Tuesday, July 31

Yesterday found us with more bad news...the cancer has spread even more.  James is no longer a candidate for the proposed surgery.  There is cancer above the diaphragm which wouldn't be covered in the surgery.  We don't really even ask where or what size anymore.  We just know it is alive and well.  Yesterday, James was simulated for radiation.  He may have the place in the chest done or his entire abdomen.  Dr. L was going to study his case a little more before deciding.  Dr. C started him on the maintenance chemo he was on last year with an extra drug to attempt to starve the cancer cells and prevent them from reproducing.
James has grown very tired and lacks energy.  He doesn't have much of an appetite.  He relies on pain medicine round the clock to keep comfortable.  This road just keeps getting rougher and rougher.  

Thursday, July 26

Transfusion Thursday

We saw Dr. C this afternoon for a routine visit and blood work.  It was decided what chemo James will take until it is decided if he will have surgery.  He will start FOLFOX chemo regimen on Monday.  He had this therapy last year and tolerated it well. You'll have to look back to a post sometime in July of last year to learn more.  I can't remember much about it but I do know his counts didn't drop and he felt well.  As of now, he will have one treatment.  We see the liver surgeon on Wednesday, August 1to learn if/what he can do to treat/remove the liver tumors so James can qualify for this BIG surgery.  We were happy to talk to Dr. C about the plan Dr. HJ proposed.  This BIG surgery is the most aggressive treatment available to treat James.  It will do far more than any chemotherapy available.  It is a BIG, MAJOR, HUGE treatment.  I will discuss it in further detail when we know if it will take place.
As for today, James is anemic.  So our 1 PM appt, landed us in the short stay unit of the hospital for a blood transfusion.  No worries.  We've done this plenty of times.  James is sleeping away.  If all goes as planned, we should be out of here by ten, home by ten thirty, drained and to bed by eleven fifteen and headed downtown by six in the morning for James' eight o'clock check in/prep for his ten o'clock CT scan!!!  I'll update if there is anything unusual on the scan but mostly, it is scheduled for the liver surgeon to have a current image to decide what is next...Stay tuned as I am sure August, month 20 of this disease, will prove to be an interesting month...BTW, did you listen to the song James posted below?  Beautiful!  
Have a great night!

Wednesday, July 25

So True

I have really fallen in love with this song. It reveals my heart. I first heard this artist with her song In My Arms. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
-James E

Wednesday, July 18

A fork in the Road

We are at a fork in the road.  Yeah, yeah, I know we were all set to start radiation tomorrow but there may be a BIG change in plans.  
Dr. L called yesterday to let us know she presented his case downtown and had a response from a doc regarding an alternative route.  We had a consultation with Dr. HJ today to learn about the new treatment.  The new treatment involves a big surgery on the abdomen to eliminate all the new growth floating around.  If we get clearance and participation from James' original liver surgeon, we will be headed for this surgery by the end of August.  This treatment plan is still considered a clinical trial but is no longer in the Phase I stage.  Dr. HJ said she has not encountered problems with insurance.  Please pray for the following:

  • The liver surgeon to agree to this treatment plan.
  • We can stabilize James' disease until surgery.
  • Insurance will not cause a hiccup and will cover this procedure.
So as of now, we are waiting for an appointment with the liver surgeon.  His decision will determine what road we take....New treatment or Radiation. 

In other news, James and I are Vacation Bible School group leaders at our church this week.  James only survived Monday but will return tomorrow.  Please pray he can finish out the week with his group!

Sunday, July 15


Praise the Lord - The cath was placed on Friday.  James has been a bit sore from the procedure.  He's had some pain and trouble sleeping but all in all, he's alright.  Praise the Lord - We have faithful family, friends, and church family to help us along the way.  A bit of testimony for ya:

As of June 24th, the company no longer carries James' insurance benefits.  I have done my very best not to worry about how on earth we would pay for insurance.  Essentially, we have taken on a bill the size of our mortgage.  I am human so the thought did creep up but I made a decision to:

 "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

I began Family Medical Leave as of July 5 so you can imagine it hasn't been easy not to worry.  But this is what I know, for 19 months:

 "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

And that He has...

Insurance payments- 
June - July= PAID
July - August = PAID
August - September = PAID
September - October = PAID
October - November = 1/2 PAID

It is truly amazing what God can do when I step out of His way and give Him the reins.

 "Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens." Psalms 68:19

I want to thank everyone for helping us, loving us, and praying for us.  
You are a blessing to us!!!
We love and appreciate everyone this blog reaches!

Friday, July 13

Man, this week has really gotten away from me.  Lets catch up, shall we?

  • James was drained on Monday.  He had 6.5L of fluid removed from his abdomen.  Due to fever, the cath was not placed.
  • On Wednesday, we met Dr. L, James' Radiation Oncologist.  I couldn't be more pleased.  She seems like an awesome doc and I look forward to her treating James.  Dr. L and Dr. C put their heads together, modified some treatments, and came up with an exciting new treatment plan.  Hopefully starting next week, James will have a low dose of radiation to the entire abdomen in combination with an oral chemotherapy drug.  The hope/goal is to slow/stop the growth of the cancer cells flowing around in his abdomen.  So I know what you are thinking...Why haven't we done radiation before?  Answer: Because the cancer in the omentum is new.  Until recently, the cancer was in different defined locations.  It was not possible to treat one location, such as the liver, without neglecting other tumors, such as the bladder or lymph nodes.  With the cancer pretty much everywhere in the abdomen, we can treat it entirely.
  • Thursday found us at the dentist and sleeping.  It has been raining a lot here and it makes for some lazy days.  We seem to have our days and nights mixed up right now.  We've been staying up late and sleeping during the day.  I am hoping we'll get back on track soon.
  • Today - We are at St. Luke's for another drain and hopefully, a cath placement.  The cath is important to starting radiation.  Because the radiation treatment is so precise, we need the cath to keep James' belly the same size from day to day.  If they do place the cath, we will head to the MDACC office for his radiation simulation.  There, he will be marked and prepped to start treatment Monday.  He is in the back now for the procedure.  All these plans, rely on the cath...
I'll be back with more soon...Stay tuned, my friends!!!

