Heather’s birthday on Whidbey was a smashing success. We had sun instead of the projected rain and I had lots of energy. I was able to mow the lawn, do some weeding, buy some lavender and plant it as a surprise for Heather, shop and make a large feast of Mexican food for her photo-165.jpgbirthday dinner. I also ordered a delicious birthday cake from a great bakery in Langley. Now all these things sound like normal stuff, yet I have been unable to do anything normal until I had my liver tube removed 3 weeks ago. Now I am able to get out of bed in the morning and go until night. Some days I am stronger than others but overall I feel more normal than I have since last September when I was diagnosed with cancer.

Yesterday I had another colonscopy with Dr Alex Read. If you have been following the blog for a long time you will recall that my cancer was actually diagnosed through her biopsy in October 06. Well, yesterday we had a similar experience. She discovered that my liver tumor had grown into my colon and was about 6 cm (2.4 inches) in diameter. Dr Read was surprised that it had grown so large while the liver tumor and lung tumor had remained the same size. The growth must have occurred while I was off chemo for 7 weeks. It’s a little scary to know that the tumor can grow that fast. Since it is at the same place as the fistula connecting the liver and colon I guess it could have been there for a while and we just didn’t see it since the colon is tricky to view by CT scan. I wish I could explain it better but right now I have more questions than answers myself. I did ask a lot of questions after the procedure I am told by Heather (Is this a new tumor? “No”) but I don’t remember any of the answers because of the medications they put me out with.

I do recall Dr Read talked about possible radiation treatment and finding another “cowboy” liver surgeon that would be willing to operate. The challenge is that resecting the colon is not possible without taking out a large part of the liver as well. Since the liver is so vascularized (filled with blood) it can be difficult to stop the bleeding after a section of the liver has been removed. Personally I would rather die on the operating table than have a long painful decline that is difficult not only for me but everyone around me.

I have to say I am a little down today. We are on Whidbey today and the sun is just beginning to pop out. The boat is in the water so I am hoping to do some salmon fishing today with Zack. Heather read one of my early Blogs in which Skip was describing how joyful I was. I told Heather that it’s OK for me to be down once in a while. I felt a little bad saying that to her since I know she was just trying to cheer me up- this is difficult for her as well. It’s true though, sometimes you just need to lay low, let yourself cry a bit and then get back in the saddle. The discouraging thing to me is that I feel like we have made a lot of progress with the ileostomy, the liver and lung tumors not growing while I was off chemo, starting an additional chemo drug called Tarceva and having my liver tube removed. At the same time my neuropathy in my feet has gotten a bit worse with numbness in my whole right foot at times. It seems to be getting better now as the days after chemo pass. This feels like the cancer decided to try and outflank us making a run for the colon. I am grateful it is the same tumor and not metastasis. We have been very fortunate the tumors have been contained to the lung and liver/colon.

We need to kill these #!@?#!*&#! cancer cells. The game is not over. We may be outflanked from time to time but we have all the resources to win the good fight. In writing my thoughts today I find that it is cathartic to my soul (my spirits are lifting). Somehow writing this blog helps me as much as it informs you. It is amazing to me that we will be hitting 10,000 views of the blog in the next week or two. I translate that into a lot of prayers.

Thank you for all your prayers. As I have said before, your prayers are what sustain us and continue to give us hope.

God is good, all the time, God is good.

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7 Comments so far

  1. joseangel on August 22, 2007 12:38 pm


    I have been following almost all this process from the very begining and I would like to tell you that you inspire me as I can see your faith and courage. I always remember you hosted me several times while I was visiting Seattle working with Agros. Every day we as a family are praying for you and for your family so Our Lord can continue supporting you every day.

    Remember always that you are a really winner and God is your team leader.

    Don’t be afraid HE is fighting with you!

    Heather we pray that the peace of God rest upon you as you walk with Don. Thanks for providing us such example of living faith and love.

    With love in Christ.

    Dr. Jose Angel y familia
    El Salvador

  2. Heather Knapp on August 22, 2007 3:04 pm

    >It is amazing to me that we will be hitting >10,000 views of the blog in the next week or >two. I translate that into a lot of prayers.

    A lot of prayers, indeed! This doesn’t surprise me, Don…yours is an amazing story. Thanks again for sharing it with us–both the joys and the struggles. We’re thinking of you and fighting with you each step of the way!

