Feed your FAITH and your fears will starve .

Friday, February 25, 2011

Pathology Report

We got a call from Dr. Karwande's nurse today.  The pathology is back on the tumors resected last week from Trent's lung.  All three tumors were no longer viable which means that the chemotherapy did it's job.  All the tumors were necrotic tissue so there is definitivelyl no more cancer in Trent's lungs.  We are possibly going to have a PET scan in the next couple of weeks instead of waiting until April.  Then we will know for sure if there is any cancer anywhere else.  We don't have any reason to believe there is any more cancer but the scan will confirm this.  We are kind of holding off on the big celebration and victory dance until the scans are done. 

Trent has been feeling kinda yucky the past few days.  He was doing really good at the first of the week but has had a few bad days.  Hopefully that is short-lived and he gets feeling better soon. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Home from the Hospital

Trent was discharged from the hospital yesterday afternoon, much sooner than expected.  He is doing so well!  He has some pretty severe pain when he coughs but we keep encouraging him to do it anyway.  In the hospital they gave him an inhalation sporometer, or something like that, to exercise his lungs.  He immediately figured out that if he covered the holes he could exceed his goal by four times.  He impressed several people with how strong his lungs were before he revealed his sneaky little trick!  After surgery he was almost immediately back to his joking.  It was really nice to see that. 

While Trent was in ICU he was hooked up to a million and one tubes and wires.  Being "tied" down to his bed was especially annoying to him and he kind of had a panic attack.  His nurse, John, was so great with him.  He did the best he could to get all the tubes taken out as soon as possible.  By Friday morning he was off the epidural and the pain pump.  Then he had a little problem with his foley catheter being blocked.  John quickly took that out and Trent was instantly "relieved" :)  Shortly after that John took out the chest tubes.  There were two of them and they were each about 16" long!  They came out way better than the tubes from the hip surgery.   Then Bruce, the physical therapist came in and got Trent walking around the ICU so he could graduate to PCU. He had to teach Trent how to get himself out of bed using his body as a pendulum of sorts.  It took a little practice but Trent pretty much has it down.  I help him a little because he is still very sore but he is getting better and better all the time.  I was quite surprised how much better he looked to me after the surgery.  Dr. Karwande commented on that too.  He compared what Trent looked like the first time we met and it really was a dramatic difference.  Dr. Karwande just shook his head and said that Trent is a fighter and could go to PCU.  Darn right he is a fighter!

He moved up to PCU on Friday afternoon.  I stayed with him after that.  I am glad I did because at 4:00 in the morning someone came looking to draw blood from "Elaine".  I had to shoo her out of the room cause she had the wrong patient!

While in PCU the only thing he was hooked to was the oxygen.  It was so nice!  They even accessed his port so they could take out the peripheal IV.   That was really nice for Trent.  He hates having tubes in his hands because it makes them so sore.  While in the hospital he put on 20-25 pounds of water weight.  We are still in the process of getting that all off.  His legs were enormous!  We put some TED hose on and that helped some but his thighs gave new meaning to the term "Thundo Thighs"!  Even while he was walking he was irritated because of the "Chub Rub".  But all in all he recovered pretty quickly because he only ended up being in PCU until Sunday afternoon.  We were both really excited to get out of the hospital.  I really hope that is a door closed that we never have to open again.

When we got home the kids were pretty excited to see us.  They had made a big "Welcome Home" poster and had drawn little pictures of all the things they wanted to do with Trent now.  It was really cute.  Trent is  trying to get some good rest and a little exercise.  Right now I am listening to his voice from the other room and it sounds strong again.  Little by little we are going to get our daddy back.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Successful Surgery!

After many hours of waiting yesterday, it is over.  The cancer is OUT!  We hesitate to proclaim that Trent is "Cancer Free" until he has had a full body scan, probably in one month.  But for now, we are shouting from the rooftops, THE CANCER IS OUT OF TRENT'S LUNGS!

