Monday, August 12, 2013

Set a date

I cannot believe it has been one week since we left the hospital. To say we were excited to get home is an understatement. David and I were both emotionally exhausted from the unplanned hospital stay and missed the kids tons. Seeing them you couldn't help but forget about everything and just pick up right were we left off! Here are a few pictures from the welcoming home:)

We were welcomed home to a house full of flowers and green balloons. Thank you so much to friends from Church who wanted to brighten our home! It made our welcome that much more special. Our kids were well taken care of by my family while we were gone and actually wanted us gone a little longer so they could get spoiled just a little more. 

When we got home we decided to spend a relaxing afternoon just as family at a neighbors pool. Pretty much the only sane thing to do in the 100 degree weather in Texas. It was only an hour or two after we got settled that we received the phone call from KWTX Matt Howerton. He was interested in doing a news story on David and his journey with Brain Cancer. We agreed to it and they said see you in an hr! WHAT?!!! We rushed so fast to get ready as a family and organize the house and call a few of our Team Hurst friends over to be a part of the story. Matt Howerton did an excellent job covering what our journey is all about, hope, faith, love, God and All of you! We are thankful for him for taking the time to do this and we will keep the video and raw footage for our children to see and always know how brave their daddy is. 

Here is a clip..... click to view

David's news story

It has been good this week to get back to the normal life of things. David has felt very small side effects from the Avastin, ( chemo drug )  Fatigue is the only one that is noticeable. He has had no headaches! Praise the lord! Again, it is truly a miracle how well he responded to the steroids so fast in the hospital and has bounced back as fast as he did! Now, for the steroids, that is another story. We have noticed some small side effects from the steroids. First off, I still can not figure out why anyone would take these just for recreational use?David is miserable on them, as it makes him want to eat anything in site, excluding me and the children:), he can get extremely restless, stomach issues and then the insomnia. He also has developed a hoarse voice from them, which we think may be a bacterial infection that can be caused from steroids. He will see an ENT doc friend in the a.m. to hopefully get that all cleared up! Other then that, he is out enjoying time with friends, been walking a bunch and has a fishing trip scheduled the next few days! 

We met with the Waco Radiation Oncologist today, Dr. Mundy. Dr Mundy did our radiation two years ago. He has been out of town which was why there was a delay. I am very thankful to Dr. Mundy for many reasons. But, the first and most important is him taking the time last week to push his pride aside and realize that radiating someone with Brain Cancer twice might be out of his expertise. From day one of this journey we have experienced doctors who could not push their pride aside and have caused some barriers for us with insurance. Granted we only met with the radiation oncologist in Houston for a few minutes before David experienced his Cerebral Edema, he still was able to give us his expert opinion on radiation doses. So, now we have a plan. We will start radiation next Thursday on the 22nd in Waco with the doses that MD Anderson recommended. They would like to coordinate by having radiation start soon after our next chemo treatment which will be the 19th. We will do 12 days of radiation. Then wait 3 weeks and go back to MD Anderson for an MRI to see if all of this treatment has been working.  

Although I wish we could get an MRI every day, just to see if all of this is working, one of the doctors pointed something very important to me. As doctors, their jobs are not to treat MRI's. MRI's are not their patients, the person is their patient they reminded me. So, if David continues to improve like he is and not have headaches or show any signs of of concern, then we will continue with treatment as planned and pray that the tumor is shrinking. 

I am hoping specific prayer will be helpful to many of you as there are a few. Again, we are so thankful for you to just spend a few minutes praying. You might be surprised how prayer will change your lives like it has changed ours.

