Friday, September 30, 2011

3 Weeks down, 3 to go!!

Hello everybody,  
I know it has been a while since I wrote anything on the blog but Dana has been doing a great job keeping everyone informed.  I have been doing remarkably well and am blessed to have so many caring friends and family praying and writing letters and emails and texts.  Keep them coming.
I am still doing well with everything, Luckily no pain or symptoms!  No headaches or seizures.  No memory loss and no neuro deficits!!  Just a little insomnia.
We have been doing well lately and wanted to get down to Houston this weekend but we had a few important meetings come up and unfortunately had to cancel our trip to Houston.
We met a lady here in Waco that has taken this same journey and will be cancer free four years this January.  She told us her story of her diagnosis, treatment and recovery.  She also did six weeks of radiation therapy and she told me that on day 17, my hair would start falling out.  Well, she was right.  Day 17 was Tuesday and I noticed a lot of hair scattered around me and if I ran my fingers through my hair, I had a hand full of hair.  
Everyone keeps asking why I am losing my hair and it is related to the radiation treatment focused on the forehead and front half of my scalp.  I am not losing hair in the back or anywhere else, just where the beams are focused.  So, evidently the radiation zaps the hair follicle and the hair falls out.  we decided to shave it all off and not worry about the hair anymore.
Below are several pictures of my new hair do and Parker with his new do and my buddy from med school with his sympathy do.

 Here is my wonderful haircut and lovely surgical scar and the patch of missing hair.  pretty nice, huh.

Parker wasn't too happy getting his hair cut but liked the sucker after.  We tried to give it too him during but he just cried "No"

 Here is the happy boy back at home playing on his John Deere Gator.  New Hair cut.

 Here is Chris Cottrell md with his two daughters, Zoe and Reece.
 Here is Audrey holding my hand before my treatment, I am getting locked in and Will is positioning the machine.
 Here we are in front of the Cancer Center sign with our badge of three weeks completed.

Thank you everyone for your prayers and concerns.  We love you all!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Week 2 of Radiation Completed...check!

 Audrey and Parker watching from the video screen David getting his radiation done. They were able to press the speaker button and talk to David in the room.
 Week 2, Day Ten of Radiation Completed! Yeah!
Thumbs up! As you can see so far David still has lots of hair. He can't wear gel for radiation so I am sure you like his hair do:)

This morning I woke up to the text message from sweet friend Katie C. , God doesn't give us the things we need, he gives us the people we need. I say this over and over again how we have seen God through the amazing support from all of our family and friends near and far. I have spent the last few days writing over 50 thank you notes and still working on them. I know everyone put, No Thank you Needed, but I am just so THANKFUL and want you each to know. These should go out in the next week or two and I hope I did not forget anyone.

Week Two of Radiation has been pretty similar to Week 1. David is still feeling great and has even started going to the gym. He takes a couple cat naps in the day but nothing too abnormal at this point. He is doing so well and back to meetings at work. As I have said before, my husband is finally back to normal being off steroids and all. It is pretty nice also having him help out at the house with the kids and now Parker is just as obsessed with Daddy as Audrey. The teachers at Mom's Day Out told me that all Parker says now is daddy:)

We did get approved from Insurance to keep our relationship with the neuro oncologist, Dr. Groves at MD ANDERSON. Praise God again! This was such great news. We go on November 10th to go over our MRI's and tests to make sure that Radiation killed what is left of of the tumor and prevented any new growth, so PLEASE continue your strong prayers. God is with us all the way on this and I really try to make a point every night for him to bless each of you who have been so gracious and supportive of our family.

Please also continue to pray for our sweet friend Wren. We are still waiting on results on whether or not the Cancer is stage 4 advanced. We have had some special time with Wren and her husband the past week. They are amazing models for us in their faith and love for one another. I have felt so helpless this whole time and finally I feel like I can be there for someone else. Wren is a fighter and I still have faith that God can do all and she will fight this. But, I also know what ever the outcome, that God is good and his purpose will be fulfilled. Wren's husband is the community pastor at our church. I asked him if he thought that people are watching him closely as a pastor dealing with this. And I have to share this. He said yes, but that is OK. That he believes everything he preaches. But, he has never said sometimes life just sucks. And it is at this time that we can all say, " This just SUCKS" It feels so good to say that! That is why this is life and short and not eternal life with God.

