Sunday, December 31, 2006

Goodbye 2006

Just wanted to give you a update. I had some nausea on Saturday. It came roughly 1 1/2 hours after taking the chemo. Quickly I took the anti nausea med. I didn't want to vomit. It worked - no vomit just a upset stomach. Today, Sunday I did feel a little quesey in church, yet did not take any meds. I wanted to see what would come of the nausea. Glad to report . . . . NOTHING!

Saying goodbye to 2006 & hello to 2007. Tonight we are doing our usual New Years Eve candlelight family dinner. The boys think it is great! My 07' is planned out by way of chemo 5 days on, 23 off till middle of December. That is IF my body tolerates it.

Tomorrow I look forward to having a massage. I am redeeming a gift certificate given to me from parents at Covenant Christian School.

See you in 2007

Friday, December 29, 2006


Today prior to radiation, I met a older man (Joe) & a married couple from Illinois.

The conversation all started out by Joe stating he liked my peacoat. He was in the Army and always wanted a peacoat like the Navy. Both he and the couple continued to tell me that they live together. I said "Oh, are you related?" They said they live in the Hope House which is housing for out of town Siteman patients. Joe told the couple he is losing weight. The husband said he is going to start fixing Joe some eggs & bacon for breakfast.

I wanted to know Joe's grocery needs after finding out about his weight issue. "I want to buy you food. What do you like? What are you craving?" His response "A snickers bar". I said in good conscience I couldn't buy that due to the sugar content. (I had previously told them about the flax diet & sugar info.) "Is there anything else you would like?" Joe stated he likes braunschweiger. "Anything else? What about fruit or veggies?" He said he also likes oranges. I told him about clementines. He agreed. Lastly he wanted some Boost. I said I would buy that although it also has ALOT of sugar.

It was time for me to have my treatment. I told the therapist to wait for I was having an important converstation. She said for me to come back when I was finished.

Quickly I told Joe that I will see him on Tuesday with his clementines, braunschweiger & boost. He asked "Why are you doing this?" My response "Because you are loved."

After my radiation Joe was still in the waiting room. I was intrigued by the man I was buying groceries for. I decided to sit and get to know him a little further. I am so glad I did.

After sitting I asked Joe if he added to the grocery list while I was gone. He smiled and said no. So here is what I found out about my new friend Joe. He is 80 years old and had surgery on his left side of his face due to cancer close to his ear drum. Skin was grafted from his leg for his face. While in surgery on December 2 his wife, Gwenevive passed away in her sleep. He resides in southern Missouri near Popular Bluff. I was crying at this point & so was he. He said his first wife passed away at the age of 28 with cancer. They had a 4 & 6 year old at the time. He currently has 6 children. He is so grateful for his kids. They are so supportive. His son even came up the other night to take him out for a good steak dinner.

It was time for Joe to have his therapy. I then departed with a heavy heart yet, thankful that I was able to hear his life story. I am confirmed that all of us have a story. We are broken in some way. I told Joe I would love to attend his wifes memorial. He will have it after his treatment is finished - sometime in mid February or later.

As for me - I threw up on the drive home. I am glad I have my empty 2 lb. yogurt container in my cancer bag. It came in handy today. My stomach is still not feeling well. After speaking to JoAnn, my oncologist nurse she said it is uncommon to have nausea that late after taking the chemo. It usually occurs after the first hour of taking it. Pray I can eat some light lunch.

*Note: Normally it is chemo/Temador that causes the vomitting not radiation. I will have chemo EVERY day for the next 6 weeks. Radiation is only M - F unless there is a holiday.

Thinking of Joe.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Sorry for the Delay

So sorry for the delay today on the blogger. The update took MUCH longer than expected.

Day 2 radiation is complete. My IMRT machine was being worked on due to the table not functioning correctly. They put me in a different IMRT room. The only bummer was that my CD was in the other room and couldn't be brought to my room. My music the first day brought some comfort to the unknown. Today, U2 was my choice of CD's that they had on hand. I now know to always carry my CD's with me at all times and not leave them in the room as they had suggested. I met with Dr. Simpson today instead of Wednesday. We had good conversation. I am looking forward to getting to know him in the weeks to come. I will be seeing him 1x a week. He has 3 boys.

Last night after posting & the boys were in bed I was having a difficult time emotionally and physically. I had some shivering (I wasn't cold) and a headache. Tylenol took care of the headache. It seems that it is in the evening that I have some low, emotional moments. The unknown long term side effects are a big concern. I also do not like the thought of taking poison (Temador) for a full 6 weeks with no breaks, unlike the radiation. I have concluded that I need to take one day at a time with treatment. I have only 28 treatments left for radiation. Usually M - F except for the New Year's holiday. I am counting down till February 7.

OK - drum roll here . . . . . . . No nausea today. Now the cymbals!

I did not take a nap this afternoon so hopefully I will sleep well tonight. Carter, Cole & I went ice skating for 1 hour. It was fun for all. Cole even had more confidence than he has had in the past. So proud! All of us were glad to get our "ground shoes" back on. I definitely was not meant to be a figure skater. - my figure & skates are painful

Looking for moments to brighten someones day at Siteman have been a good diversion for me. A smile and a kind conversation is all a person might need for that day. I am glad to have various opportunities in the past 3 days. I have met at least 4 people. I am also trying to remember my low, dark moments so I can minister to someone else in the years to come who will be going through this. I can say this IS the hardest thing I have EVER had to endure. It is a true roller coaster of emotions hour by hour. Never have I been so fearful in my life (mainly due to the side effects).

Tonight my concerns are:
1. lower right side doesn't feel quite right - not painful just uncomfortable
2. only one BM this morning, 2 hours later than normal
(yeah! you get to hear about my BM updates)

Thankful that I only have two concerns for the evening.
Not worrying about tomorrow for tomorrow has enough worries of its own.


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Lord Upholds

Pray that God will give me answers to questions, direction for ministry, comfort in distress, wisdom for decisions, and promises to cling to from Scripture.

The Lord your God, . . . went in the way before you to search out a place for you to pitch your tents, to show you the way you should go, in the fire by night and in the cloud by day. *** As an eagle stirs up its nest, hover over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on its wings, so the Lord alone led him. *** The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand *** Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all . . . . We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purose. *** With us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles. *** The Lord you God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness.

Proverbs 2:8; Deut 1:32-33; Deut. 32:11-12; Ps. 37:23-24;
Ps. 34:19; Ps. 1:6; Romans 8:28; 2 Chron. 32:8; Zeph. 3:17

Today was a good day - Kate

Day 1 almost over

The first radiation treatment went by with no hitches. I did cry a little when the mask was locked into place. It is good that the mask is plastic / waterproof. The mask didn't seem as tight as yesterday on my chin. (Can't explain that) I am thankful that I brought my Aaron Shust CD to listen. It was nice having something familiar in the room. The procedure took only about 10 minutes. I kept my eyes closed the whole time. While on the table, the machine goes from the right side over to the left side. The table itself turns to the left and radiates from a different angle. Definitely pray for my optic nerve & lens. It is bright even with my eyes closed. Be sure to read the previous post - I did add more info about my optic nerve & lens.
As for nausea - NONE! PTL. I don't feel any different today. Just a little tired. It was difficult to fall asleep last night. Too much anticipation.

Thankful for no regurgitation / throwup : ) - Kate

Hungry Hippo Thankfulness

Even this morning I am counting my blessings. I am thankful for so many things in my life even on a dark emotional day. As I was taking my Zofran at 6:30 my stomach was in knots yet, I can say God is my strength and my song.

