Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Grants, Grace and God

I am well aware that I talk about my religious beliefs quite a bit here. I'm also sure that a few of you get very tired of it. Well... sit back and enjoy the ride. I promise it won't all be about God. But that's where I'm starting off at.

There have been, I'm sure and aware, many miracles in my life. But none so immediately obvious to me as today. As you may know I've been out of a couple of drugs for a few days. Marinol and Celebrex. The latter, Celebrex, is essentially a very refined and powerful version of Ibuprofen. I'm over-simplifying that, but you get the picture. I guess it's like taking forty Advil a few times a day, but without the eventual, or in my case additional, liver damage. So going off of Celebrex is a painful experience. Having gone through the withdrawals a couple times I know that pain. It's days of aches. Barely being able to move. Like you've been hit by a delivery van with large hard rubber bumpers. Even when you get the drug back in your system, it takes days to be effective again and repair the damage.

I've been off of the Celebrex for a couple days. Today I have the least pain I've had since my original cancer diagnosis. Actually, since a year earlier and my original misdiagnosis of diverticulitis which eventually led to finding the cancer. The only explanation I have, and my oncologist could offer nothing further, is the grace of God. A legitimate miracle. I know, again, that I talk a lot about praising God. But today God dropped His grace on me like Paul Michael Levesque using a sledge hammer. (I apologize for the wrestling reference. Wait. No I don't.)

Many of you have been praying for me since December regarding my chemotherapy and loss of insurance. Thank you. I received a grant from the manufacturer of Avastin to cover it's cost! We've applied for another grant that will cover the majority of my remaining chemotherapy costs. If we receive that grant the majority of my treatment at Willamette Valley Cancer Institute (WVCI) will be covered. We'll still be "out of pocket" for prescriptions, MRIs, ER, hospital, etc. But this, as you can imagine, would be a huge change. As of today I have my first chemo appointment in over a month, another miracle in my opinion, this Friday. We're moving ahead with faith that the second grant will come through.

I'm not sure what my actual dose is.
But, whatever it is, it's $16,000 worth of this.
Today a new option came to the table. They're considering RFA or Radiofrequency Ablation. They would run a line up the major artery/vein/whatever in my leg, through my groin, and into my liver. Then some chemo drug is injected directly into my liver. It's not something I'm looking forward to, but it is something I'm excited about. We still don't know if it will be possible to do on someone as fat as I am. But if it turns out to be possible, the results have a history of being very good.

God is amazing. In December there was very little chance I'd live through February. Now I'm going back on chemo and even have a chance at an alternative chemotherapy that could result in years, not just months, on my life. Gos is amazing. If you glean nothing else from all the random things I write here, please glean that.

Um... Choosing joy is still good too. ;)

Today my mother turned 62 years old. She also retired from a job she has worked for a long time. It's a well earned retirement.

She's worked at the City of Springfield (Springfield, Oregon) for a long time. I'm almost ashamed that I don't know how many years. She's always been that person at work who everyone loves. No one has a bad thing to say about her. From upper management to custodial, for the last week there have been hugs, gifts and tears. They've spent the last six months trying to talk her out of retiring. But she did it.

I'm proud of my Mom. She (and my Dad) have given up a lot for me over my (soon to be) 38 years. They still are. My parents moved in with Kristin and I last week. I was dreading it a little bit. But it's been such a blessing. Kristin and I are going through so much and my parents are cooking, cleaning and keeping us company.
My Dad (Ray) and Mom (Jan) at Relay for Life.
Always supporting me... Through everything.
My Mother has the heart of a servant. She's worked for years to make sure others look good. She never demands recognition. She truly is happiest when she's able to help others succeed. She speaks her mind, but does it respectfully and with wisdom.

Congratulations Mom (and Dad) on this new adventure you're about to begin. I don't imagine you're going to slow down much, but at least you'll be sleeping in now and then.

You can read her blog, which I'm sure she'll update in the morning, here: Auntie Jan

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