Monday, April 30, 2007

The Scope

Today Troy had his second Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS). The first one was done back in January in conjunction with a needle biopsy. That one resulted in his diagnosis, which, by the way, is Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Esophagus. We heard just the words that we wanted to hear today: "significant esophageal tumor and subcarinal lymph node shrinkage". Music to our ears. We thought that the tumor must have shrunk because Troy has been able to swallow so well, but it sure is nice to hear it from a doctor that has actually seen the before and after.

I guess the screaming writhing dot of a tumor isn't feeling so good right now! I'm loving the visualization therapy. This tumor has no idea who it's dealing with. It sure is nice to hear some good news and to know that the therapy has been working.

Tomorrow is more lab work, PET Scan, CT Scan and oncologist appointment. Wednesday afternoon is an appointment with the surgeon. I have an uneasy feeling that we are on the fast track to surgery! I'm pretty scared about that, but for today I just want to enjoy the good news.

Happy Moments - Praise God
Difficult Moments - Seek God
Quite Moments - Worship God
Painful Moments - Trust God

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Weekend!

We finally made it to the weekend! We had been looking forward to getting out on the water and sailing. Our friends Mary and Larry came down to go sailing with us on Saturday. They brought sandwiches from our favorite sub shop (Neptunes Subs). We headed out on the bay at around 10:00. There wasn't much wind, but it sure felt good to get out there and sail. We have been missing that and we both really needed to feel the relaxation of being out on the water under sail. After our sail we took a dinghy ride and enjoyed the afternoon on the water and in the marina.

On Saturday evening we had dinner with more friends, Jean, Greg and Karen. We ate at a Mexican Restaurant (Melys Tex Mex). It was an enjoyable day and Troy felt good all day long.

On Sunday afternoon one of our favorite artists (Hamilton Loomis) was playing for a party on the patio at a bar that's within walking distance from our marina. Check him out at . We decided not to pass up the opportunity to see him play and we had a great afternoon with several of our sailing buddies - Ken, Craig, Richard, Brian and Brian.
It was a wonderful relaxing weekend that we really enjoyed. We were anxious about the tests and doctor appointments that Troy has scheduled for early next week so it was really nice to get away from the worry for a couple of days.

Next week starting on Monday - here is our medical schedule:

Monday - Endoscopic Ultrasound Scope
Tuesday - Lab work, PET Scan, CT Scan, Appointment with Oncologist
Wednesday - Appointment with Surgeon

This has really starting happening so fast that our head is spinning. We still don't have a date for the surgery, but we are beginning to think that it will be sooner than we thought. Troy has been feeling better every day. He's been having some problems with swelling and pain in the are where the chemo was injected. His ankle on the same side of his body has also had some swelling. Dr. Jac prescribed antibiotics, but his arm is still pretty painful.

A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read. - Mark Twain

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Doctor Visit

We had an appointment with Dr. Jac (oncologist) today. It was basically a check up to see how Troy handled the chemo and to talk about the next round of scans. The scans (PET Scan and CT Scan) should be scheduled for next week. After that we will know more about when the surgery will be scheduled.

We will also find out that the tumor has shrunk so much that it is no longer visible, even using the latest and greatest technology known to mankind. No harm in dreaming, but seriously, Dr. Jac is pleased that Troy is able to eat and swallow so well. That could only mean that the nasty tumor has gotten lots smaller and is writhing in it's death throes. I'm picturing a screaming dot of a tumor that is withering away just waiting for the surgeon to cut it out and throw it away (or maybe perform some kind of torturous tests on it!). How's that for visualisation therapy?

We are planning to head down to Different Drummer this weekend and, if we are lucky, do a little sailing. It's been too long since we've been out on the water with the wind in our sails.

Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety or the handle of faith. - Henry Ward Beecher

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Quick Update

Nothing new to report. Troy is feeling a little better each day. We are looking forward to doing a little sailing this weekend. We are thinking about sailing over to Double Bayou for a long weekend. It's still all up in the air right now, but we really want to try to take some time to do some sailing and just enjoying life in general before Troy has his surgery.