We were schedule for surgery yesterday at 12:15pm.  However, the case before us was a very difficult heart valve replacement and they had a few problems.  So, we waited, and waited, and waited.  Finally at 7:00 pm they took Trent and I both down to the pre-surgery room.  I am sure Trent was FAMISHED by then!  But, in true Trent style, he was not complaining one bit.  We were informed what anesthetic procedures they would use and that Trent would have an epidural.  Surprisingly, Trent was pretty nervous for the epidural.  They gave him some loopy meds so he would be nice and calm while they inserted the epidural though.  After they had fully explained everything to us they wheeled him away.  I didn't even shed a tear.  I really felt very calm and at peace. 

During surgery I watched the Jazz game with my Dad, Josh, Joellynn, Tracy, Doug, and Rita.  It was nice to have something else to concentrate on.  We were told it would be at least 2 1/2 hours of surgery, possibly 6-8.  But just two hours later the nurse came out and said they were done and that Dr. Karwande would be out soon to talk to me.  Dr. Karwande brought me a picture of the tumors as I had requested.  It was so comforting to see them on the outside of his body, even if it is a little gruesome looking for some.  I don't mind looking at the pictures at all by everyone else, including Trent, is a little grossed out by it.  To me it is closure.  All the time I have seen those little blobs on the scans they have seemed abstract.  But to see them for real is different.  I guess I am still trying to wrap my brain around the fact that those little things tried to take my husband's life.

Two different nurses told me they had removed three tumors during surgery.  That really concerned me because there were five on the last scan.  But when Dr. Karwande confirmed that he removed three tumors from Trent's right lung it finally dawned on me.  We finally got the miracle we had been praying for.  Every scan day we would say to each other, "Wouldn't it be a miracle if the tumors were just not even there today?"  It happened.  Another miracle to add to our ever growing stack of miracles.  The two tumors in Trent's left lung were gone.  Dr. Karwande said his lung looked "pristine".  As he spoke I just bawled.  I asked him specifically, "Is Trent cancer free?"  He said it appears so but the body scan would confirm that.  He checked over both lungs very carefully and said that the two smaller tumors removed looked to be necrotic tissue.  They were no longer viable.  They will all be sent to pathology and we will know for sure in about four days.   He said Trent did very well during surgery and I would be able to see him shortly.  A few minutes after that the anesthesiologist came out and said Trent was awake and said to tell me he loved me.  I wanted to run jump on Trent right that second but I am sure that would have been a little painful so I politely restrained myself. :) 

We all got to go see him just after that.  He was alert but in a lot of pain.  He kept pushing his pain button every couple of seconds.  I cried and whispered in his ear that all the cancer was gone.  We made it!  If not for all those tubes and the fact that he had just had his chest cracked wide open,  I would have been in that bed with him squeezing him like crazy!  He just kept saying, "I love you, I love you."  Then he looked me right in the eyes and said, "Just remember the pickles."  Uh...I don't know what that means, and neither does he.  Must be one of those weirdo things you come up with right after being loaded to the hilt with all kinds of anesthesia and pain meds! 

We stayed with him for about 1/2 hour and then everyone left.  I went out to my car alone and had the most gut-wrenching, soul cleansing cry for about ten minutes.  It was like a million pounds of weight had been lifted from my shoulders.  I thanked my Heavenly Father over and over for allowing another miracle to be dropped down on our family.  I am in absolute awe of the love He has for us.  There really are not words enough to express it adequately. 

I finally made it to Josh's house and shortly after I got there the nurse from ICU called me.  She said Trent wanted to talk to me.  Trent had called to make sure I got there okay.  Oh my goodness!  He has just had his chest cracked wide open and he is still concerned about me driving six blocks in the evening snow!  It just doesn't get better than this!

A huge, heartfelt thank you to ALL of you who have been fasting and praying for this day!  I know Trent's name was in at least 16 different temples yesterday.  There is no doubt about the power of prayer.  It is tremendous and has changed our lives permanently.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Just My Thoughts

I don't want to take away from Trent's post so please read on down the page.  I just really wanted to share some of my feelings and some memories prior to surgery. 

