Thursday, July 28, 2011

Round 3 and Still Fighting

Not sure of the time but don't really care. 
Mid Morning lets say.

Thursdays are busy.
As usual, first stop: The Blood Lab for blood work and to check BUN, creatinine levels and white blood counts, potassium, magnesium etc.
We arrive 5 minutes late because I spent too much time applying nail polish. I actually spilled the bottle all over my pretty white bathroom.  Two months ago, I would have been livid at myself but today all I care about is being late and causing the day to be late from the start.

10 minutes to take blood from the IV Port and then off to radiation. We are now more than half way thru. They told us he doesn't have to fulfill the entire 9 weeks now and only 8. Yippee! Or... Hmmm, why is that? I'll ask that question tomorrow or perhaps never.
Henry has lost so much weight that his dreaded mask no longer fits his face and they now have an issue with it. His throat is bright red as if he has spent 6 weeks straight in the hot Gobi Dessert sun with no water, just blaring white-hot sun to the throat and neck. Absolutely zero saliva, dry mouth and earaches. No taste and raspy voice. Sores appearing inside the mouth and on his tongue. Oh Ouch. My heart breaks.
No food now for over a month. I can't imagine not eating for a day let alone an entire month!

On Mondays and Fridays, the doctor wants us to always have a visit to see how things are going. Most all of the lymph nodes involved in the neck have shrunk. You can actually see the effects from the radiation. All but one that is. One was so large it seemed to be growing and creeping up his jawline to almost the eye socket. The doctor measured it on Monday and it showed no signs of taking a quick exit like from a burning aircraft. It's exactly the same size.  All week this week the machine has been mal-functioning so it seems like they are doing over-kill on everyone. That's the rumor in the waiting room anyway.

 Radiation is over for the day so we take the short walk across campus once again for our fun stint in the puke green chairs for chemo.  Joy.

After a quick weigh in and a consult with the Nurse Practitioner we find the BUN and Magnesium levels are off but the chemo will proceed for today but most likely won't happen next week as it will instead be an infusion of Magnesium and who knows what else. 
While there, I got the brilliant idea to ask what the couple from New York asked last week to get the precise staging for this crappy evil disease we are fighting so hard against.
She gives us a quick but thorough lesson on Cancer Staging.

Here's the run down.

2002 American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) TNM Staging System for the Pharynx (Including Base of Tongue,Soft Palate, and Uvula)

T1: Tumor 2 cm or less in greatest dimension
T2: Tumor more than 2 cm but not more than 4 cm in greatest dimension
T3:Tumor more than 4 cm in greatest dimension
T4a: Tumor invades the larynx, deep/extrinsic muscle of tongue, medial pterygoid, hard palate, or mandible
T4b: Tumor invades lateral pterygoid muscle, pterygoid plates, lateral nasopharynx, or skull base or encases carotid artery

Nx: Regional lymph nodes cannot be assessed
N0: No regional lymph node metastasis
N1: Metastasis in a single ipsilateral lymph node, 3 cm or less in greatest dimension
N2: Metastasis in a single ipsilateral lymph node, more than 3cm but not more than 6 cm in greatest dimension, or in multiple ipsilateral lymph nodes, none more than 6 cm in greatest dimension, or in bilateral or contralateral lymph nodes, none more than 6 cm in greatest dimension
  N2a: Metastasis in a single ipsilateral lymph node more than 3cm but not more than 6 cm in greatest dimension
  N2b: Metastasis in multiple ipsilateral lymph nodes, none more than 6 cm in greatest dimension
  N2c: Metastasis in bilateral or contralateral lymph nodes, none more than 6 cm in greatest dimension
N3: Metastasis in a lymph node more than 6 cm in greatest dimension

Stage 0: Tis N0 M0
Stage I: T1 N0 M0
Stage II: T2 N0 M0
Stage III: T3 N0 M0, T1 N1 M0, T2 N1 M0, T3 N1 M0
Stage IVa: T4a N0 M0, T4a N1 M0, T1 N2 M0, T2 N2 M0,
T3 N2 M0, T4a N2 M0
Stage IVb: T4b Any N M0, Any T N3 M0
Stage IVc: Any T Any N M1

Complicated, huh?
When I asked the Nurse Practitioner which one my husband has ... she told me the  last two that I underlined and highlighted. 
I am on my macbook now but too confused and worried to go check out the statistics etc right now. We are 3 hours in and 3.5 hours more to go.

