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Ver Beek Blog

Our young family battling stage IV breast cancer one day at a time
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Archive for May, 2012

MRI and Chemo

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On Tuesday (yesterday), Dusty and I went to U of M for a follow up MRI of my brain.  This is the first MRI since the Stereotactic Radio Surgery I had a couple months ago.  Dr. Heth was happy with the results.  One lesion is no longer visible.  The other lesion is smaller.  This is a very early MRI and the radiation will continue to work.  I’m going back in three months to have another MRI.  Our hope is the smaller lesion will be gone too.  Also, there were no new tumors!  Thank God!

Dr. Heth also put me through what I call Brain Olympics.  I sit on the exam table.  First game is Resist and Pull. I put my elbows out to the side like I’m a clucking chicken.  Resist his pull.  Resist his push.  Next is the Finger Flicker.  I cover one eye and stare at the tip of his nose.  He flickers his fingers into my area of vision and I need to tell him when I can see them.  He does this from all angles.  Then I switch eyes.  Fun.  Third is the Leg Lift and Resist.  I put my legs straight out and lift against his strength and resist against his strength.  Fourth is Finger to Nose.  As fast as I can, I have to touch his finger, then touch my nose.  All the while, he moves his finger around.  Then I switch hands.  Fifth is Blinding.  Stare across the room while he shines a light into my eyes.  The light is so bright it is blinding.

He said I did very good and that I could have a seat on the chair.  I did a triple flip off the exam table, stuck my landing, raised my arms in the air like a professional Olympian and had a seat.  Just kidding of course.

I just got back from my first round of chemo.  Jill went with me and I must say it was a pleasure having it done in Holland.  No heavy traffic.  No one driving 60 mph in the left hand lane.  No rest areas.  Saved a tank of gas.

P.S.  I hide behind humor.

This is me and Jill just before chemo started.

Lindy Ver Beek

New Update

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The appointment with Dr. Schott on Tuesday went well.  I am going on a chemo cocktail of gemcitabine and carboplatin.  I will get it every other week.  The good news (because there HAS to be something good) is the infusions will be in Holland at Dr. VanderWoude’s office.  I haven’t been there for chemo in almost three years.  I was hoping to have my first infusion sometime this week, but that didn’t happen.  Hopefully my infusion will happen next week.

I’m anxious to start chemo because I have a significant amount of pain in my neck and chest area.  I think once the chemo takes hold and starts to shrink the fluid around my heart and the lymph nodes in my neck and chest, I will find some relief.  The doctor found my heart rate is running higher than normal for me.  Probably because of the fluid and enlarged nodes squeezing around it.

The side effects are the usual suspects.  Hair loss, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, chest pain, fever, chills, cough, sore throat, body aches, light headedness, fainting, severe itching, numbness or weakness, rash, headaches, diarrhea, constipation, drowsiness, low blood counts making me more susceptible to illness.  Ya know…the same ole, same ole stuff.

On Wednesday we are back at U of M for an early morning MRI.  This is a follow up MRI from the SRS procedure I had in March (remember my haute couture halo?).  In the afternoon we are meeting with Dr. Heth, Neurosurgeon, to go over the results and hope that the radiation obliterated the tumors in my brain.

Please continue to pray for our entire family.  It’s hard to get knocked down time and time again.  The only way I can get back up is knowing that people are praying. Please pray for:

– Spiritual & Physical Strength

– Peace

– Chemo to happen this week

– Good MRI results.  Old tumors gone and no new tumors.

If you would like to help in some way, please contact Dani Keegstra, our designated point person.

And so it goes…

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On Tuesday, Jill and I had a delightful trip to U of M for a CT scan of my chest, abdomen, and pelvis. 

Yesterday I emailed Joan, the nurse practitioner, to see if they have the results.  Within one minute of me sending the email she called.  The results aren’t good.  Here is a breakdown of what the CT scan showed:

  • Eight spots on my lungs have grown.
  • Enlarged lymph nodes in my mediastinum thought to be cancerous which is why they are growing.
  • Fluid around my heart and concern that cancer cells are in the fluid.
  • Cancer in the bone of my sternum.

There is no question that I will be on chemo.  They have already narrowed it down to which ones would work the best.  We are meeting with them next week to decide what is best.

This is a lot for us to digest.  We are angry.  Scared.  I don’t feel ready for another fight.  I hate chemo.  Cancer sucks.  It SUCKS!

I wish I had something positive to say, but I don’t.  

Thank you for your kind words, thoughts and prayers.

Please give our family space right now.  We just can’t handle much more than this.  If you would like to help in some way, please contact Dani Keegstra, our designated point person.  

New Friends

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\I’m doing well right now.  I love the warm weather and watching the kids play outside.

On Tuesday Jill and I are going to U of M to have a CT scan of my chest, abdomen and pelvis.  As you may remember, I get a bit of scanxiety and it has settled in.  Please pray for safe travels, a smooth scan, for the tumors in my lungs to be small, and for my kids and husband at home.

My Aunt Kathy teaches 2nd grade at Woodside Elementary.  She has shared with her students that I’m sick.  They have written letters to me and to Brooklyn because she is also in the 2nd grade.  I get two letters each week.  When the mail arrives and I see my aunts handwriting on the envelope, it’s exciting.

These kids are awesome.  Their writing is terrific.  I love their jokes.  I love to hear about school.

Kathy’s Class Ivan

Kathy’s Class Alicia R

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