Love you all!

The Hursts!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Pictures of Radiation! One Week Completed!

     This is the room where Radiation is done. Audrey got to to go the back and see David with the masks. You can see the stickers where they pin point radiation. She thought it was pretty cool that they were shooting at Daddy's boo boo.
 This is behind the radiation room. Audrey could watch them zapping David's tumor with radiation. She enjoyed this and even enjoyed some fruit snacks with it, like it was a movie:)
 Parker got to watch too. He kept yelling Daddy! And smiling! You can see David in the video.
                                               Yeah! 1st Week of Radiation Completed!
                          It helps the kids and David to have us all fight this together as a family!
Received this picture last night. My old book club in North Platte, Nebraska. They met last night and wore green in support for David. So much love!
And last, but most important, This is Whitney! Yeah! We finally got to go to dinner last night and meet an inspiration.

We have had a good week of radiation. So far no side effects. They say between day 14 and day 17 is when you usually start to experience some of the side effects. This week has also been filled with new relationships.

THE HORNS- Wren and Brian Horn are new to Waco and new to Harris Creek Church, our church family. They moved to Waco so Brian could take a job as the community pastor at Harris Creek. Wren, was pregnant with her third child when she found out that she has stage 3 colon cancer that has started to spread to some of her limp notes. Wren's story is amazing and she is currently also in the fight against Cancer. She is much like David in her strong attitude, her breath of life and her freshness of life and attitude. Wren gave birth to her baby girl Grace early, at 32 weeks, so that the Doctors can begin treatment. Wren will start radiation next week down in Temple, Texas at Scott and White. With the radiation and Chemo the hopes are that the tumor will shrink, which it will!:) We had such awesome conversation and comfort with Wren and Brian. And we left there both, just smiling. Wren and Brian also have a 3 year old and 1 year old like David and I. Starting this friendship we hope to provide comfort to each other, prayer for one another and praise for the things God is doing in our lives. Wren's blog is   Pray for Wren as hard as you pray for David. And most importantly pray for our young children. That from this experience they will see the glorification of God and the wonderful things God does in our lives.

RAY- Sarah Scott is a neighbor that I met through Cancer as well. She heard our story and came and introduced herself. Sarah's brother passed away. Not from Brain Cancer but from a Pulmonary Embolism. Sarah's brother had a stage 4 Glioma tumor. Not a very good prognosis. He was the very first one to be a part of the Duke Clinical Trial. AMAZING! He passed from Medication that was taken through the Duke Clinical Trial. By being the first participant, Ray has paved the way for more research and success. His story has been an inspiration to me and according to Sarah his strong faith, his love for life. I feel so blessed to have the Scott family praying hard for David and I.

Whitney- CAN I SAY JOY! You see Whitney up above with David and I. We had the opportunity to go to dinner last night with Whitney. What a breath of fresh air! Whitney had the same diagnosis as David! Look at that healthy girl! She is doing amazing and continues to put all healing on God's work alone.  She has been Cancer free for four years now! She get's MRI's done every four months and is constantly getting good results. It was so nice to be around Whitney to feel her joy, her positivity and her outlook on Cancer. She reminded us, to not only pray to God, but to TALK TO CANCER. She said, Wake up and tell Cancer, you are not going to get me. I will fight you. She is so ever true. Cancer does not kill us, and it can not kill us, for we have eternal life and we praise God for that.

This has been a crazy week and I still can not believe we just completed our first week of radiation. What an amazing feeling! I started Bible Study and Fellowship this week as well. We are spending the next 3 months studying the book of Acts. The great thing about BSF is that the kids are also learning about God. Audrey told me she learned about Jesus, Paul and Peter Pan on Wednesday:) As I was doing the study for this week of Acts I was amazed at the similarities God is pointing out to me. Acts, was written by Dr. Luke. Dr. Luke was best friends with Paul and it is said that it was through Luke's relationship with Paul that he came to Christ. Wonder if Paul knew the simple act of witnessing could lead Luke to write one of the most important books of the bible.

Jesus chose the apostles to continue his work after he died and rose again, and it was only through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in these apostles that the apostles were able to preform these acts. They had sorrows and they had joys. Acts can be called the Acts of the Holy Spirit.

