Thursday, February 2, 2012



I've been asked by several people for an update on Dan, so here goes:

He's had two rounds of chemotherapy so far. After his first round, he caught a terrible cold/flu. He said his body ached more than it ever has in the past. It lasted a good week and a half or more. An awful side effect, for me, is that he was incredibly grouchy. I had a tendency to snap back at him when he snarled at me. I know it was wrong, but it was hard not to respond. Thank goodness, my cheerful, sunny, happy-go-lucky guy is back now.

He has done a lot better after the second round, which was last Wednesday. He always feels really good the day of the chemo. They must put some "happy juice" into one of the 3 pre-chemo IVs that he gets before the 2 chemo IVs.

He is craving fruit (especially strawberries), which is a good thing, and also hard candies, which must mean his body is needing fuel from sugar. Still, he is losing weight, and needs to pack some more protein into his diet. He does drink Ensure, but does not like it. He also has chocolate milk shakes mixed with ice cream and whole milk.

It is difficult for any cancer patient to keep the weight up, but it's even harder for Dan, because his cancer is right at the junction of the esophagus and stomach. He feels ill if he tries to eat anything but soft foods. Anyone who has any advice on how to pack on the calories, please let me know.

As far as I can tell, Dan does not seem to be losing strength. However, he is losing his beautiful white hair (it's even whiter than in the photo above). He said it is coming off on the comb like a "white cloud".
He said he will feel sadder to lose his mustache than to lose all his hair. I told him I will still love him even when he is bald. (And I've always preferred him without a mustache.)

On Valentine's Day he is going back to Fargo and this time will stay overnight. The first day he will have some tests on his kidneys and have a CAT scan, and the next day he will have chemo as usual. I was surprised that they are doing a CAT scan this early. I thought they would wait until all six rounds of chemo are over, but what do I know.

I certainly do appreciate all the kind comments I've received, and I feel all your prayers and positive thoughts coming my way. I hope you will now pray for a terrific looking CAT scan.


Jaja said...

Blessings to you all, Jaja

Robin Larkspur said...

Julie, don't feel guilty about snapping at is just a natural, knee-jerk reaction. Patience will come for you and it is okay. I am indeed sending as much positive light to you and Dan as possible. Thinking of you both as he continues to Heal and Recover and Beat this disease. Hugs to you, Julie.

Rose H (UK) said...

Thank you for the update, I realise how hard it must be for you too. Sending the most posotive thoughts I can muster.
Rose H

Leanne said...

Julie, when My ex had cancer, and we were going through chemo too, I felt I was walking on eggshells,he was so grumpy. He also craved sweet things- barley sugars, and turkish delight! As for proteins- I would make soups, full of rich meats etc that could be blended smooth if necessary, but still contain all the goodness he needs. You cant beat a really good home made chicken soup for someone who isnt well.

holding you all in my prayers stilL
blessings, Leanne x

Unknown said...

I really hope your husband to be strong enought to fight with this illness.

Blessing for you and your family, the flame of Brighid to give health to your beloved Dan.

Kath said...

sending hugs and good wishes. Kath x

Anonymous said...

[I wrote you with my personal account (Pipper). This is my pagan account]

As I said before, I hope Dan get soon better. Tonight I celebrate Imbolc and I will light a candle with a pray for him and his health. Brighid will listen.


Samanta Vega Díaz said...

Hello Julie!

Happy to see your Dan looking this good.

I once read a scientific article about the healing effect of bicarbonate of soda for patients of cancer. You could do some research about it. I can do nothing but tell you, there are so many things we still do not know!

Blisses x

WOL said...