Prayer for radiation - Not really ideal to have your brain radiated twice, but doctors feel it will be OK.
Prayer for David's heart rate- when we left the hospital it was low. David asked if he could head up to Colorado, doctors strongly suggested to not go so high in altitude with such a low heart rate, David's response, well how high can I go???? Of course:) Pray his heart rate continues to rise and get better. This would mean the tumor is shrinking potentially. We are already noticing small changes. 
Prayer for side effects of Avastin and tumor- Pray that we will continue to be sheltered from the deadly side effects from the chemo drug and the tumor. Pray that we will wake up each day and live it, really live it and not live it in fear of what can happen. 

Praises- Pray that these doctors just feel our gratitude and love through your prayers. Pray that they are blessed like they have blessed our family. 
Praise God for these doctors by name..
Dr. Mundy- Radiation oncologist in Waco. I can't imagine his job and know he wants the best for our family. 

Dr. Chakmakjian - amazing Waco oncologist and friend. He has walked with us day one and worked hand and hand with our MD Anderson doctors. He is always a phone call away, assuring me and helping me when it comes to answering any question I have on David's medical care.

Dr. Penas- Prada - Nero oncologist, for her wisdom and research. I cannot imagine having this job or be any physician that works with Cancer. It breaks my heart to think we are just one of their many patients and at this time their is still no cure for Brain Cancer

Gladys- She was the nurse practitioner that did David's Nero exam in Houston and detected David's symptoms right away. She went with us down to the ER and visited us while in ICU. She encouraged me, she gave me a shoulder to cry on and sympathized with our situation. Something you don't see from every one in the medical field. She was truly a little gift from God that day. 

Soo- Nurse practitioner Soo for the Nero Department who was with us while at hospital. She was the most informative person I have ever met and walked with me step by step on David's medicines and medical care when we left hospital. She was the one that said someone was watching over us.  She also worked with our whole Nero team at MD Anderson being the communication between them all on our case. 

We are so thankful to all of you and your overwhelming support on our facebook page, TEAM HURST. Like it if you haven't already to get daily updates. Also, many of you have been requesting bracelets and t-shirts. The requests have become so large that we are trying to figure out a better way to get them to everyone faster. Please send pictures of your support in green. 

" But He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. " 2 Corinthians 12:9

Bexley Boys Soccer Team in Ohio sporting Green in support of Team Hurst ( BEXLEY,OHIO)


Kearney, Nebraska
 Friends gathered together in Taho to pray for David and his continue fight and strength. This picture shows all that God intended family to be...........
You want to pray for us but PRAY FOR JOHN LOOKER! Talk about amazing! This man heard our story! He is in OHIO and has CANCER THROUGH OUT HIS WHOLE body , including 2 tumors in his brain! And he wanted to show support for us! How? He wore David's bracelets during his 180 miles BIKE RIDE! YES! That's right! Cancer through his whole body and it could not take away his PASSION! Look up John Looker on facebook and pray hard for this amazing man who shows that GOD CAN DO THE IMPOSSIBLE! OUR GOD IS FAITHFUL!

A neighbor surprised David tonight picking him up in this fun ride! Enjoying life! 


The Hurst Family 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Chemo today!!!

David has had a great weekend with lots of visitors which has made the time here go a little faster and home look a little sooner. We were so grateful to friends who made it possible for my sister and her husband to stay an extra day and come see David. Which made David super happy. I got to go home on Saturday and see the kids and my family. The kids were super excited and I sat and just told them daddy had to stay longer because the doctor needs more treatment . They were super excited when we got a phone call from David and they got to face time him. I had such a great dinner also with my sister , her husband and my brother. Lots of laughs and reminiscing:) thankful to friends and family who kept David company in Houston. I think at one point this weekend David has 10 guests! 