I ask you to continue to pray for our family and ask for us to be filled with the Holy Spirit each and every day. I know a lot of people have commented that we are so strong and I appreciate those words, but in all honesty, we would be very weak if we did not have our faith right now. It is knowing the one truth that gives us all the hope that we need.

A card, our friends the Fago's sent us said, Deep inside us there is a place where faith flows freely, and hope runs deep, a place were we can go to be refreshed and to remember who we really are, and who we are is not illness or weakness or any kind of problem, we are eternal and we are loved, we are children of God.

I hope through all the stories above that you always know our families and the families above as not an illness but eternal and loved by God just as each of you are.

Lots of Love!

Dana, David, Audrey and Parker

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Radiation Treatments

As most of you already know, I started radiation therapy yesterday, Monday September 12!
Dana and I had been over to talk to Dr Larry Mundy, the radiation oncologist at Hillcrest Hospital here in Waco, last week and were set up to start our 6 weeks of treatments.
It is an interesting process, Dr Mundy has to map out where to direct the radiation and needs to make sure my head is perfectly still during the 30 second procedure, this will ensure that the radiation is going where it is supposed to, ie the tumor margins and not the healthy brain!  The only way to ensure this is to build a special plastic mask to hold my head still and then get the mask clamped down into a special holder.
I have had two treatments, two of many I might add....6 weeks, 5 days a week, monday - friday.....but so far no complications.  I spoke with the radiation oncologist today who asked how things were going and he admitted that I should not have any side-effects until the 2nd or 3rd week.  He said I should expect a few side effects after treatments; some slight hair loss and maybe some skin irritation.  He also said that a few patients will experience some nausea, fatigue, malaise (sleepiness) and headache.  So far, I have not had any side-effects.  I did talk to him about the last week of treatments and my desire to go to South Dakota and he did not see any reason I would not be able to go and could have my last two treatments when I get back.
Also, I am gladly getting over the dreaded Coxsackie A virus of the Picornaviradae Virus group, otherwise known as "Hand, Foot & Mouth virus" that I contracted from my 17 month son, Parker!!!!  Something he picked up from mothers day out!!!  Unfortunately, it is not as common in adults and IT IS quite painful, especially on the hands, feet and mouth!!!  Luckily, it only lasts a few days and the treatment is regularly scheduled max dosages of Tylenol and Motrin.  (Tylenol is 15mg/kg and Motrin is 10mg/kg, BTW, most 1 yo kids weigh 10 kg and most 4 yo kids weigh 20 kg)  Unfortunately, there is no antibiotic cure and the only treatment is supportive. I would recommend alternating dosages of the medications every 3-4 hours the first 2 days and I would set my alarm clock to give meds through the night, especially having gone through what I have the past 2 days, it is torture!!!  Obviously I have not had HFM before and would not recommend it to anyone of any age!
I digress!!!
I continue to get wonderful support emails and cards and well wishes from all our friends that I run into about town.  Dana and I are so glad to have all the wonderful support from everyone both here and abroad and so look forward to having all this drama behind us.  I know this is a life-long journey and I appreciate everyone that has given their support and all the prayers.  Please keep them coming for us and yourselves!
We truly appreciate everyone.
David and Dana
Audrey and Parker

Monday, September 12, 2011

First Day of Radiation- From Dana

Every day from God is a gift, that is why it is called the PRESENT:) Thank you Aunt Mary for sharing such a true statement.

The past week has been a breeze getting ready for radiation. We have been anxious to get started and get it done with. There has been so much positive around us and we continue to make sure that is reflecting in the household and with the children. 

Our only downer the past week, was Parker woke up one morning with a small case of Mouth, Hand, Foot Virus. It is a viral thing that is pretty common and spreads rapidly through kids. He had it for a couple days and was fine. It is rare for adults to get it and we did not pay to much attention to the fact that we could get infected. David woke up this past Sunday with the virus and pretty much would tell you, not so fun. There is not much you can do for it, just wait it out. And all we can do it laugh, that of all people David would get it:)

But, before he was put down with this nasty virus he did enjoy a wonderful weekend hunting with neighbors, friends and family. The great outdoors and enjoying God's beauty is one of David's favorite things to do. Although he could not hunt, he still enjoyed every minute of it.