  3. stan on August 22, 2007 8:20 pm

    Yeah, let’s outflank those flanking out x?#!@#?x cells.. continue our plight and prayers….lift all up to Him…..although the good times of summer: leisure traveling and roaming around, allows us to avoid what are blindsiding us in a very temporal sense…. your spirited walk inspire us all…..keep them lift up…..

    in prayer,

  4. Virginia Giles on August 22, 2007 8:34 pm

    I have been praying for you. Like you I am a down today myself.

    My dear aunt has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, my step mother had brain surgery to have a brain tumor removed. The results of the surgery are good, we are waiting to see if they got all of the tumor, and if this is one thos reoccurring tumors.

    I was doing OK with my aunts’ suddenly diagnosis. But when my step mother was diagnosed, I was just sad over the pile up of emotion.

    And i realize that it is not just these 2 people that I love that I am sad about. It is the last 7 years of my husband’s recovery and treatment from his cancer. It is the FEELING of being pushed around and squashed by cancer. I did not have it. Just people I love dearly. I just see how it has affected my children.

    BUT YA KNOW….i’m ok with being sad for a few days and dealing with my FEELINGS, because I KNOW deep down in my core that I AM NOT A VICTIM OF CIRCUMSTANCE. I AM MOVED BY GOD. That’s what Paul said. He was beaten and ship wrecked and imprisoned. He just saw it as God’s way of getting him to where he was supposed to be to talk to the people he was supposed to talk to. Now Paul was not a wet noodle who did nothing and went with the flow. He demanded to be treated like a roman citizen. I don’t quite understand that. He was not a mouse. But he followed the God’s will.

    Don, don’t look too far ahead. The road has so many highs and lows. I’m not going to say the lows don’t suck, cause they do. And you know the fact that you feel something about the road you are on means that your feet are in touch with the road. Isn’t that what makes faith faith….to trust God’s heart beyond what you feel?

    I know you have the cancer, but please look at your wife, really look at her. Listen to her. She has been in this with you. If cancer took you tomorrow, she will be left behind still surviving cancer, your cancer. So talk to her, listen to her, look at her. A message from another caregiver.

    Jesus, our hearts are heavy. The future looks hard. People we love are hurting. Help us Jesus. To pray for each other. Help us to trust Your heart and Your intentions when we do notunderstand what You are doing.

    Forgive my weakness. I feel so tired these days. I ams o forgetful, forgetful about Your mercy, Your timing,

    Your goodness, Your miracles. I am fearful.
    Help me to trust You better.

    You are beautiful.


  5. hollythompson on August 22, 2007 11:25 pm

    Don, you are so special to us. We are still praying for you, Heather, and your boys every day. It’s frustrating that God hasn’t yet taken away the cancer in the quick, complete way we have been praying for. Keep fighting the good fight! This is far from over. Our God does miracles!

    We are praying!
    Holly, Dave, and Judah

  6. Jaime Hestad on August 23, 2007 9:55 pm

    Don, as always, I appreciate your honesty. I don’t get it – I was thinking (and praying) when you went in the other day for your tests that it would be a good time for the Lord to perform a miracle and have the cancer TOTALLY gone. I am always a little bummed out when He doesn’t go with my ideas (as I feel like they are pretty good).
    I have to believe that HE IS doing a good work in this – that the little miracles are having an impact that I can’t fathom. I know that He is doing a work in you – that is obvious, as well as in so many of us. None of this is in vain. HE IS BIGGER and He DOES love us more than we can imagine.
    Hoping that the warmth of the sun up there on Whidbey reminds you of His Son and the love that He has for you.
    Give Heather my love. Man, God put you with the right woman, Don. She is the BEST!!!!

  7. sean dimond on August 24, 2007 10:11 am

    On one hand — shattering news. On the other — His ways are not our ways. Eternity is certainly not bothered with news like this, and yet our bodies quake. You are so right Don… it is good to grieve, weep, and feel the sadness. However as I see it the ongoing miracle of your life unfolding before all of us is completely right on track… it is less about what happens in your body and more about what is happening in your soul… and in our souls as well as you so generously pour forth light, faith, love.

    We all love you Don… bound together by the Love that knows no death. Christ is Risen.

    Praying for you amigo. – Sean

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