Phil is going in for a CT scan tmrw to see if he is still in remission from his Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma of 2 yrs ago. He hasn't been feeling the greatest lately and it was time we checked up on him. It is a scary time. However I thought that helping others would refresh me. So I made a guide for what to buy as gifts for those you love who are battling cancer.
I will also make one for the caregiver.
Having gone through a year's worth of cancer with Phil, I got to know quite well what he needed during his chemotherapy weeks in the hospital. I have given suggestions based on my his preferences, but if you are unsure what your friend or family member would want during their healing process, money is always needed. Big bills are great, but also quarters and $1's for the vending machines when cravings hit. It is a difficult time, but can be made so much better with the support of those we love.
-Anti sweat pillow. These are so helpful during chemo sweats.
-Ear plugs. Sometimes the nurses can find some, but to be safe stock up.
The nurses will come in and out for tests in the night, and sometimes you hear other patients yelling or crying. At night it's so important to heal with restful sleep- earplugs are a must.
-As is the sleep mask. Make sure it is made with natural fibers. Chemo makes the skin very sensitive.
-Smart Water. Somehow it's easier to hydrate when it's from a bottle, as opposed to a paper cup.
-Body lotion. Chemo makes the skin very dry and flaky. Get an all natural and organic kind that is small and easy to squeeze.
-ChapStick. The lips also get very dry. Get a pack, because somehow they tend to fall of the table and get lost!
-Mouthwash. Usually it is just too hard to get out of bed and brush your teeth. And because vomiting is part and parcel with chemo, mouthwash will come in handy.
-Tush Wipes. Because showers are too hard on the body sometimes.
-FOOD. Non perishibles are best, unless you are coming straight from home and your friend will be eating the treats right away. Phil always craved milk which was hard to come by, but everyone craves different things. Have some yummy drinks and easy to eat snacks. Although I wanted Phil to eat clean, he lost so much weight that the dr ordered us to feed him whatever he could stomach, otherwise he would starve to death.
-Friends can offer to pick up food on the way to the visit. Phil craved Mcdonalds and Wendys, one night even chinese.
-Foodler is an app and website that picks up food from basically any restaurant you want. It is not too costly, and comes in really handy on the nights when no one visits and you just can't handle hospital food again. They have gift certificates you can buy.
-Entertainment. Best gift Phil got was his tablet. He did everything he wanted on there. The rooms always had a tv but featured only a dvd player that was hit and miss on working. Netflix and Itunes giftcards would come in handy when crosswords and reading seem too arduous.
-Magazines, crosswords, short and easy novels.
-Comedic DVD sets. Stand up comedy is great too. Only purchase shows and movies that are funny. Every night we would fall asleep to Jimmy Fallon and Craig Ferguson- I can honestly say that kept us sane.
I hope all of these suggestions come in handy for you when the time comes where you are unsure what is needed. Laughter and visits mean the most. Once again, MONEY is always a plus!
I have decided to update tonight because this blog is an avenue I hope other Caregiver's can gain strength and encouragement from. It is a more personal post, which I am not fond of sharing- but I am following my gut. Tonight's post is about being a caregiver and how it has impacted my own health. I want to help any of you who are dealing with this new life of caring for a loved one, with a few tips I learned the hard way. I wished I had joined a support group or had a friend who could have given me tips through the roller coaster ride, so I hope this blog in some way can be that for you.
Meet YOUR needs as a Caregiver, in a balanced way
I remember from the start, friends and family reminding me to take time for myself. I did not listen. When you get married to the love of your life, you become one flesh. To disconnect from a dying husband seemed like an impossibility to me. It wasn't an option. The longest I ever spent away from him was a few days on two occasions, and sometimes a few hrs when it was necessary. One occasion I got sick during a chemo week and so I had to stay home and not with him through the nights in hospital. It was a nightmare.
With my deep love for Phil I thought, why should he be all alone in a cold, lonely hospital bed while I sleep cozy in our bed at home. I did this for two nights when his mom came to town because I literally was going crazy. My lack of sleep began to skew my view of reality, and anger (really sadness) and desperation set it. Kay stayed with him two nights in a row, I stayed home and lied in bed, did as little as possible. I remember Kay saying as she picked me up that she couldn't believe how much work it was to take care of him, and she praised and thanked me for having done it for so long, day after day. That meant SO much to hear.
