Monday, November 22, 2010

Relay for Life 2011 is already underway and team Charlie Brown will be back in honor of our most loved Charles Brown.

In honor of Charlie our team has committed to raising 10,000 for the American Cancer Society to help support awareness and research. The ACS is the largest private contributor of funds in the effort to erraticate this most terrible of dieases.

Please help fight back and save birthdays...we pray for the day when no one will have to suffer through cancer like Charlie did. He would want everyone to keep fighting.

So in his name...I will not stop fighting until cancer is no more!!!

Click on Donate
Donate to Team
Search for Team and select "Charlie Brown"

Thank you!!!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dear Charlie...

You lived your life without any frills
plain and simple and easy and still.

In your death there dare no delay,
when angels harked and came your way.

You’ve found your peace and now you rest,
knowing of your life you’ve done the best.

The love you take from this earthly life
is freely yours given without any strife.

Hold this love deep in your heart,
for it is all we can take from this world when we part.

Please make a place for me there,
and I ask you to watch over with love and care.

Again we will be together and in God’s loving arms,
free from pain and sorrow and harm.

You'll know only a moment before you turn to see,
me standing along side you and smiling, my dearest Charlie.

Good Bye Charlie and God Bless…Heaven knows you will truly be missed.

                       Charles E. Brown

        August 4, 1956 – November 17, 2010

May you find peace in God’s loving arms.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Rehab is not going to be implemented because Charlie is too weak and the pain has gathered too much strength. Charlie also has not been able to eat due to the pain and the medication needed to cover it. It is at this time that nature will be allowed to take it course.

If you have been following the journey Charlie has been on, I will ask now that if you are a spiritual person, for prayers for both Kim and Charlie. The road has been long and it has been a grueling one. It has tested both mind and body. Love is great and strong for both right now...they need our prayers to help them endure.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I was down to see Charlie twice this week, once with the kids and once without them. Charlie is still at the hospital with no real word of when he will be going to rehab. Kim told me that Dr. Potz plans to move Charlie once he has gained some strength back, but so far he hasn't really improved as much as hoped.

On Thursday about 11 of Charlie's old coworkers came out to see him and he enjoyed the visit with them. Then on Friday, Aunt Ann came out for a visit and ended up spending the night as an inpatient...she's OK. She wasn't feeling well and was complaining about feeling like she had indigestion. (Nurse) Kim insisted she go down to the ER to bee seen. Her BP was elevated so she was kept for observation. She was discharged yesterday afternoon and went directly down to finish her visit with Charlie!

As soon as I know anything more I will post another entry.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Charlie had a rough week last week...he was in radiation therapy 5 days in a row and it really knocked him out! He is still in the hospital today for a chemo treatment and then Kim said that he will need to go to rehab, probably as an inpatient, to get the PT he has been needing to help get him back to doing more things on his own.

Kim is also thinking about contacting the specialist Dr. Langer, who met with Kim and Charlie back in August. She just wants to make sure that Charlie is on the right path as far as the chemotherapy drug choice.

I will update again when Charlie is discharged from the hospital.
Please keep praying for both Kim and Charlie!

Monday, October 25, 2010

I recieved this eamil from Kim on friday...

Test results are back!

There is no progression of the disease in Charlie's Brain!!!!

Charlie is still sleeping a lot...he had a busy weekend with visitors. He should be starting his radiation therapy today and will continue with it over the course of the next 4 days. Then he will be starting his chemo treatments!

I know you all have them in your prayers...thank you and keep them coming!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I spoke with Kim briefly late this afternoon...she relayed the CAT scan results. There is no significant change in the lungs as far as disease progression, however there is some progression in both the liver and bone. Charlie is going to have a MRI of the brain to rule out any extension of the disease there.

Charlie is also going to have more radiation to his hip area and they do plan to resume chemotherapy in a week.

I'm still not sure if the pneumonia diagnosis has been confirmed.

At the time I called Kim she had hospital staff in the room and she said she would call me later on to fill me in a little more.

I will continue to post as I receive information!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I was waiting to hear from Kim regarding the CAT scan results before I made an entry...but I haven't yet so I am going to update on what she told me this afternoon.

Charlie was up late on Tuesday... (unusual for him) and then up early today. He had a bowl of cereal,(yeah)...and asked Kim to run down to the gift shop to retrieve a candy bar he wanted. His energy level seems to have improved...he was out of bed today to walk.

Also his pain meds have been decreased so that may be why he has an appetite ( although small) and has gotten out of bed! Dr. Potz in ordering physical therapy and occupational therapy to come, evaluate, and work with Charlie to better improve the ability to move and perform daily tasks!

Hopefully tomorrow I will know more...sometimes Potz doesn't get the chance to see his patients until later in the evening!

Charlie was admitted to the hospital yesterday and was scheduled for a CAT scan last evening. They are working him up for pneumonia...he had an abnormal chest x-ray and it appears that he has in infiltrate in the lower lobe of his right lung.

As I left yesterday, he was getting plenty of IV fluids, an antibiotic, and pain meds. Charlie was also suffering from dehydration upon his admission to the ER, probably due to Charlie's lethargy and loss of appetite.

Evidenty what happened yesterday is that the visiting nurse came to see Charlie and didn't like the way he looked and his vital signs were not good...heart rate was up to 150bpm (norm is 60-100bpm) and his pressure was supposedly low. She called Potz and it was recommended he be taken to the hospital.

I will continue to update today as I hear from Kim.

Thank you for the prayers...God Bless

Monday, October 18, 2010

Our God is a compassionate God…He will never leave your side…He is there to lean on and to give comfort. Bad things happen everyday to good people…so why Charlie? No one will ever really know…but that is what faith is about…to trust in something unseen, intangible and immeasurable.

Faith…is what we have along the side of love!

I told my sister to “Hold strong to her belief in God, don’t question or become mad with regards to the outcome...have faith and trust.”

"He loves you and will never let you fall."
The last 3 days have not shown a whole lot of improvemnet...not as much as Kim was hoping for.

This week Charlie is scheduled to see Dr. Potz...the appointment is Thursday afternoon. Kim is going to secure an ambulance service to transport him to the appointment and I told her I will come down to go with them. Reportedly, Dr. Potz wants to see how Charlie is long as Charlie feels up to it he will go.

My sister is doing everything humanly possible to keep Charlie comfortable...his pain has lessen over the past few days so that is good. She is with him all day everyday...only steps out when she has the coverage for Charlie because he really cannot be alone for any amount of time at this point.

His appetite is still not up to par...which greatly affects his energy level. Kim pushes him to eat but she consistanly meets with refusal.

