Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The 5 C’s of Cancer – Mikes Journey Continues

“The 5 C’s of Cancer --- You Did Not CAUSE Cancer, You Cannot CATCH Cancer, You Cannot CURE Cancer (YET), and You Cannot CONTROL Cancer – But GOD CAN! – Random Insert on a Board in a Exam Room at MDA”

I only felt this title for this entry was appropriate, because just today in a random Exam room, this was written on the dry erase board. It was something that I for sure needed to see today, and I am thankful for the reminder! I am not sure if it was written by a patient waiting for the doctor to come in killing some time and hoping to leave some inspiration for the next patient. I am not sure if it was a nurse, doctor or a staff of MDA, but either way, I am glad that it was there when we got in and I hope it remains for many others.

Well first and foremost, Mike and I hope you ALL had a wonderful Christmas with Family/Friends Near and Far! We also wish you the best New Year’s weekend ahead ringing in 2012 – just remember to be safe in all you do! Mike and I have opted to stay home with the “kiddos” and sit outside by the chiminea and ring it in with ourselves and the LORD above!

Today was our first meeting with Mike’s Oncologist since before the Thanksgiving holidays and my has the cancer been busy in his body since his last Pet Scan! The overall visit was good, and he remains stable in all the areas that were mentioned before with no Major activity (except for the lymph nodes that remain to fight this cancer and are inflamed). The only downfall to this visit is that they did pick up a spot on his liver. It is very, very small and was not a huge alarm to the Oncology team, but Mike will be starting chemo very soon after we ring in the New Year! I am no professional (yet) at this cancer stuff, but I did know that a risk of Stage IV lung cancer is that is does metastasis to other areas of the body including the brain (which is clear), the spine (which is still clear), the adrenal glands (which has not occurred) and the liver (which now has a less than centimeter spot).

Mike’s clinical trial that he started at the beginning of 2011 (I still cannot believe it is 2012 almost), will be over 12/31/11. His brain/spine team says he has Done VERY on this study, better than many others – for this we are grateful and happy that Mike was able to be a part of research that will hopefully be used to find cures for others with the same cancers. So with this being said, his Oncology Team and His Brain/Spine team will be working closely together in the next couple of weeks to determine what new chemo-combo is going to benefit him the most – I will for sure keep you all posted!

Mike prior to his diagnosis has experienced back problems (since I have known him) and with the cancer, they have gotten worse with the extensive procedures to his spine including the Lumbar Punctures, the cancer to the bone (which continues to heal) and just the cancer in general. Used to he could pop into a chiropractor and get a quick “Snap-Crackle-Pop” and feel better, but it is highly discouraged for him to receive those and/or massages due to the damage and healing of the bone…so they have created a new mixture of medicine that will help alleviate this pain while the healing continues!

You know this was not the BEST visit we have had, and I surely was not “Kart-Wheeling” out of MDA today, and yet my mind is a little confused and my heart is hurting for this new report, my heavenly heart and mind remain focused on GOD above and know that this is ULTIMATLY his plan for Mike. I don’t understand quite yet what all this means, nor what this new chemo will hold for Mike’s Cancer, but I do know one thing – well a few things --- Mike since this diagnosis has found GOD above and has given his life to the LORD. Mike has been an inspiration to SO many others that has including getting some people back in church, making mends with family/friends and ultimately just giving it ALL to GOD as he requests. It has brought Mike and I closer than ever and through this I did not just gain a great relationship with my husband, I have developed the Best Friendship ANYONE could every ask for.

You may wonder as you read this “is she scared”, “Is he scared” and maybe even be gasping and feeling sorry for us --- please do not. GOD has brought us this far, and I know this journey is FAR from over! As I said, GOD does not ask much of us even though he did give his ONLY son so that we may live our lives – and for this he just asks us to praise him for it ALL – Large and Small and Even when we fall (< ---- I have said this many times, but SO true!) So as I close tonight, know that Mike and I are surely uncertain of the “unknown”, but we are sure of how powerful our GOD is above and continue to trust him with ALL he hands us while we are here on this earth!

We both wish you ALL a wonderful weekend as you raise your sweet tea or glass of champagne and countdown with Dick Clark to a New Year that has so much to offer. Know that we love you so much, and even though we do not see you often or maybe not at all right now, know we love you ALL! This has been a radical year and I cannot wait to see what 2012 has in store for us – Hopefully much more inspiration and unbreakable bonds built across our nation!

OXOX Lyndie

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year – XO Lyndie and Mike

“The total history of almost anyone would shock almost everyone - Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960”

Wow! CHRIST-mas time already then the New Year --- Amazing! I love the rush of the holidays. I feel it’s not just the shopping of gifts or the excitement of the upcoming vacation and rushing around to see all family. I feel it is the reality of the year coming to an end and it wakes and shakes up the procrastinator in us all and we are suddenly on a time line to get our year-end honey do’s done and prepare for the new year! I love it actually and it adds a little pep to my step!