Another night I had to call mom to pick me up at 4 am. Phil on Prednisone was like Phil as the Hulk. Remember The Hulk's insane eyes, anger, and being on the attack to the point where he couldn't think right? That's what that drug did to him. I always dreaded the first week of chemo because he would take that pill and transform into a human I did not know, and it hurt me. When mom picked me up I just cried all that night in bed. I felt so alone and scared, but I see now - I needed that night for me, a night to despair so that I could regroup and be strong the next day for him. I see now that crying is important during a war, sometimes you just have to let it out.
Me at home on one of my nights off watching movies and painting
It's going to happen to you. You will at some point start to lose your mind because of your unmet needs for a good night's sleep, one single stable day just for yourself that never comes, and the comfort, safety and intimacy of your mate. Those things become a memory that is blurred, and you can't remember what "romantic" ever felt like. THIS is the time and the moment where you need to call in family or a friend and take a day or two off. Go home and cry, grieve what is lost and let yourself feel what you feel because it is real and it needs to be unpacked. This isn't a self-indulgent pity-fest. This is you accepting your reality and dealing with it in a mature and reasonable way.
The hard truth: I should have gone home more nights and let him be uncomfortable so that I could have been more of an emotionally stable caregiver. There is a bittersweet spot that you and your mate have to find that involves the sufferer having to be slightly neglected for a short time (not entirely because the nurses were there) so that you can maintain your sanity for the long haul. You cannot predict how long this stage of your lives will go on. This is your new normal. You must plan for the long haul (to be safe) and be realistic as far as knowing what is possible to take on and what is not. You can't be on 100% every day, year after year. Phil just happened to go into remission within a year of his severe complications. For others it goes on and on (especially older couples). We have to allow ourselves to disconnect as an individual and get what we need in some way at times. This is a KEY element to your ability to stay sane and ultimately efficient as a caregiver to the person you love.
You will feel like you are being heartless and selfish. Even thinking back now I carry the guilt of knowing there were a few days I wasn't by his side and he suffered all alone in that room. But think of where he is now. He is fine! He had a few days that weren't that great but on those days I was rejuvinated in even small ways that reset me for the future struggles.
Me getting my hair done as a pick-me-up
Further, Phil found an amazing depression and anxiety medication just as he started to heal. He is doing so well it is almost nuts. He's now playing hockey, back to work and enjoying it, on his bike, living and participating in his life with a renewed vigor and youth-like energy. I on the other hand, am burnt out, broken and suffering from PTSD and the feeling of having nothing left to give. This has been so deeply hard on my dignity because I have always had depression, which I had dealt with maturely, void of self-pity. I put in an effort to keep a good sense of humor and to never victimize or isolate myself. But now, it is more evident, at it's peak and I feel that I cannot keep up with Phil's new activities and lifestyle because I have nothing left inside of me to join in. It is very hard to admit this with you all, but I am doing it because it needs to be said, and it will encourage someone in the future who will find this article.
I have indeed gotten better since we have been eating right. But depression and PTSD are brain issues that are deeper then diet. This month I am going to look into a different medication then I am on now. I have seen what the right meds have done for Phil. He is a new man. Is that possible for me? I want to think it is. So I am going to take control and not lose hope until I get it right. There are things and ways of thinking that will give you a head start and lighten the load of your post Cancer burnout though. I see that now...
Never lose yourself by loving someone too much. Never give too much that you can never get back. Never neglect your heart and soul to the point where you know you will be permanently damaged. Yes, love with everything you have - but love yourself too - give yourself permission because THIS will make you the best mate and caregiver you could ever be. I have done research on Caregiver Burnout and I definitely am experiencing it. The frustrating thing is that every single day I denied myself any of things I needed, and blocked out how lonely, scared and raw I felt. Worse, I KNEW I would end up this way. Listen to the little voice inside saying, it's time to go for a massage, or it's time to do some shopping therapy, it's time to talk to a friend, etc.
My chair bed, during his week-2 week long chemo treatments
You Can't Prepare, But You Can Control How You Deal With It.