My husband just had to ask "Ok, if next week, I am not well enough or my blood levels are not right, is it like I didn't get my homework handed in on time and it's just an automatic "F" and that's it or do I have to stay after and do a detention later to make it up?"
The nurses all laughed and said "No, you will just be one less chemo treatment. No makeup work."
That sounds well and good but with the way I worry I am concerned this crap may come back and then what?
His staging looks horrible to me, the radiation machine malfunctions and now one less chemo treatment? 

Perhaps I just over worry. I am now worrying that I worry too much. Premature wrinkles?
I'll go check out these stages and survival rates and if I don't pass out from what I discover, I will write on here soon.
Have a wonderful weekend and if I miss a few days, we are fine and probably just resting.
(I still want to escape to Pompeii) 
A Girl can Dream, right?


  1. Hon, don't worry about stages and survival rates. Just be here and now. See what is right in front of you and fight like hell. Nobody has any guarantees, you or I (who have no cancer) could be hit by a bus or suffer some other trauma and be gone in an instant. So treasure what you have and imagine the best outcome. We are all out here praying for you and Henry. Each day brings you closer to the goal of ridding Henry's body of the cancer. Then you can get on with healing and living. Take care Lana

  2. Lana I could not imagine what you are feeling right now I am sure there are so many emotions going through you it is crazy. I wish I had some strong words of comfort and wisdom but I don't . I know you are a strong Lady and I know you will see that Henry gets the best possible treatment through out all of this. You are in my heart ..on my mind and in my prayers Sending you lots of Love and Big Hugs ღSusie

  3. You're a fighter, lana. I am so glad to read that treatment is going well. Take some time this weekend to relax and enjoy yourselves. All my love,


    lana my heart goes out to you and your husband, i hope this link helps so you dont have to waste time looking it up i spent a while looking up stuff and this is the closest i can get for you if u scroll a little more than halfway down the page it gives a clearer meaning to the type of cancer you have mentioned , all my love , stay strong , orla x

  5. Dearest Lana, It breaks my heart knowing that you are both fighting this terrible disease. Please know that you are loved by so many people--and we are all praying for Henry's full recovery. Stay strong, beautiful one! Big hugs,~Marilyn

  6. Lana, you are being so much stronger through this than I know I would be. I'm sure it feels next to impossible not to focus on the stats and nagging worries; but take heart in the progress that Henry is making through this long and arduous journey; I'm glad you have each other (God provides) and have the weekend coming up to rest. I'll keep you in my thoughts & prayers that you both come through this alright in the end (and you will get there, I have faith!) ~all the best, xxx Patti

  7. lana remember you are the exception not the rule. it doesnt matter what those statistics say, you and henry dont fit the norm, because YOU are exceptional, and thats why you will beat it.

  8. Lana, don't worry about the survival rates or how bad it seems..
    If there's a 10 percent chance that just means that some make it and some don't, just as if there were an 80 percent chance.
    We are praying.

  9. Lana iam sure everything is gonna be ok, dont worry..u r a great person and this is just a test to but with a reason: to discover how strong you are and how much you love each other…All things happen for a reason believe me..Our Lord is with you!

  10. I have no wise words, nothing useful to say and I feel useless. All I can say is that I am thinking of you both going on this horrible journey. Statistics often either cheer you wrongly or depress you wrongly and need to be kept in perspective. Every person is an individual and responds differently to the same treatment. Today is all any of us have, we need to live in the now. There are no promises of a tomorrow for any one of us ...... we see apparent miracles frequently around us and we all want to experience one. I wish a wonderful outlook for Henry, you two got plenty of fight so go for it! Carole x