I know the prayers are going up...and I know they are heard!
Thank you for those prayers.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Kim said the nurse called Dr. Potz when she was there on Wednesday...Kim was wondering if the confusion was due to medication and wanted to know if it can be reduced some. Dr. Potz said not to change the dosage because then Charlie will be in pain.

Charlie is still having confusion and is hallucinating from time to seeing people who are not there. However, Kim called this morning and she said that last night after she hung up with me...about midnight...she went to check on Charlie and he was 100% lucid! He told Kim that he feels like he is being over medicated. They are going to call the doctor again today.

I'll keep updating as I get more information!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Kim called last night to give me an update and I am sure also for support.

She said that Charlie is really weak and having a hard time differentiating between was is real and what is not. She said he's merging the two together and it seems to be happening on a more frequent basis. She plans to call Dr. Potz today.

I know this is a call she fears to make...she's afraid of what Dr. Potz will say to her.

Please pray for Kim to have the strength to handle these upcoming days...they are getting increasingly more difficult.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Saw Charlie to spend the afternoon with him as Kim and Aunt Ann and Grace headed out to the mall to get Grace's ears pierced!

Charlie is pretty much in his bed with a trip or two per day to the bathroom. It's so hard for him to get around...and when he does it is with either a wheelchair or walker.

Today I took the kids along with a whole batch of stuffed cabbage, one of Charlie's favorites! Charlie ate a little, his appetite in not stellar...but it was funny because he was trying to talk Michael into eating his dinner.

Charlie did try to make it into the dining room for supper...but he was'nt able to make it so he had his dinner at bedside.

Charlie is not liking the hospital bed much, so he is in the bed Chris and I brought down.

I told Kim about our priest's homily last evening...all about healing and faith. He said that when he was a seminarian at the age of 23, he was diagnosed with cancer. His parents took him to a shrine and a relic was placed on set of tests he went thru showed that he was healed. (He must be 70 if not close to now)

Kim has a relic that our cousin Tom had brought to Charlie from St. John Neumann...a piece of his bone. I told Kim that she must put it on Charlie where it hurts...she did so after I left!

Please pray to St Neumann...we are asking for something special to happen...

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Spoke with Kim last night and she said that Charlie has been really weak. He is not really up and walking too much and his appetite has slipped back a bit.

The kids and I are heading down tomorrow to spend the afternoon with them. I asked Kim to take Grace out to get her ears's one of Grace's birthday presents. That will get Kim out of the house and her mind on something else for a little while...Michael and I will spend the time with Charlie.

Please continue with your prayers...they are very much needed and aprreciated.

Thank you...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Just got off the phone with Kim and Charlie is feeling much better today. The visiting nurse said all his vital signs are back to normal and Charlie's appetite has picked up some. Kim reported that he ate two small plates of food at both lunch and dinner today and even had a dessert after his evening meal!

He also has been less groggy although he is still on the morphine.

So today is a good day!!!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

It has been really tough for both Kim and Charlie since Charlie got home from the hospital. Yesterday he was running a slight fever which is always cause for concern when you are immunosuppressed. The fever didn't get much over 100.2 before it broke. Today he is resting and his sister and parents are visiting with him thru the weekend.

Charlie is very weak and has had no real appetite since coming home. He is also dealing with dehyration because of the less then optimal food and water intake. His pain is still causing much discomfort and breakthrough pain meds are needed often.

Physical therapy and a nurse come a couple times per week and a hospital bed is going to be placed downstairs for Charlie instead of the regular bed he is using now.

Please say prayers for both Kim and Charlie...this road is very difficult and they are trying their best to stay on it.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Well this first week home has had its ups and downs. Charlie was really tired when he first came home from the hospital. Kim was worried that she wouldn't be able to manage getting Charlie around the house and in and out of the car. But as the week went on he did start to gain some of his strength back.

Yesterday Charlie's dad was with him giving Kim the opportunity to go into work for a few hours. Then his family was over for the latter part of the afternoon into mid evening. Kim said it was a long day for Charlie and that she is sure he's pooped out, but it his spirits are up and it was a good day with his family none the less.

Also...Charlie's blood work for the week was really on that note I am finishing this entry. Please keep the prayers and well wished coming for Charlie. This is a tough battle...and he is fighting back with everthings he's got!!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Charlie is Home from the Hospital!!!!!!!!

The phone just rang and it was Charlie himself saying he got home within the last hour. He said it feels really good to be out of the hospital and back in his own home. He loves the bed he now has in the family room which lies adjacent to the kitchen. He is more in the "flow" of everyday activity and that is a nice feeling.

Thank you so much for the many prayers...Charlie is home and hopefully will be on the mend. He is tolerating the new chemo drug well however he still has some pain from the surgery!

Thank you again!!!!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

CANCER...when first heard, this word typically evokes horror and fear in every part of our being. For many of us it signifies an “end” to our earthly lives. I’ve thought long and hard about this disease in which we as humans, are continually plagued and burdened with. I’ve had my own battle with Master “C” and, although I was very young, it did make a major impact of my life. As a teen I had to endure operations leaving me with ugly scars, chemotherapy and hours of real sickness…not being able to eat and enjoy food the way I like…countless trips to the bathroom due to nausea and vomiting, missing school and my friends, hair loss, mouth sores…loss of continence along with dates, socials, football games and I can go on…I was 14 years old…but still to me, it was more of a disruption to my life than a death threat. At that age it made me feel like an oddball, I wasn't like everyone else because of it...and I hated it because of what it stole from me.

In retrospect, I believe that my being so young and thus lacking the ability to realize my own mortality, provided me a different perspective on this disease...because as I grew up I realized what it did give me. Something many people never have until they are almost done here on earth...and still there are countless others who will never understand at all.

It gave me the ability to really “Live”…enjoy every nuance life has…it heightened my awareness and taught me how to really treasure all the things, both large and small, in my life. And as I grew older, I also grew a more keen understanding and acceptance of my own mortality. No we are not meant to live forever…so time is of the essences while we are here...make the days count for something.

These are some of the things I learned because of my battles with Cancer…

Do what needs to be done no matter how weary you are…

Listen to the smallest of voices because they teach the loudest of lessons…

Share, without restraint, of your talents...these are some of God's greatest blessings...embrace them and then give them to others...

To give without any expectance of reciprocation…truly is giving of self…

Follow your instincts, your inner voice…for that is God’s voice speaking to you…

Never harbor a grudge or ill feelings about someone…for that is energy lost…never to be recouped.

And when you love…love with all that you are and all that you feel, with the deepest part of your being…because love is the only thing which you are able to take from this life to the next… it is the only thing in our human existence which truly matters.

