June 12, 2017
Author: Daniel Green
So we got the call that sets everything in motion.
My bride receives her chemo port on Wednesday and an electrocardiogram on Thursday. One is to provide a more comfortable way to receive her treatments and the other is to make sure her heart is strong enough for what is to come.
She will be given 8 rounds of chemotherapy and if these go well, Dr. Hagans will remove as much of the cancer as he can. Surgery will be followed by hormone treatment for the foreseeable future. While not curable, Dr. Sneed feels her disease can be managed for ‘an extended period’. We don’t know how long that might be as it depends on how well the cancer responds to treatment. Hers is a less common type and does not respond as predictably as we would like. Teresa’s assertion is that all of that is in the Lord’s hands.
My love is extraordinary in her faith towards God’s oversight and provision. She is an inspiration to her husband who wishes for more spiritual strength than he has right now (I understand the father’s anguish in Mark 9:24 much more fully now). “I know that whatever the Lord decides to do in this situation will be the best thing He could do for me”, she has repeatedly said.
But still, there are those things she very much wants to do in this life and it is these desires that fuel her determination to fight her cancer with all her strength. “I want to watch my daughter walk down the aisle”. “I want to play with my grandson and watch him grow up.” “I want to spend time with my kids, my family, my friends”
Of course that bride of mine is never going to stop fighting this disease but that is not what defines her strength. Most everyone would do the same.
What defines her strength is her simple assertion, “I know that whatever the Lord decides to do in this situation will be the best thing He could do for me”.
June 20, 2017
Author: Daniel Green
Many have shared with us how touched you were when we shared the pictures and story of the shirts that were given to us at Church Camp. My dear secretary just presented me with a video of he event which Teresa & I hope to share with you here. I am still trying to figure out how to add new posts to a single page so hang in there with us until we get it all figured out.
If this should fail, I will upload to Facebook or Vimeo and include a link.
June 26, 2017
Author: Daniel Green
My bride begins her chemo treatments tomorrow so things are about to get real. She is who she is so, of course, she is facing this next thing in true Wonder Woman fashion. Please pray that her body’s reaction to the treatment will be mild.
We learned a little more about Teresa’s treatment plan today. Tomorrow is the beginning of the first round of 8 chemotherapy sessions. The first four will occur at 3 week intervals. (The next will be on July 18th) The second round will consist of a different ‘cocktail’ and follow the same pattern we think.
As noted above, surgery will follow completion of chemo but as yet we haven’t been given much information as to how long after the treatments that may be.
My love took advantage of some alone time this morning and treated herself to a pedi. Later, mother and daughter spent some time quality time shopping for hats, and caps and scarves in preparation for Mom’s future new look.
We had to put the car in the shop today but even in that we see God’s hand. All of her appointments this week are in Russellville and Phil Wrights AutoPlex was kind enough to provide a ‘loaner’ until we get ours fixed.
She is a good girl, that wife of mine, and I am not finished with her yet so you guys continue to pray for God’s miraculous healing.
More after we see how things go tomorrow.
June 30, 2017
Author: Daniel Green
Teresa has the first treatment under her belt. She tolerated it well the first day but as you might expect, the next two were a little tough. She couldn’t bring herself to eat much as every smell seems to exacerbate the nausea. She is very tired, of course, and takes a lot of naps while her body adjusts to the chemo but this leads to a lot of wakefulness during the nighttime hours. (Thank the Lord for Baseball replay!)
My bride feels somewhat better today and we are considering a trip to Little Rock to check out some wig possibilities. Baptist Health & St. Vincent both have salons that cater to cancer patients and we understand both are awesome. There is another in Ft. Smith in case we need to expand our search.
The outpouring of support from those who purchased T-shirts defies description! The first run of shirts were sold out in a few hours and the emergency ‘reorder’ is disappearing quickly as well. Mrs. Kate Harness and the girls plan to do a reorder soon and will post to Facebook when that is about to happen.
Her favorite grandbaby has a cold and can’t be around his grandma right now which is breaking her heart. But we trust the two can be together again very soon. And on a brighter note, I got a call this morning from some Texas friends (from Seminary days!) who are planning to drive down for a much needed visit tomorrow. Pray for safe travel as they come and go.