You can't prepare for the traumatic things that will happen during your journey through Cancer with your mate. Every Cancer is different. In my experience there were numerous discussions about Phil's impending death, had in secret with the Drs. You can't prepare for all of the scary things you couldn't imagine happening to a body right in front of your eyes. I couldn't have prepared for the sound of 10 out of 10 pain cries, when the Dr screwed in a long metal tube to chip off a piece of marrow from Phil's hip bone- he was completely awake. I couldn't prepare for the bucket of blood that Drs pumped out of his stomach through a clear tube going down his nose. I remember holding his hand as they pushed that stupid tube down his nostril and I can't forget the anguish in his eyes and how hard he was squeezing my hand in pain. You will have your own moments like that. These are things that shake the core of who you are, who you want to be, who you simply could never be again.
My goal was to keep a brave face for Phil 24/7, so he would never know how bad it had gotten. Even in the ICU while he was hemorrhaging and family flew in because the Dr told me "this was it", I didn't show him or let on that it was that grave. He said later that he actually didn't know it was as bad as it was. Even in my quiet moments, when he would sleep and I would go down to the cafeteria to eat, or even just walk the halls - I could not really cry. Like really cry. In the way I needed to. If I could go back, I would have let myself cry more. I would've been healthier and relieved in a way that would be lighter for Phil to be around.
Convince your mate that everything will be fine, not to worry, and that no matter what the Drs say, NOTHING is set in stone, and it is more likely that they will come out of it in the end. Don't mistake this for treating them like a child or lying to them. This is a decision you have to both make- where you CHOOSE not to be desperate, but instead you CHOOSE to be positive. I am 100% sure this is why Phil didn't give up. I still can't believe that Phil got better. How many times I was told that he would never be okay, and look at him now. This proves my point. NEVER go down the road of this is it, unless there is 100% proof and you must start to plan for the reality of the future.
I remember in the ICU when Phil had barely any blood left, he was white as a ghost lying in his bed with the bright light of day shining through the window onto him. (pic below) He was just bones and freckles. Dad was beside him with a sketch book and pen, and they were planning what to do because he was going to die. They did not cry, none of us did. They were discussing where the paperwork was, what to do with the money we had left in the bank, and how he wanted to have the cheapest funeral possible so no one would be stressed. In that hour I knew what an abyss looked like, while hanging on with 5 fingers to the ledge - dangling and about to drop in. But here is the key point: Right after that horrible discussion we dropped it and as a family began to laugh and keep things light and happy. We prayed A LOT. We prayed for calm hearts. And we were all calm. As you can see in picture here, Dad is reading the daily text with encouraging scriptures which kept us all afloat.
This is what a game face looks like.. Hannah beside me, helping me to laugh. I'm pretty sure that's an egg mcmuffin, pretty much essential on a day like this lol!
From that moment on, I resolved to never let him discuss anything like that again. And we didn't. I made it clear to the staff to take me aside when it came to getting real about the situation. This is one thing I am so happy I did- even though it killed me- I know it helped him fight and to not give up. And now I see how it has payed off! He is doing so well, and he can be back at work supporting me as I struggle with healing myself. Give and take.
What I have to do in my own situation is, embrace the experience me and Phil went through together. It is a struggle to force bad thoughts of mind, but I have done pretty well as Phil has. We rarely discuss Cancer, and if we do we keep it light or joke about it. When something is that heavy, that is the only way to discuss it. However, Phil sometimes forgets what it was like because he is doing so well. I am damaged in a way he isn't. Unfortunately sometimes we have to have a small talk about the reality of what we went through so we can regroup. We are not a normal couple. We have gone through war together. My last tip is to COMMUNICATE.
This is his favorite T Shirt, his dark humour ;)
When a couple goes through something earth-shattering together it can either slowly break them apart or strengthen the bond of love in beautiful ways. Most everyday we do so well and take care of each other, shower one another with love, and spend much time laughing. However, there WILL be bad days when a trigger reminds you of how much the Cancer or sickness has changed you. Some people lose a limb, other's are suddenly bound to a wheelchair, crippling depression, PTSD, etc. We are fortunate to only have to deal with depression. We know Phil's cancer is not the worst we have heard of and we are thankful every single day that he is okay. But changes and traumatic events will kick up the dirt and you will have to relearn what each other needs. You are different people now. Completely. Once you realize that a weight will come off you.
