6 Months

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It’s been a long time, and so much has happened that I decided it was time for an update on my condition. As I explain what has happened to me, you will see why it’s been hard to do a blog update.

Everything started with that new chemo cocktail that they started me on in August. Each treatment brought more severe side effects. The fourth treatment landed me flat on my back in the hospital. I had a ton of mouth and throat sores that made eating solid food impossible. It got to the point that I could not swallow my own saliva. The new medicine also took away my appetite. Over the course of three treatments I had lost over 20 pounds. The combination of these two side effects plus horrible diarrhea left me weak and in very bad shape by the time Amy convinced me to go to the hospital. Upon my arrival, my white blood cell count was down to 0.2, nearly nonexistent. The hospital gave me IV fluids and nutrition. I slowly made a comeback, but the mouth sores and lack of appetite hung on. After 17 days in the hospital, I was ready to go home. My body was weak and I had to take it slow gaining my strength to walk again. With my appetite coming back, I was ready for some real, home-cooked food. Special thanks to a good friend who set up a meal train for us, and to the volunteers who brought us many delicious meals. They’ve really helped me eat now that I’m home, and I know I’ve gained a little weight thanks to them.

While in the hospital, my stomach started filling with fluid. Because this is the area where my tumors are the worst, this could be a pretty telling sign that my liver is not doing it’s job, and that this chemo probably was not working either. They drained the fluid three times but eventually decided to surgically place a drain in my stomach. Amy has had to learn how to drain the fluid daily.

So, what happens next? I’m going to start another chemo treatment that is essentially one of the three drugs that had been in the old cocktail. This time it will be an oral medicine, however I will still go to the hospital to receive an infusion treatment of another drug every other week. The doctor tells us that if this treatment doesn’t work, I’ve maybe got 6 months to live. This is essentially my last shot. I haven’t given up hope yet, so keep those prayers and well wishes coming. We need them.

 

With Fierce Hope,

Jim

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