Again, I could never adequately express how much your outpouring of love and support has meant to My bride and our whole family. I will let you know how the trip to Little Rock goes in a future post and if we don’t make it today, that just means God has a better day planned!
July 12, 2017
Author: Teresa’s Ghost Writer
It has been a few days since the last update and I apologize for that. So many have made the effort to ‘check up on Teresa’ that we thought I had best bring the folks up to speed.
My bride had a couple of really good weeks (after she recovered from that first round of chemo, of course). It wasn’t long after that first treatment before she was back to her old self and doing all the things she likes to do. We did make the trip to Little Rock to check out the wigs and she actually brought a couple of them home. But, just to be sure, we are going to order one she saw online as well as a ball cap version she saw. Happily, she still enjoys her own hair but she wants to be prepared when/if the inevitable occurs.
True to form, that girl of mine is determined to do all she can between treatments. She and two of her sisters plan to travel to Tennessee to visit another. They are all excited to have some ‘girl time’ together to “talk about stuff we want to talk about with no one else around”. Who knows what deep, dark, secrets will be unveiled during those secret ‘gossip sessions”!
We were afraid the trip might have to be canceled after Teresa’ last blood workup. The nurse called her before she made it home and asked that she return to the clinic for an injection. Her white cell count had diminished ‘drastically’ (nurse’s words) and steps needed to be taken to get her back on track. This is not at all uncommon with her type of chemotherapy as one of its purposes is to knock out cancer cells in the bones where white blood cells are created. She received two injections 24 hours apart and has to take a course of antibiotics but the doc thinks this will do the trick. Sadly, this intervention leads to bone aching which we hope will subside in a few days.
Two very close friends drove down from Weatherford Texas to ruin our holiday week (Just kidding!). The Thompsons brought a lot of love and laughter when they came. Their visit also reminded us that God’s plans are not usurped by the unwanted diagnosis and prognosis. Twenty five years ago, I made the drive to Ft. Worth to sit with my friend as he received his last round of chemo. The docs didn’t give him much chance to live out the year…. yet he is still messing with my head to this day!
The love of my life asked me to make sure you all know how much it has blessed her heart to read your comments online, to see you wearing those tee-shirts, to receive your special gifts, and to know that literally thousands of prayers have been lifted on her behalf. It often becomes more than either of us can bare and nothing will do but to sit down and have a good ol’ cry!
The Lady will receive her next round of chemo on Tuesday unless she and her sisters get arrested in Tennessee.
Oh yeah! Luke did get over his cold and found his way to Grandma’s lap again!
July 21, 2017
Author: Teresa’s Ghost Writer
My best girl has slept through most of the last 21/2 days as the second chemo treatment runs its course. Happily, she has tolerated this treatment better than the last even though the doctor said each session would get progressively worse. Although we did prepare a little better this time (extra nausea medication, etc.), we can’t help but make the obvious connection between the lessened reaction and the prayers lifted on her behalf. Thank you so very much.
Teresa did get to make that ‘sisters only’ trip to Tennessee last week. Those four spent time laughing together, crying together, getting mani/pedis and going to church. The Facebook pics show big smiles on the face of my bride and I bless her sisters for rallying around her like they have. The only ‘downer’ during the trip is that her hair began to let go as the doctor and nurses said it most certainly would. But she made it home and was able to make it through her next chemo adventure before opting to stop by the beauty shop to have Rhonda Cole remove her remaining locks.
Having gone through chemo and the subsequent hair loss associated with it, Rhonda was extraordinarily sensitive during the removal process. She cut the hair in ‘stages’, each one shorter than the one before, which allowed Teresa time to mentally adjust to the loss of what the bible calls ‘her glory’ (1 Cor. 11:15) I think only another woman could truly understand how traumatic chemo related hair loss really is but I have to say watching my love go through that was almost more than I could bear. Were it not for the fact I knew Rhonda had experienced it herself I think I might have lost it. (It’s okay! I immediately raced home to watch a couple of John Wayne movies and reclaim my manhood!) In the end, it was revealed that she has the most beautiful head one could imagine and her beauty was in no way diminished by the temporary loss of her trusses. In fact, she looks pretty cute in her ‘chemo caps’, pony-tail wig, and the hairpieces we have acquired but still feels self-conscious and hesitant about going out (though she did ride to the store and back with me today)
She gets tired easily during these first days after chemo but because she is who she is, she will not stay down for long.