Troy has an appointment with his oncologist on Thursday. We expect him to schedule the next round of tests (PET Scan and CT Scan) to let us know how much the tumor has shrunk. After that the surgeon and oncologist will confer and decide when to schedule the surgery. We are anxious to put this behind us, but we are dreading it at the same time. I think this is a good bible verse to remember today:

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Luke 12:25 NLT

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Company Picinc

On Saturday we went to my company picnic. It was at a beautiful private resort called Terra Verde. Lots of great trees, a pond, golf course - it is a really beautiful place and we couldn't have asked for better weather. Lots of co-workers were there. There was plenty to do, good BBQ and lots of events for everyone. They had sumo wrestling which was pretty amusing. The contestants each put on a giant sumo suit and helmet. A lot of the fun was watching people get into the suits and getting up after they fell down in them. It was fun visiting with everyone, especially the co-workers from other offices that I don't see often. We really enjoyed the afternoon.

There were lots of prizes given away by drawing. The Super Grand Prize was a 42' plasma TV! I won an HP printer/scanner/copier which was really nice since I have been talking about buying one anyway! The prize drawings were lots of fun and the great part was that everyone (all employees) ended up winning something.

Troy felt good almost all day. He made it through the whole picnic feeling fine. He didn't start to feel bad until we got home later that afternoon. It's been a really busy weekend, so I hope he didn't overdo it.

He's been feeling good today (Sunday). We went to church is morning and even did a little yard work this afternoon. So far, so good.

When you do not know what to do or which way to turn, smile. This will relax your mind and let the sunshine of happiness into your soul. -Napoleon Hill

Double Bayou

The first time we went to Double Bayou we sailed our boat over - I think it was October of 2005. It was the boat that we had before Different Drummer, a 27' sailboat named Storyville. We knew we wanted to sail to Double Bayou because we had heard that it was a great destination, so we set out with a hand held GPS and our Campbells Cruising Guide. We were so excited to be out on the water. We were pulling both of our kayaks behind us and were ready for adventure.

We had never even crossed the Houston Ship Channel before, so we were a little anxious too. We had a wonderful crossing, boy were those big tankers scary looking!

Dolphins followed us for part of the trip (how cool is that?).

We were on top of the world. We had never sailed so far away from our slip and we were thrilled that we actually found what we were looking for.

Thanks to the Campbells Cruising Guide we made it safely into the bayou. We were amazed at the peace and quiet. We made our way up the east fork of the bayou and tied our boat up to a tree!

The serenity and peace and quiet were indescribable. I can't remember the last time that I could relax and listen to the sounds of nature without hearing one man made noise. We watched a beautiful sunset and then the most amazing moon rise that I have ever seen. It was a big, giant full moon rising over the bayou - incredible.

It was Troy's birthday and I gave him an MP3 player with some of his favorite music already loaded. Troy still says: "It was my best day ever, and I've had a lot of good days". We sat in the cockpit enjoying the moon rise until the mosquitoes drove us inside.

The next day we took our boat as far up the bayou as we could go. We were amazed at how far that turned out to be. We saw an alligator and lots of birds. We saw a kingfisher. I thought that was cool, I surprised myself by knowing what it was!

On our way home we were worried that we might need additional fuel so we decided to stop at a small bait/shrimp place that we had seen on our way in. We figured that they might be able to drive us to a gas station for some fuel. We were right. It is called Pirates Landing and we later discovered that is it owned by Ernestine's sister Diane. The young man that was working that day drove Troy to the local store for fuel and then told us that we should tie up at Channel Marker 17 if we were hungry - they have great burgers.

We decided to give it a try - who can resist a great burger? We secured the boat and walked into the bar/restaurant. I forgot to mention that this was a Tuesday - mid morning and it turned out that we were walking into a local bar where the regulars were having lunch and/or a few beers. It was kinda dark in there and everyone turned to look at us as we walked in. I thought to myself - self - this is really scary, but I had Troy by my side so we endured the stares and took a seat at the bar. I was feeling really awkward right up until we placed our order - two Miller Lights and two burger baskets. That's all it took. Everyone turned out to be really friendly and, of course, the burgers are legendary (not to mention all the great seafood). Channel Marker 17 is a really cool place and everyone is friendly. If you ever make it over to Oak Island, you gotta visit!

