Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Feeling Better!

What a long day yesterday! Sean had his appointment at University of Michigan. It was just a follow up appointment for Dr. Lao to see how Sean is doing. Sean has been showing more signs of improvement. We HOPE HOPE HOPE that IL-2 is working! Since Sean has started IL-2, he has much less pain in his tumor area and his lung appears to be expanding more now (his left lung was mostly collapsed from the tumors). He does not become short of breath quite as quick anymore! Also, his side where his tumor is use to be really hard if you were to push on it, and now it feels pretty normal and soft to the touch! These are all just signs that it is working though, and we will not know for sure until he has his scans around February 20th. He will then return to U of M on Feb. 26th to discuss the scans. If IL-2 is working, Sean will then be returning to U of M again for round 2 (weeks 3 and 4) of treatment sometime in March I believe!

On the downside, Sean has been losing weight uncontrollably. He has lost another 9lbs this week, bringing him to a total of 54lbs lost. Sean has a prescription now that will hopefully give him more of an appetite, so we can load him up with calories! He will also be starting physical therapy hopefully soon. He really needs to work on getting his strength back, so he can continue to kick melanomas butt!

Sean was also holding pretty steady with his blood work, but his hemoglobin did rake a little drop recently, so he will be receiving a couple blood transfusions. I swear with all of these blood transfusions, Sean is not going to have any of his own DNA left!

The girls are still wild as ever! I never realized how hard it can be to take care of the girls, Sean, the house, go to work, and all the in between. Sometimes I feel like I am not doing much, but by the end of the day, I am exhausted. Also, due to the inconveniences of life, we are moving soon, so we have lots of packing to do!

Oh yes, my exciting news for the week... Ella finally has a tooth coming in!! Her first tooth at 11 months. 11 months!!! She will turning a year old in just a month. I cannot believe how time can move so slow, but go by so fast at the same time.

I will be adding some photos hopefully in the very near future, this computer just plain sucks and it is almost impossible to upload any photos to it.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Photography by Addie???

Well, I am not sure Addie is going to be the next aspiring photographer! She received the Fisher Price KidCam for her Birthday, and here is a preview of her portfolio!

Pizza anyone?? Yes, Addie took a photo of her pizza at her birthday party!



Also, her favorite subject... Daddy's oxygen machine! Not sure why this is, but...



She had a ton more photos on her camera, but she had discovered where the DELETE button is. Buh-bye photos! Oops. I have explained to her now that when she pushes the red circle button with the X on it, that it throws her photos away, so maybe I will be able to retrieve a few more photos from her camera later if she no longer deletes everything! ~Nicole~

Friday, January 18, 2008

Better Days...

Well, we have been home for almost a week now! Sean is finally starting to come around, but he is still extremely tired. Although, it seems like each day he is awake longer and longer! Most of his water retention is gone now, he has actually lost quite a bit of weight these last few months. When people that come see him that have not seen him in a while are surprised at how different Sean looks. His facial hair is growing back in quite quickly and he oddly has also been able to grow a mustache. Today, we decided the mustache had to go! Sean definitely did not look like himself with that. He finally stopped shaving his head and is giving that hair a chance to grow back also! Here are the before and after photos of Sean with and without a mustache! You may notice he has very prominent eyes, his oncologist said that it is from the IL-2 affecting his thyroid, which could possibly be a really good thing because it could be a sign that the treatment is doing its job! The photo with the mustache was taken at the hospital during IL-2. Sean had his blood work done yesterday. It came out fairly well, his hemoglobin (red blood cells) were a little low, but they are staying steady from during treatment, which is good. Monday, they will recheck his blood again, and if his hemoglobin drops by then, they will do a few transfusions.

Addie's party is coming up quickly! We were supposed to be going to Chuckie Cheese tomorrow, but the weather decided to change that. We are supposed to be getting possibly a foot or so of snow by tomorrow night, so we decided to stay a little closer to home and go bowling. Addie received the Fisher Price Kidcam for her birthday and she just loves it! She has been taking photos of everything, but she seems to be most intrigued taking photos of Sean's oxygen tank. Odd. I will have to show off some of the photos she has taken as soon as she will give the camera up for long enough for me to upload them!

This morning, while talking with my mom, I was saying how I thought that Ella will probably not walk anytime soon. Much to my surprise, tonight Ella decided to stand up and stay standing all by herself. I may have spoke to soon about her not walking soon! I can't believe she might be walking before she has any teeth! She still has that huge gummy cheese smile!