So beyond the little road block with the MHFoot Virus, David has been FEELING wonderful. Like anyone who see's him will say you would not know that he had surgery only a few short weeks ago. He has been getting back to work doing some administrative stuff and that has been such a relief for him to get out and do. He loves his job and the ability to work and help others. So he is very anxious to get back.

First day of radiation today. It was pretty uneventful and I can't say that we have noticed anything. We have appreciated all the prayers and text messages today. I really believe with all my heart that like surgery, radiation is going to be a cynch for David. He is in just such good spirits, shape and a true fighter. 

As many of you know, the tumor was in the frontal lobe and effects mood and behavior. I thought when they took the tumor out that my husband I married would be back. Well, not so much. You had the steroids and all the medication and then the fact that they took some of his frontal lobe out. The doctors assured me once he was off the meds and his brain had time to re adjust he would be back to his normal self, and they were right. We have had such an enjoyable past 48 hours, despite the MouthHandFoot:) He is getting back to him self as far as his spirits, his work ethic, his loving personality and his passion for life. I can't tell you how happy that makes me and also how I know it is because of all of your prayers.

I met some interesting and loving people today during radiation while I sat in the lobby. They like your radiation to be the same time everyday. So, these loving people will be a part of our lives every day for the next 6 weeks. WE have heard SO MANY success stories. The radiation Oncologist is hooking us up with a 31 year old lady named Whitney. She had the same tumor as David. She had surgery, radiation and chemo. She has been TUMOR free for 5 years and still TUMOR free. They said she is just an amazing person with so much joy. I am so anxious to meet her!

I ask that you continue to pray for us as we start and continue radiation. I also ask that you pray for Holly. Holly is the front desk lady. Who talks to all of us out in the waiting room. She gets to know all of us and is a young girl that I don't think realizes how important her impact is. Praise God that God put such a bright, smiling face young lady to converse with all of us and get to know our families. I also ask that you pray for God to use me in any way as I get to know the others in the lobby. You see so much love but you also see Sadness and I look forward to going on this journey with these other individuals.

We love you all!


Friday, September 9, 2011

Thank you!

Here is all the gifts that everyone has sent separated into little bags.

We are so thankful for all the stuff that everyone sent to us. I finally finished separating everything into little bags for each day. Each day we will take one plastic bag with us to radiation and in it will be a surprise that the kids can play with while David get's his radiation done. Audrey helped me separate everything into little bags. We put one toy for Parker and one toy for Audrey. She was very excited to be a part of this. When David came home from the gym she told him not to touch any of the stuff we had separated, that these toys were for when we go do his radiation:)

We also have been so blessed to receive lots of gift cards for different fun places like Sonic, Chick Fil A and Wendys. We will use these gift cards as fun things to do on a friday when David has completed his radiation.

I promise that I will send Thank you Cards out! I know many of you put no thank you card needed, but I want to make sure I get the chance to THANK everyone for making this journey so much easier for not only us, but the kids!

Lots of Love!


AGAIN, THANK YOU! All the stuff everyone was so thoughtful to send will make the next 6 weeks more enjoyable for the Hurst Family and we are FOREVER GRATEFUL!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Radiation Begins

Abby and Millie wearing Green for David:)

It's hard to believe that David's surgery was 3 weeks ago from today. And that 5 weeks ago exact we found out David had a golf ball size tumor in his brain. In that time, we have had our battles with insurance, removed a tumor and now begin radiation. It is remarkable how well David is doing. He is feeling 100 percent and ready to get back to life and back to work. I have always known David was a hard worker, but during this experience I have learned about how he is more then just a hard worker but a fighter. Nothing would surprise me with David anymore and his efforts to beat all odds.