  11. Lana, I only recently found out about all of this, but I've read every blog post, and sobbed all the way through. My husband and I are newly married, a year in September. Reading your words has made me cling onto him like a baby... life is so precious. You are such a strong woman, Lana, and from the way you talk about your husband, he is one hell of a strong man too. You two are a super couple! Don't let this bastard of a villain get either of you down. I know you'll both put up a great victorious fight. Don't bother with statistics... they will only bring you down. For now, enjoy the small victories, they'll give you reason to smile each day. Laugh in the face of such a shitty situation and don't let it get the best of you or Henry. You'll both pull through, I just know it. You're in my thoughts everyday, keep you're head up gorgeous, you're face is too pretty to hide. <3

  12. Well then, I've got good news, actually...quite a few people survived Pompeii, so if your basing your chances on that, you've got a darn good chance! In fact did you know, with a little more knowledge of the situation, almost the entire population could have survived? I know, I full of useless trivia, but can entertain people for hours, even those sitting in puke green chairs. And I don't know how far off his labs were, but sometimes they can be adjusted/corrected with diet, even for people with "Franklins", just thought I would give you something else to google. Remember you can always call or text or email me with any questions.

    Love y'all, now I'm going over to light a candle at:

  13. Looks like some nodes are shrinking!:-)
    That's great Lana!
    Statistics shmatistics!
    Keep on rocking guys!

  14. Hi Lana and Henry xoxo
    Blessings for a Full recovery are headed your way and I specially am asking God to give you strength. I just read your last 2 entries and Lana I want to send you a huge Bear Hug.
    I know how draining and frustrating it is to see a loved one suffer and in pain, and not be able to do anything to take that pain awayor make them better. But I wanted to tell you that Henry is blessed to have you by his side and know that you are doing the best you can to help him get through this.Sometimes the caregiver doesn’t realize how much they are doing to help their loved ones get better and they forget how invaluable they are. I just wanted to remind you that You are a bright light and your strength is going to pull Henry through this. So please take care of yourself and stay healthy he needs his angel by his side ready to kick some butts when ever is needed.
    Many hugs and kisses

  15. It is so hard to "soldier on" but you both are doing it, your hubby can still joke about detention; between the humour you share you hold on and put each treatment behind you. It's all a it...get through it....hang on to your hope while the machines and drugs launch missiles at cancer cells obliterating them.

  16. Lana I only have one thing to say about statistics. Ok well two. One, you will drive yourself crazy with worry and fret over those statistics. Two, has Henry ever seemed like a statistic to you? Or is he an bonafied original. From all you have told us he seems to be a trailblazer so let him blaze and save your worry for another day. Love you girl. We read every word. Love to Henry and to you. Wish I could hug ya.
    Heather /Talerareniah

  17. Lana you and Henry are in my thoughts constantly. I am so sad you have to go through this but it's good that he is at least halfway through the treatment. I don't pay to much attention to statistics - too stressful. Stay positive and strong... Love Sue xxx

  18. Lana I continue to send you & DH many
    (((((((((HUGS & PRAYERS)))))))))

  19. Lana and Henry your in my thoughts and prayers.

    God Bless you both.
    Hugs, DeDe

  20. Hi Lana, Henry sounds like a wonderful man.I am so glad to hear that he can joke around with the nurses.I know that you won't feel like laughing much just now but please know this;we all love you and adore your wonderful,sweet,funny personality.You are as beautiful on the outside as you are on the inside.You are strong and you and Henry are going to beat this cancer,slowly but surely.It all starts with baby steps but you and Henry will get there.I am praying for Henry to be cured.You are constantly in my thoughts.Try to stay positive and be strong.Sending healing and loving thoughts to you,Dear Lana and Henry.Big hugs,Julia xxxxxxxx

  21. I keep reading your blog Lana and praying for your husbands full recovery!
    Our worlds probably will never meet but our prayers do!! I think in some way...your time on YouTube has prepared you and Henry for the fight of your life! I miss you on you brightened my day. Now you must save all your energy for henry's battle! God bless you both! oh and thank you for your blog about what you and henry are going through , it gives us all insight and empathy to understand what a person goes through with cancer. XOXO kathy

  22. My thoughts and prayer are still with you. Please, don't lose faith. Keep fighting. We all love you and your family. Never mind the wrinkles. They are signs of wisdom, I have heard ;-)