Love belongs to God…He created it and in His infinite wisdom, has parleyed the demon “cancer” into a way of making us realize just how important our love is in our time treasure it always...and to to give love freely to one another as He has so freely given His love to us.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Brand name for: Premetrexed.

Manufactured by: Eli Lilly & Co.

This anti-cancer chemotherapy medicine is in a class of drugs called antimetabolites.

Alimta works by interfering with enzymes that the cancer cell needs to replicate.  It blocks folate (a B vitamin cancer cells use to make new genetic material) therefore disrupting the ability of cancer cells grow and reproduce.
Throughout treatment with Alimta, patients will need to take folic acid and vitamin B-12 to protect  stomach, blood cells, and bone marrow from the side effects of Alimta. The patient will need to start taking these supplements a week before receiving their first Alimta infusion, and will keep taking them for 3 weeks after treatment ends.

Vitamin B-12 and folic acid are available over the counter. Patients should take only the forms and strengths of these supplements that their doctor has recommended.
Alimta is usually given every 3 weeks.

Alimta Coupons

Kim emailed me this note today...

Charlie's stitches came out this morning.!!

He will be getting chemotherapy tomorrow morning at 10:00.

I made the decision to have chemo done on Saturday, since Charlie will already been in the hospital
and his Oncology Doctor, is working the floor this weekend. Thought this was the perfect combination!!!!

According to Dr. Potz, Alimta is not like the other chemo drugs, and is very well tolerated.

If all goes according to plan, Charlie will be released on Monday.

Prayers are working!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Spoke with Kim the other night...she said Charlie may be coming home from the hospital by the end of this week. It seems that they finally are able to manage his post surgical pain with morphine. The plan is to start him back on chemo next week

Kim said that due to lack of physical activity over the past couple of weeks, Charlie seems to be pretty weak. She is also less than impressed with the PT Charlie has been receiving. The sessions are not that long when he does get to go to them. And Kim said that if there is a visitor or physician in the room, or even if Charlie is sleeping when PT comes to get him, then he doesn't get the therapy that day unless there is another opening before all the therapist leave!

So bottom line...Charlie needs to come home!!! It has been 20 days and enough is enough on both of them emotionally.

Please pray that Charlie is able to come home this weekend! I think his recuperation will definitely be sped up once he is in his own home.

Thank you for your prayers and God Bless!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

As of today Charlie is still in the hospital. He was moved from the ICU to the oncology floor late Sunday afternoon. Charlie was feeling really good on Sunday...he even made the comment that "I feel like I could go to work right now."

Charlie's pain meds are being taken from the IV form to pill form. Unfortunately they are not translating well and Charlie has been out of it for the last day or so. Last night they weaned some of his medication doses back so hopefully he will be more alert today.

Charlie also had his rehab consult yesterday...once I know the recommendation I will post it. He may stay in the hospital and go to the rehab floor or he may be able to do it as an out patient. But Charlie is walking around so maybe there will be a minimal need for rehab or possibly none at all.

Once Charlie is recovered well enough from the surgery the docs plan on continuing the chemotherapy treatment.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Charlie's laminectomy was a success. the surgeon told us everything went as expected and he seemed to be very pleased to give us this good news.

The surgery was called "Thoracic laminectomy of T5 with a fusion of T2-T8", What this all means is that they removed the lamina (see previous entry for lamina explanation ) of the 5th thoracic vertebrae (we all have 12 thoracic vertebrae) and they placed 4 screws above T5 and 6 screws below. Then 2 rods were placed on either side of the spine, between these two levels, in order to fuse the vertebrae in-between together in an effort to stabilize T5 which has been weakened buy a tumor. The reason so many of Charlie's vertebrea were involved is because the surgeons wanted to anchor the rods in the healthy bones in Charlie's back.

Charlie's operation started at a little after 5pm yesterday and he was done in the OR by 8pm. He then was to go to recovery and from recovery to the ICU. He went to the unit is because anesthesia wanted to keep him on the ventilator due to the pain Charlie is expected to have post-op. This way they can manage his pain by keeping him asleep.

He will be in the hospital for an undetermined time at this point. Charlie will need to be evaluated to see if he needs rehab and what means they want to proceed with it. He may stay in the hospital and go to the rehab unit, or it is possible that he may be able to do rehab on an out patient basis.

Thank you so much for the prayers...we were all breathing a sigh of relief last night!

Although this picture shows the anchor pins in the lumbar vertebrae… it gives you a good idea of what the instrumentation looks like in Charlie’s back.
Thoracic laminectomy removes the small section of bone that covers the spinal cord, known as the lamina. Removal of this bone relieves pressure on the surrounding nerves as a result of spinal stenosis or disc degeneration. A fusion procedure can be performed with this surgery to join the remaining bones together.

                            The arrows are pointing to the lamina

Thoracic fusion surgery stabilizes the spine and allows for correction of spinal deformities. Fluoroscopy (live x-rays) and infrared image guidance systems can be used to allow for proper placement of the spinal implants.

The name derives from the Latin word "lāmina," which refers to a thin plate, sheet, or layer.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sorry it has been awhile since my last is what has been going on with Charlie.

Last Thursday Charlie and Kim and Charlie's mom went down to the University of Pennsylvania for another opinion regarding treatment options. They met with a very well noted pulmonary oncologist specialist, Dr. Cory Langer. He seemed to be very confident in the recommendations he prescribed for Charlie. He in fact is now working with the Abington doc on Charlie’s care. Charlie did start back on a new chemo drug last Friday.

Unfortunately, last Saturday evening Charlie's pain got so bad that Kim had to call 911 and got him down to Abington Hospital. Initially, base on x-ray results, they diagnosed Charlie with pneumonia. But upon further test they felt that it was not pneumonia but something that mimicked the appearance of pneumonia on x-rays.

On Sunday Charlie was sent for an MRI to check the disease progression. What was revealed was that his thoracic vertebra at levels T4-T5 (approximately directly between his shoulder blades) part of the bone is collapsing thus putting him at risk for a cord compression injury. If this should happen Charlie, will loose the ability to walk. So the decision was made yesterday that he will have to have surgery on that area in order to preserve the spinal cord.

The laminectomy surgery is tentatively, but most likely, be done tomorrow sometime around 2pm. Then his post op hospital stay will be approximately 5 days...then he will have to go to rehab. At this point not sure if rehab will be done on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Fortunately they will be able to continue with Charlie’s chemo this Friday as scheduled

Today my parents, kids and I will be traveling down to see Charlie and my parents are staying at Kim’s so they can be at the hospital early to support Kim. I will head back down in the early afternoon to see Charlie before surgery.