We were sitting there enjoying our pre-lunch beers when a woman came running downstairs (turns out Jimbo - and now Ernestine - live upstairs) yelling "Jimbo asked me to marry him!!!!" She was so excited. That's how we met Ernestine. Over the next two years we have been sailing over there whenever we get a chance. We have made many many great friends and have many stories to tell. Who knows, maybe some of them will make the blog!

Here's Jimbo - - -

And Ernestine - - -

And Channel Marker 17 - - -

Here's a test to find out if your mission on earth is finished: If you're alive, it isn't. - Richard Bach

Jamie's Birthday Party

Happy Birthday Jamie!

On Friday Troy picked me up form work and we drove down to Different Drummer for the night. We had plans to drive over to Oak Island or Double Bayou (close to Anahuac) to our friend Jamie's birthday party. We had been looking forward to this party since Troy had been in the hospital. He felt really good that afternoon and we were both excited about see all of our friends in Oak Island. We had a great drive over and I think Troy was really looking forward to one of Ernestine' famous cheeseburgers. We got there and greeted everyone. They all said Troy was looking great. Ernestine was working her butt off in the kitchen (we aren't the only ones that love her burgers!). There was a big crowd and everyone was having a good time. Troy got that cheeseburger and tater tots that he wanted and we went out back on the patio to share it. As soon as he started eating he felt sick. He had to go out to the car for a few minutes, but he did manage to come back and finish his share of the burger. After that, he never really felt good the rest of the night. He spent about 30 minutes resting in the car, then he came back in to the party, but we left pretty soon after that. (Don't worry Ernestine - we'll be back for more burgers)

It's really strange how the chemo and radiation recovery have been affecting Troy. He will be feeling great one minute then nauseous and tired the next minute. I think he is feeling better everyday though, so hopefully he will be feeling lots better by next week. I think he would like to make it down to the boat to do a little work. That would probably work wonders for his morale!

People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember the way you made them feel. - Anonymous

Friday, April 20, 2007

Fun on a Boat

Here's a picture of one of many ways to have fun on a boat!

Hopefully we won't overdo it this weekend, we have a lot planned and I want to make sure Troy gets plenty of rest too! I'll post on Sunday.

I believe in the sun, even when it is not shining. I believe in love, even when I don't feel it. I believe in God, even when He is silent. -Unknown

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Thursday night

Hi all, It's Thursday night and we're just hanging out getting ready for a trip to our boat, We've got a party to go to Friday night, hoping I can hang in there for it, then a company picnic on Saturday, once again hoping I can last though it.. we'll see how it goes. Not too much else going on here, lots of sleep for me.

It doesn't look like we'll get the boat out of the slip until maybe next weekend so I won't have any sailing stories to tell yet, I do plan to go to the boat this coming week and do some work on the windlass, install a new depth sounder (a good thing to have in Galveston Bay) and stuff like that, I look forward to talking about that kind of stuff instead of medical junk.. Troy signing off.

He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm. Proverbs 13:20 NLT

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Another Day

Not much new news to post. Troy has been typically feeling good in the mornings but not so good by the afternoon/evenings. He is really wants to start feeling better, so it's frusterating to feel "sick and tired" as he puts it. We are looking forward to a busy weekend, I just want to make sure that he doesn't overdo it.

I thought that I would post some sailing pictures and adventures tonight, but aparently there is a problem with photo uploads on Blogger, so that will have to wait.