Don't compare yourself now to what you were before Cancer. You will never be that person again. Sorry. But that's the truth. However, you are not a worse person, you are a smarter, wiser, cooler, funnier, awe inspiring new version of yourself now! You have your scars and you will have to have discussions here and there about your new feelings and needs - but this is okay and good. Don't view these as fights. Destructive patterns can arise in your trying to cope in a new way. Talk about them and figure out together a better way. Cuddle, do things together just the two of you. Celebrate love because it is an amazing thing that deserves attention and reassurance. When something is said out of impatience, anger, insecurity - talk about it, but don't remember all the details. Purposefully wipe off those blows from your body and know that some of it is just wild-talk and that your love is just too deep for that stuff to get in between you.
An amazing sketch sent to us by my talented cousin, Harley
You are bigger then bitterness. Work together to always be a safe and peaceful place, where you can both go for comfort from the memories and experiences you have shared and overcome. It is SO important to keep on top of this stuff. Don't let negative energy overreach your marriage. The moment you go to an ugly place together, try your utmost to not be cutting or say things that will scar even further. Sometimes you will have to go there and be painfully real, but always in those situations say all there is to say on each side. Don't leave out the key elements. This is the only way to actually solve a problem and move on completely. Like I said before, you cannot prepare of control how Cancer will effect you, but you can control HOW YOU DEAL WITH IT. As one flesh, you deal with it by communicating with love and honesty.
I thank you all for hearing me out on a particularly hard day. Sharing our struggles and reality with you helps me to remember we are not alone in the post Cancer healing process. Disease or any major negative life change can make or break our marriage. Choose to make it work, and never let outside elements kill your love. Yes, Cancer is an outside element. It is not who you are. We are not victims, we are just imperfect humans doing our best to heal.
In review, we can get through it all in 3 steps:
1- Meet YOUR needs as a Caregiver, in a balanced way
You are only a human, and there's only so much you can give when you are not receiving what you need back. This means you have to take the bull by the horns and take control of how much comfort you allow yourself to enjoy. Once a day, take at least a hour to disconnect by reading a book, going for a walk, writing poetry, or doing a craft you love. Remember who you are and don't let your sanity slip away. When the time is right, have at least 24 hrs of completely alone time, where no one will need anything from you and you can just order a pizza and watch a movie. Book a massage at LEAST once a week, twice would be best. You will miss and need the physical aspect of touch which will be erased from your life if your mate is bedridden. Recognize the healing power of massage and view it as part of your routine.
2- You Can't Prepare, But You Can Control How You Deal With It.
Nothing can prepare you for the horrors of Cancer, but you aren't completely out of control. Allow yourself days or moments to release your stress and pain in a short cry. Pray while you are crying, for the ability to stop when it is the right time. That cry will be a release for you and will stop the pattern of burying pain and ultimately preparing yourself for a long and frustrating breakdown once things get better and you start to rebuild. As a caregiver, take control of your emotions so that you have a brave face no matter what, be that strong person you are with the help of prayer and your positive attitude will rub off on your mate. Don't talk about death, or desperate things. Laugh, keep it light and keep distracted. Borrow or invest in sitcom DVDS, Netflix for comedies and cable for tv to pass the time. Laughter and positivity heal, stress kills.
Since Cancer has come into your lives, you are different people now. It is okay to let go of plans or assumptions of what, where or who we will be in the future. Just get through one day at a time. When nerves, frustrations, impatience and destructive patterns arise realize it's time to sit down and talk it out. Let yourselves cry, and have your say -making sure not to be cutting, even in wild-talk moments. If something hurtful is said and it tries to imprint your memory, embrace each other and comfort, reassure that you are sorry, and let that love wipe away the hurt. Let it go, you don't need to carry more pain. Don't keep score, instead give each other room to figure out your new way of life. You must reinvent who you are as a couple AND as individuals. It is okay to have bad days.
There's a great saying that goes like this: "It is a bad day, not a bad life." Laugh together, reignite the romantic flame, do sweet things for each other. Don't build up Cancer to something it is not. It is just a yucky experience that is in the past. And if you are in the middle of it, it WILL be in the past soon enough. Never despair or believe it will go on forever. As hard as it is to remember, this too shall pass.
Happy to inform you that there is no lymphoma showing up on Phil's pet scan :D
We will do further testing to figure out if there are gallstones and whether or not they could be naturally flushed, or are they too big and need to be surgically removed. That's the least of our worries though, we have let out a huge sigh of relief.