Please continue your prayers for Charlie...these complications can be so frustrating and disheartening for him. Pray that he keep his will to go on fighting...and for Kim the stamina needed for her to endure.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

On Friday the Currans headed down to PA to celebrate Michael's 6th Birthday with Aunt Kim and Uncle Charlie. (This was at Uncle Charlie's request!)

We spent the afternoon at Charlie's parent's pool watching the kids swim and enjoying long chats with both Charlie's parents and his brother Pete. Charlie even put on the old swim trunks and ventured into the water to hang with Michael and Grace!

That evening we went back to Kim and Charlie's to indulge in some well deserved pizzas. Then we sang Happy Birthday to Michael and watched him blow out the 6 candles which were standing in a yummy ice cream cake from Carvels!

Charlie headed to bed by 8pm...I think the whole day: as good as it was, turned out to be a bit tiring for him.

Charlie finished his last round of radiation about a week ago, so now he is just trying to regain some strength so he can enjoy some of his daily activities with more ease. As far as resuming chemo...nothing has been really said by the docs about if, when, or what drug will be used. Charlie is trying to be positive but is this so very hard when he has been weak for so long.

Please continue your prayers for Charlie...I know God hears them.

Pray for more good days like this past Friday!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

"The Oak Tree"

A mighty wind blew both night and day,
It stole the oak trees leaves away.
Then it snapped its boughs and pulled off its bark,
Until the oak was tired and stark.
But still this oak tree maintained its ground,
While the other trees fell all around.
Then the weary wind gave up and spoke,
“How is it that you are still standing oak?”

The oak tree replied, “I know that you
Can break every branch of mine in two.
You can shake my limbs and make me sway,
And carry every one of my leafs away.
But I have roots stretched into the earth,
Growing strong each day since my birth.
You will never touch them, for you see,
They are the deepest part of me.
Until now I was not sure,
Just how much I could endure.
But I have found, with thanks to you
I am much stronger than I ever knew.”

Monday, August 2, 2010

Spoke with Kim this am...Charlie is getting a little in the way of pain relief from his treatments, although it is very hard for him to make it down the steps, so much of his time is spent in his room. Kim plans on putting a small refrigerater in his room so he can get his Ensure and other food independently. I am going to dig out the old baby monitor and give it to Kim so they can communicate without having to yell when Kim is downstairs.

Kim also said Charlie had a nice visit with his father yesterday. Charlie did get the chance to sit outside for a little during the visit, although he couldn't stay out too long because it became uncomfortable for him rather quickly. Charlie did say how good it felt to get outside.

So this will be another week of radiation, then, according to Dr. Potz, Charlie will get a 4 week break from treatments before restarting his chemo again.

I dropped Michael and Grace off at bible camp today and took a moment to go inside the church, say a prayer and light a candle for Charlie. I think tomorrow I will do the same...only this time I am going to light every unlit candle in the church!

Please keep Charlie and Kim in your prayers...I know God hears them. Today I ask that we all pray for one of His miracles to intervene.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Charlie has started radiation therapy this week and is also back on the steroids. Hopefully by the end of the week he will begin to get some relief.

Please keep saying prayers...we need all the prayer worriors out in full force!

Monday, July 19, 2010

I visited Kim and Charlie over the weekend. Charlie is really having a lot of back pain, most likely due to the lesions on his spine. He was not able to get out of bed to go downstairs. He is scheduled to start radiation therapy, once again, to the spine this Friday. Hopefully he will get some relief. His pain med had been switched to morphine by mouth but it's not really giving him the relief he needs to ambulate and be comfortable.

Kim did call Dr. Potz for the CAT scan results...much to her dismay...he reported that it was a mixed bag. Some tumors shrunk while other grew a little. Not the report they were hoping to hear.

Charlie is also suppose to get another MRI of the hip and spine I believe.

Please keep them in your prayers...Charlie and Kim are having a tough time right now as both are mentally and physically weary.

Some good news would be such an uplifting and welcome change!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Today Charlie went to see Dr. Potz, however the results of his CT from yesterday were not available yet. I think they were very disappointed to hear that they will have to wait 2 more weeks until they see the doc again and get a clearer picture of how Charlie is doing with his treatments.

This whole process is really beginning to wear on both Kim and Charlie. It is time for some good news.

Please keep praying for is all seemingly harder now for them. Charlie is tired of feeling lousy and Kim is all worried out!

I will keep posting as long as you all keep praying!!!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Charlie is finally done with this round of chemo...but he still continues to be very tired. Kim said he is sleeping all kinds of hours and according to Charlie, as of late, he is having issues with food tasting very salty. Hopefully this will subside as he is done with chemo. He will be scheduled at the end of this month beginning of next for a CAT scan.This scan will let us know if the chemo worked and if he has achieved a remission.

Thank you for the continued prayers...each one is a blessing.

I will continue to keep you posted!!!


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Well it has been a couple weeks since my last entry and things have pretty much stayed the same. Charlie continues to be exhausted by this chemo round. The other day, for the first time, he had some nausea. He will be finishing up with the Navelbine drug this week  then will be scheduled for another CAT Scan in a week or so to check his progress. We are all so hoping that this chemo agent did the trick and that Charlie has a clean scan.

Thank you all for keeping him in your prayers. They are very powerful....the ultimate in wireless connections!!!

Monday, June 7, 2010

I spoke with Charlie on Saturday and Kim this morning. Charlie has been going for chemo one day a week for the past 3 weeks and he is really being hammered by this new drug. He is off this week but than back into the infusion room next week. Charlie admits to being very tired most of the time. He's not able to get out like he was before...most likely because his recuperation time between infusions is very short. This is how the drug works though...they don't want the cancer cells to catch a break, therefore Charlie can't catch one either.

Kim also said that he is sleeping a lot, mostly in the morning...sometimes not getting out of bed until noon or later. She also said that he is so tired that even going for a drive in the car is exhausting for him. This is a very tough time for Charlie...he needs to keep his spirits up. It's very easy to become depressed when you are tired and not feeling well for this period of time.

Luckily for Kim and Charlie, their neighbors have been just wonderful to them. Showing up with baskets of food, doing their yard work, sending cards and well wishes...they have been very blessed with all the support and help they have received from their neighbors.

So please continue to pray for both of them...Kim is hoping that Charlie's next scan will produce a clean report and that Charlie will be off all chemo agents and get back to feeling some sense of normalcy.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

"Brothers and sisters: Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith to this grace in which we stand, and we boast in hope of the glory of God.
Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us."  ~ Romans 5:1-5

Charlie is hanging in there and still hanging onto his mustache despite all the chemo. He also had to receive a blood transfusion last Thursday because of low red blood cell count. He tolertated everything well as usual but I think that Charlie is simply "sick" of being "sick"!!!
Please continue to pray for him...thank you!