Sunday, July 8

Here's a quick update...
  • James did not have the cath placed on Friday.  He was still running fever and the surgeon was not comfortable doing the procedure due to infection.  He hasn't felt great but  mostly, he just been uncomfortable over the weekend.  We took it very easy and stayed in with the exception of church this morning.
  • We will try again tomorrow to have the fluid drained and the cath placed.  We check in at noon with the procedure scheduled for one.  Please pray everything goes as scheduled!
  • James will see the Radiation Oncologist on Wednesday.
We love and thank you all for your support!  May God bless each and everyone of you!Amy

Thursday, July 5

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July!  We had a pool party at my grandparents house and were blessed with a less than blazing hot day!  James, Lauren and I rode to New Waverly to watch the fireworks show!

James started running temp late yesterday evening.  He had a restless night and fever still this morning.  I have been in touch with MD and we are going in for labs and a clinic visit today.  The drain/cath placement was to be scheduled for today but the hospital was book due to the holiday.  We were originally scheduled for Monday at noon.  However, James belly will pop by Monday and we would like to avoid the ER this weekend.  Dr. C was able to move somethings around and have the drain/cath placement moved to tomorrow, Friday at 9AM.  

Please say a prayer for this fever to break and James to get some rest!

Tuesday, July 3


from our home to yours!  That's right, we are home!  James was discharged late yesterday evening.

Yesterday...oh yesterday.  Lets just say I am glad it is done and over!!!  To catch you up, James was still having back pain.  We heard an announcement saying the hospital was in "internal disaster" mode.  There had been smoke, maybe fire, on the fourth floor.  This wouldn't effect us except they were not allowing people to move from one place to another.  We were on the third floor and not going anywhere while our docs were somewhere else and unable to get to us!

Finally, we see Doc C late in the afternoon.  Here's the new plan:

  • She is working with Radiation Oncology to get James in ASAP.  We are going to give the place on his back a dose of radiation to stop the pain.  Oh yeah...the spasms are being caused by lymph node involvement in the area.  The enlarged cancer-filled lymph nodes are causing pressure on the muscle which is causing the spasm.  
  • The fluid from his abdomen is the type of fluid caused by the cancer cells and likely to collect again.  For this reason, James is scheduled for another tap on Thursday.  Depending on the amount of fluid collected during the tap, it may be decided to insert a drain to keep the fluid off.
  • After the dose of radiation, James will resume chemotherapy plus another drug to try to slow/stop new growth.
We are hoping to have the radiation appointment today.
Stay tuned, my friends!

Sunday, July 1

Back from Vacation...Back to Reality

On June 20th, James and I headed to KY to visit family and relax on the house boat!  We enjoyed a week long stay with Stan and had a great time fishing.  On Sunday, June 24, we had a big (57 family member) fish fry at Granny Abell's house.  I will post pics soon.  We came home Tuesday, June 26.  I worked Wednesday, Thursday and Friday then reality set in!

Let me interject here...during our trip, James had some mild pain on his side while we were gone and his last chemo treatment was May 21.

Friday evening, I get home from work to find James complaining of pain and discomfort in his belly.  We eat a light supper and chill for a while.  Around eight thirty, James says he thinks his belly is getting bigger.  It is much bigger, firm and tender to touch.  I contact Dr. C and we head to the ER for blood work and CT.  The CT showed a large collection of fluid in James' abdomen.  He is admitted and a paracentesis is ordered for Saturday.  The CT also revealed increase in size of all tumors, new tumors and new lymph node involvement. This news hit us hard.  Much harder than we expected...

Saturday nearly comes and goes before the procedure to remove the fluid.  Once the doc arrives from downtown, nearly 3L of fluid is removed from James' abdomen.  Almost six pounds.  He felt immediate relief from the pain in his stomach but severe spasms in his back are now a problem.  The back pain kept him up most of the evening.  At 2 AM this morning, James experienced the worse pain he's ever been in.  His back was locked up and having intense spasms.  When the internal medicine doc came in this morning, she thought kidney infection or stones.  That is not the case.  We are now waiting on another type of scan to find the source of his pain.  

Though she has not been on call, we have been in touch with Dr. C and she will see James tomorrow.  He should be discharged from the hospital and get set up for a new chemo sometime this week. 

I do want to speak of a blessing - James and I haven't had a church home.  Through our married life, we have tried different places and attended church but never had a home.  Recently, we started attending Dacus Baptist Church and I feel we have found our home.  We have been welcomed and loved from the first day we attended.  We were kept in constant prayer long before that.  Today, our pastor came to see us.  Our church family prayed for us.  I feel in my heart, we now have a home.

For all the bad and wrong, we have that and so much more to be thankful for.  Please continue to pray for comfort for James and a quick discharge.  I will update again soon.