* I am thankful for playing the game "hungry hippo" with Cole at 7:15 this morning.
* The pink sky this morning was oustanding. Gods handiwork is so beautiful.
* Aunt Dee Dee watching the boys this morning while mom escorts me to treatment for moral support.
* That I am loved more than words can say.
* For Dave. Last night after the posting I came to him and cried to the point I could hardly breathe. He just was so comforting. His stomach was in knots last night. I am thankful for him & his love and support for me.
* For Carter's Clubhouse magazine. One article- Truth Seeker, Touch of the Master, was talking about (in reference to Adam & Eve) how God put the same amount of care, love and thought into forming each one of us. Each person is a unique work of art. I am a one-of-kind masterpiece that God made. God is the author of all life. Every life is important to Him. Just knowing that fact should cause you to value life as God does. After all, He blew the breath of life into Adam & left His fingerprints on every single person.
* Marilyn for posting the scripture reminders last night.
* A roof over my head
* Many more . . . . . .

Thank you for praying.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

I am scared!

I am scared!

Today was the dry run for the radiation which included some X rays & such. The hard mesh mask that was made during the simulation over a week ago was locked into place. It was very tight! It is so snug at my chin. Almost uncomfortable. I realize the whole point is not for me to move AT ALL - Well, that is a guarantee. I cannot even talk my mouth is so compressed. This is no fun! I am not liking the mask. If one was claustophobic it would not be for them.

I am not looking forward to the next 6 weeks. I definitely don't like my head being locked into place. If I need for them to stop the 15 minute treatment at any time I am to wave my hand. I asked them what do if I need to throw up. They simply stated for me to wave my hand.

I asked them about my right optic nerve and if it will be affected. It will receive some radiation. After doing some personal calculations, the right eye will get around 28% of the radiation that is within a safe zone. The left eye will also receive some radiation due to the nature of the IMRT machine. Pray for my vision along with a possibility of cataract issues.

Tonight at dinner I started crying. I am overwhelmed. Cole was so sweet - he said "You will be alright mommy."

Stress was heightened today by the mail order pharmacy. They confused my medication order that came last Monday. I received the Temodar & an anti nausea med. I assumed it was Zofran. (I am to take Zofran the 1st two days of treatment) At 4:30 pm today, I looked into the meds a little further to notice the anti nausea was the other one that I am to take for mild nausea later down the road. I had 30 minutes to try and resolve the problem before 5 o'clock rolled around. I ended up getting a scrip called into Walgreens for 2 tablets of Zofran at $15 per pill. UHC would not allow any further pills or a reduced rate since I have an outstanding scrip on Zofran. The Oregon based mail order company said they would resolve the issue & hopefully fed ex Zofran by tomorrow afternoon. The cost of the pills is not a big deal. Our co pay for doctors alone is $30. Oh well. Money is just not an issue in light of everything going on. I am learning to rely on God for every one of our needs. Big and small.

My first two days are to look as follows:

Wake up & take Zofran with other meds (folic acid & multi vitamin) - Wait 1 hour

Take 140 mg Temodar - Wait 1 hour

Eat a light breakfast

Arrive for radiation at 10 am (usually lasts 15 minutes)

After the 1st two days no Zofran should be needed. I will then use the other anti nasuea med for mild nausea. (whatever that means)

Please pray for Dave & I. Tonight at the dinner hour we seemed to be short fused with the boys. It saddens me to be like that. We are just under so much stress. We need patience and kindness. Continue to pray for all the possible side effects of chemo & radiation. I also need a GREAT nights sleep. I am very tired!

To make light of the whole situation - I guess you could say . . . . I am scared stiff - literally. Kate

Monday, December 25, 2006

It's a Wonderful Life

On Saturday afternoon we went to the movie theater to see, "The Nativity Story", a film about the birth of Jesus. Although the storyline deviated a little bit from the Biblical account, the cinematography and acting were outstanding. Our two older kids enjoyed it and because they are so familiar with the Biblical account, they told us the parts that were different.

On Sunday after we returned from the Rams football game we were surprised at the food and gifts brought to our house by a "secret santa". There was a lot of stuff! Coupled with gifts from ourselves and other family members, our children were abundantly blessed (spoiled rotten) this year.

We were blessed by the people that volunteered to help us buy presents and wrap them, since we did not have time to do these things ourselves. A special thanks to Kim V. and April C. Also, a very special thank you to our secret santa and her helpers. It was fun to watch the kids open each present.

Gram, Poppy, and Aunt Dee Dee came over this morning for a delicious, healthy brunch. It was probably the healthiest Christmas meal we have ever had. Also, Kate was blessed by a high school friend who dropped by and gave her 32 envelopes, each with a Scripture verse written on the outside and parking money for each day she travels down to Barnes for treatment.

God bless you all this wonderful Christmas day.

Dave & Kate

Friday, December 22, 2006

Radiation Bumped Up

My radiation therapy (RT) has been changed to the following:
Tuesday, December 26 - dry run
Wednesday December 27 - Wednesday, February 7 - 10 am RT

Please pray for the following to be minimal:
nausea - The first 2 chemo days are typically the worst!
constipation (especially during February- once chemo has settled in)
blood work to be in normal range
swelling - I prefer NO steroids (Dr's will only give steroids if symptomatic ie: headaches)
skin burns at site of RT - for aquaphor to aid in the burn
I will update you more on any more prayer requests. I am sure their will be some surprises.

Wednesdays will be my most busy day.
9 am - labs (blood work)
9:30 - Dr. Linette, oncologist
10 am - RT
10:30ish - Dr. Simpson, radiologist
Then RUN to parking attendant to get my ticket stamped! : ) Get out of Dodge - aka Siteman Cancer Center!

Merry Christmas to me! No, really I am glad to get this started. The sooner the better.


Ephraim - fruitful in suffering

An ornament was sent in the mail yesterday to Dave & I. The note attached was as follows:

A few months ago, I read Carol Kent's book Now I Lay my Isaac Down. She is a reatreat speaker & author whose ony child is in prison for life for murder. In other words, she has experienced a great deal ofsuffering. At one of her speaking engagements, she was presented with a beautiful bracelet with tiny silver squares, spelling out the name "Ephraim." Here is the explanation she was given:

In Genesis, Joseph is naming one of his sons: The second son he named Ephraim and he said, "It is because God has me me fruitful in the land of my suffering." In Hebrew, Ephraim means "double fruit." The Lord used the name Ephraim as a reminder that a person can be fruitful in suffering.
In Genesis 48 Joseph brings his two sons, Manassah & Ephraim, to his father, Jacob so he can bless them before he dies. Joseph carefully positionos his sons beside Jacob so the the firstborn, Manasseh, will be blessed above the second-born son, Ephraim. But something surprising happens: Jacob crossed his arms and deliberately puts his right hand on the younger boy's head. Why would Jacob go against tradition and bless Ephraim above Manassah, which means, "It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father's household." Maybe it's because getting over a painful past is a wonderful accomplishment, but producing fruit in the midst of pain is a miraculous event. Being fruitful in suffering, being an "Ephraim," gives glory to God --who alone can give the grace-filled capacity to face the unthinkable and be fruitful in the unimaginable.

The bold comment is my hearts desire. Pray that Dave & I will continue (with God's help) to be fruitful in the midst of the trial & give ALL glory to God in this trial. I realize the worst is to come. Treatment will be the ultimate test this coming year.

Thank you to Karen for sending the note & cherished ornament. I look forward to the reminder every Christmas as I put it on the tree. What a great note to share with the older boys today during Stuart's nap.

What does it mean to be fruitful? Kate

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Non Stop Chatter!