  23. Lana,
    I am so happy I went back into my blog and checked the new posts. I almost missed this one from you. I usually keep updated on Twitter when you post a blog. It goes right to my phone so I dont miss it. My thoughts and prayers are with you and Henry. Keep your head up, there will be better times ahead. Enjoy your weekend off. I look forward to your next post. I cannot wait for the post where you say that Henry is getting stronger! I have faith that a post with those words will come. Until next time.
    Kathy xoxoxoxoxoxo

  24. Lana,like someone else said just stay in the now. no one is promised tomorrow. Stay possitive, some people who are stage 4 and told to go home to die never do. They fight and do what it took plus a possitive look at it. And are still alive today years later. Nothing is impossible, nothing. Besides Lana he has the best reason to fight, YOU. You keep him going. You stand beside him the whole way. Doing anything and everything he needs. You are beside him day and night fighting right beside him. What more does a man need. And you and your husband both have all of us praying and loving you both through this. Never give up and never stop fighting. As they say it's not over til the fat lady sings. Sorry there is no fat lady in sight so keep fighting. If I see one I will punch her lights out, lol. Just trying to give you a laugh along with the support.

  25. I'm with everyone else here...Statistics be Damned! Do what you can and let God do the rest. He is the great HEALER!

  26. ...On a lighter note...I also spilled red nail polish on my WHITE COUCH. Luckily for me it's leather so I wiped it off with polish remover. Now I have a 'really white' clean spot on my off-white couch.
    Love ya Lana, you're a tough girl, stay funny!

  27. Lana, thank God you and Henry seem to be holding up.

    When I was in chemo, if we missed one due to blood counts it was postponed, but I did need to be make it up. That's why my nurse told us that chemo would take 6-7 months depending on if I had to miss any.

    so glad you are half way there!

  28. I am with what Ronda said and everyone else here. Take every day as it comes to you and dont expect too much out of yourself. You and your husband are going through hell right now. Be easy on yourself Lana. You are a wonderful lady and it shows through your videos and your writing. I pray for healing for your dear Henry every day. Many hugs, thoughts and prayers to you both. Faith, Hope & Love, Anita (LaLaBella5a)

  29. Oh Holy Cow! I can't even copy and paste anymore, lets try this again.

    Lana and Henry's candles:

  30. Ciao Lana my dear friend,

    It truly is a rough time... but with God all things are possible!! Even rough times!!

    Keeping you and your husband in my prayers at all times.

    I was at the hospital today for something for myself.. (I hate hospitals, dr's, dentists) well, not really hate.. but its what I like to call a love/hate relationship... ha ha, but anyway I thought of you and prayed because my thing was so simple compared to yours...

    Please take good care of yourself love as well...You are doing awesome!!

    Keeping you and hubby in my prayers as always.

    Sending you some Hugs & Kisses from Canada!
    Love you both so much.

  31. My mom has had a lumpectomy and radiation for breast cancer, surgery to remove a melonoma and lymph glands, surgery to remove part of her colon and lymph nodes, a third of her liver removed along with the gallbladder and we are going on a cruise together in October to celebrate. Given her condition there is a 95% chance she won't live another 5 years, BUT she's got a 5% chance of surviving and I know she's going to do it. keep the faith Lana. Cathryn

  32. No words just hugs and positive thoughts

  33. Sending you both all my love and prayers!! <3 Ria

  34. Lana, I am keeping you and your husband in my thoughts and prayers daily. I have linked an inspirational card to my name for you.
    ♥x (¯`'•.¸//(*_*)\\¸.•'´¯) x♥

  35. Has anyone ever told you you are a freakin' genius!

  36. Lana, I want to send you all my love and many hugs all the way from Greece. I'm someone who used to watch your videos on youtube coz you were so lovely and you would cheer me up on a rainy day. Now you and your husband are always in my thoughts and I hope things will go well and you will beat this cursed disease together. I keep checking your blog regularly because I care about you. We all do. Isn't Internet a wonderful thing? We never met and we probably never will but I care. We care. We are here for you, trying to support you even if we can only do it through words. Still, words are so powerful. And your words have touched us all. Keep fighting.

