Saturday, November 15, 2014

Wrapping Our Head Around Bad News

I find it repulsive to write our bad news on the internet, but hopefully, putting it here will keep me from having to repeat it over and over.  I would have rather talked to MANY of our friends and family personally, but I CAN'T repeat the bad news.

The Bad News
The PET scan showed cancer in 14 places, including bone and liver.  It’s stage IV, non-small cell, “not-otherwise specified” whatever the hell that means.  Rudy will have “Standard 1st” chemo every 3 weeks.  After 3 months they will evaluate to see if that protocol is working.  There’s a Standard 2nd and a Standard 3rd which can be used if the 1st stops working.  There was more said about chemo and such but my brain (and heart) had left the building and I didn't bother to write any more.

We all – Rudy, me, Linda and Nancy – took in more than we could handle. Nancy had to leave the room, but the rest of us stayed (turned to stone is more like it) and tried to focus.  I think we were hoping for a sentence with a glimmer of hope.  The best that was offered was to work towards living a bit longer and living a bit better – quality and quantity.

After we left the doctor’s office, our emotions were all over the place.  I talked to a few people on the phone last night and I think I even managed to participate in conversations, even though it felt like I wasn't there. If I sounded weird or off or disconnected, it's because I was.  Enough of that.

A Glimmer of Hope

The main information I want to share is that after the news started spreading and so many people prayed for us, at some point Rudy announced with conviction he was not rolling over.  We are going to fight. I burst into tears and felt hope. Maybe it’ll work and maybe it won't, but like Rudy said, we have nothing to lose by trying.  Rudy is strong willed and despite his diagnosis, he is strong in body.  I have enough information about nutrition (and a strong desire to know more) to fight this thing and together, we will, at the very least, irritate the hell out of all the cancer cells.

What We Need

We need continued prayers and love.  We need help.  I’m questioning every single thing I do.  I’m questioning big decisions like if we should jump ship and move to a place where they do more than conventional treatments. I’m questioning small decisions like whether the "nutritious" fruit he eats is turning straight to glucose and going directly to those disgusting cancer cells.  I am changing my mind daily depending on the latest article I've read.  I don't know what to do. I'm mixed up and confused.

Rudy needs help with pain.  One tumor is pressing on a nerve and it’s affecting everything.  There’s a chance that the first chemo treatment will ease that and if it does, it could make a huge difference.  He also needs peace of mind and continued willpower.  We need lots more.  God will know what we need even when we don’t.

For those who have the time or inclination, I am going to begin posting (mostly on our Facebook page) specific things we need help with.  Not everyone will have the time or the knowledge to help with these. If all you do is pray for us, believe me, that's a major help!  Some requests are for the people who are very close to us who have been feeling helpless and not knowing what they could possibly do.  Some are just questions in case anyone has a bit of knowledge about one thing or the other -  a connection, an antidote, advice.  I’m just going to start throwing questions out there because I don't have time to carefully research everything that’s spinning thru my head.

There’s one very specific thing I’d like help with.  It’s a biggie in terms of time. It's something that only those who enjoy this sort of thing will want to do.  If you don't have a "researcher type personality", then pass on this.  I'm sure I'll ask for help in some other way that will suit you better. I would love extra help with reading books focusing on an integrative approach to beating cancer.  I have 4 books I am using to help guide me.  They are highly-rated and each has information and tips that could prove helpful.  I am having a hard time finding the time to read them like they need to be read.  If anyone would like to read any of these and pass along key points and pages I should jump to, I would really appreciate it.  If this is the kind of thing you feel you would be good at, let me know which book you'd like and I'll buy it for you.

The Cancer Fighting Kitchen - This is a REALLY good choice for ANYONE who likes to cook!!!  Cancer or no cancer, there are great tips here!  In the case of cancer,it's particularly helpful for what to eat while undergoing chemo.  If you know anyone else with cancer, this is a FANTASTIC book to gift them!

Beating Cancer with Nutrition - This one has good info. Some bits that I've jumped to are hard to read and requires more concentration than I seem to be able to muster up.  Other bits were helpful and easier to read.  I haven't read enough to fairly judge it.  Read the reviews and see what you think.  

Anticancer: A New Way of Life - Good info.  I know this has major helpful info.

Cancer: 50 Essential Things to Do - I feel hope when I read this.  He beat a stage 4, "30-days-to-live" lung cancer diagnosis.

Beyond that, I hope everyone will try to put negative thoughts out of your brain. We already know this will be a difficult, seemingly impossible task.  We're not stupid. We're not delusional.  But we also know that others with a similar diagnosis have managed remission for 14 years and more.  They've amazed their doctors.  If we could somehow turn this around, perhaps our journey could help others to do the same.  We can only do our best with positive, determined people in our inner circle and positive people praying for us.  We could both use a healthy dose of hope.

PS - Rudy really doesn't want to do a lot of talking to anyone just yet.  This is a lot to wrap his head around and he's trying hard to set his mind on the task ahead.  Pep talks, though well-meaning are just hard.  On the other hand, you can never hear, "I Love You" too often.  And if you need to turn the conversation to something lighter, ask him about his new Dodge Challenger.  He ordered this before he got sick.  It should arrive soon.  He thought about asking the dealer to cancel the order, but I talked him out of it.  It's something that will make him very happy and it might help him every bit as much as good nutrition. I find the name of the car particularly meaningful.