Thursday, December 27, 2007

Thank yous, Hospitals, and 2008!

Thank you everyone who has helped making our Christmas special! The girls had a blast. Addie barely even took a moment to check out what each present she received was before tearing open the next! We appreciate all of the helped we have received during this holiday season, it meant so much to us to know everyone was thinking about us.

Sean has been having quite a bit of pain on his side lately, so he was admitted to the hospital yesterday. They are trying to maintain his pain right now, he should be released either Friday or Saturday. He would have been able to come home sooner, but he was running a little bit of a fever (which is actually normal for him), so they wanted to send some blood work off to make sure he does not have an infection. He is getting a lot of rest here though, which is good. We should then be able to be home for 3 or 4 days before heading down to Ann Arbor again for another week. It seems to feel like we are hardly ever home anymore.

On Wednesday, my family received some really bad news. My uncle had passed away sometime during the night before after having spent a wonderful Christmas day with some of my other family. It was very unexpected to me and I am not sure I can process all that is going on right now. It is hard to believe how much bad stuff can happen in just one year. Here is to the year 2008, hoping for only good news and good results!! ~Nicole~

Sunday, December 23, 2007

We're Home!

Yesterday Sean was released from the hospital. It was so nice to be able to come home and have the girls! Sean made it through 6 bags of the IL-2 before it was just to much. He is still feeling a bit out of it, they said he should start feeling better in a few days. We will be returning to University of Michigan on January 2nd for another week. Everything seems so hectic right now with Christmas coming up so quickly.
Today some of Sean's family braved the storm to come visit us for Christmas. Thank you Shield's family for helping to make our Christmas special! Tomorrow we will be celebrating Christmas with my enormous extended family. Hopefully the weather settles down out there a bit so everyone has a safe drive. Merry Christmas, thank you everyone for all of the prayers. ~Nicole~

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Day Three: Only Two More Days!

Well, Sean has managed to get through four bags of IL-2 so far. He is going to try to make it through at least three or four more bags before they call it good for round one. At the moment, they are working on getting Sean's blood pressure up right now, it seems to be running quite low. Otherwise, he has been doing exceptionally well today! He is finally getting some of the rest he has been needing. Next bag: hopefully at midnight :c).
We should be coming home on Saturday and we cannot wait!! Sean and I really miss the girls. As much as we love to have a break from them every so often, this is the longest either of us have been away from them. Thank you Kelly(mom) and Mrs.Escalante for helping out with the girls this week! Sean appreciates everyone that came all this way to visit him down here. It is nice to have people around to keep our mind off of stuff and make this really slow time go by quicker.
I am really anticipating Christmas! I am really glad that we will be home on time for it. Addie is finally old enough to be excited for Christmas herself! We are anxious to see Ella's reaction on her first Christmas. She is so cheery, so I can only imagine she is going to love it! There is Ella on the side being cheery! Anytime I need to smile, I just pull up this photo ;).
~Nicole~

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Day One: Cancer Sucks.

Sean finished his first bag of IL-2 a few hours ago. We were not expecting side effects for a few hours after his first bag, but they started to kick in immediately. Sean ended up having extremely horrible rigors, which caused him to not be able to breathe very well. It was quite scary, I felt helpless just watching him. All of the nurses and Sean's doctor were in here, and finally stabilized him with medication and oxygen. He is doing much better now, but still has some pain. Sean is supposed to start bag 2 in the middle of the night tonight, but they will postpone that until the morning, because Sean prefers that his doctor will be here for that one to be on the safe side. The photo on the side is Sean's bag of IL-2, it is amazing that that tinsy winsy little bag can do so much. I hope to update with more happier news sometime soon. ~Nicole~

Monday, December 17, 2007

A few family photos for fun!


Here is Ella!


Here is Addie!


Our Family


Addie and Ella


Sean and Ella... awww....

Recharging

Well, today Sean was supposed to begin his Interleukin 2 treatments. His hemoglobin levels were low though, so he is just finishing up a couple of blood transfusions. He will begin treatment tomorrow at 4:00 (given counts are good). Sean transfusions will hopefully recharge him, so he is big and strong tomorrow! We are at University of Michigan right now, thank goodness for wireless! I just want to say how wonderful Dr. Lao (Sean's oncologist) is. Melanoma is not the easiest cancer to treat, so we need to be sure to have a great melanoma specialist. It is hard to explain to every one that melanoma is not the same as most cancers.