  37. Statistics don't mean diddly squat. Henry is gonna beat that cancer beast into submission. *BIG HUGS*

  38. Lana and Henry ~ I think about you two often throughout the day .... hoping/wishing/praying for the best for you. Have a peaceful weekend and enjoy each other!

    Love you both,
    Mary Sue

  39. Dearest Lana, I know it is tempting to get drawn into statistics, but truth be told that's all they are - statistics. Everyone is different and I tell you again what I said to you before sweetheart - DON'T GET DRAWN INTO THE NUMBER'S GAME!!! Focus on yourselves, focus on doing all you can to beat this. Don't look at the dark side. Tell yourselves it's just not an option. Henry has so much to live for and with you by his side he'll get there. Exhausted, a little bit bruised and damaged BUT NOT DESTROYED!!!! Take it from me Lana, one who knows. My love to you both, warm hugs and kisses. Leyla xxxooo

  40. I don't really have anything interesting or profound to say. I just really want you to know that you two are still in my thoughts and prayers daily. Hugs.

  41. I also have nothing profound, except to let you know, I make sure I read each and every post. I know there is no way I can fathom or understand the depth of what you both feel or are going through. I only know that my current experiences have been awful enough with my friend for me to get a small taste of your burden. I was told the other night on Facebook "can you post one thing positive?!" to me...I usually get told my sunshiny outgoing personality gets on peoples nerves. At first I was hurt and embarrassed until a friend messaged me and said basically "Duh, you're normal to feel badly and be negative right now. If you didn't you would be brain dead or not truly grasping the situation." So give yourself room to spill nail polish, to worry about are responding normally to an abnormal and horrible thing.

    I know this has probably been said to you, and I'm sure, like me, it would be difficult to ask...but lean on your friends. Ask a girlfriend if she will paint your nails over coffee, or sit in your lovely yard and just "be" for a few minutes. If you don't take care of you, Henry will also feel it. You both have enough on your plates right now.

    Much love and sorry for the small novel.

  42. Sending love and heartfelt wishes your way! Keep strong, never give up!

  43. Thinking and praying for you and your husband every day!! Stay strong and positive! All of us send prayers and good thoughts to both of you. I hope you can both rest and recover this weekend!xoxoxo

  44. Sending all that love, love, love and more love your way! You take care of yourself, sweet Lana. Try not to get bogged down with statistics and details. You nor Henry are "statistics" and if anyone can beat the odds it's the both of you. Prayers go out everyday all over this city (and the country) for you both. We're there with you in spirit and will always be. Hugs xxxxx Eva

  45. Precious One

    "And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient
    for you, for power is perfected in weakness."
    Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast
    about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ
    may dwell in me. Therefore, I am content with
    weaknesses, with insults, with distresses,with
    persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's
    sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong."
    2 Corn 12:9-10

    You are living these is my prayer
    that they seep into your heart with revealation...

    Hugs, jewlee

  46. Hi Lana, alinder34 from youtube here again. I have kept up with each post u have done, hanging on beside u through ur words. I feel so much pain & anguish for u & Henry, WITH u & Henry. Every blood draw, my arm pinched. Every time they stick that needle in his port, I feel a stick in my neck. I wish I could physically take it from him & mentally take it from u. I think of u many times a day & send a prayer out to give u both strength to make it through that moment & the next. I hope this dosnt sound petty or silly or selfish to u during this terrible time, but I hope I find a love like u & Henry have someday. I hope I find my Henry to spend so many happy years loving, laughing & living. The love you 2 share has given me hope again that maybe I won't be alone forever. Again, if u need anything...message me on youtube. U have my prayers, thoughts & love.
    Love & Light...

