Tuesday, February 17, 2009

February 17 - Prayer's are being answered...

Today, I received my first tangible objective news on the progress I am making in my fight with cancer – and it is great news!

Based on a CT scan taken yesterday (my first since starting chemo treatments) the main Lymphoma tumor (behind my kidneys) has been reduced by just over 80%!! This is after two rounds of chemo treatment. It has been reduced from 8.9cm X 7.3cm (64.9 sq. cm) to 4.7cm X 2.6 cm (12.22 sq. cm). I have been confident that with all the prayer and support that we’d conquer this and it sure looks like I am on right road.

My doctor still has me on a plan for eight chemo treatments. Treatment #3 is this Friday. My doctor now plans to do the more extensive PET scan after my fourth chemo treatment. The original PET scan showed that in addition to the main tumor that the cancer was spread thru-out my abdomen with another spot in my chest and another on the right side of my neck. I am confident that similar progress has been made on those areas as well and fully expect that the next PET scan will prove that out. Based on that test the doctor will decide if I need all eight treatment or something less. I expect the test will be done at the end of March.

The amount of prayer and other support that Lynda and I have received has been overwhelming – we are feeling the love. It is working. Please continue to keep Lynda, me and the kids in your prayers.

Love and in Christ,

Monday, February 16, 2009

February 16 - Waiting for results and a new addition to the club

My first Cat scan since before my first treatment was done today. We now wait with high expectation for some good news - though it may take a couple of days before we hear something.

Over the weekend Lynda and I celebrating Valentine's Day in our traditional way - by going to a nice dinner with our good friends Brian and Violet. We've known them since prior to college. Our Valentine's tradition with them goes back six or seven years. Brian surprised me with a new look.
Brian is the ninth member of the Bald Melon Club!

My next post should contain news from today's scan.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

February 12 - Bald Melon Club Grows!

The Bald Melon Club has two new members today - both big pleasant surprises! So far eight men have joined me in solidarity.

Here are Dan and I. We've worked together at Accenture for many years.

Scott and I go back all the way to college - when we both sported beards. Some (including Scott's mom) have suggested that when we have a full head of hair and beards that we look like twins. You can be the judge if this still holds true by comparing with the picture above.

Click here if you missed the other pictures of the bald melon club

I am having a great week. I was pretty much fully recovered from my January 30 treatment by this last Monday - 10 days. Within those 10 days there were only two that were a little rough in the middle. Outside of that it was only dealing with a little fatigue.

I am looking forward to my CT scan on Monday. The focus will be on measuring the reduction in size of the main tumor behind my kidneys. I told my doctor that I'd love it if she couldn't find the tumor. Her response - "Miracles do happen". I should know something by Wednesday.

In Christ,

Thursday, February 5, 2009

February 5 - Getting thru a little valley

We continue to be incredibly blessed by the love and support by our family and friends. I don't think a day has yet gone by where we haven't received some sort of card or care package via the mail or an offer to provide dinner or a myriad of other blessings and prayers. This afternoon our neighbor called and offered to bring over a Chicken Vesuvius - not long after we received another offer to bring dinner to us. Personally, I am extremely fortunate that the little nausea I am experiencing this week has done little to harm my appetite :-).

While we come from many different perspectives and faiths I believe that God is at the root of the inspiration that causes each friend to reach out in help and support. Reflecting back on my life my most profound experiences of God happen thru other people. I thank you for responding to God's call and being his instrument for me and my family to experience His love.

Brief update:
After my first treatment I struggled a bit in days six thru eight. Knowing this we've tried several things (new medication for nausea, more proactive use of others) to help this round go smoother. Last night (between day 6 & 7) was rough but wasn't as bad as last time. My hope is that last night was my little valley for this round and that I am going to move into the clear for the next two weeks.

Tomorrow (Friday), I have what will hopefully be a short visit to the doctor to check my blood counts. During the last treatment at this time my white blood cells were very low and my blood pressure was high. They both bounced back quickly - hopefully I won't have anything to bounce back from this time.

In Christ,

Sunday, February 1, 2009

February 1 - Bald Melon Club

First off - a brief update. I had my second treatment on Friday. The treatment itself and the two days since have been remarkably uneventful - which is fantastic to be able to say! I hope and pray that I continue to do well the rest of this week. After the first treatment my struggles were with day 6-8 after the treatment - that is Wednesday. We have several counter measures in place to help minimize those issues (primarily nausea, constipation, minor fatigue).

What is the bald melon club?
I am extremely blessed to have friends who are going many extra miles to stand by me in such a unique way - by sacrificing their hair with me. From left - Samir, Bob, Mike, me, David. We've all worked together in various ways, shapes and forms for well over 10 years. I can't tell you how much it means to me to have these guys make such a strong statement of solidarity with me!
Of course the Bald Melon Club isn't limited to Accenture. Here is a picture of John. John is a member of small group faith discussion group Lynda and I host in our home.

I just received Kevin's picture. Kevin worked with us at Accenture until a few years ago. We stay in touch occassionally via email. What a great surprise when I got this email with the picture. Welcome to the club! What an honor it is to me to have such great friends!

I know others are contemplating joining the club. You are welcome - there is no pressure to join. If you do decide to make the leap be sure to send me a picture so I can post her to my blog.

I think you'll agree - this new look actually looks good on all of us! It isn't quite as risky as you might think. A word of warning though - if you join I highly recommend that you have a hat ready for going out in the cold weather!

Send pictures to me at thomas.m.barfield@accenture.com.