Oh the joy of driving home from school today. It was the last day before Christmas break. Carter & Cole talked non stop the whole way home. They were so happy! The Christmas parties were such fun not to mention the goodie bags.

I wouldn't trade my job for anything! I am so blessed to be a stay at home mom and pick them up from school every day. It is the van moments that I am most thankful for ESPECIALLY today. It brought so much joy to my heart. I am thankful for children. Even little Stuart was piping in on the conversation. He was happy!

Christmas break for our family will look as follows:
Tonight is our Jesus Birthday Party. It is a tradition of getting together with 2 other families and celebrating Christ's birth. The cake is made special to represent all the aspects of His birth. Even the candles placed on the cake have a meaning. We end with singing "Silent Night" with all lights out except for the candles on the cake.

On Christmas Eve (Sunday)- Cole won 2 Rams football tickets through the library reading program. TODAY Dave won 2 more tickets from work. We will take the older boys to the game. Little Stu will stay at home to nap. The game starts at noon. The most exciting part is that this is Cole's first football game he has ever attended. Great memories!

Also on Christmas Eve we will go to the evening service at church.

Christmas Day brunch will be at our home with extended family.
Have a great Christmas holiday! I will try to update as much as I can with all 3 boys at home.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

One Big Hairy Ordeal

I have been thinking about posting this for a couple of days now.

I believe cancer is just one big hairy ordeal after another. Patients have to be concerned about losing hair in various parts of their body. I for one have been so focused on my thoughts in the shower that I have not shaven my legs in quite some time. It was close to a 1/2 inch. Gross! I wouldn't dare go out in the summer months with it like that. I also had to be concerned for some time about losing all of my hair. I have to say now, it is the least of my worries. I could be bald for 1 year & that would be fine. After taking the I Peter Bible Study this past fall, I was able to grasp that as women we are concerned about our outer beauty (mind you it has it's place), that it is the "hidden person of the heart", which centered on Christ, has the imperishable beauty.

The doctors say - I will ONLY lose hair in a small section above my right eye (the location of the tumor cavity). I probably will not have any eyebrow hair loss. The test will be when the hair on my head grows back what color and texture it will be. I am just going to continue to wear the 4+ inch headbands that tie in the back. Hey someone asked me if I was a college student. I was so "in" I guess. I will need to find some more fabric to expand my headband wardrobe.
My hair adventure awaits!

Today was a good day.


When I sit or rise HE is there!

O Lord, you have searched me
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my
lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O Lord.
Psalm 139: 1- 4
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in you book
before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139: 13 -16
At 5:30 this morning I woke up before the 6:15 alarm went off. As I was laying in bed these verses came to mind. I was astounded to have these come to mind. More specifically, I was thrilled to know that "when I sit or rise HE is there". When I am asleep He is watching over me.
What comfort!
Even as my thoughts sometimes overcome me. He perceives them from afar. Ps 139:2b
Have a good day! Kate

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Today's Visit with Dr. L

Today at 9:00 was my labs. Afterwards we journeyed to see Dr. Linette. The visit was quite productive. As you can see from the previous blog, Dave is doing some in depth research on cancer, not just on nutrition but on many medical journals, Temodar information, and all the other stuff that goes along with this journey. We are becoming well versed in the little "c". Someone last week at Siteman even asked him if he was a scientist. Dave likes to say he is getting his PhD in nutrition through the school of hard knocks. Amen to that! JoAnn, Dr. Linette's nurse, did say that we are one of the few that come in with LOTS of questions & a binder of information. She said it is quite rare for anyone to pursue this like we are. Poor Dr. Linette, he will have to schedule more time for my appointments. He has a live wire on his hands! He will get to know me before this is all over. I am already looking forward to getting to know him. His wife is a scientist. How interesting!

OK - This is what was discussed at the appointment. In regards to the chemo and radiation concurrently:

1. He stated that if it works for the most aggressive tumor there is reason to believe it will work for mine. No promises though. Cancer is so complex and unique to EACH patient.

2. We also asked, after researching the Temodar website, about being able to do a starting/step-up dose with my chemo treatment after the radiation treatment. He said that the 280 mg. is the step-up dose for my first month of a 5 day dosage. The next month (5 day dose) will increase to 360 mg. and continue for a whole year. At first I was disappointed. Dr. Linette explained further . . . that if my body does not tolerate the higher dosage that we will work to find a lesser dose that is tolerable. At that point my mind was thinking OK . . . "do I pray for terrible side effects or do I not?" Of course, I will pray for hardly any or NO side effects from the higher dosage. It is the blood count that they will be most worried about. More specifically - myelosuppression ie: bone marrow concerns. I say "Me too!"

It is known that towards the end of the 6 week radiation/chemo treatment that constipation could occur. It is most prevalent in the 5 day dosage after radiation due to higher chemo intake. Yes, I guess you will need to pray for my bowels. A little humbling for me. (Yes, you can laugh) God even cares about my bowels. - Lovely!

3. Yes, Dr. Linette said that we will discontinue after a year if all looks well. I told him "You are wonderful". I had assumed he would want to go as long as 2 years. It is dependent on the MRI's. He stated that some patients want to continue for the rest of their lives. I confirmed with him that I will NOT be one of THOSE patients (due to increased risk of leukemia in the years to come). I guess those patients use it as a pacifier. If all looks good why rock the boat? The way I look at it - Cancer has already rocked my boat. At one point I thought it might tip over with my emotions. I also BELIEVE in the flax oil nutrition. It will continue to be a life change for me along with the family. It can only help with the conventional treatment.

4. MRI was discussed. Looks good. A little shadow effect but, that is probably scar tissue from the surgery. The cavity was nice. I guess you could say I take great pictures inside and out. : ) Got to find some humor in all of this today! My brain is beautiful!

5. A praise- Dr. Linette is very kind, gentle & really thinks prior to speaking (unlike his patient). He is showing wisdom. Quite scholarly. I am glad he is over my care at this time. I myself am already on the 5th question while he is still processing the 1st question.

We are still slated to do a dry run on December 29. We will officially start the toxin/Temodar and radiation on January 2. I will have doctors appointments on every other Tuesday with Dr. Linette and every Wednesday with Dr. Simpson to discuss treatment and to follow my body's response. I will also have blood drawn every other week. I asked the parking people if they give parking passes. They thought I was quite odd. I just thought if I am going to be down at Barnes that often I might as well have a parking pass if the price is right. My philosophy about Barnes Hospital - they do not encourage visitors if they charge for the parking. By the time someone parks their car, walks the bridge above the street, finds a elevator, finds the room they are supposed to be in, gets treatment or visits someone in the hospital - the hour has passed. I am frugal. After MY appointments I run the over the bridge to get to the parking people so my time doesn't lapse any more. Yes, I run without knocking someone over. I am sure it is a sight to see. I think people think I am just late to an important event. (They are right- the parking people are my important event for the day) Some of the offices do validate for half. Some give you a 2 hour pass. I need 5 hours with all the stuff they want to do. My life is down at Barnes all of January and 2 weeks into February. On a side note: I sometimes try to get a deal with the parking people. I like a good deal you know - I shop at Goodwill in my freetime & I love eBay. Sometime ask me how I swindle for a good deal. My home is filled with good deals.

That is all I have for now! Today was a good day!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Does Cancer Feed Off Sugar?

A few weeks ago I started doing research to determine if nutrition was important in the cancer treatment process. Of the three oncologist's we've met, the first one said that it didn't matter what you ate, the second one said that he wasn't trained in nutrition (honest answer) but that it couldn't hurt, and the final one said that no particular diet was "clinically proven" to help. In relation to nutrition "clinically proven" doesn't mean a whole lot because clinical studies are very expensive to administer and are almost always funded by pharmaceutical companies.