Sorry it took me a week to update, sometimes I just don't know what to say when I get on here. I will continue to try to update more often... Thank you to all of you reading the blog! ~Nicole~

Friday, January 11, 2008

SIX AGAIN!

Well, six seems to be the lucky number. Sean made it through 6 bags week 1 and he finished 6 bags earlier today for week 2! He did quite well all week, Friday was probably the hardest day for him. His blood pressure did not like to stay where it is supposed to, dropping way down to 68/35. He is retaining quite a bit of fluid, so his feet are humongous! His oxygen is low, so they have sent him home with oxygen. He will be getting blood work next week, a follow up appointment in 2 weeks, and scans in probably about a month. It is going to be a long month waiting for those scans! I am so glad to finally being home for a while! The girls came home today, it seems like they grew so much just being gone that week. I will be going back to work on Tuesday, so wish me luck :). I am definitely thankful that my job has been so wonderful about working around my schedule, I don't know what I would do without an awesome boss! (I hope you read this Matt, I need a raise :)) Thank you, Thank you, Thank you to all of you who have helped us out, thought about us, and prayed for us, we appreciate it beyond words! Thank You! ~Nicole~

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!

Hi Mom, just letting you know Happy Birthday! I wish I could be up there to see you today! Sean says happy birthday too!. Well, we could always celebrate your birthday with Addie's at Chuckie Cheese :) . Hope you have a good day today. ~Nicole~

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Quick Update: 4 for 4!!

Sean has just received his fourth bag (out of 4 possible!) of IL-2 for week 2. I cannot believe how strong Sean is being through this. He is definitely making treatment look easy! Some things Sean has been experiencing is sleeping quite often, a little nauseated, and is pouring sweat. He also has had some dips in his blood pressure, but it always seems to recover itself. Please continue to pray for us! ~Nicole~

P.S. I would have posted photos from today, but I forgot the cable for the camera:(

Monday, January 7, 2008

Off to a good start!

Sean has started week two of IL-2. He is tolerating it well, he is very sleepy. So far he has received one bag and we are anticipating many more! Sean has actually been feeling fairly descent lately, besides being tired. His pain is minimal and blood work seems to be good. We are definitely hoping this will mean good news. Sometime in the next couple of weeks Sean will have scans to see if there is any difference in his tumors.

I am already missing the girls ALOT. Actually I started missing them the second we left. Addie started crying when we left and it definitely broke my heart. Both of the girls have been sick the past week, so being at home last week was very hectic! Addie's birthday is next Monday and I am looking forward to it. She is at the age where she understands pretty much everything. We will be having a birthday party for her at Chuckie Cheeses on the following Saturday, so hopefully Sean will be recharged by then!

Again, I cannot thank everyone who has helped us enough, so I just want to let you all know that we do appreciate it greatly! Thank you. ~Nicole~

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!! I am looking forward to this new year hoping it brings much needed good news. Tonight, Sean and I were just about to walk out the door to go down to University of Michigan when Sean's doctor had called. Sean was explaining to his doctor how he was still retaining a bit of fluid since his last treatment, so Sean and his doctor have decided to wait until Monday, Jan 7th for Sean's second week of treatment. I am glad for this decision, as the less fluid retention before we go down there, the more bags Sean will be able to push. I am not sure if I have explained the treatment Sean is doing, so here it goes: "IL-2 is a natural part of your immune system, a messenger protein called a cytokine which activates parts of your immune system. IL-2 does not kill tumor cells directly like classical chemotherapy. Instead, IL-2 activates and stimulates the growth of immune cells, most importantly T-Cells, but also Natural Killer Cells (NK Cells), both of which are capable of destroying cancer cells directly."(CancerGuide). IL-2 is given through a central picc line that Sean has put in the morning of his first treatment. He is admitted to the hospital for about a week during his treatments because he needs to be under close medical supervision due to extreme side effects. You know those commercials that say "side effects may include..."? IL-2 probably includes every possible side effect there is. Rigors, sweats, rashes, fevers, nausea, water retention, and so on. For the high dose IL-2 that Sean does, there is a maximum of 14 iv bags possible. Not many people are able to do all 14 bags because of the severe side effects. Sean's first week he made it through 6 bags. We are hoping to try to push more then that for week 2, but if not, anything is better then nothing!

Sean is feeling much better since being home from his last hospital visit! On New Years Eve, our friends decided to come hang out at our house to spend time with us instead of going out to some fun party. Thanks guys :). I will also include a few photos from Christmas, I couldn't the other day because my camera would not upload anything. It was very stressful- full memory card and can't delete anything to take more photos... aahhhhh!! :) As you can see, Santa was a huge hit at the party!