Thursday, July 30, 2009


Today was fun. I had the PET scan at 8:00 this morning. I was injected with radioactive sugar then put in the CT machine for a full body scan. The machine then does a color image of where all the sugar went to serve as an overlay for the full body image. The example given to me was a weather map. The full body scan is the map and the color image is the weather. The color image will show organs like the heart because the organs draw blood sugar. Of course the doctors know what is supposed to draw the sugar so they are looking for things out of the ordinary. Looking for color where there should be none. This will likely be cancer.

The best part of my day was going to lunch with my wife. I ran in to a couple of friends from work one of whom paid my check without me knowing. If anyone knows where he is going to lunch tomorrow I may try to run in to him again. (that was a joke if you didn't catch it) I am thankful for all the good people I have opportunity to deal with on a daily bases. I won't call him by name because he wouldn't want me to but it was a blessing that I appreciate.

2:30 I had chemo school. Regina and I went to Dr Anagnost's office and talked to Jesse one of the chemo nurses there. She gave me a tour of the facility and talked to me about what to expect during my treatments. It sounds as though they have come a long way with medication that assist with nausea and other side effects. She made it sound as though I will not be nearly as sick as I was thinking. The biggest thing she said is fatigue. They will keep a constant watch on my white blood count. If it gets down to a certain point they will have to suspend the chemo until it gets back up. She also said I have about two weeks left with my hair. She told us when it comes back it may be curly and will be soft so Regina will not be able to keep her hands out of it. I can't wait!!

I said in an earlier post that I would see Dr Anognost on Friday. I was mistaken. I will see him again on Monday before I start the chemo. I guess he will then have more news on all the scans and tests I had this week. This has potential to change my total therapy but I think at this point no matter what chemo will be the first step.

For those of you praying I do have some specific request:

1) Pray that God will use this for his Glory!

2) Pray that the results of the scans this week will be good

3) I think Regina is starting to feel the pressure of knowing that my income will change. Her business has picked up lately. Pray that God will continue to bless in that area.

4) Pray for my family as a whole. I am sure this process will be difficult for everyone. Regina the kids and my mom and dad.

5) My Mother has a friend named Chris Carpenter. She has an infection in her blood stream. It is very serious. Please pray for her as well.

This is most likely my last post until Monday. Thank you all for your kindness. I am truly humbled by all of the people who have taken the time to contact me with words of encouragement by phone, cards, email and comments on the blog. You can not truly know how much it means to me. Thank You!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

July 29, 2009

Not much to tell today. I had both test. Delaney set it up so that I could have both back to back which was nice to go ahead and get them out of the way. Lots of calls, facebook post, emails and blog comments that I continue to be encouraged by.

My arm is black and blue from the surgery where they put in the port a cath yesterday but there is no pain. I still have the pain in my chest but the pain medicine makes it manageable. I have no dignity left after the ultrasound today but hey God hates pride anyway.

Overall it was a good and prosperous day. Tomorrow I go to the medical mall for the PET scan in the morning and then to the oncologist for chemo school. I guess I will have something to say tomorrow about what I am to expect during the treatments.

I have received word of so many different people and groups of people praying for me that I am probably much better off than before I got sick. What an encouragement to know that so many people who love God and are loved by God are pleading with him on my behalf. I am confident that He is working in this and that ultimately he will do what brings honor to him and what is best for his people!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Summary to Date

I struggled with a name for my blog. I wanted it to be Danny’s Journey but the more I thought about it I realized I am not on this journey by myself. So I called it “Our Journey” May be a little hokey but sometimes when in these situations you get hokey.

In April I went to the doctor with chest pain. My concern at the time was making sure I didn't have anything going on with my heart. I have a family history of heart problems and being somewhat over weight it is always in the back of my mind. The pain at that time was not unbearable. Some of the lab work the doctor did showed that my alkaline was high which led him to do an ultrasound on my abdomen looking for a problem with my gall bladder. It came back showing some sludge but nothing that the doctor was overly concerned about. After examining me on a 2nd visit the doctor decided that I had costochondritis which is a swelling of the cartilage between the breast bone and the ribs. He said that it was not serious and should go away over time. I was relieved and decided I could handle the pain until it went away.