While reviewing several cancer-related nutritional sites on the Internet I continued to read that cancer patients should not have sugar because cancer feeds off of sugar. There was no rationale given so I was very curious to know why this was (if it was indeed true). This led to me to conduct more research.

What I found was that back in the 1930's a German biochemist by the name of Dr. Otto Warburg, a cancer researcher, made a couple of discoveries that won him two Nobel Prizes. First, he discovered that the primary cause of cancer was inadequate cell respiration (not enough oxygen in the cells). Through experimentation he determined that cancer can't survive in oxygen-rich cells, it prefers a low oxygen environment. Second, he discovered that cancer thrives on glucose (sugar) fermentation in the body. Hence the saying, "cancer thrives on sugar".

[There are different types of sugar; glucose, fructose, sucrose, etc. Not all sugar is bad for cancer patients, natural sugars found in fruit (fructose) are good for you. Ordinary table sugar (sucrose), comprised of both glucose and fructose, should be avoided.]

After this discovery, the next big question was, what causes cells to not get enough oxygen? Dr. Warburg believed it had to do with certain fatty acids in the body which affected cell structure. He was not able to crack the code but several years later another German biochemist by the name of Dr. Johanna Budwig; who was also a physicist, pharmacologist, and a medical doctor, also believed that fatty acids were the key to adequate cell respiration. She developed techniques to be able to differentiate the different types of fatty acids. Through her research, she determined that particular fatty acids (Omega-6) in a person's diet, especially those that are commercially processed, over time strip human cells of electrons that are vital to cellular health and respiration. Examples of foods that are high in Omega-6 include corn oil, peanut oil, beef, pork, chicken, dairy, etc.

She determined that another group of fatty acids (Omega-3) were rich in electrons, promoted cell respiration, and were essential to human health. Examples of foods that are high in Omega-3 include flaxseed, flax oil, salmon (wild caught, not farm-raised), tunafish (not canned), mackerel, sardines, walnuts, among others. Dr. Budwig also determined that the average German diet (similar to Americans) was very high in Omega-6 and low in Omega-3, mostly due to commercially processed oils and foods.

[As a side note, I've found quoted several times that the average American diet has a dietary intake ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 between 20:1 to 50:1. The ratio should be no higher than 5:1, ideally 1:1. With the low amount of Omega-3 that most Americans consume coupled with high sugar intake, it's no wonder that our cancer rates are so high. Our second oncologist said that 1 out of every 2 American men and 1 out of every 3 American women will get some type of cancer.]

The richest plant-based source of Omega-3 was found in Flaxseed Oil. However, Dr. Budwig determined that in order to make the oil water-soluble in the human body (and easily digestable) that it needed to bind with a sulfurated protein, like cottage cheese or yogurt.

Next, Dr. Budwig began working with terminally ill cancer patients who were told to "go home and die". She reversed their diets to be high in Omega-3 and low in Omega-6 by incorporating the flax oil and cottage cheese mixture among other healthy foods. Within weeks her patients were feeling much better and within months their tumors were shrinking. Eventually, their tumors altogether disappeared.

News spread of her discovery (and success) and many of the terminally ill flocked to her for treatment. At some point an effort was underway to discredit her work and she was the subject of several lawsuits (I believe these were brought by the commercial cooking oil producers and pharmaceutical companies). Ultimately, she won all of the suits that were brought against her because her research was sound and could not be disproved. However, I'm sure it hurt "public image". She was nominated seven times for the Nobel Prize but never won.

More info about Dr. Budwig can be found here:

I was so intrigued by this that I wondered if any recent research had been done on the subject of flaxseed oil and cancer. I went to the National Institutes of Health website ( and did keyword searches through PubMed, which has access to all of the scientific and medical research journals. What I found next was absolutely incredible. Over the past 5+ years, researchers in the United States and Canada have been conducting research on animals, inducing cancer and feeding them various diets. For instance, one study took 30 mice, injected them with breast cancer and allowed the tumors to develop. Then, they took 10 mice and fed them a typical Western diet high in corn oil, another 10 mice were fed a diet high in flaxseed oil, and the other 10 were fed something else (not relevant to my story). After continuing these diets for 60-90 days, the mice were euthanized and dissected to determine what happened to their tumors. In the corn-oil fed mice their tumors stayed about the same or got worse. In the flaxseed-oil fed mice their tumors shrunk 75%. Needless to say, I found this to be most interesting.

There were many other similar studies for various forms of cancer (breast, colon, prostate) as well as studies for arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), arthritis, cholestorol, etc. In all of the studies I read, the animals fed the flaxseed diet always improved significantly or were cured.

After reading all of this, I decided there was an awful lot of evidence pointing to significant health benefits of incorporating more Omega-3 fats into our diets. So, I started Kate (and the family) on a diet that does just that.

From my research, Barleans is the best brand of flaxseed oil (flax oil) and can be purchased at Whole Foods, Wild Oats, local nutrition stores, or online ( It is found in the refrigerated section. I think the website also has a store locator. Flaxseed oil is very sensitive to heat and light so it must be refrigerated.

The correct proportion is 1 to 1.5 Tablespoons of Flax Oil to 1/4 cup of organic low-fat cottage cheese or yogurt. These ingredients must be thoroughly mixed in a mixer/blender before anything else is added, you may need to add a little water or milk to help it mix up properly.

There are many things you can do with this initial mixture. For instance, if you like smoothies, you can add berries, juice (100% pure, not from concentrate), honey, etc and mix it up. You should also add ground flaxseed which is recommended due to its high lignan content (not found in the filtered oil) which has anti-cancer properties. Flaxseed can be purchased at similar health food stores (or Dierbergs) and ground in a hand-held coffee grinder (small electric one works best). Only grind what you are going to use because it spoils quickly. Also, store the whole flaxseeds in the freezer.

The recommended daily "maintenance" dose for a otherwise healthy person is 1 Tablespoon of Flax Oil per 100 pounds of body weight.

A few of Dr. Budwig's books have been translated into English and include:

1. "Flaxoil as a True Aid Against Arthritis, Heart Infraction, Cancer, and Other Diseases" - this book is a series of lectures that she gave and explains some of her research

2. "Cancer - The Problem and the Solution" - another book that explains her research

3. "The Oil Protein Diet Cookbook" - recipes using flaxseed oil

Here are some other books on the benefits of flax including "healthy" cookbooks that incorporate flaxseed or other foods high in Omega-3:

4. "The Healing Power of Flax" by Herb Joiner-Bey

5. "The Flax Cookbook" by Elaine Magee

6. "The Amazing Flax Cookbook" by Jane Reinhardt-Martin

7. "The Omega Diet" by Artemis Simopoulos

I realize that I am giving you a lot of information here, but I thought it was so significant that it was worth sharing. Also, after incorporating this into my diet over the past 3 weeks I feel much improved, especially considering the stress that my body is under.

Kate is going to proceed with conventional treatment in addition to the modified diet, combined it's considered an integrative approach. Let's pray they work together to knock-out the cancer.

Saying Bye-Bye to Bon-Bon's,


Sharing a Letter

Today on my personal email I received a lovely letter from a woman I hardly know. Her letter blessed my heart. She has gone through a unique struggle of her own this past year. She so eloquently put into words that I cannot seem to say. I hope the portions of her letter bless you as well and prompt you to pray.