Thank you so much again for your prayers <3
Hollie and Phil
It has been a very busy summer, and I am happy fall is here. I love the cool weather, it makes me feel new, alive, more motivated and happy. Phil has been doing so well. In every way. He has been living life as normal, but even better - with the new wisdom gained from his experiences. He is enjoying his job and I have been enjoying my days while he is gone, when I can catch up on just breathing, being, and healing. His medication is working wonders for his emotional stability, which is a key element for Cancer survivors who have gone through chemo and radiation. Look at him! Couldn't be hotter!
The majority of my time goes into taking care of him. I wouldn't have it any other way. We are eating better. Phil ate whatever he could stomach during his year of cancer. This meant McDonalds, In and Out, Snickers ice cream, you name it. He was skin and bones and any calories we could get in him was good. But recently we both hit a wall (esp me) and realized it was time to eat right. I have been reading so much and many different types of books on post cancer diets (vegan, vegetarian, paleo, specific carbohydrate diet, GAPS). There are endless definitions when it comes to "Eating right", so I like to get as much info as possible before making statements or plans.
Just in the past 3 wks I have felt so much better mentally and physically. Phil is the same. Though it is no guarantee that eating perfectly organic, etc will prevent cancer from coming back, but I do think it helps and it just makes life so much better to enjoy. Food is the fuel to our machine, and that is one thing we CAN control. After experiencing so much helplessness, it is empowering to see evidence that we've been doing the right things for our bodies.
Mainly we have given up grain, sugar and most dairy. I eat cheese occasionally. Everything is organic. We eat more vegetables then anything. Organic meats, but only a palm-size amount, and not every night. Seeds, nuts, some legumes and then a few fruits a day. I'm off alcohol (sugar), and into juicing. I love my lemon water every morning. Every week we enjoy a treat day. Instead of going all out, we enjoy a few foods/drinks that we love- I have found this to be a key element in sticking with this lifestyle- it is realistic. Phil is more lax then me about the diet, but he is also much more active so I make healthy stuff for him, and he usually makes good choices on his own, but enjoys a few more treats then me ;) I have lost a little weight, but it is not the main reason for the diet change. It is bonus. For years I have tried diets and I have yo-yo'd. The best diet is the hardest, eat well and exercise. It might not shed pounds fast, but it does it in the right way. The main reason was we were feeling so yucky, cloudy, unmotivated, down. It's no way to live.
I can't say I would've done anything differently in the past year as far as eating habits. Phil would say the same... we were surviving. I had to live on hospital cafeteria food with very little options as far as healthy ones. Besides, I wanted carbs and sugar for comfort- and honestly it worked in a way! I don't really want to regret much in life. And in this case I just think we do what we can. When you can do more, then go for it. Now is that time and we are reaping the benefits. I turn 30 next May. I'd like my 30's and Phil's to be healthy ones.
I am working on a blog with my recipes which friends have been asking for. It takes A LOT of brain power to make healthy meals twice a day (I make his lunches for work too), and sometimes I think I'll go crazy! So I also think having a blog to look back on for ideas would be great. Once it is up I'll put a link to it in the sidebar. I want to share all of my healthy discoveries with you friends!
Now for the weird part
Last weekend Phil got very sick, throwing up all day Monday. The next day he woke me up and said, "I'm jaundice". For those of you who don't know, that is the first symptom Phil had when his body told us he had Cancer. The tumor was blocking the bile duct, thus blocking bilirubin from filtering through his system. That day we went in for a blood test. Results were fine, his blood count good. Then he had a CT scan, which ended up showing some kind of small mass in the bile duct. The Dr. was vague so we didn't let ourselves get too worked up. Then our friend Tom did some research (so sweet) and discovered that gallstones are a regular complaint from post chemo patients. The buildup of bilirubin and just chemicals in general can cause stones to form in the gallbladder. In the past few days his jaundice actually has subsided and is now completely gone.
We wonder if he passed a stone. Note that his bile duct is now misshapen from all of the treatments and it is more likely to cause issues with things passing freely through it. He didn't experience any pain however, which makes me question if the stone could have been big enough to be called a "mass" by the Dr. Either way we will know this week, hopefully tomorrow- because he just had a pet scan Monday. That is the test where he drinks a sugary liquid, lies in that big white machine and it takes a scan of his whole body. Hospitals use this as last resort because one treatment is the same as a year's worth of radiation. However it really is the only way to find cancer, because cancer feeds on sugar- thus lighting up the bad parts. If there is a lit up area, it is cancer, and we will quickly do what must be done. If it is not, then we will do more tests to figure out what it is and go from there. There are natural ways to flush out small stones, but sometimes very large ones can form which cannot be past, and must be removed surgically.
