Getting Re-Started

***Hi everyone, I’m going to use my old blog as a way to keep everyone up to date on how Carol is doing since her cancer recurrence. I always wondered what it would take for me to blog again, and now I have an answer! Here’s where things stand right now:***

Up to this point, Carol’s triple negative breast cancer had been in remission for nearly six years. And because Carol’s cancer typically does not recur after five years, her doctors told us that unless she had symptoms, there wasn’t really any need to get scans done. But despite this, we pressed to have a CT/PET scan done, and they revealed that her cancer had recurred in a single lymph node in her chest. This of course was terrible news, but believe it or not, there was some good news here as well. First off, it was very good that we caught the cancer this early, before there were any symptoms. In addition, the cancer seemed to be limited to a single location, rather than being more widespread – this also was very good news.

Since that initial diagnosis in early April, we have been speaking with doctors to figure out the best course for treatment. And three separate sets of doctors have provided us with three completely different approaches. What we have discovered is that because Carol’s type of cancer is not common, there is not a standard course of treatment that is prescribed. Add to this that cancer treatment as a whole seems to be undergoing a paradigm shift where doctors are increasingly interested in treating cancer more specifically, instead of with broad treatments that affect cells of the entire body.

And so after many conversations, we have decided to get an additional, more comprehensive biopsy this Monday which will provide us with more information on the tumor, and whether there are more novel approaches that we can take besides the standard chemotherapy/radiation regiment. Hopefully after this biopsy, we will have a much clearer understanding of what treatment option makes the most sense for us moving forward. In some way, we are starting all over again, which is disappointing. But at the same time, Carol and I feel much more confident with the team that we have at University of Washington, which is a big encouragement to us both.

So many of our friends and family have been asking how they can help, and the answer right now is that until we know what treatment we will be doing and when it starts, there’s not a whole lot anyone can do. But the moment that our situation becomes clearer, we will let people know how they can help (food chain, fundraising, etc.). Thank you, everyone. We are so touched and encouraged by your prayers and support. Please keep Monday’s biopsy in your prayers, and know that Carol and our family are in good spirits, and are prepared to fight this thing, and WIN!

The Mulberry Tree in Bloom

I have made some efforts in sprucing up the blog the last few weeks – I think it looks a lot better than before, but am open to suggestions.  As long as the suggestions are constructive and not limited to:

“Your blog is ugly, fix it.”

One of the cool features of this WordPress theme is that it allows me to use a rotation of pictures for the header at the very top.  So every time you visit, there will be a different picture up there.  I have tried to choose humorous pictures for the most part – one of me menacing my younger daughter, another one of me asleep on the couch, and one of my wife pretending to be a pirate.  I did this consciously because so much of the content that I write tends to be very sober and serious, I thought it might help to add a little levity to the blog.  But I also wanted to use realistic pictures because I find it strange when people create blogs to communicate honest thoughts and emotions, but post pictures that look like they were taken with Vaseline smeared all over the lens.  You mean to tell me that you go around the house looking like that all day?  Give me a break.

But one of my pictures is very different from the others – it is this one:

It was created by a tattoo artist in Baltimore, and hopefully will be inked on to my forearm sometime this year, if I can summon up both the courage and the money for it.  But let me tell you the story behind this picture, which I call “The Mulberry Tree in Bloom”. Continue reading “The Mulberry Tree in Bloom”