Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Update on Brad's Condition

Over the weekend Brad started to experience a more acute shortness of breath. By Monday Brad stopped to tell me that he didn't want to alarm me, but he was really having trouble catching his breath. He said that he was having trouble just moving from his recliner to his wheelchair....or just standing. This has happened somewhat before...usually associated with coughing spasms. At first we weren't sure what to think, but by late Monday afternoon he had some other symptoms of concern....along with fever and a quickening pulse that had me worried enough that we decided to go in to Urgent Care by Wednesday evening. I thought that maybe he had another case of pnemonia (or some other type of upper respiratory infection) and that fluid on his lungs was intensifying the breathing problem.

By the time we got in to see the doctor at the Urgent Care clinic, Brad's fever subsided. We are still uncertain as to the exact cause of some of his sudden symtoms. A chest x-ray was run, but because of the tumors in his lungs, it was difficult to see what else could be the cause of his symtoms.

Tuesday morning we went into Houston to see Dr. Lehane (Brad's local oncologist). Dr. Lehane compared Brad's CT scan from last April to the one he had on November 1st. He said that while Brad's cancer is not growing at a "lightning pace" it is growing very quickly. Lehane believes that because most of Brad's right pulmonary artery is almost completely filled with tumor and blood clotting, the right lung is not getting the blood it needs and the body is responding by sending his air primarily into his left lung. Also, Lehane believes that some of the blood clots from the right side are being sluffed off into the left lung causing some of those branches to fill with clotting...thus causing the shortness of breath. Brad was perscribed blood-thinning medication to help dissolve some of the clotting and if that is the problem...hopefully allieviate some of shortness of breath.

Lehane also talked with us about the idea of surgically working on Brad's right pulmonary artery...to cut the right side off from the left so that it would stop throwing clotting into his left side. While this wouldn't be a curative approach...it might help him feel better for a time. Next week Lehane plans to present Brad's case to the tumor board at Methodist to see what they have to say about his case.

Lehane also revisted the idea of chemotherapy for Brad. He said because his cancer was growing very quickly, a drug that kills fast dividing cells might possibly slow down his disease. When we questioned the likelyhood of the success of this option, Lehane said that he couldn't be certain, but he was willing to try it with Brad. This will be a very big decision for us. We have spent the last 6 months strengthening Brad's immune system. The chemotherapy would do the opposite, thus setting Brad up to more easily contract other diseases that his immune system is faced with. Having 2 small "germy" kids at home....this is not a decision to take lightly. And in his condition, Brad could experience severe effects that could possibly be much worse than the disease itself. The idea of chemo will be a VERY big decision for us should we consider it. Most doctors have told us that the amount of chemo that it would take to kill the chondrosarcoma would be fatal for Brad...if Lehane has a different idea of what he would like to try...we will have to hear more and then weigh all the pros/cons.

When measured on Monday and Tuesday, Brad's O2 level was moving between 84-89 %. So, yesterday a company come out to our home to install an oxygen machine for our home. While he doesn't need the oxygen all the time, it does occasionally make Brad feel better. At the same time, Brad is struggling with the idea of being to a point where he needs an oxygen machine.

This morning we are back at Methodist to run a CT scan. Lehane hopes that this test will help provide him more information to determine if blood clots are indeed the source of the problem. We will return to see Lehane at the beginning of next week to discuss the test results.

Our family really needs prayers at this time. We have decided not to return to Germany for the time being. Even if the treatments have possibly slowed the rate of cancer growth some....we do not feel that it is enough to outweigh the challenges of frequent international travel. We are continuing to explore ideas for what we can do to help control the disease...dietary methods, etc. And, we will continue to work with local doctors for now to see what they offer in the way of treatment. We ask for prayers for breathing relief for Brad, for clear decisions for treatments, and for peace about a situation that is beyond our control.

Brad told me yesterday, that although his lungs look bad, he has not given up....he said that he has to continue to believe that he can beat this disease. He is such a brave man and I am so proud of his strength, endurance, and unfailing positive, determined attitude. I am completely in love with this man.

43 comments:

jch said...

May the Lord's presence be undeniable at this time. You all have our prayers.

peace -- Joe

Nellie's Nuggets said...

Praying, praying, praying. We love you!

pcb said...

Ever since I stumbled upon your blog, I've kept your family on my blog roll and in my prayers. It's so hard to make decisions about medical care; what a blessing it is to be able to rely on God's guidance.

Hudson said...

We are praying! We love you!

Ryon and Rachel said...

I am praying for you...and I have asked all of my blog readers and my e-mail chain prayer warriors to be in prayer as well! You are an amazing family and you will have an incredible testimony when this is all said and done!!!

Father, I lift up this family to you now and ask you to grant them peace. Father, your Word tells us that where ever 2 or more are gathered in your name that you are there. I ask you God to see this online community of supporters as a gathering of people seeking you...and I ask you to make your presence known among your people. God, we praise you for your power and faithfulness. Let us see your power in this family's life. Because your Word tells us that by the wounds of Jesus we are healed, I know that Brad is healed. Father, I ask you to begin showing us the signs of healing in Brad's body. I ask all of this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Anonymous said...

Continuing to follow your blog and remain in prayer for your family's needs. What a strong faith you have. God will reward that. May God richly bless you all.

BBrods said...

Jenny, hundreds of us also "love this man" and we are praying fervently for his healing and for God to strengthen you both, not only physically but also spiritually.
Bobbie Brodsgard

Linda said...

