From Elaine's CaringBridge Site
Journal entry by Laura Roberts — 12/9/2015
It's been a while since I posted an update. I apologize if you have been wondering how Elaine is doing. Elaine has been doing well. We had a great Thanksgiving. Elaine felt good. We certainly gave thanks for each of you. We are so thankful that God has placed Elaine on your heart and that you are praying for her and us as we journey through the rollercoaster of the unknown.
We are coming to the end of another cycle of chemo. Elaine received chemo (vincristine) yesterday and she will receive chemo (vincristine) next Tuesday but then have the week of Christmas off. Unless something unexpected comes up we won't even have to go to Children's the week of Christmas. We haven't missed a week at Children's since the middle of May when we started this nightmare. God has worked out the timing of the holidays so that Elaine has felt and will feel her best over Thanksgiving and Christmas and I am very thankful for that.
Elaine has been a trooper through this round of chemo. You may recall from earlier posts that irinotecan has made Elaine violently ill in the past. Elaine took that for 5 days at the beginning of November and again the first week of December. The first week of November was terrible. Elaine was very sick. It was horrifying. I had to call in reinforcements because the look on Elaine's face that week; I thought she was done fighting. She felt so bad and she was so sick. It broke my heart. However, we are blessed with a psychologist through Children's that Elaine loves and can talk to easily. She was able to help Elaine through that week and help her to get her fight back which was a big relief to me and to Brent. This last round of irinotecan was not as bad on Elaine. In fact she did the best of the four times she has taken irinotecan. I'm not sure (and will most likely never know) if the difference was how aggressive we were with the nausea medicine or if it was a difference in her body having the same medicine four weeks before versus twelve weeks before and because her body "remembered" it wasn't as bad. Most likely it was God showing us mercy and He worked it out for us. All of that to say how grateful we are for how well Elaine tolerated this most recent round of irinotecan.
Elaine has been taking daily radiation since early November in addition to the chemo. We are very happy that her last radiation treatment is Monday, December 14th. She has done well during the radiation. Now that we are at the end her skin is red where they are radiating but it is not too painful and Elaine has followed their instructions about applying lotion to the red areas. Elaine is tired but has been since all of this started in June so who can say what is attributed to the radiation versus the chemo.
Our next PET scan will be December 29th. Elaine doesn't have any pain in her foot, shoulder or hip which is very encouraging. I'm very hopeful that the scan will show improvement in the shoulder and hip and that the foot continues not to show up on the scan. Please pray this is so and that there are no new areas revealed in the scan. Before last scan Elaine was having shoulder pain so I didn't feel good going into the scan. That shoulder pain seems to be gone right now. Even last night she and I were tugging at something with Teddy and I noticed that she was doing it with her left arm which is the one with the cancer. I tugged hard and she did too and I didn't see her flinch at all. After the scan we will return to The Chilton but only for an overnight stay. Two of the three chemo drugs that Elaine will receive are new to her so please pray that she tolerates them well.
I'm sure you are all wondering how Teddy is making it or better stated how we are making it with Teddy. Elaine really loves Teddy. I have to say that out loud to myself periodically. He is a sweet puppy but like puppies are he is in to everything. From getting in the dishwasher when I am trying to load the dishes to chewing shoes or rugs; Teddy is keeping life interesting and even more busy. Teddy is social and loves to be around people. He lets you know about it if you leave him by himself in a room. Teddy loves the Christmas tree and was the first to leave a present under it this year. Now the real presents are under the tree and he gets scolded regularly for trying to open the presents or remove ornaments from the tree. Teddy has been trying to help me type this update so any typos are his. Did I mention how much Elaine loves Teddy? At four months old Teddy is already eye to eye with Pretzell, the Beagle mix. Teddy's paperwork said he is part Cocker Spaniel/part Bassett Hound. The vet said Teddy is part Beagle/part Terrier. We think Teddy has a Lab head and that his body is more Beagle. You really haven't lived until you've done a photo shoot with three dogs. All in all Teddy is good and he has a stocking hanging up so I guess he is staying.
I think that is about all I have right now. I will post again after we get the PET scan results. I hope everyone has a happy, safe and healthy Christmas. I, myself, will be happy to see 2015 leave! A very heartfelt thank you to each of you for everything you have done for us since Elaine's diagnosis. God has provided so many blessings throughout this journey. He has been faithful to show His strength in our weakness and so much more in the last six months. Merry Christmas!
Be merciful and gracious to me, O God, be merciful and gracious to me, for my soul takes refuge and finds shelter and confidence in You; yes, in the shadow of Your wings will I take refuge and be confident until calamities and destructive storms are passed. I will cry to God Most High, Who performs on my behalf and rewards me (Who brings to pass His purposes for me and surely completes them)! Psalm 57: 1-2
Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart. Psalm 37:4
Jesus said to him, You do not understand now what I am doing, but you will understand later on. John 13:7
Rejoice and exult in hope; be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation; be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12
Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight and understanding. Proverbs 3:5
But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people. For to you is born this day in the town of David a Savior, Who is Christ (the Messiah) the Lord! Luke 2: 10-11.