Over the next month or so the pain became increasingly worse. I was having trouble sleeping at night because I was in the most pain when lying down. I can remember at that time being able to get into a comfortable position and going to sleep but as soon as I moved I would wake up from the pain. I set up another appointment with the doctor and this time Regina went with me. He was still confident in his diagnosis but was willing to have a chest x-ray taken to set our mind at ease. The chest x-ray showed nothing. I was supposed to take two aleve twice per day and come back to see him in 3 weeks if I was not better. The costochondritis he said could last 3 weeks or 3 months. He didn't want to do a CT scan because of the expense. Hind-sight is 20/20 but at the time I actually thought that it was nice the doctor was being so responsible with the insurance company's money.

It was more than 3 weeks before I tried to get back with the doctor. Tragically to my surprise he was dealing with a condition that took his life before I could see him again. I did call his office and they referred me to Dr. Wortman. In fairness to my 1st doctor by the time I got to see Dr Wortman I was in much more pain than I had previously been in. When he tried to examine me I could not lay down on the table without a lot of working and maneuvering. He immediately ordered a CT scan. It took about a week to get approval from the insurance company but the scan was done last Tuesday 7/21/09. I went back to doctor Wortman’s office on the following Thursday the 23rd and he knew that it was cancer. He set up an appointment that same day with Dr. Bebb to talk about doing a biopsy. The first doctor came in and shared what they found from the CT scan. I have a mass in my chest and an area in my abdomen. Then they decided they would do the biopsy there in the office to see if any lymph nodes were affected. They found some that showed the cancer and they decided to biopsy now instead of waiting. This is when things started to spin but also become real. I have cancer.

Now I told everyone last week that it was lymphoma. This is because everyone who was willing to say anything was saying lymphoma. Dr Bebb called me back over the weekend and told me that the biopsy actually showed that it was seminoma. Seminoma is actually a testicular cancer. It is the same cancer that Lance Armstrong was diagnosed with and beat. 98% of the time it starts in the testicles but they have not made that determination with me yet. The good news is that it is extremely sensitive to chemotherapy.

Monday was a full day. Regina and I 1st went to GE and saw Lynn Nubil. She gave me the paperwork necessary for me to get back to work once the doctors release me and got me set up on short term disability. We then went to the oncologist office Dr Anagnost. He gave me an idea of what to expect but did not give a lot of details because he still wants to run some test. I left there and went to the surgeon’s office. He installed the port a cath which is the port they will administer the chemo through.

Wednesday I go 1st to have an MRI done on my brain. Then that evening I have a testicular ultrasound. (fun, fun)

Thursday I have a PET scan. This is new to me. I have never heard of it. What they do is inject me with some radioactive sugar. This sugar is then drawn to the organs and defects in the body. One example given was a broken or fractured bone. It is also drawn to the cancer. This gives them an image of where the cancer is located and how big it is. They can then use this as a baseline to figure out later how effective the Chemo is being. I also have Chemo school Thursday at 2:30.

Friday I am meeting with Dr. Anagnost again and preparing to start chemo on Monday. I will have chemo 5 days a week then have it once a week for two weeks then start the 5 day cycle again.

My doctors so far have been great. Dr. Bebb the surgeon is the type of person that you just want to put your confidence in and at the same time is so pleasant you would love to hang out with him. Both Dr. Bebb and Dr. Anagnost called me the weekend to keep things going and assure me that everything would be ok. I am sure they are always this kind but it feels like I am getting the royal treatment!! I cannot over state how appreciative I am for the urgency that has been shown by every office and their staff. Dr Wortman ordered the test that found the problem 1st visit and then made calls to fill in the next steps. All within less than a week.

I am also very appreciative of my friends and family. Everyone I have spoken with has expressed the desire to help. I know this is not a put-on. I sense that you are all genuine in your concern and your willingness to do for me. I want you all to know that it is up-lifting to see that so many people care!!

Finally, I am thankful to God. I was a little anxious when they were about to do the biopsy on Thursday. The radiologist was playing K-Love on her radio and as I was laying on the table the song playing was "Your Grace Is Enough". We talked in Sunday school the other week about the apostle Paul who was given a "thorn in the flesh". After pleading with the Lord 3 times to remove it the Lord said to him "My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in your weakness". I am thankful that in my weakness He is strong. I am thankful that His grace is enough!!