  47. Dear Lana and Henry. All of my strength I send to you. If good vibes can reach through the interntet, you have them a million strong!
    Love Julia, Justin, Dylan, an Kieran

  48. I think of you every day and I'm still praying♥

  49. Lana I'm still praying there are times when you guys cross my mind through out the day and I think to myself "I hope he heals quickly" stay strong. I'm sending you guys positive energy <3

  50. Hoping you and Henry have a peaceful weekend dearest Lana. You are loved so very much. Heartfelt prayers are being said for you each and every day, by me and others who love you dearly. Warm hugs for you both. Leyla xxxooo

  51. Hi Lana,
    Another week down, Its hell but you and DH need to stay strong.We're all pulling for you with good thoughts and prayers. Take care friend. Klaire ((HUGS))

  52. We love you Lana.
    keep being strong, we all pray for you.

  53. Lana after I read this last bog entry, I quickly read comments down to July 28th @ 7pm and OMG I am so encouraged that I HAD to stop & write a quick comment (quick as in short LOL yeah me!!) Anyway, I just LOVE what I'm reading. You really do have some amazing cyber support here!! The beautiful words, the loving comments, the wise but unpretentious exhortations..... I'm so thankful that LOVE has a way of reaching us when we need it the most.

    As one who has been through my own personal hell-my own worst case scenario, I know a thing or 2 about suffering. About fear, loss, and ultimately facing ones worst nightmare-facing the unthinkable. I just realized while reading your blog and comments today that to me, one of the most important parts of my story, one that I remember so strongly was this:
    While I sat lost, helpless in my worst nightmare, screaming on the inside, “…….this can’t be happening, I can’t do this, how will I ever live through this, how did this happen, why did this happen, I can’t do this, I don't want to be here, I can’t do this…” In these moments (and there were many) I appeared practically catatonic, I was worn out, worn down, in shock & denial and several other stages all at once. No more emotion visible except tears silently streaming. And Lana, my precious little sister in law sat beside me.

    She had no words, none could’ve been said. All she did was sit beside me and hold my hand for hours she’d be there. Sometimes, she’d kiss my cheek to somehow say I’m here I love you but I have no words. This is the most significant memory I have of that time of my life. Yes there are others-some important ones but THIS is the most precious memory of all. She sat there beside me when it was too frightening, too uncomfortable, too unthinkable to endure even being there-she was there, holding my hand and sometimes nothing more. She was several years younger than me. Our pattern had been reversed until that moment in time. I was the older more experienced sister-in-law. As a wife, as a mother I was someone she turned to for encouragement or advice. But then when life changed so suddenly she BECAME MY STRENGTH. Sometimes I could see her tears Lana but she stayed there, holding my hand. She could’ve gone home to be with her husband and children when it got so difficult but somehow she found the courage to stay. I had loved her already but let me tell you….. now I love, admire, respect and appreciate her even more.

    About 10 years or so after the fact do you know what that precious little sister of mine said? “…All I could think to do was hold your hand & sit there like a lump on the sofa-not knowing what to say.” She was THE BIGGEST SOURCE OF SUPPORT Lana but she said she felt COMPLETELY USELESS.

    So I keep reading these comments on your blog, “….Lana I have no words of wisdom…..” “...Lana, I have nothing profound or useful to say….” And then what follows is utterly PROFOUND! Does anyone else see that?

    I also know that while you are in the midst of the battle it will take untold repetition of supportive words to help you get from one hour to the next. So thank LOVE for the multitude.

    Love, Kat (I still can’t sign in… oh well)

  54. I was here yesterday, but had to shut down before I posted. Just wanted to let you know, that not a day goes by I don't pray for you guys, even though, sometimes friends kidnap me away from my computer, or I have to shut down in the middle of a post. I'm praying just the same.

    the little possum up north,

    pleaase light you candle for Lana and Henry here:

  55. Your you tube videos have touched this strangers life. I use genific and the clairisonic because of you, but you transcended beyond beauty recommendations because of who you are, the truth you speak, and your zany ways.;-) My wish for you is some rest, please take care of my dear friend Lana...


  56. You'll be driven crazy but those stages, etc. Forget them and just concentrate on living in the moment. My prayers are with you both.

  57. Lana baby,

    Understand something about prognoses. They are averages, for the average person. The man you see in front of you is *no average man.*

    Go Henry! You have kicked some serious cancer butt already!!! You are classy, dude! You are young (yes, you are- I am the same age as your bride), pretty fit, and most of you is perfectly healthy!

    I love you both, and I'm still praying for you every day.


  58. Lana, I wish I had some magic that could take this all away for you and Henry but all I can offer is a comforting ear, a warm heart and the biggest hug you could ever feel! ♥♥ Vickie


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