We have looked forward to this day for so long.  We have wished it to come so fast but I almost wanted it to never come.  It is going to be such a difficult surgery.  I have to push the reality of it all to the back of my mind so I don't go crazy.  Trent has been a fighter.  He is so strong.  I am beyond lucky to be his wife.  We have come so far and have this last hurdle to jump.  I hope there is enough oompf in both of us to clear it without knocking it down! :)

We have been so blessed to have Dr. Karwande as our surgeon.  It is just one more time that we can clearly see the hand of the Lord in our lives.  We are being directed and guided through this trial, no doubt about it. 

As we sit now, waiting for surgery to start, my mind is flooded with memories.  We have shared so many wonderful times and so many more lay ahead.  I love Trent so much more today than even last week!  Sunday when he walked into Sacrament meeting I looked up as he came in and my heart skipped a beat.  Still, after almost 16 years, bald head, no eyebrows, gimpy walk, and pale skin, he is still the most handsome man I have ever seen.  I am eternally grateful for him and all he does for me and our children.  We truly have a little piece of heaven on earth. 

Last night before we left for the hospital, we gathered the family together for prayer.  As we talked Trent was expressing his love to all of us and he got emotional.  Jonathan jumped up on the bed and said, "I sorry Trent, I sorry."  He and Mallory took turns rubbing his back and patting his shoulder.  It was very tender.  We are all just a little nervous.  I think we would be naive if we weren't.  But the overwhelming feeling has been peace.  Peace in knowing that we are placing Trent in very capable hands, hands that have been prayed for and fasted for, to perform beyond their natural ability.  Above all, there is such peace knowing that the Lord is watching over us. We are so grateful for all of the prayers, fasting, and concern for us.  We can feel the difference the prayers have made for us.  No matter what the outcome, I know the Lord is mindful of our little family and the struggles we have faced this year.  We have learned many, many lessons and they have been life changing. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Praise You In The Storm

It's rather unusual that I'm able to do much of anything normal, especially like posting on our blog. I have, for much of this last year, desperately wanted to share my thoughts, feelings, and testimony with all of you but the cancer that has ravaged my body to the brink of existence has greatly hampered my abilities. It truly seems that I have been ill to the point where I don't even recognize who I am because of the pain, nausea, vomiting, etc., that have taken a significant toll both physically and emotionally on my body. Interestingly enough, I have been strengthened spiritually in tremendous ways that have helped sustain me with the determination to see this through, no matter what the outcome. I have told people that regardless of whether it's good, bad, or indifferent, we'll be okay. I absolutely know that to be the truth.

It may appear bleak when great adversity is thrust upon us as mortal beings but with the limitless devotion and love of our Heavenly Father, all things are possible. I have a great respect for Him and the Plan of Salvation that was laid out to perfection by the Savior. I sincerely hope that we all get to know Him and love Him for His amazing sacrifice that is available to everyone. I have had a stunning image placed in my mind of the scripture reference to the Second Coming of the Savior that states "every knee shall bow and every tongue confess, that Jesus is the Christ" D&C 88: 104. I would love for that event to unfold now. It would be remarkable to have Him here on earth once again to establish peace and heal the wounds of us all. I know that it's through Jesus alone that all things are possible.

I am more like myself now than at any other time and it coincidentally lands on the evening of a major thoracic surgery. What a stroke of good timing! I love my family, friends, and the many strangers who have made countless sacrifices on my behalf. I am eternally indebted to my companion, my love, Holly. She has born the weight of this in stoic fashion. I will love her forever and am full of admiration for everything she has done.

This event has been completely challenging unlike any I would have expected in my lifetime but my faith has been enlightened and my hope has vastly improved. I heard this song on the radio just this afternoon and it speaks volumes about how I have viewed this entire ordeal. May those who read these words be inspired like I have to see life's challenges through. God speed.

Praise You In This Storm
Casting Crowns
I was sure by now
God, You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say “Amen”, and it’s still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

I’ll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
Every tear I’ve cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry
You raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can’t find You

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away
I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The maker of Heaven and Earth

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Definite Date Set!

