumors but has strength to possibly take care of this!
  • Perks
    • This chemo is totally different than anything else we've tried.
    • It is, to quote our favorite doc, "a helluva lot" easire on James' body.
    • No major organs are affected.
    • Counts should not drop as low.  The two WBC shots should not be needed.
    • This new schedule is the easiest one yet...Three hours, One day a week, Every other week!
  • Side effects
    • James has to be on a pump for 48hrs after chemo.  This has been his only complaint all along
    • Numbness and tingling in the fingers and toes but nothing permanent
    • Might not work but there are no guarntees in this life, right?
    • Can cause some tummy troubles but we have a pharmacy of nausea meds so we should be set!
I am working as much as possible this week.  James and Tate will be chillin at home out of this awful heat!  I will share some pics of our KY trip soon!
Love to all!

Wednesday, June 29


We are back from our trip to see James' dad and family in Kentucky.   It was great to visit with everyone and we were able to attend a family cookout last night.  The trip took a toll on James and he started running fever on Monday.  So as soon as our plane landed tonight, we headed to MD Anderson ER with a 103 degree temperature.  The ER doc just ordered fluids, pain meds, chest X ray, blood work and urine analysis.  I am sure we'll be in for a long night! 
Here's an update on other info:
  • We did not receive approval from our insurance for clinical trails.  I knew it wasn't covered but I was hopeful there was a loop hole or a way around it.
  • Because we were waiting on the insurance, the drug trial James was to begin has filled.
  • We will meet with Dr. Coscio tomorrow depending how late we are here tonight!
Stay tuned my dear readers!  I'll update again soon!

PS~ Pray for me to have patience with this ER nurse.  I am not impressed with her attitude this evening.

Thursday, June 23

Today's Appointment

James had an appointment downtown with the Clinical Center for Targeted Therapy (clinical trials) today.  We were informed that this is no longer curable because "standard treatments" did not work.  Now, at best we will only be able to treat the cancer.  We are considering clinical trials for rare tumors and also hoping James' surgeon will be open to the idea of extensive risky liver resection and affected lymph node removal.  We are waiting for financial approval from our insurance regarding clinical trials and to hear from the surgeon.  We are expected to make a decision of participation in the clinical trial by Monday. 

  • Praise God for the medical team that has treated James for the last six months.  We could not ask for more.
  • For everyone that has shown love and support for us when we've needed it most.
  • Thank God for the much needed rain!
  • Thank him for all the firefighters that have been working around the clock to control the wildfires in our area.
~Prayer Request~
  • Pray for the victims of wildfires surrounding counties.  Many people are without a home tonight and have lost everything they've ever known.
  • Dr. Curley, surgeon, will decide what is very best for James' condition.  We pray will be able and willing to successfully perform surgery.
  • Ask God for clarity for us to make the best decision possible for us.
  • Pray for friends and family members to accept our decision and find peace and comfort during a very tough time!
We love and thank God for everyone this blog reaches!
James and Amy

Tuesday, June 21

After 16 hours...

So all the results are in...
  • CT Scan shows the tumor to be slightly larger.  What does that mean?  The last chemo did not work and we made the right decision to discontinue treatment.  Did this cause the sudden onset of pain?  Don't know.  I am not satisfied with this answer and I am putting some pressure on this ER doc to find the source of James pain. 
  • The fever broke last night and once again, we are not being clearly answered on what caused the fever.  Blood work is close to normal and cultures have been drawn.
  • X-Ray and Urine analysis are clear.
  • The ER Doctor says they have ruled out major complications such as bowel obstructions or the need for emergency surgery.  Be that as it may, that doesn't explain what's going on!
I am very frustrated and don't understand why we were sent 54 miles from home at 11:00 PM to have no answers!  Pray and pray hard!
The CT scan, chest XRay and blood work all came back fairly normal.  We don't have the final report on the CT scan yet.  Hemoglobin is a bit low so we're waiting on a blood transfusion.  James should be discharged after the transfusion. 
Pray for the following questions to be answered-
  1. Why the sudden onset of pain?
  2. What caused James to spike a fever?
We have an effect and it would be nice to know the cause.  I'll post again later.

Tuesday Morning

James has completed all tests to be performed.  We are waiting for the results and to see the doc again.  We're both pretty sleepy so I am thinking a nap is in our near future!  No need to visit.  They are pretty strict only allowing one person in the room and others have to wait on the first floor.  If we need anything, we'll let you know.  I will update again as results are available.
While you are on your knees, thank God for the caring staff here!  James is being cared for by a sweetheart of a nurse and a kind man just rolled in a chair that converts to a bed so I can rest while we wait!  Great people down here! 
We arrived safely just before midnight.  James was just seen by the ER doc.  He's had blood work, blood cultures and is gone for a chest X Ray now.  The doc will check over the blood work and likely do scans.  Pray for wisdom for James' care team and minimal pain during all the testing!

Monday, June 20

Prayers Needed

For anyone still up, we are headed to the MD Anderson Emergency Room.  James' pain on his side has worsened and he has started running a fever.  Please pray for a safe trip and James' comfort.  I will post again when we arrive.
Love to all,

Friday, June 17

James saw Dr. Coscio this morning.  After three rounds of A/I chemo, we are exploring new options.  Dr. Coscio is making arrangements with specialists downtown.  I will update later when we have a more details. 
Thanks for love and prayers!

Thursday, June 16

Catching up...

