Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fight and Live

On Monday, I went out to do some shopping for a few things for the house.  My friend, Kristine Bone, called and Craig told her that I was out doing, “Shopping Therapy”.  He likes to make people think that I am hard on him with my huge shopping sprees.  I am so good to him on how fugal I am, always saving for the rainy day, and he knows it.  Kristine called to tell him that she and her husband would be at the hospital to be with me during the surgery.  They were a great support.  Both of our parents offered to come.  I joked with my Mom and told her that I was afraid if the Doctors saw my Dad they would admit him to rehab, I mean rehab for his walking, not rehab for what you were thinking. Hahaha

Craig and I went into this surgery thinking that it was going to be a long recovery but it was going to be the end.  As our friend Iva Beckstead stated on her comment on our last blog, “It’s not a train in the tunnel. It’s just a little caboose…Literally, THE END.”  We really thought it was going to be the end. 

When the Doctor’s came out into the waiting room and called out my name, my heart sank.  It had only been 1 hour and 15 minutes, into a 4 hour surgery.  The worst thoughts went through my mind.  He took me into a small room, where he then told me that he had run into some problems.  I was told that he had found cancer on the liver.  He called and spoke with one of his colleagues and also our oncologist, Dr. Breyer.  They both thought it would be best to finish the colostomy and not remove the tumor and rectum.  The reasons were 1st; the recovery process if they did the whole surgery would set us back 2 months.  2nd, not knowing where else the cancer could be they didn’t want to stir things up.  I decided to go with the Doctors recommendation, hoping that when Craig woke up, he would think that I had made the right decision.

Next to having Doctors tell you that your husband has stage 4 colorectal cancer, another one of the worst days is telling him that it is back again and then calling and telling your kids.  There were tears, anger, frustration, disbelief, and sadness all rolled into one.

Craig was released from the hospital on Saturday September 17th and physically feeling pretty good.  We went to see our oncologist Monday the 19th.  She was very sad to see us back in her office under these circumstances.  She was not surprised that the cancer had returned, but that it had come back so quickly.  She also said that we will never know for sure if the cancer was missed by the last PET scan, as they are not 100% correct, or if it is new growth, but it is colorectal cancer again.  The good thing is that we were not scheduled to have another scan for 6 months and who knows how much of his body would have been affected by then, had they not discovered it during the surgery.

We will now be returning to Huntsman for a baseline PET scan the second week of October, and then start chemo on October 17th.  His body needs time to recover from this surgery. The new chemo will be the same as the prior routine, starting a new treatment every 2 weeks, wearing the chemo pump for two days at home, then recovering for 12 days.  This process will repeat for 6 months.  The only difference is the drugs which will be used, as the ones used previously will have likely diminished in their effectiveness.  Though the side effects will change, there will definitively be some.

This has been very hard, many emotions all the way around. Yesterday after Home Health Care left our home, we were struggling again. Craig said, “We can’t pretend it’s not real, but we have to stay positive.” That’s what the nurse said yesterday at Dr. Breyer’s office. “You basically have two choices. You can give up and think that you are going to die, or you can choose to stay positive and fight like heck to live.” She complimented us on our attitudes, and said it is ok to go home and cry and scream and get it out, and then go back to our good place in our heads and in our hearts. We choose to fight and live!

A few of Craig's friends, (Craig's Crusaders) from work, they came with there "Cure the Crack sign's and t-shirts. 
They made his Day!   We love you guys!

John Cyrus (Cousin, haha) came from Oregon to visit. Craig finally has more hair than he does.

Ashlyn, Dallin, Craig, Marsha, Corinne and Ryan Born, McKaye.  We were wishing we had santa hats to make it into a Christmas card picture.
Pain scale, I'm thinking his face matches -0.

Rob Norberg, brother-in-law, cut his hair off for Craig.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Change of Plans!!!

Just a little note about Craig’s surgery, he went in on Tuesday September 13 for a removal of the rectum and tumor and to receive a colostomy bag.  The Doctor found that there is cancer on the liver again.  They don’t know if it never left or if it is new.  It was a very hard day, with many decisions that I had to make while Craig was asleep in surgery. Between the Doctor and myself I hope we made the right one.  Not sure exactly when he will come home, hopefully in the next few days, and then we will go see our Oncologist again and see what is the next step. 

By the way…the light in the tunnel that I was talking about in my last blog, it was a train, and it hit us again, just not sure how bad the bleeding is.

Thank you to my great friends who stayed with me at the hospital while Craig was in never-never-land.  Both of our parents have been so supportive, and our great friends.  We love you all.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Light of a Train?

Hello everyone.  Well, Corinne and Ryan have been married 1 month now and are doing well.  It is fun to watch them try to stretch their pennies.  They are finding many ways to help save money while going to school.  They have a very cute duplex they are renting in Ogden, about 1 mile south of campus.

McKaye has gone down to Snow College, she has a full load of classes, but is having lots of fun meeting new friends and going to parties.  She is already making plans for next year and wants to stay in the same apartment.  Ashlyn misses her dearly.   The first day of school Ashlyn walked out of her bedroom and had to ask Dallin if her outfit looked good?  His response was, “I have no idea, go ask Rob”.  Rob is her uncle who is staying with us right now.  Anyway…she misses McKaye.

The past week I have been cleaning out the house.  I haven’t done much with it for the past year and it was overdue.  Changed kids rooms, cleaned carpets, washed walls, cleaned out the shed, took two loads of stuff to DI, and one load to the dump.  The house is starting to get a little lighter. 

Craig will be going in for surgery on September 13.  Dr. Griffin, a colon and rectal specialist at St. Marks in Salt Lake City, will be removing the tumor.  It has been just a little short of a year since we started this adventure, and it has been quite a year.  We have had the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows.  We have grown so much as a family and spiritually.  We’ve had such great experiences.  We just wish it was through different circumstances.  It had been a rough road and we know it is not over yet, but we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel but hoping that is not a train.  Hahah!  After going through this experience, we could say why us, why Craig?  It has been hard, extremely hard; it’s good that we have had such amazing experiences along the way, and had such great people put in our path to help us soften the load.   We can never say “why us, why Craig.”  When you walk into the chemo clinic and see all of the people, young and old, in all stages of life, you could say, why them?  We don’t know why, we just know that we will not be tested more than we can handle.  When you’re in the middle of the situation that is a hard thing to realize, but we do see how much help from family and friends we have had and that our Heavenly Father knows us personally, and has been helping us along the way.

I am preparing myself for one last ride, which starts next Tuesday.  Taking a deep breath, putting on my game face and tightening my shoelaces, there will be no sissy’s around here; we are getting ready for the challenge.