David has been up and walking around. He has been doing great! Some might call him stubborn when it comes to being a patient. But , I would say persistent . The second day he was in the ICU he managed to leave , take a walk, with out any of the nurses knowing! Who escapes the ICU? He came back and all the nurses kept saying, " dr hurst you better get your butt back in bed ." It was pretty historical. Then the next day he managed to convince the physical therapist he did not need her services anymore and proved it by showing her how he can walk the stairs and laps around the hospital. We have had some great nurses who can handle his stubbornness and give it back to him. The high doses of steroids David is very happy and gitty but also manages to tell others what he is thinking in a blunt sort of way:) we have started tapering down the steroids to see how Davids body responds . Today he woke up with the same slight headache he had yesterday ( Sunday) . The steroids have kept the swelling down which is what caused the episode on Thursday.    (the swelling) Right now we are trying to find what is that right dosage. Pretty much trial and error which I would rather be done in the hospital :) we are going to keep him on the 6 mg 3 times a day. On Thursday he was on 10 mg every 6 hours. The Avastin chemo he will start today should help with swelling to and praying shrink the tumor. This all being said we will start Avastin today. An IV treatment that takes 60 to 90 minutes. We will then watch and see if it helps and we can keep the steroids at the dose they are. We also found out today we can do radiation ! The radiation oncologist we never got the chance to consult with ( :() is involved in our case and going to work with our radiation oncologist in Waco on the best treatment plan. We will do Avastin every two weeks. This is a lot of Information ... Sorry, but know the medical people would want the specifics :) 

David is obviously itching to get out of here :) we are going to go down to the library in a few to get some puzzles and games.  There is only so much you can do here :( all of our spirits are up and we have all caught up on sleep and rest. We are so excited we can start attacking this angry tumor today!! No more waiting. 

Oddly enough my first three conversations this am involved how we need to not worry. What does it do for you? Releasing your worry and ultimately just telling yourself Gods got this and that his timing is perfect. As I prayed over a verse someone sent me this am 

" don't worry about anything , indeed, pray about everything. Tell God your needs and don't forget to thank him for his answers," phillipians 4:6 

I felt a peace I have felt before , Gods got this. He does and he has everything perfectly timed. I can choose to worry or I can choose to find comfort in knowing he  is already two steps in front of me and is carrying me through. After that I received an email through Facebook from a prayer warrior who wanted me to view a blog about someone with brain cancer , the title, Gods got this ! Wow! If that wasn't loud in my ears! And then another prayer warrior sent me an email about her mom who was healed of cancer and her wonderful stories of MD Anderson. I immediately wrote back asking if I could have the moms name so I could thank God for healing already in the life of others !:) and then 5 min later a friend I have prayed for daily who has tried for years to get pregnant had her first positive pregnancy test!! Why worry?!! Gods got this! Pray! And give thanks and open your eyes to all that he is already doing your life and others!

We will probably go home tomorrow:) pray for the Avastin to work. For our life as we go home. There will be changes that my very persistent husband may not want to agree with:) driving , a nagging wife :), his inability to be on his own with kids.. The list can go on. Although he looks great feels great he is still under high risk! I don't want to live a life of fear but want to be careful and pay attention to the signs and what to expect. Pray for our challenges with that. Pray for my patience with my husband as steroids aren't the best when it comes to your personality.

 But before you pray, thank god for all he has always done! It is Monday! I didn't think we would have Monday on Thursday! Thank him for you and all the amazing people who have allowed god to use them to carry us through. Thank him for the fact that David made that video for Facebook. That was a big deal for him to know what to say, to say it all in one breath and to overcome the challenge of it! Thank god for making it possible for family to come and take care of our kids! Thank god for the blessings he has already done in your lives as well:)

Romans 8:28 " for we know in all things God works for the good of those who love him , who have been called according to his purpose "

Some team hurst pictures
Prayers from Ohio! 

Prayers from Waco!
Prayers from Denver !

God is faithful,

The hurst family 

Friday, August 2, 2013

God Is Good

" Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with all of you. " 2 Thessalonians 3:16

" And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. " Phillipians 4:13

Thank you so much to everyone for your constant prayers this past 24 hours. I am still amazed what has transpired. The up and downs of emotions has been definitely a roller coaster.

