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flexibility, confidence, communication

It's becoming more and more clear that this cancer journey is going to require extreme flexibility, continued confidence to never stop asking questions and constant communication.

Since Brad finished his last treatment, the day before Thanksgiving, it's been relatively "slow" in the treatment world, but steadfast in the "feel like crap" portion of our journey. I shared that he felt bad the day of Thanksgiving and days following, but unfortunately a debilitating headache lingered for nearly 6 days with no true explanation except "that the last infusion he got can often times cause headaches."

We have been to the doctor 4 times since Brad finished his last treatment and every time the visits vary in the duration they take. His visits go like this:

1. labs at the draw station

2. then, we go check in at the hematology clinic

3. we wait because it takes 45 min - 1 hr to process his labs

4. & we eventually see his Doctor for the clinic visit.

These visits have taken anywhere from 2 - 4 hours.

Flexibility is key, or else frustration sets in. We know from experience.

As I have mentioned before, Brad is to begin radiation on 12/30 (reminder: this is because radiation has to be done approximately a month after chemo ends). If Brad was not doing radiation, his Arm A should technically be starting again on Monday (12/16). When we went to our visit on Friday there was some concern of delaying treatment for longer than the original 21 day cycle while we wait to begin radiation. I quickly questioned the provider about the timeline remembering the reason behind the delay (radiation). I asked that they communicate with the radiation oncologist to figure out the plan. We asked a lot of questions that visit and provided a lot of "reminders," hence the need to never lose confidence to ask the questions - no matter how silly it may seem. They may be doctors, but they're human too and this plan is our #1 priority.

This visit also called for his first transfusion. He didn't have to get blood, but actually got a blood byproduct called Cyroprecipitate because his fibrinogen was a little low. Nothing major, but 100% necessary.

By the end of the day, his provider communicated with us that everyone had talked (thank the Lord) and they were all comfortable with continuing down the originally planned path of holding chemo treatment and beginning radiation on 12/30. However, had plans changed, Christmas would have been altered completely. Again, flexibility is a must, not just for the two of us, but for everyone close to us.

All that to say - nothing has really changed. Right now he feels good, relatively normal aside from the random stomach aches (mostly do to whatever he most recently ate). He even went to work 3 days last week! We are gearing up to close on our new house and begin our big move tomorrow, more blood draws / doctor's visits and Christmas travels.

What's next: Brad will be getting his port swapped out on Tuesday morning. Right now he only has a single lumen (the place they put the drug into) which is why he had to have a PICC line placed last time we were in the hospital. He will be getting a double lumen port to avoid the need for that again. Minor procedure, but nonetheless a procedure. Aside from that we continue our visits, watch his blood counts and wait to begin radiation with a little Christmas cheer in between.

Prayers: remaining consistent - that Brad would just stay strong and feel normal. That we would get to continue to feel like newlyweds through our first married Christmas. Pray that his port procedure would be a piece of cake and that any fear of the unknowns would be pushed away. That the said "plan" remains and physicians remain confident and communicative in the path we are on.

We love you all and continue to praise our Jesus for each and every one of you.

Brad & Natalie

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