My heart is with you all...I am praying so hard for Brad and for your family. I am asking for special prayers tonight for the upcoming decisions you will be making and for God's guidance. WE love you all...

Perks said...

We, too, believe you can be healed, Brad! Thank you for your amazing faith and example. We love you guys so much and petition the Lord continuously on your behalf.

Please, Lord, hear our prayers...

Anonymous said...

Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this time. May God be with you!!! Our God is an AWESOME God!!!!!

Brenda said...

We are praying!!! And we'll ask for prayers at church tonight too.

Lisa said...

Praying for you and spreading the word...

H and D said...

For months, I've been praying for all of you with tears. I am confident that God is good, is paying attention, and cares.
Much love to all of you. I'll keep it up.
Holly from Lakewood

John & Carrie said...

We have been following the posts and been in constant prayer for you guys since last year. You both are an awesome example of God's love and faithfullness both in your determination to get Brad well and constant devotion to each other. I pray for only good news to come your way soon and a wonderful Christmas season for you and your beautiful family!!
Carrie Kimmey Quinn

Anonymous said...

All of you continue to be in my prayers. Love, Pat Grisham

Lana said...

I am always thinking and praying for Brad and you and your whole family. Take Care!!

da momma said...

Yall are ALL so brave! I think of you daily! Thank you for the in depth updates! BIG HUGS!

Joyce B. said...

Brad & Jenny, your family is in my prayers. I'm amazed and encouraged by the strength I see in both of you. May God guide you through the decisions and give you healing.

Lauren Lucille said...

Jenny, I am kneeling to the Father for healing. I am James Garners little sister. We are all praying, for you, for him, and your beautiful children. In the name of our precious Jesus, we call out for healing...

Anonymous said...

We are praying for you.
Alysa Cozart

Angie Campbell said...

We are praying and we love you guys. We know you are strong.

Angie said...

Please know your family has been and will continue to be prayed for daily.
-Angie
(Tammie and Scott's friend)

Camille, Blake and Pierce said...

We believe in you both and we believe in our God and know that he can heal you. We will continue to pray and I just want to thank you for being so real and honest on your blog so we can hear your heart and prayers. May He bring your Peace this season.

Jennifer said...

We are praying for a miracle!

Trish and Dave said...

Jen...Doxil is what Dave is on now and Sunitib is what they are planning to use on him if the Doxil doesn't slow down Dave's tumors. Most of the Doxil treatments haven't been too bad with Dave only feeling sick a few days usually. This last one was a few more than that. The treatment is every two weeks. His blood count hasn't changed too much and he has been on the Doxil since October. Call me if you want more info if you still have my number or email us at deatos@yahoo.com.
Trish

Anonymous said...

We are praying for a miracle on Park Dale. May the snow tonight bring some wonderful miracles with it! We'll be here anytime you need us -- even in the middle of the night. Just knock really loud. Praying and praying some more. Love, Allison & BJ

Anonymous said...

We are praying for you on Park Dale. May the snow tonight bring some wonderful miracles with it. We are here for you . . even in the middle of the night -- just knock really loud. We'll be here. Praying and praying some more. Love, Allison & BJ

Matt, Kara, and Hank (plus Teej) said...

Praying for a good outcome and wishing I could make it happen myself.
-Kara

kj7 said...

On my knees pleading for healing! Love you both~ Kathryn

The McLain Family said...

Constantly thinking of yall and praying. Hang in there! Much love to all of you!

Anonymous said...

We are praying for Brad and the entire family. Our thoughts and prayers are with ya'll. Brad is a very special person to me and my family. We love ya'll & will be praying extra, extra hard for him and the family. Love,
Kim, Ray & Megan Garcia

amber dayton said...

We are thinking & praying for you both constantly... for God's clear direction, for His peace, for a joyful Christmas together, & most of all for a total healing. Sending hugs from Ft Worth. Love you!

Anonymous said...

Jenny,

I have been following your blog for a while now, you and your family are in my prayers.

Alicia

Leigh7880 said...

I believe with my whole heart that Brad will be healed. I am praying for all of you during this time - for the medical choices you must make, for peace and understanding, for hope and faith. Love you all!

God Still Moves Stones!! (my favorite Max Lucado book!)

david said...

We remember you all in our prayers, daily! david & kim

Stephanie said...

Praying for y'all.

Dorothy / Bubba said...

Bubba & I have you in our prayers daily. We have our church family praying for a complete recovery also. May God Bless you both, your children and your parents. God's peace, Dorothy & Bubba Kay

Tomilyn said...

We are all praying for wisdom, comfort, hope and healing. Brad is one of the most stubborn people I know. I know he is using that stubborness, hard head and HUGE heart to fight this. Keep running the race!

Brooks Inc. said...

J-
We continue to pray...to beleive with you all. We are asking for the Lord's wisdom and discernment to guide your hearts...May His peace be yours!

We love you so!

B

Anonymous said...

You don't know me but I have been following your "story" for sometime now, thanks to Alison Hanna via Facebook. I am an OC alum and attend the Cinco Ranch church of Christ. I just want you to know I am praying for you and your family. May God continue to give you strength and watch over all of you. Your love for each other is amazing. Thank you for keeping us posted along the way. You have our prayers!!!

Lynnette

Sarah said...

we are praying,praying,praying. we love you guys!

Anonymous said...

Praying for you with every breath. We love you guys!
Holly & James

Emily said...

Praying for you guys constantly! We love you!