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Lots of people have said to us that this is a "marathon, not a sprint." Neither Brad nor I really like running (at least not anymore), but we do like Crossfit. So instead of a marathon, we have been referring to this as a "chipper." It's a Crossfit workout with a lot of exercises with a bunch of reps that you "chip" away at for a longer period of time compared to our normal workouts. You work until the reps stop. Kind of like this treatment. One dose after another, lots of days in the hospital, working to make the cancer go away.

We have officially started the treatment. Chipping away.

Brad has finished his first 6 rounds of Cytoxan and will his get his first round of Adriamycin and Vincristine tonight. All the formal names of the chemotherapy being dumped into him. Cytoxan looked like any other normal bag of fluid - clear. Adriamycin is actually bright red. They said that he could sweat red, cry red... you get the idea. It is somewhat surreal watching the nurses take such intense precautions to cover themselves when handling these toxic drugs (extra gloves, gowns, etc) and yet they are simply feeding it into Brad's body twice a day. It's kind of hard to comprehend.

In reality though Brad is handling this like a real champ. He hasn't had any side effects of the chemotherapy yet and is feeling good. The oncologist said we could expect more symptoms to come on around day 8 (Sunday - ish) and linger for a week or so. That is when we will see his counts (blood counts) start to drop which will make him more susceptible to fevers.

Brad has his first lumbar puncture today, or spinal infusion. This is to protect some of those "hidden spaces" within his body, including his brain, from the cancer cells. They will infuse Methotrexate into his spinal fluid through a big ol' needle. We are expecting this to happen at least once every cycle. He is thrilled about this (jk)...

What's next: as I mentioned above, he has his first LP here shortly and a new drug concoction tonight. Then, we wait. We wait to see how the side effects might impact him later this week and on day 11 he gets another round of the "red stuff."

Prayer requests: keeping pretty consistent with the last few, pray that the tumor would be disappearing within his body. Pray that time would pass quickly and that our attitudes remain positive. Pray for anybody else going through this situation. We've learned that this is hard and the prayers have lifted us up daily. My prayer is that we could all do the same for other people going through this.

I have said this before, but the encouragement, game recommendations, texts and calls are helping us stay positive. We are through 4 out of who knows how many days (& then some) of our journey. We can do this because of our support system and our unwavering trusting in His greater plan, so thank you.

Stay tuned,

Natalie Whitmer

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