Saturday, August 30, 2008

Labor Day Weekend in FL

We decided since I have so much going on this week, start chemo soon, and Aden has school off on Monday that we should head to Florida for the weekend. It actually worked out very nice because Dad flew down to get the house ready for the Hurricane. The kids are very exited because they haven't seen him for few months. Unfortunately Mom's work ethic, and the fact that a last minute plane ticket is REALLY expensive, made it so she couldn't make it down to be with us. So if she asks we had a horrible time:) Hopefully Mom and Dad can at least stop by before the get called out again.

We are homing for a nice relaxing weekend before we have to head back and do battle with life.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Actually a pretty easy week

This week has turned out to be pretty quite. I had the Mugga scan on Tuesday and I was supposed to have the PET scan on Thursday but that got rescheduled to next week. I am feeling really good and gearing up for the craziness to start next week. Actually I am a little sore today because I FINALLY got the floors done in the kitchen and dinning room. We wanted to get a couple of thing completed before treatment in case I have to take it easy for a while. A BIG thanks to Chase, Terry, Gerrad and all of those that were more than willing to help. The help and motivation was/is really appreciated. The best part is Shelly loves the floors so that one big one off the list:)

Next week will be interesting:
Tuesday: I get my port put in.
Wednesday: I have the PET scan
Thursday: Oncologist appointment. We are going to review all of the test from the last few weeks. Determine exactly the stage of Hodgkin's (where and how much cancer there is). AND schedule my chemo treatments, we even may have one that day.

I guess its time to get this going so we can get it over with!

"Cancer Suck" T-shirts

Shelly and I have adopted the motto "Cancer Sucks." that how we feel. It sucks but it is definitely not the end of the world and there is so much to be thankful/hopeful/blessed/ feel really good about everyday. How could we see all of the miracles going on in our lives and get feeling down. We know our Heavenly father loves us and is keenly aware of our situation. Yes it sucks and it will be hard at times but we will get through it

This is the shirt that we had made up mostly to for us and those who want to support us. It is also a little bit of a fund raiser to help with all of the fun new doctor bills that we are now dealing with.

Click on the title Cancer sucks to see the shirt.

They are going to be white shirts with black printing or black shirts with white printing. They will be available in all sizes and either regular t-shirt or ladies cut. I have a great guy (thanks Foy graphics ) that will make them up in small batches as they are needed.

They are only $15

Give us a call or email us if you would like one.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Bone Marrow Biopsy

To say that I was nervous going into this would be an understatement. I know that I am going to be going through a lot of tough stuff, but I was definitely the most scared of having the biopsy. You hear of so many horror stories about how painful bone marrow testing/transplants are that I let myself get really worked up. I knew I was going to think about it all night so I actually took the muscle-relaxer/sleep aid that I had. This is the first time that I actually taken anything. I had my biopsy last Friday I got to the doctor and got checked in they got me set up in my room and started the IV. The nurse was really nice but she will NEVER start an IV for me again. It was defiantly the most painful one that I have had so far. After a few minutes they wheeled me (I am having a really hard time getting used to getting wheeled around) into the procedure room. I said hi to Dr McAllister, my Oncologist, and they had my move on the table sunny side up. Within seconds the next thing that I remember is talking to Shelly back in my room. Supposedly I was awake the whole time but I have no memory of it.

The procedure consists of putting a needle in to the bone and sucking out a little bone marrow. Then on the way out the doctor takes a little sample of the actual bone for testing. They then send it off to make sure that the cancer has not spread into my bones. He took the sample from my hipbone in my lower back. Basically if you put your hands on your hips the location is where your thumb is. They do it there because there is really no meat on top of the bone and it is a large bone.

After they let me out of the hospital I went home and slept it off until about 1pm. After that I really felt pretty good. It felt a lot like I got hit in the back with a paintball. It was sore but really not that bad. By Saturday the site was a little tender but not bad at all.

On the bad/scary scale I give it about a 3 out of 10. If I have to do it again it will not be that big of a deal.

Now I have heard that some doctors do this procedure with just local ­­­­­anesthesia. I will never do it that way!! Sedation is definitely the way to go!

Plan of Attack

The plan of attack is I have a few more test to make sure what stage I am at, put the port in my chest and then we start chemo. The Chemo will be every other week and we will start with 8 treatments. Doctor McAllister seems pretty hopeful that the 8 treatments are all that I will need. We may have to add a couple more chemo treatments and possibly some radiation it all will depend how the cancer reacts. But Doctor McAllister said that it is his goal to have me cancer free by Christmas!!


Chest x-ray. DONE They use this to see if they can see any other lumps

Excision of supraclavicular node (ie they opened me up and cut out a sample of the cancer) DONE. They take a look at it at the lab in the hospital and if they have a questions they send it off to another lab. It took about a week to get the results back

CAT scan. Done. They scanned me from the top to bottom. They do this to see any masses in my body. The weirdest part is when they add the dye to the IV. It makes you feel hot and tingly

Bone Marrow Biopsy. Done. see the other blog this one earned its own full comments.

Mugga Scan. Done. They put in an IV and pull out some blood. then they mix the blood with some radioactive isotopes, let it sit for about a 1/2 hour then put it back in my body. Then they lay me on a table take "pictures" actually is more like 2 15min. videos. the hardest part was definitely holding still foe 15 min. at a time with nothing to look at or listen to.

PET scan. like a CAT scan with another solution they put in my IV that makes the "hot spots" glow. They overlay this on the cat scan and can see exactly how much and where the cancer is.

Port. It is placed in my chest so they can hook the IV's up to it and take out blood so I wont need to get poked every time I go in.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

In the begining there was a wierd lump.

It all started with a weird lump the popped up just above my collar bone. I was just getting over a canker sore in my mouth that got a little infected. As it was finishing up I felt the infection run down my neck and it made a big puffy lump right above my collar bone. It stuck around for a couple of weeks so I asked my Stake President (who happens to be a surgeon) how long until I need to start getting concerned about this. He told me, 'if it's not gone in a couple of weeks get it checked out.' A couple of weeks went by and while the swelling did go down the rubbery lump never went away. So I asked a friend from church(who happens to be an ER doctor) what doctor he recommended, he asked what was up, checked the lump out, and gave me the "thats not good"look. That freaked me out. So I got an appointment with our family doctor. He felt my neck and said " Here's what were gonna do". I went across the hall for blood work, downstairs for x-rays, then back upstairs for a work in appointment with a surgeon. Of course nobody will say anything to you so all we had was maybe, and what ifs. This was all on Friday. On Monday they had me in surgery to remove the lump, and lo and behold there were more lumps. The surgeon said that if all goes well they will look at the biopsy here, but if they need to take a closer look they will send it off. They sent it off. A couple days later I got a call from the doctor that said we need you to come back in and get a full body CAT scan because we saw a few things in your chest. So I went back in got the head to toe cat scan and waited for my next appointment. By this time Shelly and I had the puzzle pretty much figured out that I had lymphoma. At the next appointment the Dr. came in and said" well Burke, this is your worst day and this is your best day. It is your worst because you have cancer, it is your best because you have Hodgkin's" He was a little supprized at our reaction because we didn't freak out. We knew it was going to be a challenge, BUT we were feeling very blessed.