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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Walk with us

December 4, 2012...we learned that Walt's needle biopsy of his left lung revealed that he has non-small cell cancer.  A PET scan would determine if the cancer has spread elsewhere in his lungs.  Unfortunately the scan did reveal a questionable area of the lymph nodes around the right side of the airway.  We headed to Barnes Jewish Hospital, St. Louis, MO, for an endo-bronchial biopsy which revealed that the area was indeed cancerous.  An MRI was scheduled to make sure that the cancer had not metastasized to his brain...a favorite hangout for this kind of cancer.  The scan revealed positive for a brain, negative for cancer cells.

I will tell you right now, in case you haven't figured us out, humor (dark or bright, funny or not-so) will be helping us stay focused and sane.  Well, as much as that can happen.  lol  We'll be sharing anecdotes; all true...there's no way any of this could be made up! 

I'll share this little gem with you...all the hospital buildings and a hotel at Barnes are linked with enclosed walkways.  It's really nice and efficient.  But there are some twist and turns, even dog-leg bends.  During one trek from the hotel to the south hospital we got separated.  We'd been holding hands so I'm not sure what happened.  Next thing I know I'm pulling on Walt to get him to hurry up.  I turned around to ask if he needed to sit for a moment and catch his wasn't Walt!  I'd grabbed some other poor soul's hand and was taking him with me!  Gasp!  I was so apologetic...then frantic.  What happened to Walt?  Where was he?  I backtracked and a woman called out 'He's back there!'  Oh great, now others know I've lost him!  I continued retracing my steps until I found him.  We laughed and laughed until we were crying.  To this day I don't know how it happened, but happen it did.

Mid-January...we met with the oncologist and radiation oncologist.  Walt will be treated with chemotherapy and radiation.  His chest has been marked with a black Sharpie indicating the area to be radiated.  I have some ideas about notes I can put on a Post-It note on his chest.  When the time is right I will.  

Here's a thought.  So through all the tests, scans, etc. we've determined that Walt does indeed have a brain and a heart.  I already knew he had the courage.  So where is he hiding the red slippers?  And are those flying monkeys nearby???

So he's in the Infusion Suite having his first chemo treatment when the nurse comes in to let us know that someone from radiation will be right in to take him down stairs for his first treatment.  Slow down, sister, the first person to arrive at the door was a custodian and her cleaning cart!  I doubt seriously that she was there to take Walt downstairs!  Boy, did we all have a good laugh over that!

To help the skin be less irritated, etc. from radiation, a wound care gel was prescribed for the area (front and back) to be applied twice a day.  Well, gel, by nature is cool, right?  And it's winter.  So I squeezed some gel onto my hands, then put my  hands on his chest.  Yeow!  He nearly hit the ceiling, calling me a sadist, etc.  We laughed and laughed and laughed.  He said I was having way too much fun at his expense with this. 

The treatment plan:  we anticipate Walt having radiation Monday through Friday all this month and next.  The treatment doesn't last very long, in fact, it takes longer to get him in place and take pictures than it does to radiate his chest.  Chemo infusion will be given once a week, every 3 weeks, through April.  All this is subject to change based on blood work and other tests that will be scheduled along the way.  He's fortunate that this was caught early and that, all things considered, his health is good.  
In support of Walt's cancer and the distinct possibility he'll lose some hair, I decided to cut off my curls and go short, too.  And I love it!  

This cancer is the hand that has been dealt us and it is what it is.  We're taking each day as it comes and living it to the best of our ability.  We know we have a huge support team of family and friends from all over the globe.  For this, we are so, so thankful.  

Don't expect daily posts, we'll write when we have a story to share or news to tell.  You can comment here if you'd like (and know how) or reach us by email or phone.   Until next time....


  1. Hoping next time you post it is with a good-news update. You are so positive and strong. Sending hugs your way and prayers at the big guy.


  2. What a great idea this is Susan! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Nothing like humor to help us through these situations, Susan! Thank you for sharing, and please, if you need anything through this just let me know.

  4. Hope all is going well for both of you. I know cancer is not funny at all but your humor cracks me up. I can see Walt calling you a sadist. Stay strong and know I am praying for both of you and think about you guys a lot.

  5. What a great idea in how to share this part of your lives, Susan! I enjoy the humorous parts..and thanks for sharing these with us as well! Thinking of you both...

  6. thinking of you both...
    sending good thought to you...
    take care!

  7. Loved reading the post and smiling and giggling as the humorous parts!! Laughter is great medicine... keep it up!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are both in my prayers!!

  8. Hugs to you both, Susan. Wishing for the best for Walt.

  9. I am 4 1/2 years out from my cancer surgery so I have an idea what you are going through. Keeping you both in my thoughts and prayers. Love that you both can find the humor in everything.Hugs,
    Gail in Oklahoma