Thanks for continuing to pray for strength and healing. Thanks for the gifts and the cards. Thanks for posting your t-shirt pics on Facebook as these really brighten her days. (By the way, Mrs. Kate Harness asked that we let folks know the second order of shirts have arrived and can be picked up at Harness garage.) Of course, Darla Green Heckman is still taking orders for the Lavaca shirts as well! (Don’t forget to post a picture, I want to try to capture as many as I can and put together a montage as a surprise!)
Mrs. T will be back on her feet in a couple of days but until then, feel free to text, Facebook message, or call.
August 11, 2017
Author: Teresa’s Ghost Writer
My love is three days out from her third treatment and is starting to make the turn. We have already learned that each session is unique unto itself and her reaction to this one will not be exactly like the last. The first was pretty rough as she did not know how to best prepare for the nausea and fatigue. Round two was tolerated much better with the addition of extra meds and an increased understanding that her body would actually return to a semblance of ‘normalcy’. The third treatment has been somewhere between the two with lots of ‘quizziness’ (which the nausea meds are helping to somewhat control) and a lot of ‘sleeping it off’.
As I said, she feels somewhat better on this third day and was able to enjoy a hot shower and, later, some awesome conversation with her extraordinary husband before retiring to her bed to help explain why the choices made by The Price Is Right contestants defy human logic and understanding.
That good girl of mine really enjoyed the two weeks prior to this current treatment. She acquired a wig with which she is very comfortable and which she almost destroyed after the first week. Her sister Pam was coming through on the way to her own cancer consultation in Little Rock and planned to stop by and visit her London sibling. My bride being who she is decided to bake a batch of her world famous cookies as a show of support. And so, she did… What she discovered during the process is that the artificial ‘hair’ in her awesome wig is more susceptible to heat than her own locks would have been and could be, (and was!) singed by the heat from an open oven door! She was able to save the offended headpiece and one can hardly notice the damage. Lesson learned!!!
My lady was able to do one of the things she enjoys most in this world. She had lunch with the girls from work (Dr. Michael Cooper’s office) and had the best time. Getting together with that bunch brightens her countenance for days afterward. In fact, just being able to get out of the house and do the things that most of us take for granted makes all the difference in the world. This is a lesson we caregivers have to learn as we tend to ‘hover’ and try to make our charges ‘take it easy’. I have learned my own lessons and now make sure she keeps busy cooking, cleaning, push-mowing the yard and hauling brush to the burn pile…
Maybe the best part of the last two weeks for her was the time I spent in Kansas City. For six days she was free to do whatever she (and her daughter and grandson) wanted. Two trips to Ft. Smith/Lavaca allowed the family to get caught up on the latest AND my bride was even able to enjoy a sleep-over with her favorite grandson at Mammaw’s house! Sadly, I returned home the next day and all the fun came to a screeching halt…
My girl will be feeling like her old self before long and I trust the chemo is doing what it is supposed to be doing. She continues to have minor issues with her white cell count but Dr. Sneed assures us that is pretty common. I was a little worried about her cough so the doctor ordered an X-ray which the nurse said looks good.
One more treatment in this round will put Teresa halfway through the chemo experience. The second half will consist of a different ‘cocktail’ and we haven’t learned much about that yet. I assume there will be scans and evaluations soon but, again, no official word on that.
I would ask that all of you who so diligently keep up with Teresa’s battle also remember her sister. Pam Lee Banning has also been diagnosed with breast cancer. As of this posting, the prognosis is promising but the treatment (and the worry, uncertainty, and dread of possible treatment reactions) is very similar to what Teresa and, in fact, most cancer patients must endure. Please ask the Father for complete healing for Pam and extraordinary peace and strength for her family as they begin their own journey of faith.
