Health update

It’s been a year and 2 days since I’ve updated this blog. Believe it or not, I am still alive and kicking though!  Last weekend, we took the kids to the Outer Banks and had a lot of fun. Kolbrin has 2 teeth now, and is scooting everywhere he wants to go. Kobie is doing good, growing like a weed and I hate it! I wish both of my boys would stay small forever. It is what it is though.

Saturday night I went to bed around 10:45 because I was exhausted. I was woken up around 12:00 with a bunch of strange people in my bedroom, plus my wife, neighbors, and father in-law. Those strange people were EMS workers. I asked what was going on and why they woke me up. Amanda told me I had a seizure and I asked if I was okay. Nobody knew. They loaded me up on a stretcher and took me to Franklin Memorial Hospital, where Dr. Lane ran bloodwork and a CT Scan on my head. Everything came back normal, and he thinks the seizure was caused by scar tissue. It was a very scary night though to say the least! I am now back on Dilantin to control seizures. I have to follow up with Dr. Shertz Friday morning so once I find out anything I’ll post it on here to let y’all know! Thank you everyone for the thoughts and prayers.



Against all odds..

If you have known me a while, you know I am the most stubborn person you’ll meet. If you tell me not to do something, I’m going to do it. If you tell me I can’t do something, I’m going to prove you wrong. When I was diagnosed with my cancer…, I was told my chances of living were very slim. I proved the doctor wrong. When the doctor told me after my second brain tumor I probably wouldn’t be able to walk again, I proved him wrong. Doctor Shertz told me I would never be able to have kids again, and guess what, yep… I proved him wrong! We found out Christmas Eve Amanda is pregnant, and is due in August. We’re both very excited and this is truly a miracle baby!

I will post updates here as the pregnancy progresses, as well as on my Facebook page.



LATEST AND MOST IMPORTANT UPDATE I’LL EVER POST!!!
So, everyone wants to know what my CT results are. You all know every 3 months I have to go for a CT scan of my entire body, to see the status of my tumors. They slowly shrink each time (very slow), but they have not been spreading or growing so that’s a plus. I’ve had the cancer in my body ever since. I get so scared every 3 months when I have to go for my CT because I have gotten such bad news every time I go. ;(.. THEN I see my oncologist a week after, and usually the Thursday before they call to remind me of my appointment. When I see his number pop up on my caller ID, my heart sinks, like “WHY is he calling me?” then I remember it’s a reminder. Well anyway, I went today for the followup of my CT last week and as always, I was scared to death when I walked in there. Dr. Schertz came in and sat down. He looked at me. I KNEW something was up. Guys, I have some bad news for all of you all………………… You’re going to have to put up with me for a long time. As of January 26th, 2010, I am in clinical remission!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This last CT scan showed no evidence of cancer in my body. The tumors are gone!!!!!!! I am cancer free!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 :)… Thank you to everyone who has stood by my side throughout this fight, and prayed for Amanda and I. You have no idea how much it all means to us. Thank you thank you thank you. I love you all… I also love and miss my biggest inspiration through all of this, Brooke Mckinsey Smith and I think she has been looking over me for a while!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 Now, I need a beer.


1 Year!

Circumstances in life often take us places that we never intended to go.  We visit some places of beauty and others of pain and desolation.  I never imagined that cancer would be a part of my life history–especially not at the age of 23!  Like with any great trial, God uses everything for good if we allow him to heal us.  Every moment is teachable; every ounce of hurt can prune us for future happiness.  Don’t give in to weakness by dwelling on what you see today; look through it, as hard as it is, to the vision just beyond your sight.

One year ago today Josh was diagnosed with cancer.  Neither one of us will forget that day.  One year ago today we thought our lives were coming to a crashing end yet we now see it as just the first of many obstacles we have had to overcome this past year.



Just your average update

I figured I was due for an update! I have been doing a little better. I still stay fatigued all of the time, and the more tired I get, the worse I get. You can tell when I am tired because I am not myself. I was hoping to go back to work today, but things changed over the course of the past 2 weeks. I realized I shouldn’t go back today due to all of my doctor appointments within the next 2 weeks. Also I am still not quite myself, as I sometimes get lost in my own mind. I will eventually get better though. I have cancer, cancer doesn’t have me.