The Lord calls us to different trials, but I believe each one prepares us to
1. comfort with the comfort we have received (2 Cor 1:4),
2. rely not on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead (2 Cor 1:9)
3. to be the broken vessels that reveal the "all surpassing power [that] is from God and not from us" (2 Cor 4:7). (I am truly broken)

As you struggle not just with the knowledge of your cancer but also the effects of treatment, I pray that you will know in deep and rich ways the presence of God Almighty, his power, and his sustaining grace. May you know God’s very rich blessings as you walk this road. May Dave also know the power, presence, and sustaining grace of the Lord as he walks with you. May his hand of blessing be upon your family. And may his name be exalted in all that lies ahead. You are not alone.

Kate's closing thoughts :
My prayer for this trial – even though I’ve walked with the Lord for a long time, that I will experience God’s presence, power, and sustaining grace in new and very deep ways this year.

Tomorrow at 9:00 (Tuesday) another appointment with Dr. Linette. Pray for more questions to be answered. I also have labs to be done. Pray also that the dr. will share my MRI information with Dave & I. Realizing the purpose of the MRI wasn't to see if any growth had occured. It was more for helping the radiation procedure. I just would like to know.


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Today's Thankfulness

As I awake every morning I try to find all my blessings for that day.

What I am thankful for TODAY
* The breath of life
* Dave, who is researching, coming to my doctors appointments, loving a lot, caring for our boys, tending to my emotions, and tackling laundry & dishes, all while working a full time job.
* The family is healthy - no flu, no cold, no strep throat, no illness
* 3 boys - who bring immeasurable joy! Priceless!
* Cole, sang When I am afraid I will trust in Him on OUR special walk yesterday.
* Carter & Cole reading to Stuart
* I am no longer on any meds except a multivitamin & folic acid (taking flax oil 3x daily)
* No chemo/radiation till after the holidays
* For my CCS friend, Kim who was so kind to Christmas shop for the boys
* For another friend, Amy that shopped for the stocking stuffers
* Food to eat- ESPECIALLY all the meals being made for our family every other day
* Laughter & sock tag
* For the geese flying outside the kitchen window this morning while doing dishes
* Stuart, saying "I hold mommy" - ie: mommy please hold me and hug me
* Great Grandpa, willing to live in Columbia, MO - away from his comforts of home - while mom serves us for a time.
* Carter - reading jokes from the skunk "stinky joke book". A great library find!
* That I am a treasure to God
* Extended family helping in various ways
* Friends going above the call to serve
* Stuart's busted lip last night- 1. it did not require stitches 2. confirmed - no Christmas cards this year - A busted lip in a cute red smocked john john isn't what I had in mind.
I know I have much more to be thankful for. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Divine Testing

I wanted to share with you one of my devotional readings this week. The Scripture passage is Genesis 22:1-19, where God tested Abraham's faith by asking him to sacrifice his son, Issac, the promised child that Abraham had waited over 25 years to have. Just before he killed his son, God sent an angel to tell Abraham to stop, that his faith was confirmed. God then provided a substitute to be sacrificed, a ram. As you probably know, this passage foreshadows the substitute sacrifice that God would send for His people, His own son Jesus.

Here is part of the commentary in the devotional:

"Consider what it means for God to test His people. We would be straying from God's Word if we said He is ignorant of our response to His testing beforehand, for He knows what the outcome will be in advance (Isa. 46:8-11) . Instead, Scripture teaches that the Lord puts us through trials so that we might see the stuff of which we are made. Divine testing can create, renew, or strengthen our humility (Deut. 8:16). God disciplines us through trials that we might yield "the peaceful fruit of righteousness" (Heb. 12:5-11). When we pass heaven-sent tests we realize the strength of our faith and find a greater assurance of our salvation and the Lord's faithfulness.

Still it is not easy to endure such testing. This is no less true for the greatest heroes of the faith....Faith comes quickly when the Lord calls us to do easy things. But it is much harder to trust Him when He asks us to do difficult tasks." (like endure brain cancer)

Please pray that our family would pass the test that God has put before us, and do so by exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control).

For His Glory,


Friday, December 15, 2006

Psalm 121

After I posted the "Fear of Side Effects", I went to pick up Carter & Cole at school. I was extremely late cuz I couldn't find my purse anywhere in the house. My keys were gone as well. Both items ended up being in the basement. (Not a place I have ever put them) Even in the driving rush of picking the boys Psalm 121 came to mind. It was a comfort. Enjoy & take in every word.

I lift up my eyes to the hills--
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip--
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you -- (Kate)
The Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm --
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Fear of Side Effects

This afternoon I am having a rough time emotionally. I am really fearful of the side effects of the oral chemo, Temador. I have discussed in depth my concerns to a recent Barnes brain tumor patient who was on the same protocol as mine. She stated that her main side effect (during the 5 day dose after XRT) was severe constipation and VERY tired. I am most worried about long term effects on my body internally. I am not second guessing our decision. I have never been one to take many drugs. I also know I would regret it if I did not do some type of conventional method.

Dave was in contact with Dr. Yung on Thursday. Dr. Yung stated that it is OK to do a more aggressive approach. That was good to hear. Praise God that we actually were able to have some contact with him. I also know that 380 mg of Temador per Dr. Yung's advice would probably have worse side effects. With Dr. Linette it is 140 mg with radiation & 280 mg after the radiation. I think in the long run they balance each other out.

Dave & I do not think that Houston was a wasted trip. It was good to have some more insight on this tumor & to also know that we sought out all our options. It was also good to spend some alone time together.

Pray feverently about the side effects of chemo & my emotions. I hate having to make any decisions regarding cancer. It really sucks! I am willing though, to feel like trash if it means that my life will be extended for my boys.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

OK ok! Pray as you wish!

Ok ok . . . . pray as you wish. I am just a planner-administrator by heart. I was just trying to put some organization in all of this stuff that is going on. I laugh at all the comments on confusion and if a person is an odd or even day. My point was that I really need the body of Christ to pray whenever & however. I know that it is prayer that is keeping Dave & I going. God is in control.

Today at 1:30 the simulation went smoothly. Quite interesting having a mesh plastic mold put on my face. I was also able to see the type of machine that they will be using. They did say I can bring in my own CD's to listen to during the whole procedure which takes only 15 minutes. The actual radiation / chemo will start on Tuesday, January 2. It takes a good 10 days to prepare for the radiation after a simulation. I have an appointment on the 29th of December as a "dry run" so they can place the beams & markers accurately. Dr. Simpson could move it up if he gets to my case sooner.

I also had an MRI today at 3:30. I am slowly getting used to the racket noise of the tubular machine. I was laughing, but trying not to move my head when a song came on by the muppets singing the 12 days of Christmas. Miss Piggy's part was the 5 golden rings. I contend with her on that one. Although, I will have some golden rings on my heavenly crown. I finally came home around 6 pm. It has been a long day with no nap. The bed is looking good to me. No more couch like last night. I was just so exhausted and did not have the energy to walk upstairs to bed.

Our house is quite a busy one. Last night all the boys including Stuart played sock war on the stairs. This is a little different than sock tag. Dave was at the bottom throwing the socks up the stairs while the boys were up top throwing them down. Stuart would then slide down on his tummy to retrieve the unattended socks (ammo) and carry them up the stairs for Carter & Cole. I have to say that being upstairs is better than on the landing. Dave had to run for cover a few times. Laughter was good! Carter is proud of his pelting ability. Cole had some great hits as well. Stuart would throw as many as 6 pairs of socks at a time.

I want to end by saying how thankful I am for my mom (Gram) who is so willing to set aside "her" time to serve. I really don't know how we would be able to do it without her. She has really stepped up to the plate. I am sure she is weary at times trying to keep up with our routines, laundry, breakfast, school lunches, meals, clean up, etc. I hope she is getting used to sleeping on a twin bed in Carter's baseball decor' room. In the years to come I want to be as unselfish as her when my boys & grandchildren need me.

