Sep 29, 2010

Conception & Clinical Trial Update

No, we're not pregnant. But we wanted to update everyone on the latest in this department so you know how to pray for us. And we'll give a quick little update on Roger's clinical trial so you can pray for that also.

Now that Roger has started and been on the clinical trial for almost two months, we are not allowed to conceive naturally. One of the clinical trial drugs causes birth defects as it alters genes, DNA, yadda, yadda. And yes, I'm going to share this because I keep getting asked, the only form of birth control that is clinical trial approved are condoms because obviously I have to be off birth control pills in order to get pregnant and they don't want us to take any chances of getting pregnant. Now that we cannot conceive naturally, the next option is artificial insemination. I visited my the ob-gyn/midwife practice we use and although they are interested in starting to do this procedure in their office, I decided I did not want to be their first since they will not be doing any testing of reproductive capabilities and just doing the insemination. Since I have never been pregnant I do not know if I can get pregnant and I'd like to have that checked before we start using up the nine chances we have saved at the cryobank. Now we have to get referred to a fertility center and we found out last week none of the fertility centers in Austin accept our insurance. After an interesting phone conversation with our insurance, their solution is for our primary care manager (PCM) to refer us to a fertility center here in Austin anyway. The insurance will deny it then they have to find us a fertility center that accepts our insurance. I don't know how long that will take or if it's going to be that easy, but you know we will keep you informed here on the blog. We are asking for prayer for the wait and for God's direction through all of this process. We definitely don't want to do what we want but to do His will so we do what's best for His kingdom and His glory. If we are not meant to have children of our own and we are supposed to foster or adopt, that's what we want to do. And we'll definitely need clear direction for how far to go in this process and when we should stop. So please pray for us to go to God in every part of the process and listen to Him and to be have peace and joy with what He wants us to do.

As for Roger, he is almost done with the second cycle of the clinical trial (each cycle is 28 days). His first MRI, echo-cardiogram and blood tests at MD Anderson will be next Monday, October 4th. He will follow-up with his oncologist and the rest of the clinical trial gang on Tuesday. This meeting will most likely not be the decision making meeting to continue the trial. That will most likely be done at the end of the fourth cycle with the second MRI in December. Of course we'll keep everyone updated here on the blog.

So now you know what's going on with us and how to pray for us. We really appreciate the prayers. Thanks!


Sep 25, 2010

Sewing Projects-One Hour Dress

So I have been on a sewing kick lately. I was introduced to a blog recently that had a list of free online patterns and I found a few I wanted to try out. I decided to start with this One Hour Dress pattern. It was really neat to try and I learned a lot by experimenting. This was my first time to sew with knit fabric. And as a result I definitely know why I always avoided knits. It definitely took me more than one hour to make it. Even a few of the commenters said it took them about two hours. I even made the cheetah print belt to go with it. I have been wanting a cheetah print belt for a while to jazz up simple dresses but couldn't find one at all. So I decided to make it. Of course, as always, I used coupons from Jo-Ann's to purchase the fabric for the dress and belt. I love coupons.

I also created a simple craft this week called a t-shirt necklace. A friend told me about it and I was intrigued enough to Google it and try it. It was a lot of fun, super easy to make and looked really cool with the outfit I wore. I am hoping to start another dress this week to go along with a dress I made last week and I'll blog about it when I'm done. I have a few other sewing projects lined up which should keep me busy for a while.

Sep 14, 2010

Serve Austin Sunday

Well our last Austin New Church Serve Austin Sunday project held on August 29th was a huge success! You can see pictures from the Communities in Schools Extreme Classroom Makeover by clicking on the image to the left. It was so cool to make over a room that would help kids feel more comfortable talking with the CIS counselors and enable CIS to better serve these kids and their families. Great job everyone!

Our next Serve Austin Sunday will be huge! We are hosting a HELP garage sale party on the morning of October 31st at the school where our church meets. All proceeds will go to HELP which is dedicated to ending extreme poverty by rescuing orphans, restoring their hope and renewing their communities.

So would you please look through your homes, garages and sheds for items you would like to donate to our garage sale party! We will be collecting donated items so you can bring them to us or if we can, we will get them from you. If you would like to volunteer at the garage sale or donate baked goods or breakfast tacos, please let us know.Thanks!!

