No News is Good News!
Oh my. It's been a little too long since we last posted. For those who have been waiting on baited breath, I apologize. ;)
Shane is doing SO WELL! It's remarkable that just a month ago he was at rock bottom (no exaggeration) and today he is thriving. God is so good. He eats all day, three squares plus two snacks, takes about a million supplements, plus a few drugs, and keeps his days full getting things done, with the odd nap or recliner rest thrown in. He's still as skinny as a rail and I have officially passed him in the weight department. We do try daily to fatten him up with smoothies made with full-fat coconut milk, avocados, cheese, eggs---if it's healthy and fat filled he eats it. His belly has shrunk almost to his pre-cancer days, no bone or joint pain, no night sweats (though he still runs warm), his mind is sharp and his spirit is calm.
A peek into Shane's world right now. Today he woke up (after sleeping ALL night with just one bathroom break), got breakfast started for the family, ate two fried eggs topped with what looked like a whole avo, two paleo pancakes (we make giant batches and keep a stash of these almond flour pancakes in the freezer since they're a recent fave) smothered in peanut butter and a a smattering of sugar-free jam. Then off to the park he went for a walk. He brought his soccer cleats and a ball with him and dribbled around the green. He couldn't make it all the way around the field without stopping a few times, but still that's huge progress. Then he came back, ran to Home Depot for a new hose, washed the cars with the kids, took one car to the gas station for vacuuming, ate his lunch smoothie, rested a little in his recliner while watching a Neil Diamond documentary (classic Shane), next back downstairs to wash dishes and a few minutes ago walked out the door to watch the Giants game at his parent's house. He tells me that next week he plans to begin doing water workouts at the local pool, wow!
Lest you think that every day he bounces around like this, he has spent many hours this week resting on the couch, watching sports documentaries or reading. He's still far from full strength but this relatively new stable state feels miraculous. Want to know something else miraculous? Shane's bloodwork continues to look perfectly normal (he was severely anemic in Europe but has bounced right back), even his liver function has not changed, remarkable considering the fact that his liver was (and maybe still is?) riddled with tumors. And the two most important numbers that we use to monitor in his progress, his LDH and AlkPhos, look stellar. Let me walk you through those two labs.
Alkaline Phosphatase (AlkPhos)- A protein found throughout the body. When this number is high it can indicate liver and bone cancer. This was the value that tipped off our integrative doc that Shane had cancer. Shane started in the mid-400's in mid-May. Last week? 213.
Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH)- A protein found in almost all of your body tissues, and when tissues are damaged they release LDH. The higher the number, the more tissue damage; in other words, the more active the cancer cells are. Shane's LDH was as high as 2700 when we first arrived in Europe. Four week ago his LDH was 1800. Two weeks ago, 1304. And last week? 644.
Shane has been a champ with doing so many unpleasant things in Europe and now here at home. He pushes himself every day to walk, stretch, do gentle strength training---all with the end goal of regaining muscle and endurance. He takes a great number of pills each day (some large and unwieldy), he endures three injections a week from his pretend nurse (me!), he take appallingly disgusting CBD oils (morning and midday). and an especially nastu THC concoction at night---these are super potent, "stop cancer in its tracks" supplements that I buy from a wonderful farmer. Through all the challenges great and small, Shane is kind and thoughtful.
The end of September will bring an important milestone, another CT scan and MRI to check the status of his tumors. We look forward to those results and they will be our guide in what comes next. In the meantime, we just love having Shane back in the family circle once more leading prayer and scripture study, eating dinner with us and helping out in many, many ways.