The low down on Sean...
Sean has melanoma, it is in his lung. He does NOT have lung cancer! He tried the chemo thing, as suspected, it did not do a darn thing (except make him feel like crap). Sean has multiple tumors on his lung, they have basically grown together, making a large mass. Because it is a large mass, it is "touching" other organs and arteries, making his mass inoperable. Sean will be starting a treatment called interleukin 2 (IL-2). It is a biotherapy, basically boosting Sean's own immune system to fight the cancer. This treatment will be very dangerous for him due to his large mass on his lung causing breathing problems. Sean's lung is also partially collapsed due to the mass. During IL-2, the doctors will need to monitor him extremely closely to be sure he is breathing properly and that his right lung is not endangered in any way. In the chance that IL-2 does not help Sean, we will probably have to travel elsewhere for Sean to get any other treatments. We have been looking at other melanoma centers, just so we know where we might have to go. We do have our eye on University of Virginia (UVA), but regardless where we go, it will definitely be to a reputable melanoma specialist. Lets just hope that IL-2 works and we will not have to travel anywhere! I hope this helps everyone understand where Sean is at, and maybe cleared up any questions or confusion anyone may have had. I will post soon when Sean starts getting some bags of IL-2! ~Nicole~

Friday, December 14, 2007

IL-2 Here we come!

Well, on Monday, we will be on our way for Sean to start another treatment. Interleukin-2 is an extremely strong biological therapy. Sean will be admitted at University of Michigan for the week while he is getting his IL-2.He will become extremely sick during the IL-2 treatment, but he will be closely monitored. I will try to keep everyone updated as much as possible while we are down there. We are really going to miss the girls while we are down there, as much as we enjoy a little break from the girls, a week is a long time! We will definitely miss them. :(

Today all of our friends came over for dinner. It was nice having everyone here and spending time with them before we make our trip to Ann Arbor for the week. Sean really seemed to enjoy having all of the company over! Sorry to cut this short tonight... I will update when there is more to tell. Thank you ~Nicole~

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Introduction

So here I am in the blogging world. I have decided that it is time to start a blog to keep everyone updated on our crazy life...

Lets start with Sean. In April 2004, Sean had a mole removed off of his back. A few days later, results came back... it was melanoma. Melanoma, you just cut that off and it is gone forever, right? Wrong. Sean had to go through many tests/scans and a few surgeries, which left a nice scar on his back! The melanoma had spread to one of Sean's lymph nodes, which put him at a stage III for cancer. They removed all of his lymph nodes under his right arm. Sean was then deemed free of melanoma. We had also learned that melanoma has a high chance of returning. What we did not realize is that it can return BIG and BAD as ever...
Bringing us to June of 2007. Sean had started having a little pain in his chest and shoulder. He thought maybe he just had pulled a muscle while working (carrying a ladder everyday). Sean continued to have pain, which kept increasing, so I finally dragged him to the ER on July 25. They found nothing on his X-Rays, so they did a CT Scan. The doctor had said it looked ok, but thought he could almost see some nodules. At this point he was very unsure though. Sean was followed up by his primary doctor. Sean had more X-Rays, this time showing a build up of fluid in the lining of Sean's left lung. The doctor had told Sean he had a viral infection (pleurisy) and that it should go away in about a week. Sean's pain was still getting worse, he was then scheduled a procedure to drain the fluid off of his lung. They ran some tests on the fluid they had drained, which came back negative for melanoma. It does not end here though, Sean again had worsening pain, and more scans showed fluid building up again. He had another lung tap, this time results came back positive...
Sean is now stage IV. He started chemotherapy in October. On November 27, Sean had scans to see if the chemo was working. Our bad news again... tumors were still growing. Which brings us to now! Sean will be going to University of Michigan December 11th, to see if he will qualify for a treatment called IL-2. If he is accepted, he will be admitted to U of M for a week starting December 17th.
That concludes the base line of Sean's melanoma, I will do the best I can to update this blog whenever possible. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers, as this has been a rough road and we still have a long ways to travel. Thank you for taking the time to read. ~Nicole~