Monday, November 21, 2011

Post-Radiation Follow-up, Monday, November 21, 2011

Hello Everyone,
It has been a little while since I wrote on the blog and I want to thank Dana for keeping everyone up to speed with her regular blogging.

Today was a great day!!

We went to MD Anderson and met with the neuro-oncologist Dr Morris Groves and he compared the post-radiation MRI performed at Hillcrest in Waco to the post-operative MRI the day after surgery.  There is a small spot on the post radiation scan that we can see on the post-op that the radiologists at Hillcrest and Dr Groves are confident is post radiation necrosis.  (dead tissue from the radiation treatments)

So, essentially, all is well from a MRI scan perspective.

Dr Groves is recommending we pursue the chemotherapy, Timadar.  This will be a pill, once a day for five days (M-F) then 3 weeks off.  Then repeat for total of one year of chemo.  Luckily, there are very few side affects, mainly Nausea and Vomiting.  Sometimes pt will experience a decrease in White Blood Count but I asked specifically if I could work during this chemo and he said yes.  I will also have an MRI every 2 months and regular oncology office visits, both at Texas Oncology and MD Anderson.

The second portion of today's visit was to repeat the Psycho-Cognitive evaluation.  The psychologist told Dana and I that my pre-surgical performance was above average for males my age with similar education.  (that is important because it indicates that the tumor had very minimal affect on my cognitive capabilities pre-op, if at all) Personally, I think I performed better on my cognitive testing today compared to pre-op.  Ironically, I remember most of the tests/tasks and am pretty sure I did better.  They are mostly questions of memory, word association, tasks of time and skill (hand-eye coordination and tactile coordination.)    Although, I am not sure it is a by-product of having taken the tests before and some memory of how to answer/perform or I just plain did better.  I asked for the results of today's testing and she will mail them to me in the next couple of weeks.  We also had a brief conversation regarding the Wonderlic Psychological test, something the NFL has utilized in the combine since 1970 to guage each players IQ.  You have 12 minutes to answer 50 questions.  Check it out on Wikipedia, kinda cool.

As you know, I started back to work 3 weeks ago and I still remember all the medicine and still look up the little minutia that I looked up before.  I have good stamina and am only a little more tired at the end of a shift than I used to be.  Unfortunately, I am the first to acknowledge I am not as fast as I once was but as Toby Keith says, "I'm as good once as I ever was."  So, I plan on getting my speed up but the most important thing I have learned regarding patient care from this medical experience, do not neglect the heart and soul of the patient or their family.  If I am a little slower because I take more time to talk to the patient and family and explain clearly the plan, tests, results, diagnosis and follow-up, I am ok with this.  But, I will continue to strive to get back to the speed I had but with more compassion than ever.

I am very grateful to each and everyone of you that has been praying for me and Dana, Audrey and Parker. We are so blessed to have such a large and caring group of family and friends that are concerned about all aspects of this adventure.  It is wonderful the support that you have shown for Dana, she is the unfortunate collateral damage to all of this but it is each and everyone of you and God that have kept her so upbeat and energetic.  I can only wish that you will continue to pray and give encouragement to us.  Please remember to pray for yourselves and your families as well.

God Bless everyone.
Love Always
David and Dana
Audrey and Parker

Monday, November 14, 2011


Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for all the calls and text messages. I am so sorry I have not responded to all and once again, thought the best way to get all the information out was via blog:) So, apologize that some of you may be wondering what is going on. 