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Navelbine (brand name) injection and capsules both contain the active ingredient vinorelbine, which is a chemotherapy medicine used to treat cancer.

Cancers form when some cells within the body multiply uncontrollably and abnormally. These cells spread, destroying nearby tissues. Vinorelbine works by stopping the cancer cells from multiplying.
Like normal healthy cells, cancer cells go through a continuous process of change. Each cell divides into two daughter cells. These cells grow, rest and then divide again. The medicines used in chemotherapy are powerful chemicals designed to interupt this cycle and stop cells from growing and multiplying.
Vinorelbine belongs to a group of chemotherapy medicines called vinca alkaloids. These work by preventing the cancer cells from entering the dividing stage (mitosis) of their life cycle. This stops the cells from multiplying.
Unfortunately, vinorelbine can also affect normal, healthy cells, particularly those that multiply quickly, such as blood cells and hair cells. The most important side effect is on the bone marrow where blood cells are made. Vinorelbine can decrease the production of blood cells, leaving people susceptible to infection. Regular blood tests are therefore needed to monitor the levels of blood cells.
In most chemotherapy regimens, doses are administered in courses at various intervals to allow normal cells to recover from the adverse effects of the chemotherapy between doses. However, during this period, cancer cells will also recover and start to replicate again. Successful treatment depends on the administration of the next course of therapy before the cancer has regrown to its previous size. The aim is to decrease the amount of cancer with each successive course.
Vinorelbine is used to treat advanced non-small cell lung cancer and advanced breast cancer. The medicine may be given by a drip into a vein, or by mouth as capsules.

Sunday May 23, 2010

Here are the results of Charlie's CAT scan from about a week ago...Kim called to report that as of right now Charlie has 2 lesions. One in on the liver which has been there since initial diagnosis and is a little larger than it was on the last scan, it measures 1.2 cm. In addition there is now a new lesion on the lung and it measures 1.4 cm. Despite this not so great news, everything else in the way of lesions are all gone.

Kim was somewhat disappointed with the test results, but I reminded her that Charlie's tumor burden is a far cry from where he was back in January with metastasis to the lymph, bone and multiple lesions in the liver and lungs. She also said that he was started back on a new chemo agent called Navelbine. He had his first infusion of the Navelbine last Thursday and will return every 2 weeks for the next 2 months for the infusion. Also Charlie's hemoglobin was a bit low which may be part of the reason why he has been feeling a little more fatigued. He did get his shot to help boost the production of red blood cells (RBC). RBC are responsible for carrying oxygen to the body, so if they are low the oxygen supply is low thus resulting in a feeling of tiredness for the patient. His white blood cell (WBC) count remains at an optimal level...which is very important b/c when you are going thru chemo you become what is called immunosuppressed which means the body's ability to fight off any infection, even the most common types, is greatly compromised and these infections can snowball into larger problems.

Also in Charlie's favor is that his weight has been very stable...this is a good sign. Cancer patients who can maintain a healthy stable weight overall do much better in the long run.

Thank you for keeping Charlie and Kim in your prayers. Kim is so hoping that by the end of July Charlie will have a clean scan showing no more tumors and he will be off all treatments.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Well the Wissahickon Valley Relay for Life event this past weekend was a huge success for our two teams. Together we raised over $4000 for the American Cancer Society and had a fabulous time to boot!!! The best part was that Charlie was there almost the entire day Saturday from about 1pm to 9pm. I think he really enjoyed all the ceremonies, the Survivors Dinner, and just hanging out at our camp site with all the people who were there to participate in team "Charlie Brown." You could tell that he was getting tired, but he really wanted to stay for the luminaria ceremony...and it was beautiful. Probably a thousand + luminaries were lit up with each one bearing the of a person who had to battle cancer. As we walked the track in silence, every name on every luminary was read over the PA system...very inspiring.

This picture is from Sunday morning in the parking lot at the end of Relay. The small Charlie Brown doll in the picture was on the track at all times during the 24 hour relay. Every team member carried this doll for some time during Relay. Kim laughed and said that Charlie is starting to look like the cartoon Charlie Brown.

As far as how Charlie has been feeling, well they are still weaning him off the steroids, so he is experiencing a lot of fatigue which is frustrating for Charlie mentally. But he was assured that this is a normal side effect of being taken off the drug. Also he had a follow up CAT scan last Thursday, so this Thursday he has a doctor's appointment and will receive the results. Please pray that they are good!!!

Thank you to everyone who donated to and/or participated in Relay for Life in the name of Charlie Brown...I know a few times at Relay Charlie was emotional just thinking about all the love and support given to both Kim and himself.

Charlie is fighting with all he has...he wants to get better and stay better. We will know a lot more about is medical status after the CT results are known...we are all staying positive. Please keep the prayers coming...they never go unheard.


    Teams "Charlie Brown and Charlie Brown Friends"

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Thank you to all who have been so supportive in giving to the ACS drive in the Relay for Life event happening in Wissahickon Valley this weekend!! So far both of Charlie's teams have raised a combined total of $3650 to help research and battle cancer.  Almost every minute of everyday someone is diagnosed with some degree of wonderful would it be if someone faced with the diagnosis would then hear...."and there's acure"!! We can make it happen by giving!! Thanks you everyone...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

May 5, 2010

It's been a while since my last post and to be honest...that is a good thing!

Charlie is doing great...he is out and about visiting friends, playing golf, and running his endless lists of errands. I spoke with Kim the other day...she called just to tell me how great she thinks Charlie is doing...but she is still cautious. Charlie is scheduled for his next CAT scan on Thursday the 13th. This scan will be compared to his previous scan, which if you remember, showed drastic improvement!!! We are so hoping for another good report like that one!

In the meantime, Charlie has been on the recieving end of so much in the way of well wishes, paryers and food!! When I spoke with him the other day he told me his pant size is currently a size 34X32 and getting a little snug! His voice is also returning to its normal range since he is now being weaned off the steroids. While on the stroids his voice had a bit of a high pitch to it...almost breathless, now he has that deeper voice we are all use to hearing. He aslo told me that he got a buzz cut of the hair he had remaining. Now that chemo has stopped, he should start to see some regrowth shortly so with the buzz cut it should all grow in more evenly and be less noticable as being thin.

Prayers and well wished...well wishes and prayers!!!

Thank you all for both of can truely judge a person by how many of these gifts are bestowed upon them in the name of love.

So as Charlie would say...Chow!!!!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Relay for Life update...