We had a Waco crew arrive last night with clothes, phone chargers and some goodies to get us through on this unexpected hospital stay. It was very hard to not communicate to family with both phones completly dead. David had his MRI last night and we had our good friend Greg Bathurst here ( Waco Radiologist) who went back to the MRI with David and read it with the other doctors. PRAISE GOD, from the MRI there showed no brain bleeds or stroke happening. The MRI did not look that much different than his last MRI this past saturday. But, what you could tell from the MRI is that the tumor and it's swelling is pushing the middle of David's brain which caused what we saw yesterday. Just a cm of a difference and it created the spiral of chaosis yesterday.

I left this a.m. the hospital room at 7:30 a.m. to go to David's parents who live just 5 min from the hospital. David was sleeping and I knew this would be my window of opportunity to go home and shower and change. We had friends here just in case the doctors came in. When returning to David, of course this is what I came to ( picture below). My David. Sitting up in a chair. Dressed. Talking with his parents. Asking everyone to come in the room and all smiles.
He was communicating normal, talking about how his parents have lived in their house for 43 years. Getting his numbers right and even getting the date right, August 2nd 2013. Which Happy birthday to his brother charles! Thank goodness for now we can leave 10/21/70. IT IS TRULY A MIRACLE. Your prayers were answered and I am so grateful. We took a video of him talking to the kids telling him that he loved them. We then spent time with the nurse practitioner Dr. Soo. I had missed the doctors that morning :( So she came in to communicate to me the next plan of action. David is on very high doses of steroids to get the swelling down. AND HIS BODY IS RESPONDING! So is his personality to the steroids :) Which means we do not have to consider surgery right now. Which is just so risky. David will stay in the hospital, moving from the ICU to the regular rooms today or tomorrow. He will continue the steroids in hopes of it bringing the swelling down some more. We will then start treatment on Monday. Treatment! What we so desperately need! We will begin an IV of Avastan on monday here in Houston.  this way to monitor him. If all goes well we can maybe go home the middle of next week. He will continuethe avastan hopefully every 2 weeks. David OF COURSE threw a fuse. He was thinking he could go home today:) The nurse reminded him that he dodged A MAJOR bullet yesterday. And told him the Doctors were calling her this a.m. that saw him yesterday to check on him because he had them all worried. She then looked at the MRI with me to show me that you could really see no changes from Monday MRI. When we looked at it, I reminded her that David has been shielded for two years from any signs of Brain Cancer and yesterday was just so scary. She said it is very disappointing in her job to see someone so healthy have this. She said be assured, his body is strong and they are seeing that and he can handle things that most do not. She said she does not know my beliefs but she definitely believes there was someone watching over David yesterday. I told her GOD. Only explanation as to how something happened like this and we just so happened to be in the RIGHT place.

As I sat with friends today we talked about how I broke down yesterday and I felt how can I handle this? i 
told them I believe with all my heart God knew this would happen and he knew where I needed David to be. Thank goodness David was not driving one of our kids or home with one of our kids when this happened. Praise God for that. I told my friends that through the two years each day I feel more strength and peace from God, but I don't know what this situation yesterday was to teach me or how was it to make me stronger. They reminded me. This happening at MD Anderson David was in the care of the doctors. Seeing it happen I now know what to watch for and can have a plan in place when we go home next week. How horrible if all of this happened when we weren't under the care of the specialist.

Our kids are happy with Aunt Mimi and my mom will fly in to take care of them through the week. Please continue praying. This is not done yet, allow God to use us and for the strength we so desperately need.

I am so grateful for all of you and your willingness to step up and encourage us. Thank you. Thank you so much. I hope each of you know and feel our overwhelming amount of gratitude for God placing you in our lives.

I will come home tomorrow for the day and night if David continues to do as well as he is. This will give me a chance to see the kids, love on them and say hi and bye to my family that has arrived:) There are so many wonderful people that are surrounding David that we think this would be a good time for me to sneak away.
Please continue to pray.....