Now we begin the second leg of managing this disease, radiation. It has been decided that it would be best for us to have radiation done here in Waco with Radiation Oncologist, Dr. Mundy. We talked to Dr. Groves our Neuro Oncologist with MD Anderson and he is very comfortable with us having our radiation done here in Waco. Dr. Groves and Dr. Mundy have been in talks on what would be the best standard radiation for David. Insurance will cover radiation being done here. We have submitted a request for insurance to cover our continued relationship with Dr. Groves at MD Anderson and also a Neuro Oncologist here in Waco. Either way, radiation will begin Monday. I am so proud of my husband and the fight he fought with insurance the week leading up to surgery. I am also so grateful for the Scott and White team David works with and HillCrest team that helped David to get the 100 percent coverage. We received our MD Anderson bill today and I was astonished at the amount it cost for brain surgery, but relieved when the balance due was 0! I have learned a whole different side of health care through all of this. And it has humbled both David and I. ( Don't worry though we still aren't becoming democrats:) hehe....

Today, David had his consultation with Dr. Mundy. Dr. Mundy is a wonderful guy who know's his stuff but also has lots of stories to tell:) An hour appointment turned into 2 hours as Dr. Mundy had many funny stories to share with David about his time working in the ER. Dr. Mundy explained that we will start radiation on Monday and we will do radiation for 6 weeks. I asked him why 6 weeks and he said that the brain can only take so much. So, they don't want to do too much radiation, that 6 weeks is the magic number. He explained that David may have fatigue, naseau and stated he will loose his hair. He said it may not come back. But, all of us who know David, I can't imagine that hair not coming back:) But, all these are maybe's. As I have learned, there were a lot of maybe's when it came to surgery and David surprised us all. So, I do not doubt David to overcome it:)

This journey and the issues of life and death have forced David and I to have conversations I never thought we would have. But, it has also made me realize, Cancer or no cancer these are issues that as a married couple we should be aware of each other's thoughts, feelings and emotions to always be prepared for any situation. With that, the issue of a third child has always been something important to David and I. And we have always seen ourselves with that third child. It was made clear from Dr. Mundy that radiation will not effect fertility. Since the radiation is to the brain. Which is wonderful news. But, David and I have both agreed that we are very blessed with two healthy children and that are family is complete and perfect so that we can now focus all our strength on him getting better. We never know what God holds for us in the future, but right now all of our strength needs to be focused on David's health and our kids.

They fit David with a head mask today for radiation, which was pretty scary looking. I did take a picture, but pretty sure David wouldn't want me posting it. We do get to keep the mask after radiation so maybe was can frame it:) Or not. They said radiation will be about 20-30 minutes from check in to leaving 5 days a week and 2 days off. We are so grateful for all the wonderful things every one has sent for the kids. I have started to seperate everything into different days of the week. The kids can go with us to radiation and I will bring a special little treat for them in the lobby each time we go. We have left the kids so much the past 5 weeks that I want to make them a part of what is going on and not make them scared of the unknown. Radiation will be a family, fun thing we can all do together. Does that sound weird or what? Or is that even possible? Anyway, I am going to try it. And I know David wants to be around the kids as much as possible.

Dr. Mundy was very confident that after radiation, David will be back to living a normal life and can go back to work. Which David has already guaranteed us all he will do:)

I promise to update the blog more, as many of you have asked. I will update it with David's progress. And David will update is as well! He is leaving tomorrow to go on a 2 day hunt with family and friends. He is so excited for this trip and it is the best way to relax before the start of this journey monday.

I will have to say this week I have had some weak moments and many close friends have pointed out that it is the weak moments that make us human and that we need to have weak moments to need and really appreciate God. Surrounded by all the cards you all have sent, I saw this one that stuck out to me,
" Sometimes life just doesn't make any sense. Bad things happen to good people, and we all wonder why. But, even in those moments, some things remain true- God loves you....He has a plan for your are are never alone....and even the darkest night must lead to dawn, "
Romans 9:28 in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him.

Lots of Love!

Dana, David, Audrey and Parker:)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Labor day Weekend

David and I out at our night of normalcy this past friday. Although it didn't prove to be a night of normalcy as Baylor Beat TCU in an amazing game of football with total points scored close to 100! Sic Em that how you say it:) Many of you know after moving to Texas with all the football teams, David and I root for them all. What better way to enjoy football with all your friends:)
A picture that was sent to us yesterday from a good friend of mine from High School, Greg. To show his support for David and his fight against Brain Cancer his boys soccer team he coaches all wore green. What an amazing feeling for David to know people are supporting him and thinking of him that don't even know him. Thank you to this team in Ohio for showing your support for our family!
This is a picture of all the cards we have received. If only their was a representation of the cards, emails, text messages, phone calls, care packages, daily visits and dinners? That would make for a picture of lots of love. These cards provide encouraging words and you can't help but smile when surrounded by them.