Aunt Dee Dee is so willing to serve as well. She pops in unannounced to serve me chocolate that has not a trace of sugar. That day was the 1st time I was actually craving sugar since surgery. She is loving me and the boys in a very special way. Carter & Cole are doing much better in spelling when she is around. She is gifted with children & writing.

Pray as you wish - odd or even days, it doesn't matter. Just pray! Much love - Kate

Treatment Decision Made

This morning at 7:30 am, Dave & I decided to go ahead with the treatment plan from Barnes. There were many factors in this decision making. I am just glad to have a decision made.

Pray for all the side effects to be minimal. We will update you further with the specifics.

I was going to tell the families reading this blog whose last name is A - M to pray on even days and the N - Z to pray on the odd days. Prayer is THE MOST IMPORTANT aspect of going through this treatment. I really need all of you more than ever. If you can, pray without ceasing. Put it on your calendar, mirror, refrigerator, etc.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. . . .
Psalm 118: 1 & 6


Crunch Time

It is crunch time for a decision to be made in regards to treatment. It is known that if a cancer patient is to do conventional treatment after surgery they are to do it within 6 weeks post op. That would put me at this coming Tuesday the 19th.

I am struggling with the fact that if we are to follow Dr. Yung's treatment should we seek another oncologist & radiologist in the area that would follow out his advice of radiation alone then oral chemo (Temador). There are other treatment centers that offer the IMRT. I am weary of seeing MORE doctors. I also am unsure if seeing more doctors is what I should do. I would love to do a less invasive treatment plan of radiation (XRT) alone than with chemo. Although my cancer might need the "big guns"- XRT & chemo. The side effects of chemo are 1. fatigue 2. constipation 3. low blood count (specifically my bone marrow will be effected which in turn results in increased infection and possibly luekemia). The possible side effects of XRT are bad enough. Of course, I think cancer is B-A-D.

On a side note the dosage for chemo with Dr. Yung's plan is 380mg (which is quite large) after the XRT. The dosage for Dr. Linette is lower (140mg) during the XRT and (280mg) after. I am not sure what is better.

I am struggling with the fact that if the Barnes Tumor Board discussed my case last Monday eve, then a group of physicians cannot be a bad thing. I hold to the fact that "In a multitude of counselors is wisdom". I guess you could say that for 3rd & 4th opinions as well. I would hate to drop the Barnes physicians like a sack of potatoes. They are known to be great physicians in the midwest. I also wonder if Simpson & Linette are worried about liability. In short there is NO STANDARD treatment plan for my type of cancer.

I have a simulation scheduled for today at 1:30 with the office of Dr. Simpson at Barnes. I would love to have a decision made prior to noon today. I may make some MORE phone calls to see if any oncologist would be able to see me PRONTO (today or Friday). Pray also that a contact can be made to Dr. Yung in Houston today. He is only in the MD Anderson clinic on Tuesdays so that will be difficult to get a response. Not too difficult for God. He will go before me as He has been doing. I would love to discuss with Dr. Yung his deep reasoning for doing the XRT alone. He might be a doctor that needs concrete evidence to do the XRT/chemo treatment.

Yes, I am up at the wee hours of the morning typing this update. I fell asleep on the couch last night and woke up at 12:45 am.

Continue to pray for phone calls, clarity, peace, direction, WISDOM! Too many decisions- This is almost worse than the surgery itself. While you are approaching the throne, please pray for the Morris family, friends of mine who are in a difficult time. One of their twins, Meagan died at 8 days old. The funeral was yesterday. My heart aches for them in their loss.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Answered Prayer?

This afternoon we met with Dr. Simpson, the radiation oncologist at Siteman Cancer Center (Barnes). He said the "tumor board" met last evening and decided the only course of treatment they are going to follow is the simultaneous administration of radiation and chemo (Temodar) for 6 weeks followed by an increased (double) dose of chemo taken for the first 5 days of a 28 day cycle for a year or two. He (they) did not agree to follow Dr. Yung's (MD Anderson) treatment plan of just radiation followed by chemo. According to them the chemo and radiation will work synergistically and be more effective.

The radiation method they would be using is called Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), which is the most state-of-the-art technology for treating brain tumors. It focuses radiation on the tumor bed and the nearby area (margin) using different concentrations of radiation for different aspects of the treatment field.

Probable short-term side effects of radiation include localized temporary hair loss and fatigue. Possible but rare long-term side effects (as stated on the consent form) include brain damage, developing another brain tumor, deafness, blindness, spinal cord injury, decreased pituitary gland function, scar tissue, permanent hair loss, discoloration of skin, and sun sensitivity.

So basically our choices are:

1. Follow the treatment protocol at Barnes. (Barnes has the only appropriate radiation equipment in the area for this type of treatment)

2. Travel to Houston for treatment at MD Anderson, which would mean Kate would live in Houston for 6-8 weeks straight since she would be receiving treatment Monday-Friday. This option seems undesirable from a family perspective and for Kate's support and well-being.

3. Take a completely different (alternative) treatment approach.

We believe it was a good thing to have our case brought before the tumor board for consideration. Could the tumor board's strong stance mean that the Lord is leading us to follow option #1? We aren't exactly sure but we definitely want everyone reading our blog to be praying that we would have clarity and peace about whatever decision we make. We would like to have a firm decision by the end of the week.

On a positive note, Dr. Simpson gave us another bit of information about Benny (Kate's tumor). He said the MRI completed before surgery, using contrast enhancement, showed it did not enhance. This is a good thing and means the tumor did not show signs of branching out into surrounding brain tissue. This has a positive effect on Kate's prognosis, giving her 10+ years (median survival).

As you can imagine, we are growing tired of doctor visits and competing medical opinions, we just want to make a decision and move forward.

Thank you for your many prayers on our behalf and your notes of encouragement on our blog. It really helps to know there are so many who are coming alongside to bear our burdens.

Kate & Dave

Monday, December 11, 2006

Doctor's Disagree: This is why they call it a 2nd opinion.

As of 3:30 today, Dr. Linette's nurse (JoAnn) stated that Dr. Linette does not agree with Dr. Yung's (Houston) treatment plan of radiation alone then oral chem (Temador) later. Dr. Linette is still sticking by the original treatment plan of simutaneous radiation & oral chemo then more chemo to follow. The chemo dosage is also in contention between the two doctors.

Tonight, the hospital tumor board will present my case. Ultimately, however, the patient makes the final decision concerning their own treatment.

We need wisdom more than ever. We are leaning towards Dr. Yung's treatment since he is the specialist.

Dr. Simpson, the radiation oncologist, will also be attending the meeting tonight. At our consultation tomorrow, he will advise us of what the board is discussing tonight.

Whew! Lots of information to digest!

Radiation Oncologist Visit Tomorrow

Tomorrow (Tuesday) at 1 pm is our consultation with Dr. Simpson the radiation oncologist at the Siteman Cancer Center (Barnes-Wash U). Pray for all the details regarding this consultation.

1. Wisdom & organization for Dave & I in regards to the questions to ask
2. Discernment & wisdom for Dr. Simpson
3. Clear direction for us as we possibly embark on this treatment protocol

After the consultation we are required to see him once more, then the radiation treatment should begin prior to Christmas. We should know more after tomorrow.

Keeping you posted. Thanks for lifting us up - Kate

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Treatment Options - Wisdom Needed

As we consider the benefits and risks of different treatment options, please pray that the Lord would give us wisdom to decide the best course of action. This is weighing heavily on our hearts at this time.