With love,
The Hurst

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Please pray.....

I am writing this the few minutes I could sneak away from David. And I apologize in advance for any misspellings. This is not the email that I planned to write. So much is not in our hands I continue to learn but also learned today God really has perfect timing.......

Today David woke up with his worst headache yet. We drove to MD Anderson for our consult with the radiation oncologist, which was scheduled yesterday to determine our plan of treatment. David's headache was so bad he sat there the whole time in the waiting room with his sunglasses on not saying a word, this continued to the room where we waited for our consult, with all plans to head home today. Once the doctor came in at 2:30 p.m. to consult with us, my brave and courageous husband struggled so hard to answer any question and to make any sense at all. They started asking questions on what year it is and where he was, how to spell World, simple addition you name it, and David answered thinking he was giving the right answer,  but instead saying 1977, 100-95 was 10,11,12...they immediatley rushed us to the ER and think that is when my world just feel apart. David has always been the communciator on all his medical care. All of a sudden, I had a team of doctors asking me several questions and I had no idea the answers let alone was trying to hold it together, which was not happening. After a CT Scan we found that David did not have any brain bleeds! PRAISE THE LORD! But, that there was some swelling. Not too much but some. Amazing how one little change in this tumor can cause what it did today. Sitting in the ER I was blessed to have David's parents with me the whole time. To help and guide me as the doctors talked about surgery and the hopes for the steroids to work to get the swelling down. They continued to asked questions, and the answers this time were just 10/21/70 ( his birthdate) The only answer he did get right, was who I was :) Which made me feel pretty special. We were then sent to the ICU. David wasn't even in the ICU after both brain surgerys. The whole experience very scary. I just wanted that chance to talk to David and have him have a normal conversation one more time. Before to the ICU, David did ask in so many small words to talk to the kids. We called them and he said popsicles over and over again, which I think means he really loves them:)) His way of saying I love you.

Once to ICU, we were told to be in waiting room why they got him settled. At 845 they got us to go back and PRAISE THE LORD! He took his sunglasses off for the first time. The light was not bothering him. He was talking... laughing. He still is answering with the wrong answer sometimes, but hey we can handle that. I cuddled all close to him and while his parents and him were talking , I managed to just fall asleep for 15 min and have some sleep and peace. I could tell him I love him again and I could hold his hand.

In an hour he has an MRI. With the MRI we hope to see if this is swelling or tumor pushing on his brain. Whatever the MRI says will tell us our next step. If it is tumor surgery may not be an option. If not an option, then we continue praying that by the power of God the steroids push down whatever it is pushing on his brain. We are praying they work and we can start some chemo treatments that don't involve a risky surgery.

Our walk this past two years has been one sheltered by God and sheilded from the tragedy of Brain Cancer. Today, was by far, the scariest day of my life. I had so much fear and sadness, but never doubted my faith and continued to remind myself, this sucks I do not have to like this. God has not asked me to like this. My prayer has always been for David to not get weak. I don't know why today happened...and I do not know what is too come. But, I do give thanks today for the fact that this happened, while we were at MD Anderson. There was no plan to be here. But, God knew this would happened. He knew where we needed to be and who could help me handle this best. It also happened when my whole family is visiting. Although I am not with them, they are the best for my kids and are at home with them snuggling.

Tonight we anxiously await a Waco support system, some clothes, a wonderful physcian friend of Davids who will be here to help when they tell me the MRI Results. My family will arrive this weekend to help continue the care of the kids.

Please, pray boldy tonight. Pray that whatever is to come that God will sheild David from pain. PRAY FOR MIRACULOUS healing! God has already been miraculous! The doctors did not sound too hopeful about the steroids working and they are! God can do the IMPOSSIBLE!  I am allowed to sleep in the ICU room with David tonight, pray for God to give us both peace together.

With Love,