                                    ~ Teams "Charlie Brown"
                                                            and "Charlie brown Friends"

Both teams to date have raised a total of $3,275 for the American Cancer Society.

The American Cancer Society is the largest private funder of cancer research in the United States of America.

Thank you all for your support and remember, the dollars raised in the past are the dollars helping Charlie now...just think of what your dollars will do for those in the future who will have to fight this same battle!!!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thursday April 22, 2010

Kim just called me from Charlie's chemo session and they received the results from the MRI....and it turns out that the spot on his spine which was a cause for concern for the doctor turns out to simply be an arthritis!! Great news!!!

In addition Charlie will only have to go back for the Avastin infusion...all other treatments he is finished with so no more chemo and no more radiation at this point. Dr. Potz believes that there is no reason not to expect Charlie to continue responding to treatment. In fact, when Charlie told Dr. Potz that he gets a little winded when climbing up the stairs, the doctors response was that he is impressed that Charlie is as active as he is. He said most people getting this load of heavy drugs usually don't want to do anything...heck Charlie is out playing 18 holes of golf!!!

So as of today Charlie is to get a CAT scan in 3 weeks to see what everything looks like as far as response to treatment. Then, in one month, he will go back to see Dr. Potz and get the scan results. Also he was told he can cut the steroids pills in half, only taking half a pill a day, starting tomorrow and in one week he can cut it back again by taking half a pill every other day!!!

As per the treatment for Charlie before the Relay for Life in May so I would expect him to be in attendance for the event!!!

Kim and Charlie are very happy about the news today but he is still not in a "remission" yet...we just need to keep the prayers and well wishes headed in their direction.

As I sign off I want to thank you so much for all the prayers

"Once you choose hope anything is possible"... Christopher Reeves

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday April 16, 2010

Just a quick update for all..

Charlie has not yet recieved his MRI report...Kim and Charlie are going to wait until they see Dr. Potz next Thursday to get the results of the MRI.  Kim said she wants to be present with Charlie when he recieves the results. Keep all fingures crossed it is good news!!

Also Kim told me that the other day Charlie felt well enough to not only go to a Union meeting but also had enough energy to mow their lawn!!!

Heck if he wants to mow the lawn....who's to stop him!!!

Kim felt great about all Charlie's undertakings...a good sign indeed.. I may need a shot of his "go go" juice just to keep my endevers afloat!!

Like I said ..a quik update...Love to you all and thank you so much for your continued suppot!!! We so appreciate it...really!!!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Yesterday I went down to Pa. to hang out with my sister for the day and we both enjoyed a much needed break from all of our daily stressors.  Kim and I had a great time going to church bizzares trying to get great deals on kid's clothing and other items. I even had my first "bag sale" in which Kim totally delighted in. She laughed her ass off as we tried to fill this poor paper grocery bag with everything we could get our hands on...including a kid size baseball bat!!! We even tripped down memory lane a bit when we spotted an old wood vanity like the one we had as little girls growing up. Kim said she hasn't that much fun in a long I said it was much needed for both of us. I do love my sister Kim!!!

Today Kim called me to tell me that several of their neighbors we talking and approached Charlie to say that they are all so very concerned about him and want to lend hand helping out with the care of their yard... particularly mowing the lawn. Charlie laughed because one of the men in this group actually pays someone else to do his lawn!!! All in all they were very touched at the offer and happily accepted.

The other thing Kim told me was that Charlie said today is the best day he has ever felt even since all this cancer stuff began!! is a good day!!

I will update the blog again once I find out what the results were from Charlie's MRI last week. But what I do know is that all his blood work is coming back so well that the nurses are practically jumping out of their skin to tell him the how good his numbers look!!!

Have a great week and as I mentioned in the last post...feel free to leave a comment or two. They mean so much to Charlie and Kim!!.

Friday, April 9, 2010

To all who are viewing Charlie's Blog...thank you for all comments. They are so needed right now to support Kim and Charlie as they go through these difficult days. Your comments keep them grounded and completely positive. It is always wonderful to know that you have family and friends in your corner.

Thank you so very much!!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

As of today April 6, 2010...teams "Charlie Brown" and "Charlie Brown Friends" have raised $2345 for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life in Wissahickon Valley next month.

"Everybody loves Charlie Brown...this one and out very own!"

Our combinded goal for this event is $3500...we are more than halfway there. Please help us meet our goal by making a donation today. Follow the link on the right for both teams.

Thank you for helping to save Birthdays by fighting back against cancer!!!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

April 4, 2010

Today is Easter Sunday so first off Happy Easter to all.

Yesterday, Saturday, Kim and Charlie went for a walk in the park and enjoyed a picnic lunch. Although it made him a bit tired, Charlie told me ..."it was a good day".

Today they had some company from Charlie's family. His dad stopped by and one of his brothers who did a little landscaping around the house for them. Kim was thrilled!!!

This week Charlie will have his MRI of the neck...if the scan shows improvement in the two new areas of concern, there may be a chance that he will not need the additional radiation thereapy because they are obviously responding to the chemo. Charlie has one, possibly two more chemo sessions to go then he will go on maintenance. He will also start the pre-treatement for the brain to protect it from any metastasis.

As I keep saying...your thoughts and prayers and well wishes are making all the difference in the world for both Kim and Charlie. Today in mass our priest spoke about hope being the glue which keeps us all connected to our father in heaven. I wanted to ask him for a copy of the sermon...but instead I am just going to do my best to convey his message with my actions and words.

Again, a Happy Easter to everyone...keep the season alive the whole year and stay is just so important to our very fragile human condition.

God Bless

Friday, April 2, 2010

April 2, 2010

Kim called today to give me the update on Charlie.

Yesterday Charlie had another round of chemotherapy and he is really getting beat up by it at this point. She said he is really exhausted and was still sleeping when I spoke to her at 8:30 this morning.

All his blood work is still looking great although when they saw Dr. Potz yesterday they were very anxious to get the MRI results from the test last week. Unfortunately the area scanned was his back and not the neck which is what the doctor wanted to see. He advised Charlie to go back as soon as he can to get the MRI of the neck. What happened was that Dr. Potz called the radiation oncologist to start the radiation on the two new spots on the cervical spine, the radiation doc said no and to get the MRI first. Well he wrote for the wrong test which had Charlie in the scanner for 1 1/2 hours!!! Kim said Charlie will probably be back in the scanner the beginning of next week, but this test will not have him in there for as long as the last test did!!!