Sep 7, 2010

One Month Clinical Trial Check-up

From Holly: As we drove into Houston, I saw all the buildings flying past us and I just got this overwhelming feeling because of what we were doing there and why we were going there. And I just stopped reading to talk with God to myself asking him to help me not worry about today or tomorrow and just live every day, day by day and asking him to help me be the best wife I can be, patient & understanding & there for roger as much as I can. I had a few tears which made my nose run and I used all the napkins we had in the glove box. Le sigh.

From Roger: Wow, Holly is making me follow up her post with mine. No tears, sorry. Yes, so we had our one month follow-up. This was basically to see if my blood cell counts are okay and if so, to increase the chemo dosage. They didn't increase it a whole lot, but this may mean more stoppage while on the chemo and more fatigue. I snapped a picture of my daily regimen for you to admire. The first set of pills on the left are called Lapatinib. Each one of those orange monstrosities are 250mg of signal inhibiting goodness. This is the experimental drug that they have been using again breast cancer and certain types of melanomas. It has been promising for my tumor. I can't eat anything for two hours before I take these and for one hour afterward, so I just get up in the morning and take these first thing and don't eat anything for an hour. My experience so far with these has been okay. These leave me a little loose and I end up having diarrhea a few times a week. Other than that, they're not bad so far. The next row over are my daily 10am pills. Starting from the top is Depakote ER, then two Keppras, both anti-seizure drugs. Below that an allergy pill, kinda like Sudafed-D, but free (thank you taxpayers!) And lastly a multi-vitamin. I've been looking into taking better multivitamins and supplements from USANA, but more on that in another post. The next row to the right are my nightly 10pm pills - same anti-seizure pills that I take in the morning. And last but not least, the chemotherapy pills, Temodar. Everything else but these I take every day. One cycle of therapy is 28 days. I take the Temodar on days 1-7 and 15-21. I have to take them at night but only two hours after eating and then nothing afterward for one hour. In addition, I also take an anti-nausea pill called Zofran (the litttle pill to the left of the Temodar capsules) thirty minutes before I take the Temodar. I have not really had any issues with the Temodar yet except for constipation, but I have been able to combat that with a stool softener, like Colace. They warned me today that with the increased dosage I might be more constipated and might feel more nausea, but we'll see. I'm glad I got the constipation thing pretty much figured out with the Colace, because that was a rough first week.. I mean, have you ever pooped rocks before? It hurts... trust me.

Sitting in the waiting room at the pharmacy was boring as usual today... annoying people with their cell phone ringers going off all loud, phone conversations going on, being called to the desk only to be told to keep waiting because the insurance wasn't finalized yet. One thing caught my attention that I kept hearing though was the pharmacy clerk tell patients what their co-pays were for their meds... $40, $60, $100.. then I look at mine. $9 for 28 days of pills per prescription. Did you hear me? NINE! And that's at a pharmacy!! If I go through the mail order pharmacy it is only $3. The whole picture does not come into focus until you look at the bill for the drugs I picked up today. The Lapatinib is a trial drug, so it is provided to me for free. But the Temodar is not. The total cost for two bottles was $12,300.60. Wait!! What?? Yeah. So, as you may or may not know, the US Army Medically Retired me, so I have Tricare for insurance and the government foots most of the bill. Now, they never pay full price. It looks like they are only paying $8397.60. I am paying $18.00 Why am I sharing this? Because I want to thank you. I want to thank you for not only paying your taxes, but for supporting those that are still serving and those of us that served. It is because of you that I have this chance at life. I was pleased to hear that last week Operation Iraqi Freedom was finally ended. Most of our soldiers there are now in a support role. I met a lot of guys that were injured in Iraq when I was at Walter Reed in Washington, DC and I'm glad that very few, if any, will have to suffer through hell there again. I'm not saying that I didn't support the purpose of going there, but there were some things that the leaders above didn't do right. They failed the men and women on the ground in many ways and I'm glad that they are taking care of the ones that need it. I have no idea where I am going with this, so I'll just end it here. Thanks again to everyone for your prayers and thoughts. We love you and will continue to update you.