This morning David was picked up by his good friend, neighbor, and radiologist, Greg Bathhurst:) They went to do the MRI scan at 8:30 a.m.  And I hate to say, there is not much to report. We need the post opt MRI from MD Anderson to compare with this MRI to show if there is any shrinkage in the cancer tentacles. The tumor was taken out at surgery, well 99% of it. And unlike other Cancers, we can not take out the whole tumor because there are tentacles that are to small and intertwined with the Brain to take out. So, that is why we did the radiation. Because, we hope the radiation kills, shrinks, and prevents any new growth. So, that all being said, the scan did not show a big golf ball size tumor! Yeah! But, to see if any of the tentacles have shrunk we need to look at the scan after surgery. David also had blood work done and we will get those results in the next couple days. I hope this all makes sense:( I am trying best to explain it in a non medical way:) 

When I talked to David he sounded upbeat and positive and said everything looked good but we won't know for sure until we compare the two scans. He is out now enjoying an afternoon of Golf with Greg. Leave it to David to have just another normal day:)

So, what is next?

We are waiting for MD Anderson to mail the CD with the post operative scan to Hill Crest. We will then have Dr. Bathhurst review it and give us his opinion. This could be in the next couple days.

But, no matter what, we will know for sure on Monday, November 21st what the report and next step is. As this is the day that we will meet with Dr. Groves, our Neurooncologist at MD Anderson. At this point we will know exactly what the scan looked like and what are plans of management are in the months and years to come:) ( KEY WORD, years:))))

Love and Hugs to everyone and promise to keep everyone updated! Thank you for always thinking of our family. I hope that one day I can show all the gratitude and love to each and every one of you that you have given to our family!

The Hursts!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

MRI Tomorrow!

We hope everyone is enjoying the transition in the time change and the fall weather. We have spent the last couple weeks since radiation keeping busy. David went back to work! He has worked Four ER shifts thus far and back at all the administration duties as Director of the ER. He is enjoying being back, but definitely very tired after a 12 hour shift.  I think his record bed time now is 7 p.m. ! The doctors said that radiation is still in effect for a couple weeks after your last radiation treatment. So hopefully the exhaustion will wear off in the next few weeks. 

Our hearts , minds , thoughts and prayers have been at peace these last three months with God, knowing that everything is in his hands and we seek him for the the strength and peace we need to move forward. Also, in the last 3 months we have been non stop fighting this disease while also living our lives as normal as possible. When radiation was done, it was a celebration  but also an awakening. It gave me the time to really stop and think and accept this change and journey in our lives. 

I am so grateful for the people that God has surrounded David and I with. Having the time to really think, it is only human and natural, to also have feelings of helplessness, acceptance, bitterness and anger. It was David's first shift that I attended our evening life group and had the opportunity to basically vent. Vent for the anger that I have felt and feel for why this is happening to us? And it was then that I was not only comforted by my friends but reassured that God is God and he can handle my anger. I believe the truth, to be strong we must be weak. And this was by far my ultimate day of weakness. Having that night with friends and the opportunity for us to spend time just praying gave me the strength to be the mom and wife I need to continue to be for David and the kids as we walk this journey. 

God always is there and listening and I was reminded of this, this morning. David and I were asked with our friends the Pryor's to lead a small group for 2nd and 3rd Graders at our church. It was there that God took my anger and dealt with my anger with 1 Thessalonians 5:18. This was the verse we were suppose to help the 2nd and 3rd graders memorize, " We are to give thanks in all circumstance for it is God's Will through his son Jesus Christ, " wow! Hello Dana:) Was that hitting me right in the face. Knowing this, I know it's OK to be weak and it's OK to feel helpless but having those feelings I stop and give thanks for all that God has blessed our family with. Our children, our families, our friends, our church, our home, life! 

This all being said, tomorrow is our MRI. I cannot wait to see the scan. I feel so positive and at peace for tomorrow. I also know this is the first of many MRI's in our future. As we will probably have them every two months. And I cannot let fear rule each one. We are moving forward, we are fighting and David is the example to show it. 

The MRI is at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow at Hill Crest. We ask that you continue to pray for healing and God to continue to be miraculous in David's life. We will update everyone as to what the MRI shows. We will then go to MD Anderson on November 21st with the MRI and blood work and have an idea of the next step.

Here are pictures from David's last day of radiation for those of you who haven't seen them on facebook!

We love you all and thank you again for your prayers, love and support for our family!

From our family to yours!