Saturday, July 18, 2015

A Doctor's Visit and Some Encouraging News

Hello y'all, hope you are all doing well. Just wanted to give an update on Toby. He's finished with his chemo treatments and the doctor is very pleased so far.
We had a consult with the plastic surgeon who will be repairing after the oncologist removes the cancer and he gave us some very encouraging news.
 I don't remember if I told y'all this but the cancer has invaded the nerve and has left Toby paralyzed on the left side of his face. His eyelid doesn't blink and he must close it manually throughout the day to keep his eye moist.
Also the left side of his mouth is paralyzed as well. This causes problems with speech and eating and smiling. Well the doctor is going to transplant a nerve from his leg to the side of his face to hopefully allow movement of his mouth again. It has a 50/50 % chance of working but it's definitely worth the try. They are also going to put a weight in his eyelid to help with closing his eye. I can't tell you how overwhelmed with emotion I became upon hearing this. He's been through so much and to think that they may be able to help with these things is just wonderful.
We also saw the audiologist and Toby asked them why we were seeing them since the oncologist said he will lose his left ear during surgery. Well come to find out they are going to do an implant during surgery to allow him to be able to hear after the removal of his ear.
I have been so impressed with MD Anderson throughout this whole ordeal. They have been so supportive and caring. The Doctors give you such a feeling of calm and overall faith in their abilities. His plastic surgeon is one of only a handful of doctors throughout the world doing the type of microsurgery that will be involved in Toby's surgery. He was one of the doctors who took part in the recent first ever full skull/scalp transplant.
So I know that God brought us to this place and we are feeling very good about all of it. His surgery is coming up August 6th so please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers dear friends.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Update and A Quick Hello

I just wanted to say a quick hello and give you an update on Toby.
 He started his second round of chemo last week and is doing well so far. We wondered if the second round would be different than the first and it seems he has more body aches this time but the fatigue he experienced the first time hasn't been as bad.

Some things we have learned is to make sure he gets plenty of fluids and for the body aches which occur mainly in his legs we used Australian Dream. It's a cream used for arthritis and it seemed to help take the edge off. The main thing about chemo is that it gives you a very unsettled feeling inside your body. We haven't found anything that helps that feeling, you just have to ride it out

.It's a strange feeling living in a small room all the time. We can't really get out around other people a lot because the chemo destroys your immune system. I'm sure he is getting cabin fever as we are going into our 3rd month.

The thing we miss the most is our sweet dog Semper. He's staying with my daughter and she says he seems to miss us as well. The other day they let him out to go potty and he saw the truck door open and made a bee line for it. He refused to leave the truck and they had to force him out only to have him jump back in. I'm sure he was hoping to be taken to where ever we were.

I try to keep Toby's spirits up by reminding him of things we are going to do when this cancer stuff is behind us. There are still many weeks ahead of us before we start to see the light but with God's help we will make it.

Please continue to remember us in your prayers and have a wonderful and safe 4th of July!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Finding Grace Through Adversity

For a short period of time when I first found out my husband had cancer I couldn't accept it, I WOULDN'T accept it.. In my mind I fought against that ugly word, the doctor was wrong, the tests were wrong, even though I never verbalized it.
 It's a natural reflex of the human mind to refuse things that may be too  difficult and painful to accept, I went into protection mode.
Of course that didn't last long and the growing realization of the truth put me in a dark place. But I knew I couldn't stay there, I HAD to be there for my husband, I had to be strong and optimistic for his sake and for my own.
I had to find GRACE in this adversity. What did finding grace mean? To me it was the ability to live in God's peace.
But how does one do that? There are no ten easy steps to follow, you have to find your way as you go. There's a new normal, nothing is the same, Cancer casts it's shadow over all aspects of your life when you are in the midst of it. Things that once were taken for granted are seen in a new light.So finding a way to do those things in spite of it is of utmost importance.
The fact that we knew God was in control and He said He wouldn't give us more than we could handle gave us the confidence that He was there, we weren't doing this alone.
Taking those first steps ...... I found that keeping a daily routine is one thing that will maintain that feeling of normalcy. Get up, get out of bed, start the day! Put your makeup on, do your hair.....put on your happy face and fake it until you make it! The way you present YOURSELF  directly impacts the ONE who is going through the cancer.
No it wasn't easy, its still isn't,  no I didn't FEEL like it, but it's really important
And as silly as it sounds, it WAS the first step down this road that made me feel like I could go the distance.
In the first week or so it felt like I was moving in slow motion, like I was outside of  myself looking on but eventually I started to feel real again. Mundane routines seemed so trivial in the face of something as big as cancer, but it's those mundane things that get you and your loved one through the day. The knowledge  that we won't let cancer change the things we do on a daily basis is empowering in many ways. Another thing I know is that finding something to laugh about goes a long way in making the hard days easier to bear. Like wearing matching surgical masks with happy faces drawn on them during the chemo treatment.....and me letting my husband know that under no circumstances am I going to shave my head to match his, especially since he was bald before the chemo anyway (smile).
So grace is found, I've come to learn, in the small, seemingly insignificant things in life, who knew? 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Some Good News!

We received a call  that has led to housing that we can afford near MD Anderson! I can't tell you what a relief it was to get that call!
 I want to thank all of you who donated to Toby's Cancer Fund and I will never forget the kindness and generosity of so many people.
So I want to let those of you who donated know that I have asked GoFundMe to  issue a refund to all of those who so graciously gave to help.  I can't tell you how much you have touched my heart  but since this new development I want you to have your donations back.
 According to GoFundMe it can take up to two weeks to complete the refunds, I wish it could be instantly but I guess they don't work that way.
 I have been overwhelmed by your kindness and thank the Lord for each and every one of you.
Thank you again for your emails, words of encouragement and for your continued prayers. and I will continue to keep you updated  with Toby's progress.  


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