Thursday, October 11, 2012

Status Update!!


     {Grandpa and Brocklii Bear... who is here for his baby blessing:)}

Time for another status update on Dean's progress!!  Last week we went to Huntsman for his first MRI following radiation.  The Doctors had told us not to expect much because radiation can sometimes make the brain look worse, as it leaves the brain swollen and spotted.  So, we went in just expecting results that were similar to the scan taken just after his surgery.  I hadn't worried much about this MRI until we were actually sitting in the  examination room, waiting for the Dr. to pull up the results on his computer screen...all of a sudden my stomach was doing somersaults!!!  Apparently, I WAS feeling just a touch anxious!!!  The doctor pulled up the images from both of his MRI's so that we could see them side by side.  It gave us a chance to see the before and after of radiation.  So....drum roll...the results were VERY encouraging.  The Dr. told us that this scan was as good as it could look.  Can I just say, MIRACLES continue to come our way...we are SO grateful!!  Every place that had shown signs of tumor or cell growth were either gone or significantly smaller.  He said that some of the spots that we were seeing could be possible scar tissue from the surgery.  The Doctor was very pleased and said that Dean's recovery and the way he has responded to treatment have been a bright spot for the neuro-oncology team.  He told us that most patients have some kind of side effect or difficulty after this kind of surgery and diagnosis.  But Dean has defied all odds and continues to amaze them all with his "iron" like approach to this!  Not only does his scan look good, but he has been able to pass every "mini-mental test" that they have asked him to do.  As I am sitting there with him, I silently try and do the same things they are asking him to do.  I've got to admit that I have failed every one of the subtract backwards from 100 by 7's tests and I have missed some of the spell the word backwards tests...YIKES...I am going to study up so that next time my score will equal Dean's.  I guess the bottom line is that Dean is smarter than me even with part of his brain missing.  BOO! 
So, we move forward from here with a break from chemo until October 30th, when Dean will start back up on a double dose.  He will take the chemo for 5 days and then have a break for 23 days and repeat that cycle for another year.  At that time they will see how things are overall and decide where to go from there.  He will have MRI's about every 6-8 weeks to monitor those darn cancer cells and make sure they are behaving themselves.  We feel SO hopeful and EXTREMELY blessed as we have had the windows of heaven just opened up and blessings poured out on us. 

This past week as we listened to conference, I felt as if my Father in Heaven was sending down little packets of sunshine and comfort, as he was teaching me how to use this experience to become a better person, with my heart more aligned to His.  I was touched by the stories of other's personal trials and felt uplifted as I heard how those challenges opened up the way for them to feel of the Savior's love more fully.   I loved that Sister Burton  said that the gospel of Jesus Christ should be in the marrow of our bones and be the substance of our soul...Sister Stephens reminded us that we must choose what we learn from adversity, Elder Johnson said, that our discipleship is defined not by the trial but by how we endure them and Elder Eyring taught that we remove the pavilion that separates us from God when we say thy will be done and in thy time.   Those are just a few little "packets" that touched my heart.  As our family has had this "opportunity" for growth, we thank our Father in Heaven for his endless love, His knowledge of us in a very personal and intimate way, and His matchless power and we remember that all we go through in this life is calculated to bless us and bring us back to Him.  That is where we hope to be...together, with Him.