Roger Slideshow

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Also Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Well, Andrew has--with great patience and perseverance--just finished his instruction to a very tech-unsavvy mom. Thanks to his dogged determination to get me to this spot, here I--Karen-- am, actually onstage and ready to communicate! Thanks again, son. And we do have new news to communicate to all of you, our dear friends and family, who have been praying so faithfully for us for all of these months (and years).
Roger's latest visit to Dr. Stadtmauer's office was this past Wednesday, September 3. We returned from that visit at 7:00 p.m., just in time to attend the viewing of our dear friend, Nancy Macha, who had died of breast cancer five days before. Very sobering, indeed. In so many ways the Lord has shown us that it is He who ultimately determines our first breath and our last--and that truth has been our great comfort, as well.
A few minutes ago we spoke with Dr. Stadtmauer's office and received the report from the blood tests taken on Wednesday. The results show that Roger's protein levels are at a very low 0.1! This is actually the lowest level since his diagnosis six years ago, so this news is really encouraging and a cause for celebration--we are so very grateful.
The flip side to all of this is that the chemo and the additional meds Roger must take every day have very strong side effects, as Andrew indicates on his posting just below. Dr. Stadtmauer hopes to mitigate some of them by the tweaking of chemo schedules and meds over the next weeks/months. Please pray for the Lord's leading on this process.
Thank you again for your faithful prayers and love--you are a continual blessing to us.

September Update

Thanks for being patient as these postings become fewer and further between. As you've probably deduced, this is a good sign. The cancer has been quiet, if not on retreat, and daily dispatches from the front would have been less than enthralling, the "front" having become more Korean DMZ than Omaha Beach.

Dad has been on a four-week cycle of the at-home chemo. While Erin and I were at 225 N. last week he was first hitting the bottom, then coming out, of the low phase following the chemo the previous week. He was extremely fatigued, struggling with the effects of the chemo and of the inevitable host of other meds, but over the course of our visit the color returned to his face, and he was able to participate a little more in the goings on. Dad and I built some shelving in the basement together, which was like old times.

This particular treatment has been more unpredictable and more taxing than Mom and Dad had expected, and Dad has had to bear up under many side effects, including intestinal unpleasantness, fevers, "chemo brain," and a deep, soul-penetrating weariness. On top of this, it has been very hard for him, and Mom, to see many friends and acquaintances also falling ill, often with other forms of cancer, with several dying in recent months. Last week Mom and Dad attended Nancy Macha's funeral, which was a moving experience for them, to state the obvious. (The Clarks are praying for you, Machas, as you grieve.) It is a paradoxical, profoundly "double" experience, facing suffering and death as a Christian. The pain and loss is real, all too real, but so is the promise.

All of which is to preface the good news, of which there are two parts: Dad's counts and levels are all in good places, with the proteins still at .2, which is a great number for a myeloma patient. This means the cancer is at bay, for now, and the chemo will be continued in an effort to keep it on its heels. The second positive development, given the difficulty of the current treatment, is that Dr. Stadtmauer decided last week, in response to Dad and Mom's hope, that it would be safe to extend Dad's cycle from four to six weeks, giving him two more weeks "off" after each dose, more time to recover and, hopefully, to enjoy some normalcy. Please pray that this regimen would be as effective against the myeloma while giving Dad and Mom more "quality" down time.

Thank you for praying. Mom and I are scheduled to have a blogging tutorial, so you should be hearing from her on here soon...but let's not count our chickens. Like the Boeing 787 and the full-service robot butler, this debut has oft been heralded, promised and hoped for, but, as yet...only...(*crickets*).