A heart at peace gives life to the body. Proverbs 14:30

Monday, April 16, 2007

Ringin' the Bell

Wooo Hoooo!!!! Troy's done. No more radiation or chemo. There is a tradition in the radiology department, when you have your final treatment you get to "ring out". Troy got to ring out today and Jessica went with him for his last treatment. The sign says:
"Ringing Out"
Ring this bell
Three times well.
A toll to clearly say:
"My treatment's done,
this course has run,
and I am on my way!"
Now it's time to rest and recuperate and just get to feeling better and stronger. We would like to ask everyone to keep praying, the battle is only half only over.
Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1 NLT

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Weekend

We have been enjoying our weekend at home. Troy is feeling OK, but really tired and fatigued. It is frustrating to him because he needs to rest so often. He will be finished with his radiation treatments on Monday and then we will have to wait a couple of weeks before the doctor orders another round of tests (PET Scan / CT Scan). That will tell us how much the tumor has shrunk. After those tests the doctors will start scheduling the surgery. The oncologist mentioned that there would possibly be more chemo after the surgery (depending on what they find during surgery). That is the first time he has mentioned anything like that. We are both very anxious about the surgery and the thought of more chemotherapy.

You know, it's interesting how you can go to church and your pastor will say exactly what you need to hear. Last night he reminded us that we can leave our troubles at the cross and nothing is too big for God. I just need to remind myself daily to put this in God's hands.

We had a great afternoon. Jessica's (Troy's oldest daughter) birthday is one Wednesday, so we all went out to lunch at a local Mexican restaurant. Everyone enjoyed themselves:

Here's our gang - - - - - - - -

Jessica and her husband David:

Shawn and her boyfriend Josh:

Victoria (Tori) and her boyfriend Danny:


Also at the party were Suzette (Jessica's mother) June (Jessica's grandmother) and Brian (Jessica's brother). We all had fun and ate too much!

Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. Isaiah 65:24 NLT

Friday, April 13, 2007

Home Sweet Home

Troy was released from the hospital at about 7:00 PM and we didn't waste any time getting out of there. It's been a long week and we were both anxious to get home.

We're home! It sure does feel good to be here. What an exhausting week. Harley is glad we are home too! I think he missed us. We are both tired and glad to be back in our bed. We are definitely gonna sleep well tonight.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 NLT

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Methodist Hospital

This is our 4th day here and tomorrow is the last day for Troy to receive chemo. I'm not sure if it's good luck or bad luck to end your chemo on Friday the 13th but, since we aren't superstituous, I guess it doesn't matter. Just a coincidence.

Troy is feeling tired and nauseous today and he just looks like he doesn’t feel good. Still, all in all, we are pleased that this round of chemo hasn’t been harder on him. Hopefully next week he will be able to rest and recuperate.

Our friends from our Small Group came to visit and pray with us tonight. We are so fortunate to have friends like Greg and Jean and Hollis and Dara. I can never express with words how much their prayers and support have meant to us. During this experience we have really come to realize just how blessed we are to have the support of so many wonderful friends and family.

We are also blessed with this wonderful hospital. As I mentioned earlier, we are in the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy Bone Marrow Transplantation. This section of the hospital is really specialized since bone marrow transplant patients are treated here. There are special air filters and everyone who visits this wing must enter double doors and wash their hands before entering the wing. Food trays must be passed in and out through a double door system into the room. No live plants or flowers are allowed either. Haven’t figured that one out, but there must be a reason.

The staff is wonderful and Troy has received the best care. The nurses and the PCAs all remember us from our last visit and they have been so nice to us. Troy is even planning to do some carpentry work for one of the PCAs. The lady who cleans the room made this cute little towel holder for our bathroom sink:

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Halfway Through!

We are halfway through Troy's last round of treatment. Just two more days of chemo and three more days of radiation. Then more testing and we will be praying that all of these weeks of treatment have shrunk the tumor down to nothing!

Troy is feeling a little more nauseous this evening, but the nurse was just in to give him some medication for that. She also just started another bag of chemo. He is getting the chemo through his IV 24 hours a day until about 8:00 PM on Friday. I would post another picture of him, but it wouldn't look too different from the ones the other day, except the sad look is for real now. I can tell that he is starting to feel the effects of the chemo by the look on his face.

