Archive for the ‘Chemo’ Category

Two Years after Diagnosis and MRI Tomorrow
November 12, 2012

From James:

Today marks the two-year anniversary of the original MRI revealing So Young’s brain tumor. It’s an interesting coincidence that we have another important MRI taking place tomorrow, this time to assess the effectiveness of the chemo after the tumor began growing again, this time rapidly on her brain stem.

Once again we want to thank everyone for your prayers and many ways of showing support. A couple of examples: My colleagues at the State Department generously donated money to pay for medical expenses, many of whom have never met So Young or the girls. Also, you may have read a few comments on the blog recently from Seattle. These are friends of Ann, a beloved friend of So Young’s with whom she shared Christ just after the diagnosis. Ann became a Christian, moved across the country, and found a new family of believers to whom she is now a blessing. They’ve been writing on the blog to tell So Young how the legacy she left with Ann has carried over as a blessing to them. It’s such a meaningful thing for So Young to hear. It shows her that her life has made a difference in the midst of suffering. Those are just two examples. There are many more.

I want to ask for your prayers for my coworker Jennifer, who has posted comments on this blog before and continues to show support and concern for So Young. She recently underwent serious back surgery and is recovering. She could really use your prayers as well.

I’ll tweet the results of So Young’s MRI tomorrow, possibly around 4 p.m. or so. Thanks again for everything!

Second Cycle of Chemo Underway
October 28, 2012

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

Chemo Starting Tonight
September 28, 2012

From James:

We got the pills today, and in a couple of hours, So Young will start chemotherapy for her brain tumor.

I want to thank everyone for your notes on the blog, tweets, emails, phone calls, personal visits, etc. The encouragement is tremendous. I read every note to So Young. I’m not always able to respond because things are crazy, but I want you to know she is blessed by each and every one of your words and especially your prayers.

A couple of nights ago, So Young was extremely tired, as she has often been of late, lying on her bed and crying quietly, heartbroken and afraid about the progress of her illness. Without any context she said, “I want someone to run the race for me.” I knew she was talking about the half marathon we signed up for in October that we won’t be able to run. Part of her wants me to run it alone, but we both know I need to be here and can’t. She wishes I could run it in her name, like she ran her first marathon with my name emblazoned with a Sharpie across the back of her shirt.

That random, out-of-context statement, so typical of So Young if you know her well, is an apt metaphor for what’s happening right now. So many of us are “running the race” for her when she can’t. Praying and fasting on her behalf. Providing words of encouragement. Bringing meals. Visiting just to talk. Cleaning. Keeping an eye on her to make sure she’s well. Making sure she takes her medication.

Thanks for running the race for So Young. We’re at mile 20 with an incredible number of great people supporting us as we go. I would ask you to pray that the chemo will do its job, but I know you already are.