We have had an amazing Labor Day weekend with so many blessings so far. We were so lucky to have my Mother fly in from Ohio for the week and help with the kids so David and I could get as many errands and day to day things done before he starts radiation. We also were lucky to have David's friend Ron and his wife Molly come visit us for the weekend from Houston. Ron and David grew up together since elementary school and it made for a fun weekend for David to have the opportunity to spend it with him. We also had the chance to meet up with one of David's good buddies from Med School Andy and his family the Thyen Clan. Nothing but good laughs and reminiscing:)

We also received wonderful news that my good friend Melanie gave birth to a healthy little boy Noah Benjamin Arons. The last I heard from Melanie was Friday as she was heading to Temple to pray for David and our decision on where to go for radiation. The next was text message that she was going in to Labor and the next was a message that her close to 7 pound healthy baby was born.

So many blessings this weekend. A colleague of David's gave us the book, The Purpose Driven Life, I flipped it open to the following. Not only was it a reminder of the joy of Noah Benjamin Arons being born, but of how Special David is in God's eyes.

The verse was Psalm 149:4a
The Lord takes Pleasure in his people.

The Recap followed with ....

You were planned for God's pleasure. The moment you were born into the world, God was there as an unseen witness, smiling at your birth. He wanted you alive, and your arrival gave him great pleasure. God did not NEED to create you, but he CHOSE to create you. You exist for his benefit, his glory, his purpose, his delight. Bringing enjoyment to God, living for his pleasure, glorifying him always is the first pleasure of your life. When you fully understand this truth , you will never again have a problem feeling insignificant. It proves your worth. If you are that important to God, and he considers you valuable enough to keep you with him for eternity, what greater significance could you have? You are a child of God, and you bring pleasure to God like nothing else he has ever created.

Reading this it made me realize how this whole journey and all of you surrounding us with love has made us feel not insignificant at all. And that is because God is using all of you to comfort us so that we see him through you. We have always said we were chosen for this and those words have been easy to type but often hard to accept. But, after reading this it has made me feel very special that God does love us so much to choose us for this. I am not the one with Cancer, so my prayer would be that David continues to know and feel God's love during this journey. I have always prayed at night that my children never doubt my love for them or David's. Reading the devotion today made me realize my prayer should also be that my children never doubt God's love for them and always know that they were chosen to be created and that God loves them to spend eternity with them.

Continue praying as we continue talking about our options for radiation and where we want to be. We will decide on tuesday and start the phone calls on where radiation will start next monday.

Lots of Love to everyone and continue enjoying Labor Day weekend!

Dana, David, Audrey and Parker.

Friday, September 2, 2011


Every day a new day:)

We just got the call from our neurooncologist Dr. Groves from MD Anderson. The results are not in our favor. The IP19Q is attached to the tumor. Which means it is non-deleted, which means radiation is needed.

So, our options are to be a part of the clinical trial at MD Anderson or to do standard Radiation for 6 weeks followed by Chemo at MD Anderson. The radiation would start a week from monday, hopefully. What does this mean for us. The battle with insurance begins again:) We have been told that insurance will not cover it at MD Anderson because the services are provided here at HillCrest. After talking to Dr. Groves he said he would spear head it to get done here in Waco. He also said that he would encourage insurance to get it covered at MD Anderson. But, either way he will be our quarterback:) So, we need some time this afternoon to kind of digest everything. We will put a call into insurance this afternoon and with it being Labor Day Monday we probably won't hear anything until Tuesday. Or we may just decide to get it done here in Waco and call it good.

The positive, radiation and chemo will kill what is left of the tumor. And according to other patients they have done radiation and chemo they have sometimes not had any tumor re growth for 7-12 years. We will continue this journey and continue asking for your prayers.

Many of you have seen David the past week, he started working out at the gym again and even attending some meetings at work. He has rode in the golf cart with friends and joined some hunting ( he did not shoot the gun:) He is so READY to get back to work and life and those of you who know him, know he will not let this tumor take him down:)

The Power of Prayer is larger then anything you all could do for us, please continue!

Lots of Love, The Hursts