Monthly Archives: December 2012

The Schaffers Will Have A Very Merry Christmas

We have just returned from Birmingham, where we had a good, upbeat appointment at UAB.  Gorman didn’t have an eye exam or an MRI this time but it was a longer visit where they draw blood, do an EKG, then give him the trial drug, XL765, wait an hour and repeat the blood work and EKG to see how he has responded.  He’s doing fine and, in fact, his liver function is now in the normal range.  While waiting to see the doctor, I met a man with the same diagnosis as Gorman, glioblastoma.  This man had been in this same clinical trial, XL765, but said that his liver began to have problems and they had to drop him from the trial.  After that conversation, we were doubly happy that Gorman’s liver numbers are back to normal.

The folks at UAB don’t tell us much about this clinical trial and are very close-lipped about how things are going.  However, it was due to end this month but they are “rolling it over” to begin a new phase and Gorman will be in that so we assume that means they are having success.  We count it as a real blessing that he will continue getting this drug.  As we always say, one more layer of hope.  If I’ve already reported this, please forgive me.  I’m in a hurry and didn’t have time to go back and read my previous posts.

So we don’t return to UAB until January 23, when Gorman will get another MRI.  It will be nice to have a break from driving I-65.   Of course he takes the drug everyday and still takes the chemo pills, Temodar, five days each month.  That will happen the day after Christmas but he has so little in the way of side effects that we’re not anticipating any problems.

Today we are running around like crazy and packing because we leave tomorrow for California.  We will spend Christmas with Charlie, Kathleen and our precious little Ryland.  Also, Grady will fly out from Colorado to join us so we will have a wonderful Christmas.  I can’t help but think about 11 months ago, when I didn’t think Gorman would still be with us at Christmas.  Thanks be to you, dear God, for the best present I could ever have!


Thanksgiving In Colorado

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Gorman and I had a grand time with our younger son, Grady, in Breckenridge; however, it started on the wrong note.

Gorman began having pain in his left leg on the plane and by the time we landed in Denver and drove two hours to Breckenridge, he was in extreme pain.  Sooooo, our first day was spent at a medical clinic and then the hospital and, yes, it really was the entire day.  We got home to our rental condo at 7:00 pm.  At first we thought a blood clot.  Then we began to worry that the brain cancer had metastasized to his spine.  It was a very long day.  After x-rays, EKG, ultrasound and finally, an MRI, it was determined that he has a bulging disc.  We were so happy with the diagnosis and hugging each other; anything is better than more cancer.  The nurse said she had never seen someone so pleased to have  a disc problem.    So we have another medical issue to deal with but he’s doing okay and the pain is less and just comes and goes.  He’ll go see our internist for a recommendation if we can stay home long enough.

We got back to Fairhope Sunday night, then left for UAB Tuesday morning, where he had the usual lab work, EKG, eye exam and the dreaded bimonthly MRI.   I’m saving the best news for last:  THE MRI WAS CLEAR!  Once again we are praising God.  It’s very hard to wait for the results.  The MRI was done Tuesday afternoon but we couldn’t get the results until Wed. afternoon.  The clinical trial nurse (our new best friend) put us in a room and chatted a little but she seemed nervous.  She kept reviewing basic information.  When she walked out, Gorman and I looked at each other and said “something is wrong”.  Then we wondered why the other nurse, who always has her checklist to go over, had not been in.  Yes, we were making ourselves crazy trying to interpret every little thing.  Finally Dr. Nabors came in and told us the MRI was just fine.  Praise to you,  Lord God!  In all these tense times, and there have been many, prayer has kept us sane.  Knowing that our Lord is right there with us is the greatest comfort of all.