Apr 29, 2010

Pray & Praise

We want to thank everyone for the prayers, thoughts and wishes we received on Tuesday and Wednesday. Roger will blog soon with all the details from yesterday and what the next steps are. Many people asked us how they can help or what they can do. There are only two things you can do for us: pray and praise. Pray for God to give Roger strength and courage to go through this again, pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit to make the right decisions for treatment and pray for protection from Satan's attacks and lies. And praise God for all he is, all he has done and all he is going to do. We can't thank God enough for blessing us with the ability to go to MD Anderson Cancer Center for great treatment, our experience there yesterday was unbelievable, and we can't thank God enough for surrounding us with amazing family and friends to keep us encouraged, hold us up and make us laugh. We love you all, thanks again. ~ Holly

Apr 28, 2010

Cancer Round 2

The fine doctors at MD Anderson Cancer Center have confirmed our suspicions… the tumor appears to be growing back. But we have a plan and are ready to fight it again. I'll have more details later today on the blog. We are driving back from Houston now and can't wait to get home. Thanks for the prayers.


Apr 27, 2010

Headed to Houston

It is Tue afternoon and Holly and I are heading to Houston. We will be
staying with Holly's friend Tina. They were battle buddies in Army
Basic Training and have not seen each other since 1994! So it will be
a nice visit. We head out early Wed morning for our 7am appt. We will
both try to update on facebook and Twitter tomorrow. If you go to the
blog site there are links to our facebook and Twitter pages on the
right side of the page. Check back in tomorrow to see the heck we are
up to! I am excited to begin the process to see what may or may not be
going on. But there is always the chance they will tell us to come
back in a few months for more tests. We'll see. Thanks for the prayers.


Apr 21, 2010

Ready for MD Anderson

I got a call early this morning from Wandra at MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) telling me that they did get my stuff and the doctor was going to review it as soon as he could.

I got a call a few hours later from Wandra telling me that the doctor could not get the CDs to work on his computer. Now me, being the IT expert that I am, knew that those CDs were going to workk fine, they were exact copies. I asked her if she had them and she said yes. I asked her if she could see if they work on her computer. And they did. She said she'd call me back later.

She called me back later and said that the doctor has to review them at Wandra's computer and that he wanted to see me and the first available appointment was next Wednesday, April 28. I said yes and took the appointment. I felt bad because we have a lot of stuff going on at work that I amm needed for, but I knew I had to take it. So there, prayer answered... thank you for praying... the doctor will see me now.

We have to be there at 7am, so we are planning to drive the three hours Tuesday evening and stay at a friend's house in the Houston area. Those of you that know me well know that I am not a morning person. There's no way I can get up at 3am to be there by 7. NO WAY! :-) They sent us some forms to fill out and instructions on where to go when we get there.

So my foot is in the door now. We just need to wait and see what they see in my head. Hopefully nothing. Wait... dang.

Apr 20, 2010

Getting Reacquainted With Cancer

As you might know, I had an abnormal MRI in Feb. We are not sure exactly if there is anything wrong. I was being followed by the Army hospital in San Antonio, but had a relatively unpleasant experience when I saw a neurosurgeon about this last MRI and my confidence in their care plummeted. Care at a military facility is free, but I was willing to spend some money to get better care. Last week Holly and I were looking at the slim pickings of neurosurgeons in Austin when I discovered that the doctors at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston also take my insurance. I called them up last week and was told to gather as much information for them as I could and overnight it to them. I burned a few copies of MRI CDs and some pathology and radiology reports and sent them off yesterday. I also wrote the doctor a letter that I want to share with you. For those of you that are not up to speed with my history, it is a quick overview:

April 19, 2010


Dr. Frederick F. Lang, Jr., MD
MD Anderson Cancer Center
1515 Holcombe Blvd
Houston, TX 77030-4000
Attention: Wandra R 7.1651

Dear Dr. Lang,

Thank you for reviewing my case.

I am a resident of Austin, Texas. I was living in Austin when, as a US Army Reservist, I was deployed to Washington, DC in May 2004 for an unexpectedly long time. In November 2005 I began to feel involuntary jerking in my right arm. I was being treated for a back injury at the time and my primary Doctor at Bolling Air Force Base thought that it might be related to the pain medication I was taking. It was not until February 2006, when after my back treatment was complete and the jerking continued, that my doctor referred me to a Neurologist at Andrews Air Force Base. The Neurologist performed an EEG which was normal and prescribed an MRI. I went to the National Naval Medical Center (NNMC) in Bethesda, MD for my MRI in the morning and the Neurologist set me up to see a Neurosurgeon in the afternoon. The Neurosurgeon set me up for a craniotomy to be performed in several days.