We have the surgery date!  February 16th Trent will have surgery to remove the remaining five tumors and anything else that is lurking in those lungs of his!  He is finally on the upswing from chemotherapy.  He was able to go to an amazing performance by the BYU Ballroom dancers last night.  It was actually really fun, I think he was just glad to get out of the house.  We also took Mallory and Jarom with us.  One of the numbers was to a song called "To Dance with My Father Again".  Halfway through the song Mallory leaned over and kissed Trent on the cheek and whispered, "I love you, Dad."  How sweet!  She is a sentimental little cutie. 

After the performance we went to WalMart for a few groceries.  I can always tell when he is feeling better because all he wants is food!  I was thinking we were stopping for just a few things but we ended up going down almost every aisle.  It is especially bad because those darn electric wheelchairs are SO SLOW!  I usually end up pushing it to make it go faster.  I am still a little bugged by all the people who stare.  I am getting used to it but sometimes I would like to just say, "Yeah, he has cancer, move on!"  It is a little awkward to watch  people do a double- or triple-take.  Maybe that will lessen when he has hair. 

Trent made it to church today and he did pretty good.  He has had little bouts with pain and some pretty severe stomach pain, but he is doing so much better today than even yesterday.  Hopefully he will enjoy the next ten days of feeling pretty well before the surgery.  I can only imagine the stomach pain is from all the pain medicine he has been on for the last year.  It was about this time last year that he began really feeling the fatigue from undiagnosed cancer.  It has been a long time since we have seen a Dad that wasn't tired and feeling yucky.  I am really looking forward to a time when he gets up in the morning and gets dressed.  This is probably going to sound dumb but I miss making my bed!  I have probably only made my bed about 6 times in the last year.  He never gets out of bed so it is always unmade.  That is such a small thing but in our lives it means so much.  It means we have a daddy and a husband who FEELS WELL!  It means he has something to do besides lay in bed, sick.  I can't wait for that day!  If all goes well, that day is right around the corner.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Surgery is Coming!

We met with Dr. Karwande yesterday.  It was quite the ordeal getting Trent down there.  This is his lowest point in his chemo cycle and he was pretty dead to the world the whole time.  Dr. Karwande is supposed to be off work this whole week but he met with us because Trent is a cancer patient and he gives those priority.  He looked at the scans and decided he would do the surgery.  The tumors are all near vessels but apparently that is not as big of a deal as I thought  They must not be sitting on vessels.  Dr. Karwande said the major deciding factor in doing the surgery was the fact that no new lesions had popped up throughout Trent's treatment.  He said the best surgery for Trent is to slice the breastbone and remove tumors from both lungs at the same time.  He did bring up the possibility of watching the two small nodules in the left lung but ultimately decided he would probably just take them out.  He could only see 5 tumors on the scan-that's down from the 9-12 that we started with.  There is a chance that there will be more or less when he gets in there so he will just have to feel around and take anything that is suspicious.  He will not remove any lobes of Trent's lungs, partly because he feels like he can get the tumors with taking too much tissue, and partly because in the event that Trent ever needs this surgery in the future, there needs to be as much lung as possible to remove at that time if needed.  We are working out a few details with the insurance and as soon as we have that taken care of we will schedule surgery.  We are still thinking that will be in the middle of February.  So, Trent will have a couple of weeks from now to get stronger.  He is hanging on by the skin of his teeth right now.  A couple of weeks will make a big difference for him.  We are anticipating about a one week hospital stay and then 2-4 weeks of recovery.  That is way better than we thought it would be.  We were really expecting more time in the hospital and about two months to recover.

We are still cautiously optimistic about everything.  It almost seems too good to be true, like, if I get my hopes up it will jinx us and something bad will happen.   Dr. Karwande said that Trent was between a rock and a hard place.  Well, duh!  All we have faced are "hard places".  But, we have had awesome support and Heavenly Father has watched over and protected us the whole way.  He didn't make it easy, but He has given us the strength to do it.  We just need a little more...