Friday night, Amanda was working. I was very tired so I decided to lay down and take a nap. I woke myself up, seeing things that wasn’t there. It was strange. I was also very nauseous so I called Amanda just to update her. Well, she called Tommy and Tiffany, and Tommy came to the house to check on me. Tommy and Tiff are great friends of ours who have helped us out so much. Tiff is an ER Nurse, and Tommy is the emergency management officer at Carilion Franklin Memorial, as well as a paramedic. Tommy knew that I was off, so he had me page my oncologist. In the meantime, Amanda had paged Dr. Harron. Dr. Harron wanted me to go to the ER at Roanoke Memorial. So Tommy and Jeff (Amandas dad) took me to the ER at Roanoke Memorial. We got there, and since he had connections we got in with no wait. They took me back, and gave me meds to “knock me out”. Well in case you missed previous posts, medication does NOT knock me out. So I just got pain meds for my headache, and went for an MRI. Dr. Harron had already talked to the ER doctor so things were in order. I went for my MRI, and on the way back to the room, Dr. Harron passed me in the hall. He told me the MRI results were negative and everything looked good. He kept me overnight for observation. Everything went fine, and I have not had any more symptoms. He said it could have been a bug or I was just too tired. At any rate, it took a burden off of my shoulders seeing the negative results. I feel so much better.

On Saturday when I got home, Mt. Caramel Baptist Church was at our house, and they had done all sorts of housework that I have not been able to do. They fixed so many things and did so much. I am so thankful to them! Also my best friend from Charlotte Stan came up on Saturday morning and spent the weekend with me. That was fun! We just hung out, ate, and watched basketball all weekend. It was fun.

Other than that I am doing OK and living life one day at a time, to its fullest. In case anyone hasn’t heard in the news today, Lance Armstrong had a wreck in his race and broke his collarbone. That SUCKS because now he’s out of this race. But, he will LIVESTRONG and I know it! Finally, I’ve updated www.livestrongva.org page. The army is forming larger and larger. I have recently have the Livestrong Army in Richmond join up with LSAVA so it’s still growing. Whenever I have another update, I’ll post it. Take care everyone!!

unc_logo

Let’s go Tar Heels!!



Finished with radiation and LSAVA

Hi everyone, it’s me again. I just wanted to let my friends and family know that I am now finished with radiation! I finished last week, and even got a neat little certificate of completion from my friends at the radiation center. I go back to both Dr. Shertz and Dr. Buck in the next few weeks to schedule my next CT/MRI to see where I stand.
I did call Dr. Shertz lab yesterday to find out my tumor marker levels. They were 3.0 on the alpha-feta protein, and less than 2 on the HCG. This is the lowest they have ever been. Things are finally starting to improve for me. Kobie is sick with the flu right now, and I hope he gets better soon. I hate seeing my little buddy sick. I plan on returning to work on March 23rd if all goes well. I am going to go up there and talk to our HR person next week probably, to find out what all I need to do to return, or just get a doctors release. I am excited about going back because I miss my work family.
The next exciting thing to let you all know about, is that I am finally getting the Livestrong Army of Virginia off of the ground. I have developed a website for it, and it can be found at http://www.livestrongva.org so please check it out and pass it on. If you’d like to get involved with the campaign, please use the “contact us” button on that page to find out how to contact me to get started! Thank you all again for sticking by my side through all of this. All of your thoughts and prayers are working! 🙂 I’ll post more as more becomes available.



Back from the dead, round II !

Hey guys! I just wanted to let everyone know that I am at home now, and am doing well. I get really tired quick and easy but I guess that’s expected and my body is just healing. I wanted to give everyone a perspective on things now, from MY point of view. on January 8th, I remember being at work. I was working on a network map and drawing schematics all day. If you don’t know what this is, it’s basically tiny lines running parallel to one another. While I felt fine at work, at the end of the day I kinda started feeling funny and dizzy. I sent Amanda an IM and told her to call Dr. Shertz and let him know what’s up. He was on vacation, so she called Dr. Harron. He didn’t return her call quick so she told me just to go to her work and she’d meet me there. I remember driving most of the way. About half way on the drive home, I don’t remember much. I vaguely remember getting to the ER at Franklin Memorial, and I have NO clue how I got there. The next thing I know, I woke up (it was the next day) and I was strapped to a bed, with tubes down my throat and IVs in my arms and was in ICU. Now keep in mind, I don’t get IVs since I have a port. Amanda had told me that I stopped breathing and LifeGuard 10 had flown me to Roanoke. She told me what happened. I don’t remember much of that day but I remember her telling me what happened. I have NO recollection of the night I had the seizure and was flown. In fact, I don’t remember ANYTHING from my hospital stay. Amanda told me about the people who came to see me. If you came to see me in the hospital, I am sorry but I do not remember it, and I am sure I seemed flakey while you were there. I don’t remember crashing while I was in the hospital either, but Amanda and Tiffany said I lost vision and feeling in my body. I just remember waking up and everyone telling me my second brain surgery was finished. It’s amazing what your body can shut out for you to not remember. That being said, I feel much better.

During my seizure, I dislocated my right shoulder and tore the rotator cuff in it. I go to Roanoke Orthopedic next week to chat with the surgeon there about it. He’s told me that he would have to take my shoulder apart and rebuild it. Let me tell you, I am excited aout that! It hurts really bad at times though, especially of a morning when I wake up.