Also Kim asked Dr. Potz what he meant when he told them two weeks ago that there was a "dramatic" improvement. Kim, being a numbers gal and all, wanted percentages. She asked 10%, 20% better. Dr. Potz said no, more like better than 50%. He said that the cancer is out of the lymph nodes all together and that there is a 50% + improvement in the lungs and liver. Awesome news!!!

So it was a bit of a mixed bag as far as good news verses bad news, but at least the bad news of having to go back to MRI is a fairly fixable problem.

Please continue to keep Charlie and Kim in your prayers and thank you for all your support. Love from all of us to you and a very Happy Easter too!!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Today is Palm Sunday and although our family traditionally celebrates Easter on Easter Sunday, this year we decided to move it up a bit due to the fact that Charlie is sheduled for a chemo session this coming Thursday. So well all gathered at Kim and Charlie's to celebrate the holiday.

There were 10 of us family, my husband myself and our 2 children, my Aunt Ann, cousin Carol, my other Aunt Ann her husband my Uncle Ed and of course...Kim and Charlie. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner prepared by our host and hostess. It was so good to see Charlie back in the kitchen again. He made one of his famous recipes, a hugely well received green bean recipe he so openly stole from our cousin Sandy years ago!!! We also had ham and some homemade pierogies, along with a wonderful dessert of pineapple upside down cake. Charlie enjoyed everything and at least two pieces of cake after dinner.

When I spoke with Charlie to ask how he's feeling, he said good but tired. He is finding it very frustrating to not have the energy to do things like preparing a meal in the kitchen or even taking a walk around the house to follow the kids on their Easter egg hunt. He said..."how much T.V. can you watch?" Well if you posed that question to my two kids the answer would be "what do you mean?" He is loosing his hair, very thin right now, you can see his scalp. The mustache is still in tact...although Charlie claims it is thinning out!

Kim did confide in me at the end of last week that Charlie is beginning to feel a bit depressed...most likely due to his lack of energy. I'm sure the gloomy weather is not helping! Despite being a little low in spirits, Charlie is looking good. He even has a Buddha belly which he is blaming on the steroids he has been getting. Last week Charlie had an MRI of his spine done and he should get the results when he goes back for chemo this week. Keep all those fingers, arms, legs and toes crossed that it is decent news. Dr. Potz also plans to schedule Charlie for PET scan in the not too distant future.

Again...please keep both Kim and Charlie in your prayers especially during this most holy of weeks. I know our prayers are heard and they do make a difference. Thanks and I will update Charlie's progress after I hear from him on Friday!!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

As of today teams "Charlie Brown" and "Charlie Brown Friends" have raised a combinded total of $1420 for the American Cancer Society in the Wissahickon Relay for Life event in May!!!


Friday, March 26, 2010


In order to survive, grow, or spread, tumors need a continuous supply of oxygen and nutrients, which they get by creating their own network of blood vessels. This process is called angiogenesis (an’-gee-o-jen’-i-sis). Avastin is thought to work by blocking a protein released by both normal cells and cancer cells that helps cause angiogenesis. This protein is called VEGF and is produced throughout the life of the tumor. By controlling the growth of blood vessels, Avastin can starve your cancer of the nutrients and oxygen it needs to grow and spread. This is why Avastin is a tumor-starving therapy.
"we are survivors from the moment of diagnosis" ~ the national cancer institute

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Love with all your heart, smile with all your might, laugh with all your friends and enjoy all the little gifts that come to you everyday!!!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

As of March 22, 2010

Sorry it's been awhile since I posted anything on Charlie but actually that is a good thing.

To update...Charlie has been feeling very well over the last week. So well in fact he went golfing yesterday and made it through all 18 holes!!! Fantastic!!!

He said that his recovery from his chemo sessions still are taking about 4-5 days until he begins to feel like doing things. When I spoke with Charlie he told me that the one thing he cannot do while recouping from these sessions is to sit down in the morning right after breakfast. He said he just falls to sleep and looses the whole morning!!! I could probably do that too but I didn't say anything to Charlie! :)

His blood work again last week was great...continuing that strong trend!!! This weekend we are celebrating Easter on Palm Sunday because Charlie is due for his next round of chemo on Holy Thursday. Charlie is revving up for a big feast though...I think he is shooting for the 20lb mark with his weight gain!!!! Also it will be interesting to see Charlie without the mustache!!! He said it began falling out over the last week...I don't think I have ever seen his upper lip in the 20+ years I have known him...I will take pictures of that upper lip because I am sure once the chemo is over and his hair starts growing in...that old mustache will be back!!!

So only good news to report this week. A some point soon Charlie will begin his radiation treatments on the two new areas found on his last Cat Scan...I will keep you all posted!!!Please good thoughts and prayers are really making a difference keep 'em a commin!!!

Thank you for your interest and support...signing off!!!

March 12, 2010

Yesterday Charlie went for another long day of chemotherapy. His blood work was drawn and everything looked very good. There was a slight spike in his white blood cell count (WBC) it was up around 21,000, but that can be because of the steroids Charlie was given pretreatment. But the best news of all is that his CAT scan report was very good and the oncologist told Kim and Charlie that there is a "DRAMATIC IMPROVEMENT" in what the scan shows, Actually some of the tumors/lesions had disappeared all together. But he also told them that Charlie is not out of the woods yet. There are 2 new areas that the oncologist wants to treat aggressively with more radiation therapy.

Despite that little bit of news regarding the new findings, Kim and Charlie were just thrilled with the results. In addition, Charlie not only gained back the 10 lbs he initially lost, but also packed on an additional 6 lbs!!!

In Kim's words..."It was a good day."

March 5, 2010

Today I am going to tell you what Charlie did two days ago.

According to Kim, Charlie went out for lunch with his friend Chris on Wednesday. After lunch they decided to play a round of pool. As they were playing, another customer approached Charlie and his friend requesting a game with the winner...well Charlie beat Chris then went on to beat this other player...not bad for a guy with is it!!! Afterwards Charlie went to the gym for his work out!!! I suppose he didn't flex his muscles enough at the pool hall!

Kim also said Charlie made an incredible meatloaf last night for dinner!!! Always a good sign!

Today Charlie is headed back down to Abington for his CAT scan at 1pm. Also, as of three days ago, Charlie is off all his pain meds...he said "if I'm not having pain then I don't need any medication do I?" Hopefully Iwill get the chance to see both of them this weekend because we are headed down to good old Glenside to attend the annual St Luke's spaghetti supper!!!

Oh and one more thing...Kim said Charlie is now unable to zip up his jeans due to a 12-15lb weight gain!!!! I told her I will be glad to donate 10 lbs to the cause!!! Don't we all wish we could do that???

That's all for now...keep the prayers and well wishes looks like they are working overtime for Charlie!!!