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him" James 1:5

Dave & Kate

Friday, December 08, 2006

Houston Date Nights

One night during dinner, Dave & I talked about how God might be using this time to prepare us for a future trial to come. Knowing full well there will be MORE! Guarantee!

We know that ....
#1 Our marriage is withstanding a very difficult trial. It has actually strengthened our commitment.
#2 Not knowing our future, helps us to continue to capture the everyday moments as a blessing in our family. Even taking a breath. I have always loved being at home with the boys. Today though it is even more evident of that love.
#3 Prayer is more vital & real than ever before.
#4 Happiness is NOT the same as joy.
#5 Being thankful for the time we have had together as a couple & family. Also thankful that God has allowed to show me (Kate) that my time is limited. I truly never have dwelled on my demise. We all die at some time, yet I just thought "OK". As stated in a prior blog, I am not worried or fearful of death for I am confirmed in knowing I will be in heaven. It is leaving the boys here that I do NOT like. I know that life on earth is temporary.

I am all too comfortable here on earth. I love my life. I love my sons. I love my husband. I love it all. I love my friends. I love to socialize. I love to plan an event. I love to talk. : ) (all the bloggers laugh and say that is so right about the talking part)

thankful for dates with my spouse, lover, friend - kate

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise

I am reminded of the TV show with Gomer Pyle (not sure if I spelled his name correctly). It was a military type show. Gomer would say "Surprise, surprise, surprise". I laughed when I thought about it today and how I truly was surprised to see such a beautiful master bedroom.

The neatest part about the redecorating is that my friend Emily just told people what she wanted to do and everyone was SO giving. Wow! Even Strothkamp Paints on Manchester Road donated the Benjamin Moore paint for the makeover. For the record, I paint alot in the home. I have been known to paint a hallway 4 times in less than 3 years until I truly have settled on a color that I like. I also paint a big swatch on the wall and leave it there for over 6 months till I muster up the energy to paint the whole room. In the beginning of this trial I joked with Dave and some others that I should call the tumor "Benny" because I like to paint so much. Dave reminded me that if brain tumors come from painting most professional painters would have cancer. Thanks Dave. I just thought it was funny!

It was cute to see Dave's expression with all the home projects. Did I mention he is a patient man. He has lived with me long enough to withstand all the half done painting projects along with all my other oddities. I only finish the painting when I know I will have guests over. I am usually up till midnight painting and then wake up at 4 am to finish. Crazy I know. Who knows how long I have had this tumor?

I can't say thank you enough to the many people who came together to serve us while we were in Texas. It has been so neat to see the love of all the people in the area. Your compassion has been a blessing in my heart personally.

Take Care Benny - kate
(note: Pieces of Benny are at St. Johns & Texas) He is a multi tasker like me!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Extreme Makeover

Kate and I had a pleasant trip back to St. Louis this afternoon, until we arrived and stepped out into the 21 degree weather with 15 mph wind. Yikes! I think we should have stayed in Houston a few more days.

On the flight back, Kate overheard a couple in front of us talking with the flight attendant about the man's brain tumor and their recent visit to MD Anderson. Kate took the liberty to introduce herself to this couple and encourage them on their journey. I don't exactly know all of the details but I believe his tumor is inoperable and he will be undergoing chemo and radiation therapy soon. The couple resides in southeast Missouri. Presently, he can't use his legs and is confined to a wheelchair (due to the tumor). Please pray for this couple.

Just when we thought how blessed we were to have such wonderful people supporting us on our trip to Houston, lo and behold a surprise was waiting for us when we returned home. Our master bedroom was painted and completely redecorated. Our upstairs hallway and the boys bathroom was freshly painted. The boys bunk beds were put together. Finally, gas logs were installed in our downstairs fireplace. THIS WAS A HUGE BLESSING! We have procrastinated for years about doing most of these things. I told Kate that she should have had a brain tumor sooner (just kidding, of course).

We a very grateful for the many people that invested their time and money into this endeavor. A special thanks to Em and Big G, Jimmy & Patty, Larry, our church family at ChesPres, and many others involved. Also, thanks to Gram and Aunt Dee Dee for welcoming these people into our home and keeping little Stu out of trouble while they were here.

We continue to be overwhelmed by God's grace working through his people.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Radiation - Hair III

At our Tuesday appointment, Dr. Yung explained in more detail about the radiation process and hair loss.

The radiation I will be given is "focal" with a margin of 2cm around where the tumor was taken out. A patient usually only loses hair in the location of the radiation. Not ALL over. Sometimes it is permanent. They cannot tell when it will be a temporary or permanent hair loss.

I truly had mixed emotions with this news. I was actually willing to be bald. Sounds WACKY, I know. I was looking foward to seeing what color and texture my hair was going to be after all the treatment. I was hoping for more curls. It was some excitement for me in all this cancer junk.

Looking back, I really believe that going bald was a test of my trust. Specifically my trust in God. It reminds me of Abraham & how God wanted to see if he would trust Him with his own son, Isaac. (Genesis 22)

Now I need to adjust my hair plans AGAIN. Having cancer - is a real test. A test of my trust, will, etc. aka: MY plans!

On this coming Tuesday the 12th we will finalize all the hair questions with the radiation oncologist, Dr. Simpson at Barnes /Siteman Cancer Center. Please pray that the loss will not be permanent and the regrowth will be identical to my existing hair. No odd curls & color just at the tumor site. Agghhhh!

Radiation will begin sometime prior to Christmas lasting 6 weeks M - F. We will know more details after our consultation with Dr. Simpson.

hair or no hair, that is the question - kate

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Plant a Geranium in your Cranium

Please be patient with me as I am trying to compile my thoughts throughout this whole trial. A dear lady in my Bible Study group sent a book, Plant A Geranium in your Cranium by Barabara Johnson. I am thankful I had it with me during my stay here in good Ole' Houston. (say with a Texan twang')

This book does a great job at expressing my thoughts and feelings. Barbara Johnson has a witty sense of humor, loves Jesus and has also gone through brain cancer along with many other personal trials. It is so good to read in the quietness of the hotel room. I wouldn't be able to read like this at home with all the activity & household demands.

Thoughts / Comments from the book that have stood out to me: (modified)

* God loves to decorate. Let Him live long enough in a heart, and that heart will begin to change. God can no more leave a life unchanged than a mother can leave her child's tear untouched.

* I know God will bring me out the other side better than when I started.

* As all parents know, it's much harder to deal with adversities affecting our children than it is to face something that hurts us. Let one of my loved ones suffer, and I'm beside myself with concern. And although it wasn't the easiest thing in the world to have Dr. Forget tell me that I had cancer, I never felt a moment of fear. Shock, yes. Sorrow, maybe. Fear, no. I know without a doubt, I am in the Lord's hands.

* Admittedly, cancer can be a terrifying word. It evokes images of no turning back, of having no control over your body and your life . . . not finishing the big game the way you wanted to. Hearing you have cancer can be one of the toughest challenges you will ever face.

* It's down in life's valleys that we grow, because that's where the fertilzer is. (God is fertilizing my heart.)

* Most people step up to the plate & endure these difficulties. . . . . It isn't the end of your life, unless you choose to stop living it!

* Don't let despair take over. Let the news of cancer be a catalyst that leads you to reevalutate yourself and your relationship with others.

* No more of asking "Why me?" I am now asking "What can I learn from this experience?"

* Laughter is the best medicine even if my health plan does not cover it. : )

* An excerpt from A Bend in the Road written by David Jeremiah - "Crises never leave us the same as they found us. Those of us who love and trust God through the worst time - those of us who are receptive to what He might be trying to teach us - find that our hearts have changed by the time the stillness replaces the storminess." (I know my heart is already in the process.)

