Second Cycle of Chemo Underway

From James:

So Young started the second round of chemo on Friday night. This is a higher dose  at 350 mg vs. the previous 250 mg. So far, the main side effect is extreme fatigue. She practically didn’t leave her bed today and was at times incoherent when awake. She will take the chemo pills until Tuesday night. In about two weeks, I’ll drive her up to Baltimore again for an MRI and follow-up to determine what affect the treatment has had on the tumor.

From the outside, it is hard to tell if anything has been happening to the tumor, good or bad, since the first cycle started in late September. Her ability to walk has become worse. Her right arm is less usable. For most of the other impairments (sight, speaking, etc.), I can’t detect a change, although she seemed less tired for the last couple of days last week, before the chemo started.

So Young had her first session of physical therapy on Friday. Travis, the physical therapist, evaluated her ability to move her legs in various ways. She appears to have normal sensation in her legs. The problem is that her right leg is incredibly slow to respond to signals from her brain, and her right foot sort of drags along. Her right leg also gives out entirely (and suddenly) at times, which is the cause of a lot of her falling, even when someone is helping her along. We left the session with practical strategies for helping So Young sit up and “scoot back” in bed. She needs to do exercises while in bed to guard against blood clots, although the medication she is taking will be the best defense against that. Eventually, she may benefit from additional special equipment to compensate for her walking difficulties.

In past years, this would have been a big weekend for So Young, since today was the Marine Corps Marathon. She ran four MCMs and almost completed her fifth, but she had to stop at mile 20 during the fifth (right next to the Washington Monument) because she couldn’t see and just didn’t feel right. A couple of weeks later, she was diagnosed with the tumor. There is a great and clear irony that the woman who ran all those miles just two years ago spent today sleeping, and when she was awake, was barely able to walk.

But a marathon isn’t just about running 26.2 miles on one day. It’s just as much about everything you’ve done up to that point to get to that day: the short runs and the long runs, the times you felt great and the times you felt like you couldn’t take another step. We’ve got to believe that God has prepared us for this time up until now, as difficult as it is while we’re going through it, and that there is still a long road ahead of us.

Thanks everybody, for your prayers, friendship, and sustenance (literal and metaphorical) as we run this race together. Today we received a wonderful meal again, one of many we have received so far since the new diagnosis. We also got many much-needed groceries from a group of ladies in Maryland who have been amazing about helping us since this crisis began two years ago.

Here’s a picture of So Young (right front) with a group of her friends that took her out to lunch on Friday. Like so many others, these ladies have been a tremendous support for  her over the past weeks and years. Mom calls them the “hands and feet of Christ.”

Lunch with Friends

Lunch with Friends


6 Responses

  1. Hang in there, everyone… and remember the darkest period of the day comes right before the dawn! Soon we will hear good news! All of us are praying~ Miss you Shannon, Lindsey, and Audrey! And Nathdaniel and Jacob!

    Aunt Grace

  2. I too thought of So Young yesterday when the MCM was taking place- I had thought I was going to be running it but had to defer but none the less brought fond memories of our running days together at the Marina. So glad to see her out and about with such good friends. Hope to see you all soon. Lots of love and hugs. Debby

  3. I continue to pray for the miracle of the millennium.

    I love you all very much,


  4. Thanks, James, for updating us. It helps us know how to pray.
    Love to you all,

    Barbara Walvius

  5. Praying for your whole family, So Young. James tells of your exhaustion and I am asking God to build you up and heal you during those times of bed rest. I once had a mother ask me why her 13 year old son who I taught suddenly wanted to sleep all the time and could not get his homework done without falling asleep on top of it. I asked her how many inches he had grown in the past six months. It was five inches. I told her that his body was doing what it needed to do: it needed sleep. And so it is with the powerful meds that are making you well. You are resting and sleeping so God can heal your brain without taking energy away from that area. Peace,So Young, your time of resting will be over soon and you will be restored to the energetic level you once enjoyed. And such is our complete faith in the power that God will show to you. I have been asking God to show his power, and He gave us a tangible example of it in the storm that passed our way. We do not doubt that his healing is as powerful. Love to you, Marilyn

  6. Continuing to stand and believe. Our God is with you! Be strong! Praying for you James and So Young!

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