Its been a while so let me bring everyone up to date.  James and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary last Tuesday, June 7.  We took an overnight trip to Kemah Boardwalk for some delicious seafood, a lovely Ferris wheel ride and an awfully scary roller coaster ride!  We browsed the shops, toured the aquarium and went swimming.  The photo above was taken on our trip.  We've been spending most of our time indoors because its over one hundred degrees here most days.  James had a blood transfusion last week which helps as always.  Other than being unable to tolerate the heat, he has been feeling just fine since chemo.  We were even able to get some small projects done around the house this week and he just headed out to an Astros game with a buddy from work. 
Tomorrow morning, we will see Dr. Coscio for his regular appt.  If all is well, we will start chemo as usual next week! 
Praise the Lord~
  • Aunt Donna got a great report on Monday.  Her tumor and lymph nodes are responding well to chemo!
  • James feeling good!
Love to all,

Sunday, June 5

James has not felt great this weekend.  The heat is really hard on him.  He got disconnected from his pump, the WBC shot and  his port deaccessed yesterday.  Hopefully his tummy will settle and he can enjoy the next two weeks off!  His only appointment this week is blood work.  He will likely have a transfusion later this week.
Love to all,

Friday, June 3

Although I was told not to do it, I spent the last hour reading this blog from the beginning.  I laughed at the number of typos and cried as I remembered some of the toughest times.  I am sitting here reflecting on the past six months.  Wow, six months.  Its so strange how a place you never wanted to be can become so comfortable.  Never in my wildest dreams/nightmares could I have ever imagined this for our lives.  We've been here so long, they no longer call us Mr. and Mrs. Abell but just James and Amy.  We know a bit about them and they know about us.  James' doc has two kids and a dog.  Like me, his nurse, Tracy, likes Sonic Dr. Pepper but she prefers vanilla to my cherry.  Lillian, another nurse, always offers an encouraging word and prayers.  Who knew our home away from home would be a hospital room?  The road is long and hard but He never said it would be easy.  He just said we would never be alone, right?

James had a rough morning.  He was given two nausea meds and he's asleep now.  Today is the last day of this round of chemo.  He will go home on the pump, be disconnected tomorrow and get his WBC shot.  We come back on Tuesday, our 3rd wedding anniversary, for blood work.  As usual, I am sure we will be looking at a blood transfusion by the end of next week.  Please continue to pray for strength for James and I to endure this challenge!


Thursday, June 2

Isa. 49:16 "See I have engraved you on the palms of my hands..."
Today is in God’s hands and so are you.
His hands are strong and will uphold you;
His hands are great and will enfold you;
His hands are gentle and will embrace you;
His hands are protective and will cover you;
His hands are reassuring and will quiet you;
His hands are powerful and will defend you;
His hands are parental and will train you;
His hands are masterful and will conform you;
His hands are compassionate and will care for you;
His hands are healing and will renew you;
His hands are calming and will comfort you;
His hands are giving and will bless you.
The hands that hold you will never let you down.

Wednesday, June 1

Day 2 of Round 7

Day 2 is underway and there's not much to report.  This is the third round of this regimen.  Other than hating the take home pump, James is doing alright.  They've reduced the fluids they were giving him during treatment because of the bloatiTng and discomfort he experienced. 

  • Thank God for bringing down the AFP number so James did not have to start another chemo.
  • Praise God for meeting our needs!
  • Thank God for a clear PT scan for Papa!  He is cancer free!
Prayer Request
  • Pray that Tracy, James' nurse, will recover from her cold!
  • Pray for Aunt Donna.  Her treatments are getting tougher each week.
  • Pray for the family of a woman I only knew in passing here at MD.  James and I refered to her as the girl next door.  She passed away leaving behind a young son who will never know just how strong his mama was.   
  • Pray that James will continue to do well with treatment this week.  The heat is not helpful!
You'll never know what your love and support means to us!  Love to all!

Saturday, May 28

We'll take what we can get...

The scan showed little change in the tumor.  Not much shrinkage but some areas do appear to be dying!  James' AFP has dropped so for now we will continue on the same AI chemo.  He will go downtown Monday for treatment!

We did enjoy an Astros game tonight complete with the Friday Night Fireworks Show!  It was great.  The 'stros lost but still a good time! 
What a difference a year makes, huh?

Thursday, May 26

Right where I needed to be...

James is sound asleep and I am wide awake.  As many of you know, James had a CT scan today and we see Dr. Coscio in the morning for the results.  As I was laying awake tonight, I started looking up some scriptures and this is where I landed:

1Peter 5:7-11 (New International Version)
7 Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.
 8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
 10 And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To Him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

I would say that's exactly what I needed tonight, wouldn't you?  There's a great peace in know He cares for me!
Love to all,

Tuesday, May 24

I am a KEPT woman...

 I Am a 'Kept' Woman
You see, there were a few times when I thought I would lose my mind,
But GOD kept me sane. (Isa. 26:3)

There were times when I thought I could go on no longer,
But the LORD kept me moving. (Gen  28:15)

At times, I've wanted to lash out at those whom I felt had done me wrong, 
But the LORD kept my mouth shut. (Ps. 13)

Sometimes, I think the money just isn't enough,
But GOD has helped me to keep the lights on, the water on, the car paid, the house paid, etc.., (Matt. 6:25 -34)

When I thought I would fall, HE kept me up. (Ps. 91:12)

When I thought I was weak, HE kept me strong! (I Pet. 5:7, Matt. 11:28-30)

I could go on and on and on, but I'm sure you hear me! I'm Kept by the Love and Grace of God!

I am indeed a 'kept' woman and praise God for it!

Thursday, May 19

Transfusion Thursday

James came to MD for blood work this morning and is in need of a transfusion.  We are at St Lukes for a transfusion as an outpatient.  It should only take about four hours then we'll be headed home!
While he's getting blood, I might head over to Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center to give blood in preparation for the next transfusion!  Just a friendly reminder - donate blood any and every chance you get!  You never know when you might need it!
Love to all,