* The Lord gives us no more than He gives us the strength to bear.
Sometimes, though, I wish He didn't have so much confidence in ME! (I really relate.)

* Cultivating Joy - When you deliberately cutivate a joyful outlook, it soon blossoms into an outward sign of your God-inspired character. You feel yourself filling up with the deep, fulfilling kind of joy Paul described as " the fruit of the Spirit" in Galatians 5:22. it's the kind of joy that begs to be shared. Surely that's why Jesus, as He comanded His disciple to "love each other as I have loved you," explained to them, "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete." There it is in living proof: The joy of Jesus has already been planted in us. It's already there! And, believe me, Jesus' joy isn't a superficial or mindless thing. Instead, as one clergyman wrote, this kind of joy "is often sober, quiet and deep. it is not easily dislodged by passing moods or the ebb & flow of events. {It} conveys a sense of being firmly rooted in spite of - or even because of - the . . . difficult things that are woven into the fabric of our lives. Because joy is the work of the Spirit in us, it grounds us in the confidence, courage and consciouness of the risen Christ."

* Jesus' joy is in me - Sometimes it just has to be fertilized and cultivated to get it to grow. And what blessings it brings when it sprouts!

* Help me to find God's hope and goodness in the depths of my cancer.

* Can anything good come from cancer? - YES! Seeing God's provision, unexpected blessings, His nearness in my illness, seeing the many "gifts" through people serving me & my family, etc.

* If we only focus on the stinky stuff, it's easy to believe we're stuck in the manure pit. But if we put our difficulties in perspective, mixing together the hardships with all the blessings in our lives, we realize we're living in a garden of beautiful perfumed flowers -- well-fertilized ones!

* Maybe the HOT furnace of my pain is the only place others will really see Jesus . . .

I pray and hope you have been able to see into my heart a little more clearly as I shared these excerpts from the book. Note: this is still a process for me. I still get frustrated, irritated, rude, etc. I am a total work. I am trying to see others trials unique to them and not put mine on a pedestal. That is becoming more difficult for me. When others tell me of their trials, I continue to think "Well YOU don't have brain cancer." I also admit at the beginning of the book it stated that her doctors gave her a 85% chance of survival. I wanted to discontinue reading right at that point. I am glad I didn't. This book has been a blessing. I have laughed outloud, (similar to the rodeo clown experience at the Illinois State Fair) and contemplated many things.

God is so good - He is so good to ME.

trying to find joy and blessings - kate

Houston has Arrived

Kate came up with the title of this post. She said it was from the movie Apollo 13, but I don't remember it.

We arrived last night safe and sound after an easy 2-hour flight. After we got our rental car and checked into the hotel (8 PM) we were starved and headed to a local seafood restaurant that was pretty good. Kate had Yellowfin Tuna and I had Salmon (yum). Finally, we headed to the local grocery store (Whole Foods) to pick up some healthy breakfast food for Kate. She is on a "cancer-fighting" diet that eliminates sugar, cuts down on saturated fats, and increases healthy Omega-3 fats. I've joined her as well. More on this diet (from our personal research) at a future date.

Today, after a couple of delicious breakfast smoothies (that I whipped up in the hotel room) and tea we headed for MD Anderson. We parked at the wrong building so we wound up walking about a half-mile to the correct one. Once we arrived the paperwork went very quickly and then we were taken back to the exam room. We hardly had to wait at all. (Praise God!)

We met first with a "fellow" doctor who was a neuro-oncologist in training. (MD Anderson is located in the Texas Medical District so this is likely a teaching hospital) We forget her name but she was from Spain and very nice. She met with us for about an hour, asked a lot of questions, and did a full neurological examination of Kate (everything was fine). Finally, we met with Dr. Yung who was very nice as well and explained that based on the pathology slides, he believes that Kate has more of an Anaplastic Astrocytoma (Grade 3 - Mid Level Tumor) and not the Anaplastic Oligoastrocytoma. Due to this, he recommended radiation therapy for 6 weeks and then after a 3-week break start taking large doses of Temodar (chemo) for 5 consecutive days every 28 days for 1-2 years (cycle of 5 days on, 23 days off). The good news is that all of this treatment can be performed in St. Louis (Barnes).

This is a different recommendation than our oncologist in St. Louis who recommended taking the chemo in addition to the radiation (at the same time). Dr. Yung said that this approach is usually reserved for patients with Glioblastoma's grade IV, a worse type of tumor (the big kahuna, as Kate calls it). He said that the long term side effects of taking both treatments at the same time is unknown and he cautioned against this.

Also, we asked about the life expectancy with this type of tumor. He said that the median was around 4 years (with treatment) but since Kate is young and otherwise in good health, has good neurological function, and had a great surgery to remove the tumor (thank you, Dr. Forget), then it could easily be longer, like 8-10 years. (Praise God!) We asked about previous patients of his that had "beat" the median statistic and he graciously gave us the phone numbers of a couple of patients (one in St. Louis) that have lived well beyond their life expectancy. You can be sure we will be contacting them! (Praying for over 20+ years expectancy.)

At the conclusion of our visit, he said that we did not need to see any other doctors or have Kate go through any further tests. So, we are going to "lay low" in Houston and spend time together (perhaps a sightseeing excursion) until our departure on Thursday.

Overall, we are very glad we made the trip to see Dr. Yung, at least for peace of mind to know that we sought out the best of the best for recommended treatment options.

Finally, we deeply appreciate all of your prayers and support for us as we continue this journey. God has given us incredible peace at many different times as we have walked this path, no doubt due to our many prayer warriors who are daily interceding for us. May God richly bless you all!

Kate is down for a nap and I may do the same (its been a long time since I've taken a nap).

Safe in His arms,

Dave & Kate

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Preparing for Houston

We are flying out tomorrow eve for Houston. Should return Thursday night. It all depends on how many doctors / specialists we are to see while at MD Anderson.

Our appointment with Dr. Yung is Tuesday morning around 10:30.

Continue to pray for . . . .
1. MRI & CT CD's to not be harmed / erased in any way
2. Safety on the homefront and in Texas
3. Wisdom & discernment for Dr. Alfred Yung and us
4. The "right" questions to ask Dr. Yung & other specialists
5. Sweet time for Dave & I while in Texas
6. Stamina for Dave specifically
7. Continued health (to stay well)

Thanks & Texas bound - kate & dave

Snake in the Drawer

It seems that life is back to normal for the older boys.

This morning as I was putting away my pajamas, there in the drawer waiting for me was a fake snake. The older boys are back to their antics in putting fake bugs, snakes, etc. in places that they want me to find, ie: under my pillow & in my pj drawer. They think it is quite funny to surprise mom. I was able to smile this morning while I am getting ready to go to church.

Thanks to T.G. for getting them this gift a couple of days ago. Little did you realize that it really was a gift for me. : )

Smiling about the snake. - kate

Saturday, December 02, 2006


Pray for me. Last night after putting up the Christmas decorations I was quite melancholy. I cried. I am not comfortable to list what I was actually feeling. As I really am trying to figure that out myself.

Yesterday during the day was a good time with sledding and laughter. Carter & Cole were out by 7:22 am. NO JOKE! They were thrilled. Carter said "Mom, this is like a winter wonderland." Cole was so kind. He pulled Stuart on the long orange sled around the house and down a hill. I was able to take a 3+ hour nap while Stuart took his. The snow wore me out.

Today is the day to cut down the Christmas tree as a family. Yes, we will be trecking in the white cold snow, wind & ice. Brrrrrrr!