My surgery was performed at NNMC on March 3, 2006. The tumor was identified by the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) as a grade II Ependymoma. The surgery went well with no complications other than the fact that the right side of my body was completely paralyzed. The hemi-paresis lasted ten days and NNMC transferred me to the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH-MedStar Health) in Washington, DC. After a little speech therapy, moderate occupational therapy and extensive physical therapy, I was able to walk again with a cane and was discharged on April 4, 2006. At that time, my right side was still very weak and the muscles from my ankle and below had not begun to move yet.

I participated in outpatient physical therapy for several more months and eventually gained limited ankle and toe movement. One month after being discharged from NRH I began radiation therapy at NNMC. I went to NNMC every day for over a month and received the fullest dosage of radiation I could get (as I understood from my Radiation Oncologist.) Also, while in DC, I suffered from three tonic-clonic seizures. All three started on my right side with my big toe; it felt like I was having a cramp in my foot with my big toe and then progressed to a full seizure. These have been controlled with anti seizure medication (Keppra 500mg AM and 500mg PM / Tegretol XR 400mg AM and 600mg PM); my last seizure was April 2007. Although my seizures have been controlled, I have always had twitching of my right foot’s big toe and also of the muscles on the left side of my right foot… consistent with the focal point of the seizures I did have. My right calf still exhibits quite of bit of muscle atrophy and my writing has never really gone back to what it used to be.

The Army insisted I stay in the beautiful Washington, DC area at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) to determine my disability status and after almost a year I was finally determined to be 70% disabled by the VA and the Army placed me on the Temporary and Disabled Retired List (TDRL) with 100% Army Disability. I finally returned home to Austin, TX in March 2008.

While in DC my MRIs were performed at three then four month intervals. Back in Texas, being followed by Radiation Oncology at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) in San Antonio, I was only having MRIs every six months. All MRIs through July 2009 were normal showing no changes. My last MRI was taken February 2010 and the Radiologist report indicated a .7mm change in size of a mass and I was advised to follow up with another MRI in three months. I did receive a referral to a Neurosurgeon at BAMC who we did see, and he did look at the images, but he seemed more annoyed with us than anything and told us to have the other scan in three months and then come back and see him.

I was content to follow those instructions, but about three weeks after seeing the neurosurgeon, I started noticing that the twitching on my right foot was more forceful and moving for a longer period of time. The twitching has also moved up my right leg and is now present in my lower calf, upper calf behind my knee, right of my shin, above my ankle and seems to be moving to my hamstring. The twitching feels like someone is tapping my body, or feels somewhat tingly. It is a sensation I have not had before and that is what concerns me. With this new activity, I decided to only trust my life with the professionals at the MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Enclosed you will find my last four MRI radiologist reports, the pathology report from the tumor and four CD containing MRIs from 2006 through the most recent in February 2010. Please note that the two oldest CDs will not work on Windows Vista or 7, they only seem to work on Windows XP. The newer CDs will work on any Windows PC. You may contact me with any questions at --- or by email at ---.

I look forward to working with you to seek answers and solutions to this possible recurrence.

Roger J. Mommaerts, Jr.

I saw that the package was delivered before noon. I didn’t get a call from them today and decided to call them around 3pm but was only able to leave a message. I don’t know where we go from here. I don’t know if they will ask me to come to Houston to run tests or ask me to just have my next MRI with the Army at the end of May. I really just want to go to Houston and have them test the heck out of me to determine if there is anything wrong or not. I’m not going to say that I’m not scared because that would be a lie. I have cried a lot at work and at home in my wife’s arms thinking about all of this. But with MD Anderson as a possible solution, I feel a lot better. I try to keep my mind off things by working and spending time with Holly. There sure are a lot of I’s in this post, so I’m going to stop for now and just post it. When they call me tomorrow I will let you know what they say. Right now we just need your prayers… prayers for peace and for healing. And also please pray for my friend and co-worker Jay. We sit across from each other and both of us are going through quite a bit right now. But I think he needs more prayer than I do. He has lung cancer now which is a reoccurrence from when he had cancer in a different part of his body five years ago. So, yes… prayers for healing big time.


Apr 18, 2010

New Location for the Blog

Hi everyone, as you may have noticed, the blog has moved to a new address. We host our blog with Blogger, who is owned by Google. They were no longer supporting the way we publish our blog posts so we had to move it to a different server. This really should not matter to you. If you subscribe to the emails you will still get them.

We don't post a whole lot on the blog these days, Facebook and Twitter are just more convenient. If you want to follow us there you can find us at the following addresses:

Apr 13, 2010

This blog has moved

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