Also, this time of year we all come together as family and friends, and not all of us, but a lot of us are able to put the past issues of the year (or years) behind us (even if just for a day) and come together not for the presents or the good food, but come together as one to celebrate JESUS’s birthday and all that the season means!

I have borrowed the below entry from a friend of mine. I read it and it really made since and has had me reflecting on my answers (even though it is not a true quiz) it surely has my mind pondering. Take a moment to read:

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America pageant.
4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
6. Name the last decade’s worth of World Series Winners

The point is none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special!
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.

The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money or the most awards…they simply are the ones who care the most.

Now if I had to really answer these questions, I assure you I could put on a mad GOOGLE search and find out for you. AND we all know that I am one of the biggest TRASH-ality followers, and though I could not even tell you the infamous question “Now why are the Kardashians famous?” Though I cannot answer that, I am still guilty of watching. I even indulge in a little fist pumping action with Jersey Shore and cringe at the Botox treatments the Real Housewives under-go. BUT I know in my heart MY reality and the people that are a part of it.

This CHRIST-mas is very special this year to Mike and I. As we know everyday is not promised, yet we assume we will wake-up the next morning – and when we do, I remain thankful for such a great GOD to allow me another day to keep doing something right. This time last year, Mike was fresh from brain surgery and had just started chemotherapy. Now all who spent the holidays with us last year and even the first 6 months of Mike’s treatment know that with the steroids he was on (per the treatment requirements) he was not the best of company. At this same time, we had to face the reality that this may be his last CHRIST-mas – though treatment seemed to be working and GOD was blessing us with miraculous results, it was still so new to us. Mike has now surpassed the 6-9 month prognosis and has celebrated his birthday this year and now the wonderful CHRIST-mas holidays!

I wanted to insert the above questions because, though I am not good at history, and I tend to forget the ever-changing headlines, I can answer ALL of the questions pertaining to people in MY everyday life. In fact, I can give you more than just two, five or a “few”, I can guarantee if YOU are reading this, I am speaking of you. Mike and I have been blessed with AMAZING, I mean AMAZING family, friends, co-workers, doctors and so much more! I am not super good with names, but I have a face etched in my mind forever! As I am writing this now, I have a swirl of faces flying through my brain with a memory attached to it. Maybe a memory of us as young kids putting on a “talent show” for our parents dressed in mom’s clothes and heels. Maybe a memory of sneaking out of the house for the first time to ONLY get caught as we rounded the front of the house. Maybe a memory of a friend in need making that midnight phone call with nothing to say, but to just to hear your breath on the other end. ALL of these are great memories and each one makes me smile – maybe that is why I am always “Kart-Wheeling” and feel the sun on my skin – for ALL of you have helped me create so MANY good memories that they out-weigh the bad ones.

Because of you all, this past year, though VERY stressful, heart-breaking at times and scary, because of YOU, Mike and I both have experienced such love while enduring such pain at the same time. YOU ALL deserve so much from Mike and I, and unfortunately we have yet to win the lottery, so I hope this letter will stay forever close to your heart and remain priceless. Mike and I thank you so much!

Mike and I do not have a lot, but we have each other and ALL of you. And though each relationship with you all are completely different and have its own dynamics, I feel all have the same foundation which is love! Mike and I wish you a Wonderful CHRIST-mas Celebration and a Wonderful NEW Year! Know that on this day, YOU have made a difference in our lives without even knowing it. I hope that everyone reading this will find their internal sunshine and “Kart-Wheel” mentality to flip-flop into this New Year!

XO Lyndie

Sunday, December 4, 2011

It’s CHRIST-mas Time In The City – Ring a Ling!

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. ~Burton Hillis

My oh my – where has this year gone? As I sit here looking over the calendar, I am in amazement of being just a few weeks away from CHRIST-mas Day and then New Years Eve! As always, there is just something that enters the air the day after Thanksgiving. It makes even the most annoying of annoying errands that you have to run pleasurable with the Holiday Music in the air and all the decorations that fill the isles – but at the same time, I must thank the REAL reason for this season – Jesus above!

So in all that, I hope I don’t bore you to tears, for this may be in normal Lyndie fashion, a lengthy note, for it has been a while since I have written. I don’t even know where to start, but I am sure I will find some order ;)

As for Mike’s health, I will start with that. Mike had Scans and MRIs done prior to our vacation, and when we got back we sat down with both his Oncologist team and Neurology Team. Brain and Spine remain clean and stable – nothing new, and Dr. Groves is still calling Mike a miracle! As I have mentioned prior, he is on a clinical trial for the chemo treatment Avastin – the trial ends at the end of the month, but Dr. Groves, because Mike has done so well with the treatment, he wants to keep Mike on it even into the new year to ensure that the cancer stays gone. The BEST news of this all is though Mike will no longer have to endure the normal Lumbar Punctures  This makes him very happy. You know he is almost a legend down the halls in the Brain/Spine center – haah! Every time we are there, the doctors and nurses always assure him “yes, we know you – we have heard of you!” haha! Needless to say he has not ALWAYS taken the Lumbar Punctures very well!