Whatever it is we are very calm, collected and determined to stay positive through it. Phil had one day with a few hours of desperate tears. I held him, wondering how on earth could he be so brave to go through this again. But the next day while he was at work I texted him and asked how he was feeling. He said, "I'm good. I've made peace with it. This is how my life will be from now on." My breath was taken away. When he got home he was upbeat and said, "I am determined not to get weak again, to keep working and to not go back to where I was." I just couldn't and can't understand the degree of bravery. Of course I for a moment panicked about being thrown back into the life of care-giving, sleeping on that chair, the smell of the hospital, dealing with pain medication, puking, sadness- worst of all wondering if I would lost my other half... But the next day, like Phil- I felt calm. I wasn't worried and I let go of it all. "Throw your burdens on Jehovah"...I felt, okay, what can be worse that last year? If it ever did get that bad there would be no surprises.
Cancer is old-hat now for us, and we feel like it is something we might have to contend with for a long time. So there's no point in worrying anymore. We have been shown time and time again that Jehovah provides the peace and support we need at just the right times. All of you dear friends and the congregation praying for us as well. Jehovah hears them, and is giving us what we need to deal with this. Besides IT MIGHT BE A GALLSTONE ;)
I will post as soon as we find out the results. I thank you all once again for your continued support in following our journey. I hope you are all hanging in there in your own bubbles. Much love,
It has been a very busy month, and I have wanted to update you all. How is your summer so far?
Here is a pic of us from two weeks ago, when we went out for dinner with Mom and Dad when they were visiting. It was a very special night, as it was our first formal dinner out together again :) Look at his hair, the color in his cheeks.. and the dry humor- it's coming back!
Phil has been getting help to get off his pain medication, which is one of the biggest steps yet. Last week they provided Phil with some medications to curb the withdrawal effects, as he was to quit cold turkey. For a few days those medications gave him a ton of energy. He was all over town with the boys, getting lots of exercise and even getting back to playing music! However last night was his last dose of the "curbing" medications and today is another story.
He woke up extremely depressed and tonight he is jittery and very obviously struggling with the last bit of yucky that detoxing brings. I'm sure it will only last a few days. In a week they can prescribe him either anxiety or depression medication to help boost him back into his life. The chemo has totally destroyed all of Phil's serotonin and it's not physically possible for him to dig deep and just get on with life. The chemicals in his brain are now changed, and unfortunately he will need medication to connect the dots. We are open about it, as it is just another part of recovery from Cancer. I look forward to him waking up and not feeling so low.
I am the same as I have been all year, quite burnt out. But I am used to it by now, and have adapted. Everyday is hard. Little things are difficult to accomplish. But I have gotten to a place in my life where I don't rush anymore and I don't push myself further then is necessary. As women we think we must be busy all of the time, and have the house perfect, every meal made, etc. In reality this isn't possible for me. Phil is so supportive and always tells me not to sweat the small stuff and just do what I can each day. We are partners who understand each other's needs and we actively find ways to lighten each other's load.
Last weekend, at the Saucido's for a bbq <3
The next few weeks will be interesting, as he will be completely off of all medications, and then broaching the idea of new medications for the emotional tole Cancer has taken. Once he is able to get more active, he will have more muscles to head back to work. It has been exactly a year since he last worked, and at this point going back is something Phil looks forward to. They will give him light duty, and he will work his way back into the heavy lifting at the shop. It will be weird, funny, odd when Phil does go back. Surreal, like maybe this year was just a bad dream. It is hard to move on, when something has changed you so much. I think all we can do is focus on the amazing things we do have in our life, and pray for calm spirits. We will throw our burdens on Jehovah and not overthink things too much. Getting back into a routine will be positive in the end.
Melissa made me these amazing cupcakes. lemon cake with blackberry buttercream! I have so many beautiful and deeply supportive girlfriends here, it is just overwhelming. Thanks to each of you for laughing, crying and playing with me :D You guys are gold!!
Quick update: Phil's pet scan revealed that all of the cancer is GONE!
He is still dealing with off and on pain in his chest but we are doing our best to take baby steps in the right direction. Thank you all for your prayers and love,
let's enjoy this summer!
Note: his hair is growing in and he even shaved for the first time yesterday! Physical signs he is healing :D