This afternoon we took a walk around the hospital. It made me realize once again that The Methodist Hospital in the Houston Medical Center is an amazing place. So much going on - so much wonderful, cutting edge medical treatment. We feel priviliged to be able to have Troy's treatment done here. People come from all over the world to be treated for cancer here. We saw the beautiful chapel here. They have prayer meetings every morning.

Hi All

Troy here, I thought i'd bettter post a little something to let ya'll know it's all good here, I just got back from a ride on the stationary bike and a short walkaround.. Deana's off to the career and now it's time for me to just sit here and read and veg out I guess.. thanks to all our friends and we'll see you all soon.. Troy

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Hospital - Day 2

Here we sit. Second day in the hospital. Troy's feeling a little more nauseous this evening and feeling less like eating. Last night was a little difficult with the sleeping arrangements because they put the IV in his right arm, which is usually my side to sleep on - not to mention that Troy's right handed. They couldn't use the left arm again because the chemo left a large bump and it needs time to heal. Overall we are doing well though.

Troy goes down to receive his radiation treatment every day around 11:15 am. Last time he was in the hospital, we thought that it was interesting that he had to be transported to radiation via a gurney, he was not allowed to walk, or even use a wheelchair. They told him that was "procedure". This time he has been determined to walk himself to radiation. It worked out fine yesterday, we just walked down there before they started the IV for the chemo, so what could they do? Today, they sent a patient transporter to get him (with the gurney). He told her that he wanted to walk. She didn't know what to do - I'm sure she was worried about her job if she cambe back with an empty gurney. Troy assured her that he would clear it with his nurse. the nurse OK'ed his requested and gave them his chart. So - Troy got his way and walked to radiation. Apparently the radiologist was quite amazed so see someone who is receiving chemo walking to radiation. It makes me think that we are so fortunate that he is such a healthy person (other than this little setback!). A little cancer can't keep my pirate down!

Monday, April 9, 2007

It's not so bad

Troy here, It's not so bad, just waiting and watching t.v. and napping at times, almost done with the cisplatin and ready to start the 5fu.. oboy.. things are good, Deana is a big plus for me, she takes care of me!! No complaints.

Here we go again

Deana here -

Well, we're back again at Methodist Hospital for Troy's last round of Chemo. Just playing the hospital waiting game. We are finally settled into our room and the dreaded IV has been started after the second try. They haven't started the chemo yet, but we know from experience that it takes several hours for the first round of Cisplatin and then he will have to have 4 rounds of 5-FU and each one of those takes 24 hours. That means that the sooner they start, the better our chances to get out of here at a decent hour on Friday. We are nervous about this time because the radiologist said that this round of chemo would be more difficult. I just hope Troy doesn't get too sick and feel too bad.

We are happy to be back on the Cell and Gene Therapy and Bone Marrow Transplant Floor. The rooms are all private and the staff is great. We were hoping to have a room here again. It sure makes it easier for me to stay here with Troy and be able to go to work, etc.


Well - here we are hours later and they finally started the Cisplatin at 5:00 PM. We are still playing the hospital waiting game. He's not really as sad as he looks, I think he's just tired of me taking his picture! He just finished eating a whole BLT with chips. I'm glad he has an appetite right now and that he is able to eat! Dr. Jac (his oncologist) was just here and he was pleasantly surprised that Troy was eating so well. We were definitely encouraged by that.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Getting Started

Deana here -

This will be our first attempt at blogging. We are planning to share the blog, so I guess we will both be posting from time to time.

It's been a "crazy weather weekend" here in Houston. I think the high today is in the 4o's. We came home from Different Drummer early on Saturday because of the rain and cold. We went to church early and ended up having the whole family over for boiled shimp. We had to hide easter eggs in the house for Kayla and Zada - too rainy and cold outside. That was lots of crazy fun. There were at least 20 people here. Troy and Kenny entertained us with some singing and guitar picking. Good food and lots of fun.

Today we are preparing for another week in the hospital for Troy, starting tomorrow. A week of chemo and radiation. This should be the last round. I know he's not looking forward to that. I wish I could do something to make it easier for him.

Happy Easter! Christ is risen!