March 1, 2010

"It takes courage to have hope."

I spoke with Kim last night and she told me that some of the pain Charlie was experiencing from one of the drugs he's getting, has finally begun to subside over the weekend. He is also feeling a bit more energy and is able to do just a little bit more each day that goes by.

Both Kim and Charlie are fighting to stay positive. Each new day has it's set of challenges, but also brings with it renewed hope. Kim was just telling me about the two little girls who live across the street. They bring Charlie homemade cards every 10 days or so. One of the most recent cards he recieved had this to say. "Dear Mr. Charlie... You are one of the bravest people I know".As you go through your days and the routines that go with them, please remember Charlie in your thoughts and know how brave he is as he journeys thru this incredibly difficult time. Also please say your prayers for Kim...she too is a brave soldier, ever standing by Charlie's side, never wavering not even for a split second!

February 25, 2010

Kim just called and Charlie had his blood work done today and it has been resulted already.
His WBC (4.5 -10.5) is actually at 17.7 way above normal range. This is good because it is keeping his immune system protected from all the" bad bugs" that may come down the pike. Also his RBC is high but the doc said that is due to some of the drugs he is getting, I believe, to help red blood cell production Kim said Charlie was having a lot of pain yesterday, but again, according to the docs, this is good b/c it means that the regenerative drug he's getting (I think Kim said to support his bone marrow) is also working.

They did go to Fox Chase Cancer Center yesterday for a second opinion but left a little disappointed. Evidently Fox Chase did not have a lot to offer them. In fact, some of the treatment Charlie is getting at Abington, like pretreatment of the brain to protect it from metastasis, they would not necessarily do at Fox Chase. The reason why they sought a second opinion was to make certain that Charlie is receiving all that he can at this point ...and I think they got their answer.

Thank you for caring enough to follow the blog...also thank you for the prayers and well wished. It is really tough right now on both Kim and Charlie...but as in the words of Christopher Reeves "Once you Choose hope anything is possible" We just need make sure they know we love support them and not let anyone take away any of our hope!!!

February 23, 2010

Today I spoke with Charlie and he sounded well. He said each day after his last chemo session he feels a little better, a little stronger and little bit more energy. Tomorrow Kim and Charlie are headed over to Fox Chase Cancer Center for consultation as a second opinion. They are not really sure if the recommended treatment there will differ from what Charlie is already getting at Abington Hospital, but they feel like it couldn't hurt to see what Fox Chase has to say.

On Thursday Charlie will go for more blood work...keep your fingers crossed that is continues to look as well as it did last week!Charlie is still getting to the gym, but he admits that it is hard for him on some of the equipment these days. He is having some joint pain from the medication along with a feeling of restless legs. But all in all he says he is doing pretty well for the most part. I will try to make another entry on Friday after they see the docs at Fox Chase.

Keep the prayers and good thoughts coming!!!

As of February 19, 2010

"Once you choose hope, anything is possible." ~ Christopher Reeves

Charlie had his 6+ hours of chemo yesterday and all went well. His oncologist, Dr. Potz, was extremely pleased with the looks of Charlie's blood work.

To give you a few stats:Blood pressure...110 over 70 (Beautiful!!!)
White blood cell count (normal range 4.5-10.5)
Charlie's was at 10Hemaglobin (normal range 11-18)
Charlie's was at 12.1Platelets (normal range 150-450) Charlie's was at 297!

Dr. Potz was also very surprised when Charlie told him he has been going regularly to the gym! He told them that was great that Charlie felt well enough to do that. As of last night Charlie ate a full dinner although he was warned that he may start to feel some nausea and possibly have some periods of getting sick to his stomach. This due to the chemo but also because the radiation he received is still at work in his body.

Charlie is currently holding his own with that one. Also he has officially gained back the 10 lbs he lost after his diagnosis!!! Another great sign!!Please keep the prayers and good thoughts coming. They all are deeply appreciated.

Diagnosis Date January 14, 2010

In January 2010, my brother-in-law Charlie was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. He has what is called an adenocarcinoma most likely arising from the lining of his lung. Charlie has a smoking history so that is why the docs believe that is it point of origin. Areas of metastases include his liver and bone. What prompted Charlie to go to his physician in the first place was a nagging pain he had in the front of his chest. It actually got so bad that he began taking days off from work...something I have never know Charlie to do. His primary doc took a chest x-ray most likely revealing the lung tumors and bone mets...he then directed Charlie to the local emergency room for further work up.

Upon his arrival in the ER...Charlie had blood drawn and was sent for a Cat Scan. The scan was then followed up with an MRI and he had a subsequent bone biopsy of the right hip, ultimately this provided the preliminary diagnosis of stage a 4 cancer. Unfortunately Charlie, to this point, had been seen by several residents and other health care professionals, and although no one actually told him he had the "c" was constantly being tossed around as if he had already been given the diagnosis. My sister, Kim, and Charlie were just hit in the face with the word "Cancer". You see all kinds of sayings about cancer and that it is a word and not a sentence...but when you are confronted with it...all you are able to see is the worse case scenario. Finally, 2 days after his admission to the hospital, Charlie and Kim met with the oncologist and the final word was cancer stage 4.

He was immediately put on a drug therapy to help regenerate bone that Charlie had lost to the metastatic Cancer in his spine and hip. It is called a bisphosphonate. He was given a port-o-catheter (Small port with a catheter inserted into the subclavian vein for the purpose of giving medications without having to repeatedly do peripheral IV lines) prior to his initial release from the hospital. Unfortunately with in the next week, Charlie was back in the hospital with a complaint of shortness of breath. Upon his return to the hospital the surgeons had to place a chest tube into the pleural space of his right lung to help re expand it because it had collapsed due to the port procedure the previous week. Once the lung was expanded Charlie felt a world better and he was able to go home after 4 days of hospitalization.

As of mid February....Charlie completed all his radiation therapy sessions. He will continue with his chemotherapy adding more chemo drugs to his regime as time goes on. The drugs that I know he is receiving are: Carboplatin, Taxol and Avastin. Charlie has been going to the gym fairly regularly; doing 20 minutes on the bike and 10 on the treadmill. He feels better that he has even before his diagnosis. Pain has been reduced and his energy has increased. Kim did tell me that she thinks that he is starting to loose his hair now. Good thing he has that swell "Cancer Sucks" knitted cap to keep his head warm as we finish out this crazy cold winter.I will continue to add information on a regular basis...please feel free to check in as often as you like and make any comments to encourage Charlie so he knows you are all in his corner. We will fight this and we will win...the world needs more people like Charlie in we all have to fight to keep him here!!

Thanks so much and look for more updates in the future!!

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