I keep saying that I will do a better job of keeping you all updated on my best girl’s progress and I really do mean to do that. Don’t hesitate to message me if I get too far behind!
ROUND TWO OF 12!
September 26, 2017
Teresa’s Ghost Writer
Wonder Woman is quietly dozing through the second treatment of her second round of chemotherapy this afternoon, and I am thanking the Lord that this ‘cocktail’ is not nearly as devastating as the last. Although treatments are now weekly, the lower dose allows her to do her daily ‘stuff’ with no nausea, and very few other side effects except for the usual fatigue toward the end of the day.
It has been awhile since our last update but there hasn’t really been anything new to report until now. In an earlier post we shared that the treatments are doing their job and her tumor has reduced in size as we hoped it would. That was very good news as her type of cancer does not always respond to chemo as well as one would hope.
We saw the surgeon yesterday and he is pretty sure the best course of action is to wait until chemotherapy has concluded before doing surgery. This may change after he consults with the oncologist but January seems to be the target date for him. We learned that since Teresa’s cancer has already metastasized there is little, if any, benefit of choosing mastectomy over lumpectomy. Dr. Hagans said the only real difference would be that she would have radiation after the lumpectomy verses none with the other. Of course, we will opt for the procedure that is best for my bride.
I continue to be amazed by that girl of mine. She babysat her favorite grandbaby after treatment last week, shampooed carpets in Bobby & Brianna’s newly purchased home, shopped for mini-blinds and prepped and, together with her awesome daughters-in-law, painted two rooms. She visited 1st Clarksville on Sunday and hosted our daughter’s birthday party that evening. Long drive for her Dr. visit yesterday, helped me in the yard after we got back, and worked for Dr. Cooper this morning before heading in for chemo. I am beginning to suspect that she actually was born on Themyscira…
I will try to keep the updates more current and don’t hesitate to give my love a call or shoot her a text or message.
October Has Been A Good Month!
October 26, 2017
Author: Teresa’s Ghost Writer
It has been a while since the last “Standing With T” update so I thought I would try to get everyone caught up.
My bride is tolerating the second round of treatments better than we could have imagined. So far, the worse side effect is the lingering same-day sleepiness from the Benadryl which is part of the pre-treatment treatment. She does feel the occasional bit of neuropathy from time to time (a common side effect) but other than that she is doing really well.
One of the great blessings for her has been the opportunity to work with the gang at Dr. Cooper’s dental office from time to time. Her countenance is always lifted when she spends time with those awesome people.
“It feels so good to feel needed again, to feel useful!” she said more than once.
Another unexpected blessing was the invitation for her to teach a short term ladies bible study at Calvary Baptist Church in Dardanelle. Those girls opened their hearts and helped her feel needed as well. Thank you CBC for loving my girl like you do!
It was only a few weeks ago that my love would not have been able to dependably help out at the dental office or teach a 4 week study. The first round of treatments were just too taxing to allow for that. But she hung in there, ‘womaned up’, kept her faith strong and her eyes on the future. Now she can again enjoy every day as much as the last and look forward to a tomorrow that is full of opportunities to work, to smile, and to ‘just get out of the house’. Of course, chemo will still claim her Tuesdays but every other day of the week is hers to do with as she will.
We met with her surgeon as the first round of chemotherapy was winding down. It was a scheduled meeting and we hoped to get better understanding of the steps that are to come and maybe what kind of time-table we could expect. After Dr. Hagan (surgeon) and Dr. Sneed (oncologist) conferred, it was decided to finish this course of treatments before any scans were performed. As a result, any surgery will almost certainly be scheduled after the first of the year.
There have been a few bumps in the road since our last post but I have to tell you they have been minor bumps indeed. It was joy unexplainable to see that girl of mine smile and laugh and head off to work with a spring in her step. It is wonderful to watch her grandson run to his grandma and be scooped up with the love and energy that only a grandma can have.
We are going to try to get away for a couple of days to catch our collective breath. There are a couple of medical issues Teresa’s broken down old man is dealing with and we want to enjoy a quick mini-vacation before he has to start eating healthy for real.
As always, we thank you for your prayers of support and are convinced that it is those prayers that are keeping her strong.