As for his visit with the Oncology team, the cancer still remains non-apparent BUT there was concern for he has 3 lymmhnodes that are a little inflamed. The doctors said it could be his body fighting off cancer that is not being picked up on scans or simply just his body fighting of another infection like a cold. He will undergo another PET scan at the end of this month and from those scans, they will determine whether or not he will continue to receive his “Kung-Pow” Chemo or if he will be put on another maintenance type, maybe even an oral dose. As always (AND I KNOW YOU DO) Please keep him lifted in prayer – He has done so good and I know GOD above has future plans for him leading a life W/O Cancer!

We both hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday! Ours was a lot of fun! Mike and I packed up the 3 wet-nosed kiddos and headed off to Alabama and then Tennessee – we were SO fortunate to have such beautiful weather our entire trip – GOD surely was smiling down upon us! Mike had never met my Dad’s side of the family, but once they all met, I tell you it seemed as he has been part of this family for YEARS! Gosh Alabama is gorgeous and just breathtaking! I attached a picture I took of Mike on top of one of the highest points in Alabama and I just called it “One with GOD” – I cannot put into words of how this state makes me feel. To have all this beautiful, GOD made land around us, just kept us in awe the entire trip! Our family was so accommodating and for that we are so grateful! Diesel, Duke and Dozer were a hit also! Their noses were going a million miles an hour taking in all the new smells and all around them! It was sad to leave, but we have a lifetime full of memories to keep with us! Aunt Jan made a wonderful Homemade Turkey feast for us while we were there --- mmm! I can still taste that dressing and fixings! After that, we were Tennessee bound to spend time with Aunt Cissy!

Tennessee was equally as pretty, but not too much site seeing for it was raining pretty much the time we were there. Aunt Cissy was so accommodating to us as well along with all her “wet-nosed” kiddos – A LOT of toosh sniffing between all these guys/gals! We made some yummy Chicken/Sausage gumbo while there and just enjoyed the time chatting. After leaving there, we popped back into Alabama for a few more days but left early due to a storm heading in – I sure have to say that we had a GREAT time, but once we hit that Texas state line, there was just a sigh of “No place like home”. We spent a night at the Lake Cabin and got some family time in there too – then home it was! Man – as anal as I am, I usually would have been unpacking and cleaning, but Mike and I both literally jumped into our PJs and went straight to bed!
Let’s see – what else…Mike continues to work full-time (Praise JESUS) for continuing to instill strength for his body and bones. We attended his Christmas Dinner/Party last night, which was a lot of fun – It is fun to see people outside of work and let loose a little. Dixie remains good to Mike and we are thankful for this! As for me, work is great! We held a food drive and with the help of all our wonderful tenants and staff, we donated over 500 pounds of food to Houston Food Bank – it was very fulfilling and wishes we could do it every month! OH and we have our building decorated for CHRIST-mas – makes it so fun coming into work and seeing all the lights!

Because Mike and I felt our vacation was our CHRIST-mas treat to each other, we opted to not get gifts this year and just donate our time to MD Anderson and all that are not able to be at home for the Holidays. BUT we did start a “swear” jar recently and already up to 26.00! I’m telling you, I am not much of a curser, but since Mike’s diagnosis, it just comes out – we are REALLY working on this…BUT we decided whatever we have accumulated by the new year, we are going to get a chimena – we have always wanted one, just that little something that you don’t buy yourself --- but we are supposed to be having a chilly winter, and we love sitting on the porch, so it works out PERFECT!

I feel this year has flown by, and it almost at times seems like a blur of all that has happened – surreal even. Mike and I remain SO Blessed in so many ways and continue to thank GOD above for it all – Large and Small and EVEN when we fall! This year has been a true testament of our faith and belief; knowing that there is something BIGGER than his Cancer, Bigger than all of us and we continue to trust solely in HIM and know HIS plan is coming to pass – for it does not always happen when WE want it, but it does not stop us from knowing HE has not forgotten about us – we have learned patience! We have learned a new kind of love and we have become closer and stronger. We continue to be far from perfect, and we have stopped trying to seek perfection, for it will not come…we are happy in being us and being perfect in GODs eyes.

In closing, family and friends – Mike and I wish you a wonderful CHRIST-mas season. We wish you all a great time when you are around each other. It has been such a year of miracles for us and many others. It has been a year of heartache and mending. It has been a year of discovery! Mike and I thank you, each one of YOU for allowing us to share our lives with you and being a part of this journey. Words cannot express the gratitude that we have in our hearts for YOU. You have seen us in our happiest days and our darkest, yet continued to be our Family and Friends, as it should be. I know this journey is not over, but because of GOD above, he sure makes it bearable!

Wishing you ALL a magical, festive and warm Holiday Season and a VERY Blessed CHRIST-mas!

XO Lyndie