You can buy high quality protein powder (like what body builders use) and add it to fruit smoothies. Have you tried almond milk? Silk makes great almond milk, which makes great fruit smoothies - 50% more calcium than cow's milk. Comes in chocolate and vanilla flavors as well as plain. He might like Boost better than Ensure. Try serving it cold -- that seems to improve the taste, or use it as a basis for fruit smoothies. He needs fats as well as sugars. Since he is losing weight, good quality ice cream (the kind with ingredients you can pronounce- LOL!) might be the answer. Pedialyte comes in pops you can freeze. One of the dangers of chemo is dehydration. Pedialyte, although made for children, can be drunk by adults. Or he may prefer Gatoraid. Both have electrolytes which he needs. Cold things might feel better going down and he might eat those easier than hot things. I don't know what brands you have there but we have some brands here of "popcicles" made from pureed fruit --strawberries, limes, pomegranates, peaches, etc. V-8 has a line of vegetable drinks in fruit flavors. You might try some of those. Potatoes have gotten a bad rap, but you can raise perfectly healthy children on nothing but potatoes and buttermilk -- the Irish did it for generations. You can make wonderful mashed potatoes from a baked potato pureed skin and all and add chicken broth or beef broth or whole milk as the liquid. If push comes to shove, they can insert a tube either down the nose or directly through the abdominal wall into the stomach and feed him that way. You might mention that alternative and see if it doesn't improve his appetite -- LOL! Maintaining nutrition in cancer patients taking chemo is always a problem. Mine the internet. There's a lot of info out there, but, as always, you have to consider the source. -- Anything from National Institutes of Health or government websites like that, or from reputable institutions like Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, UCLA, or medical journals like Lancet, etc. Information is power. Your biggest battle is going to be maintaining adequate nutrition, especially once the radiation treatments start. Anything you can get down him is to the good. A wise investment would be a good "heavy duty" food processor if you don't already have one.

Sending you good vibes, prayers, and positive energies.

Kim Campbell said...

Praying, praying, praying my friend.

gma said...

dearest Julie, If you need anything,a shoulder or somewhere to vent....I am still here and sending my prayers.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

All our best, every minute of the day. It is always hard when people near our age are going through this. Taking it one day at a time is hard, but with all your friends and family behind you, I know you will make it.

And Hurray for Milkshakes - it is always good to have an excuse to have one!

Shopgirl said...

My Dear Julie, a thousand words running through my head, but what I want to say is that you are loved and those of us that have known cancer in our lifetime understand what these days are like. Dan looks really good. Arney and I are praying for you both. I know this is a life changing, Mary

Rowan said...

I really hope that Dan's next session of treatment goes well. Healing energy is being sent his way each day.

Lila Rostenberg said...

Thank-you for the update! I hope some of the suggestions for nourishing foods will be helpful.
My Mom doesn't like Ensure either, but smoothies made with protein powder and yogurt were a big hit.
Sending hugs and prayers!

Sandy said...

Dearest Julie, I am so very sorry to hear about Dan. You are always in my prayers and now I will say extra. XO

Esther said...

Hello darling Julie,
I'm one of those who loves looking at your beautiful blog (oh the pictures! oh the writing!) but has never made contact before. So having just read your latest posts, I'm writing to say that you and your lovely husband are in my thoughts and prayers. A candle will be lit for both of you here in London, UK. Lots of love.

Mary said...

Oh Julie, I've not been by in so long as life has been so busy, and then tonight while 'cleaning up' my blog list, I saw you and thought I must see if she's still posting. Goodness, never expected this news about Dan!

I'm really saddened, this is not good and I know it must be a very difficult time for you all, but especially Dan. I hope so much he will remain positive in his fight to beat this, and with you at his side I'm hoping he can win. Bob went through his chemo several years ago and had similar problems - he is fighting fit again now. Of course I did it too many, many years ago and am still here.

Please know that we are thinking of Dan and remembering him in our prayers. You also need to take care of Julie, it's going to be a rough ride for some time dear - just wish I was closer and could help out in some way.

Be strong and know I'm sending you a huge hug tonight.
Your old pal, Mary

Tristan Goodfellow said...

My Dear Julie,
My Partner John went through Cancer 2 1/2 years ago. A rare form of Colon, by the grace of deity, is Cancer Free.
He had a difficult time with chemo also...craving nothing but fresh that is what he got.
Possibly Dan would like some GREEK yogurt...with lots of fresh fruit in it and extra sugar. Great for digestion, lots of calories and protein. Also has lots of potassium. Home made puddings etc, etc. Maybe rice pudding with dried apricots and raisins in it with cinnamon and sugar?? Heavy cream on top or whipped cream.

Keep strong, dear Lady. Sometimes I feel it is more difficult for the caregiver than for the patient. John has added you to his prayer list and we shall send all positive powers to you and your family.