Monthly Archives: April 2013

A Trip

Gorman and I had been considering a trip somewhere, anywhere, just a diversion and diversions are nice. We have not heard from the doctors about when the Avastin treatments will begin but we wanted to get away before that starts so, on the spur of the moment, we decided to go to Pennsylvania. We are leaving tomorrow and will be gone eight days. Neither one of us has spent any time in PA. We’ve always had it on our “future trip” list and think it’s time to start checking off that list.

We will spend a couple of days in Philadelphia, then drive north along the Delaware River to New Hope. Our precious daughter-in-law grew up there and it sounds delightful with lots of history, old homes and antiques. Then we’ll drive south and east of Philadelphia to the Brandywine Valley, an area I’ve always wanted to see because it’s where Andrew Wyeth lived and painted. Also the Amish country is in that area. Another draw is Longwood Gardens, started by one of the duPonts. Plus we will tour Winterthur, fabulous museum and former duPont home. We are staying at lovely country inns along the way. The weather will be chilly and, wouldn’t you know it, our rooms have a fireplace. So there’s the Schaffer tour.

Gorman is feeling so good. Surgery did not set him back at all. What a blessing that we can still enjoy our days together.

Thank you to all who have posted such encouraging comments; we love to read them, and thanks for your prayers.

Buying Some Time

One week ago today, we got Gorman’s pathology report which said what the surgeon removed was about half scar tissue and half tumor. We were devastated. We had so foolishly hoped it would be nothing but scar tissue. Even though “it” was removed during surgery, the fact that the tumor came back was very ominous and frightening. So we spent a few days crying and dragging around the house, not to mention lots of praying, and finally emerged from the black hole ready to keep fighting, knowing God would continue to walk with us every step of the way and give us courage and strength, which is how we’ve made it through the past 14 months.

Today we had appointments with Dr. Markert, neurosurgeon, and Dr. Nabors, our wonderful neuro-oncologist at UAB. We were anticipating the news that there was nothing left to be done and best of luck to us; however, there is a new plan. Gorman is no longer in the clinical trial as a recurrence eliminates him. He will no longer take Temodar. We have to wait a couple of weeks for him to finish healing from the surgery and then he will begin receiving Avastin, which is a biological therapy and not a chemotherapy. It will be given intravenously every two weeks and will be administered somewhere locally, not at UAB. He will still get an MRI at UAB every two months and if the Avastin is not working out, they can add two different chemotherapy drugs. There are no clinical trials at UAB right now that fit Gorman but Dr. Nabors has contacted MDAnderson to see if they have anything so we’ll see.

We like having a plan and are glad to know that we can buy some more time. I guess that’s all we’ve been doing from the beginning but it really feels like that now and we thank God for more time.

30 Hours Later, Discharged

After spending last night and today in NICU, Gorman is a free man. Dr. Markert said that Gorman’s vital signs were all good and he was discharged with many prescriptions and instructions. He has a very large incision above his right ear, larger than before and was warned that he will develop a black eye and lots of ugly bruises. The incision also runs down the front edge of his ear and I told him that everyone would think he had a face lift. Gorman is quite the resilient man, the come-back kid!

We got to our hotel tonight and he was so happy to take a long, hot and very careful shower. Here’s the best news we’ve had in ages: dr said the MRI shows that the nodule is totally gone and today’s MRI was clear. We won’t know until next week if it was scar tissue or recurrence of the tumor but whatever it was, it’s gone.

We are staying in B’ham tonight. It was 7:30 before we left the hospital. Tomorrow we’ll see how he feels and maybe drive as far as Montgomery. We are so grateful to our dear Lord for sustaining us through some long and grueling hours and seeing us to this point. Thanks to all who have prayed for us and thanks for the comments posted. Gorman loves to hear those. We are so blessed. Good night.

Surgery Over, At Last

We arrived at Admitting this morning at 5:30. Surgery was actually underway at 1:30 pm and everything in between was boring and tedious but God gave us the strength and forbearance to withstand the waiting. Some advice: do not book surgery the week after Spring Break. But I have had two visits with Gorman this evening in Recovery ( NICU was too full to move him there) and he’s doing fine. major problem is the catheter; as the male nurse says, “It’s a tube where a tube shouldn’t be”. Dr. Markert said the surgery went very well and now we have to wait for the pathology report, one week; another faith-building opportunity. Today I have held fast to the words from my “Streams In The Desert” devotional: “You should get into the habit of looking for the silver lining of storm clouds. And once you have found it, continue to focus on it rather than the dark gray of the center. Do not yield to discouragement no matter how severely distressed or surrounded by problems you may be”. I thank God that this surgery is over and I thank God for my dear Jackson friends who had lovely flowers waiting for me at the hotel this evening. I will keep you posted.