I did go see Dr. Harron on Wednesday and he took the 38 staples out of my head. That didn’t hurt like I thought it would. After we left there, we went to Dr. Buck to get my head cast fitted for my radiation. They hope to start that next week. They’re not targeting any tumor to kill, but IU wants to do radiation in the tumor bed since it came back so aggressive. I’m all for it.

Friday, I went to see Dr. Shertz. He said right now, we need to focus on radiation so nothing comes back in my noggin. Again I’m in total agreement with that. He also cancelled the head part of my CT scan on Tuesday, since it’s so close to surgery. I do get a full body CT on Tuesday though to see what the rest of my tumors are doing. Hopefully still shrinking. He did do blood work to see where my tumor markers were, and also to get my Dilantin level. If my dilantin level gets low enough, it puts me at a very high risk for more seizures. I am on medicine for that now though. The bad part of it, is that I cannot drive until June. That sucks!

So in a nutshell, all of my doctors appointments this week went good. Next week will be a busy week since I will probably start radiation, on top of everything else I have going on. On a lighter note, for those who DID come see me in the hospital, thank you. For those who called, texted, left comments on here, etc, thank you. It means a lot to me that so many of you care about me. For everyone at my work who made food for Amanda and I, it was GREAT and THANK YOU!! I don’t think I let Amanda get much of it, since I am on steroids and stay hungry. Thank you though, it’s awesome. We will keep you posted with when I start radiation, and what the doctor says next week.

Also on a side note, I’ve updated the “medical team” part of this website. I am also constantly adding stuff, so make sure you check back often as I am trying to build this site up with not only my journey through this cancer battle, but also so others can use it as a resource to help them get through cancer and battle their own journey.

Thanks for reading my long post, and keeping up with me through my blog. You all ROCK! Thanks for all of the prayers and concerns as well. I am going to leave you with an excellent video that Amanda showed me. I really like it. Please watch it because it took me forever to get it to post in the blog. I hope everyone has a good weekened!

LiveStrong!



Emergency Surgery

I woke up at almost 7 this morning and was getting ready to go relieve our night shift nurse for Josh (Thank you SO much Tiff) and I got a call about 8:15 saying that they were taking Josh down for emergency surgery and that I would probably not be able to see him before surgery.  So my dad rushed me up there.  The doctor decided to do emergency surgery because of the increasing pain in Joshs head, his nausea and vomiting, his paralysis on the left side, and his loss of vision.  His vision had gotten really bad.  The pre-op nurse failed to Dr. Harron before she was done with Josh so I did get to see him and spend a few minutes with him before surgery.  His left side was affected so badly he could not feel me touching him on his left arm, leg, foot, face, neck, or ear.  When I kissed him as they were rolling him down to the or he didn’t even feel it and make the nurse call me back again to kiss him because he didn’t realize I kissed him before.  He couldn’t see me standing beside of him either.  They finally got him down to the OR around 10am and got out around 1:!5.  They think they got his shoulder fixed while in surgery but there are no incisions so I need to talk to Dr. Miller more about that.  The surgery took about the same time as last time but this time they didn’t have to drill his skull again they just had to “pop those rivets out”.  Josh is in really good spirits and is in some pain but the pain is nowhere near as bad as before surgery thank god.  I’d seen about enough suffering as I could handle!  His left side is still not functioning.  At times he can move 1 toe and maybe 2 or 3 fingers.  He can feel if you touch him, he says it feels funny. SO he doesn’t really realize that he is being touched by a person vs the sheets.  The recovery time will be longer and harder than the recovery time for the last brain surgery because of the paralysis he experienced before the surgery this time.  The surgeon said he got all of the tumor and he cleaned the area around it out more thoroughly this time so hopefully it wont grow back.  He had to scrap Joshs skull to remove tumor matter from it.  Part of the tumor was growing into the dura of the brain so he had to remove some of that and he replaced it with dura-bond.  This tumor was the same size if not bigger than the last one.  This tumor was solid whereas the last one was sort of liquidey.

Josh is in the neuro-trauma icu for now and will likely be there for a few days.  Visitors are limited there.  He will likely want to sleep of the time for the next few days so visitors will be limited.  Today has been a crazy day, if you called and I didn’t answer or call back I’m sorry.  Thanks for all the prayers.  I will update again tomorrow.



CT scan results

Dr. Schertz called with the CT scan results……

THE TUMORS ARE SHRINKING!!!!!!!!!!

Since Dr. Schertz called Josh I don’t know how much they have shrunk because Josh didn’t ask but at this point I will take any shrinking!

This post was posted on Tuesday October 02, 2008 at 1:39PM