Friday, July 22, 2011

My Dad

When I wrote back in March, my family had received the news that my dad's cancer had spread throughout his body. He began a new chemotherapy treatment, and his first scans showed that it was actually helping to keep the cancer from spreading. Because of the toxicity of this treatment, however, his body couldn't handle it at full strength for very long. So, they had to dial it back a bit.

This week my dad got new scans done, and they showed that the cancer has now spread significantly. It is in several new places, and the spots in his lungs are growing up around his heart. The doctor told my mom and dad that her estimate of life expectancy is about 6 months.

In the days since we received this news, my mom and dad have had to make some decisions about where to go from here. The letter my mom wrote to friends and family this morning is below if you would like to read it.

Thank you so much for your prayers over the past months. We serve a great God, and first and foremost we pray that He be glorified in this season we walk through. We may not understand but we believe. We may not like it but we trust. No matter what the outcome, we know my dad will be healed.

Greg and I asked for specific prayers to direct us in our next step regarding his treatment. We met with the doctors at Mary Crowley Cancer Research and have decided to try one last chemo. Greg has been on Ifosfamide which is known to target sarcoma tumors. After his first cycle the scans showed marked improvement. However, the toxicity of the chemo was more than his body could tolerate so Dr. Barve made the decision to only administer 75% dosage on the next cycle. Six weeks later, the cancer was back with a vengeance. The research drug is Ifosfamide but they are tweaking it to try to reduce the toxicity. This clinical trial is in phase 3 and only 24 in the United States are allowed to participate. Greg starts next Monday and it could be a very rough week. They are limited on the nausea meds they can give him due to the study guidelines so he could experience more discomfort. Additionally, we will have very long days (8-10 hours) because of the additional studies (EKG, PK,) that they will be doing. He will be there four days next week and then undergo some blood work the following two weeks. We will repeat that cycle one more time and then they will do CT scans. If those scans show improvement, we will continue in the study. We can choose to discontinue treatment at any time. Mary Crowley can also pull him from the study if he suffers any adverse side effects that are deemed too harmful.

The fact that Greg is playing a vital role in trying to find a new cancer treatment is not lost on us. We are praying that the treatment works and can someday soon be made available to others suffering from cancer. However, we can't help being concerned that we could be losing valuable time but we truly feel that this is the direction God is leading us. With that in mind, we are asking for your prayers that this could be the miracle for which we have been asking.

Specific Prayers

1. That this treatment works with minimal side effects.
2. That God give us strength to handle whatever we are dealt next week.
3. For God's comfort on our hearts. I know that God is holding us all up and that we are never too heavy for Him, but I'm still struggling a bit and I can't begin to imagine how it feels for Greg. I've known he was very ill, but hearing the news we received on Tuesday was excruciatingly painful. It literally felt like my heart was exploding in my chest. So we need lots of prayers that God heals our hearts and gives us strength to maneuver through the coming months.

Thanks so much for all the kind words, cards, and prayers. It's such a comfort to have our friends and family rally around us. We love you all!!

Greg and Rhonda



Stewart Stuff said...

I will be praying for your family as you enter an unknown time in all of your lives. We may not understand why God leads us through these experiences but we must trust, believe, and obey.

Amber Marie said...

I'm so sorry you and your family are having to endure this. Mama and I are praying for your daddy and for the hearts of those in your family. God is going to take care of this. Love you

Katie said...

I'm so sorry, Amanda! I wish there was more that we could physically do to help. Our whole family will be praying for your whole family. I love you guys, and am so thankful for your friendship. I can't wait to see you soon. Love you!