Sunday, December 19, 2010

Merry Chiristmas from Cabos San Lucas

2010 has been another eventful year for the Pullen family, with lots of highs and some significant lows. One of the highs is that I’m writing this letter with sunglasses on in Cabos San Lucas while on a 2 week vacation with the whole nuclear family. Brett has completed his fall quarter at Seattle University and Jean is taking a two week vacation from her job at Ernest and Young to join Kay and me for the holidays. Sunshine makes everything seem a little better.

Jean started her job at E&Y this year, after delaying her start until January and staying home much of the year to help while Kay was sick. She is in the audit division and spends her time mostly at clients locations. As should be no surprise to anyone who knows Jean she is on the recruiting team for her office, and she is getting great job reviews. It’s fun to see her having such success in her career. She has transferred to the Seattle office and is currently living at home the few days a month when she’s not on location for work.

Brett is a Senior at Seattle U. as an English literature major. He is living in an apartment just off campus, and enjoying Seattle. Brett has a new interest in internet marketing and has started several web sites. He hopes to establish himself as an entrepreneur after school.

Kay and I have focused on living as normally as possible in the midst of her ongoing treatment for ovarian cancer. We are learning that living with cancer is all about doing the things you love and enjoy, and is really not much different from living great days everyday. Do the things you cherish, be with the ones you love, and make time for yourself. Highlights of the year have been Fay Colmar’s 80th birthday party in Fullerton in February. In May, Kay traveled to NYC with her brother, Keith to visit his daughter Heather and she showed them around town. In August we traveled to Maine with Jean, followed by 10 days in Italy, and now our holiday vacation in Cabos. The struggle has been the recurrence of Kay’s cancer, restarting chemotherapy and the PARP inhibitor trial and therapy. Kay remains a chemo superstar, tolerating the drugs well, and responding again with dropping CA-125 tumor marker numbers.

I am now practicing full time as a family doctor after passing on the medical director to Dr. Marc Aversa. I love my patients and working at Sound Family Medicine. Without the medical director job I’ve had time to explore other interests. I’ve continued my birding hobby, and am getting out more than before. My new endeavor is, a medical blog I post to several times a week. I’m learning a lot about internet writing, web site promotion, and am really having fun.

I’ll keep this brief as I’ve posted intermittently to this site and will continue keeping everyone up to date here. May you all have a great holiday, rejoice in the celebration of the birth of our Lord, and may the incredible grace of Jesus be with you this holiday season.

All our love,

The Pullens

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

When in Doubt: Wait

I have been putting up posts after each 3 week CA-125 result comes back to keep everyone in the loop about Kay's progress in this second course of chemo. This time I'm a week late on the post, mostly because I have been struggling to know what I think of the results. The number came back at 11.5 this time and both Kay and I have not quite known how to think about this. The cup-half-full way to look at it is, "Hey. This is good, it's lower than the 14 number 3 weeks ago, and lower is better." The cup-half-empty thought is, "Gosh, I sure wish it had dropped more. We really want to get to numbers like 5-6 range, and this has been 3 cycles of the treatment now." After reflection we remain hopeful.

Looking at the overall picture Kay is doing well through her chemo again. She really is a chemo superstar. She has very little nausea, and has not lost much hair this time, though she thinks the curly hair she got when the hair grew back after the prior chemo now seems to be losing the curl and is a bit finer. Still she has become anemic this time. At chemo this week her blood pressure was so low they insisted she get a blood transfusion. This is arranged for Saturday. That means this week she will get chemo on Tuesday, go in for neupogen shots on Wed. & Thurs. and the the PARP infusion Friday. Then spend 6 hours Saturday getting a blood transfusion. She is feeling seriously inconvenienced by all this therapy and grieves her normal life a bit.

The good part of getting the blood now is that we hope it will give her more energy to enjoy our big vacation coming up. We're going to Cabos for 2 weeks, leaving Thursday Dec 16th. Lots of good food, sun, water, rest, & fun.

We are going to get out Christmas cards soon but will post a Christmas letter here rather than printing and mailing it this year. Hope to have lots more photos, and save paper.

Pray for patience for Kay, efficacy for the chemo, and for a blessed Christmas for all.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Giving Thanks

Kay is in So. Cal. now visiting her family with Jean. They picked a great time to leave. It's 18 degrees this morning in Puyallup, with 2-3 inches of snow last night and yesterday, and things so slow at the office that I'm posting this from my workstation at Sunrise. Brett and I join them today (Brett) and tomorrow (me). The whole Colmar family will be in one place at one time for the first time in memory. All Fay and Vince, all 5 sibs, all the spouses and offspring of the fab 5 will be together at Thanksgiving. That's something to really be thankful about.

Kay continues to do very well. She will start her fourth course of this cycle of chemo next Tuesday, and so far except for needing Neupogen to suppport her white blood cell count, and getting anemic she is doing well. One more cycle and then we take a brief hiatus to go to Cabos for the holidays. Rob, Kay's oncologist, is not really ecstatic that Kay is going to Mexico, but we are determined to live as normally as we can.

This whole "Living with cancer" thing is challenging, but we are trying to keep the focus on the living and not on the cancer. Kay is really good at keeping us focused on the positive, and we feel blessed that her response to treatment so far is very positive.

May you all have a great Thanksgiving, and find much to be thankful about.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Kay's Not One to Let a Little Anemia Get Her Down

Yesterday Kay went to step aerobics class at the YMCA, and felt like the instructor kept looking at her to get her to "keep up" and when she got home she felt she needed a little nap. Today at her chemo session when she got her blood count results she understood why. Her red blood cell counts, measured typically by the hematocrit, or percentage of the blood made up of red blood cells, was 25%. Normal is 38-44% in women, and Kay's has been dropping recently. Last week it was down to 30%, and she was a bit more tired. 25% is getting pretty low, and Rob McCroskey offered her a transfusion today. The nurse quickly interrupted, reminding Rob that Kay had been at step class the day before, and she obviously was doing well enough to avoid a transfusion. Still, being so fit that she can do step aerobics with only 2/3 of the oxygen carrying capacity of normal is one more extraordianry thing about this wife of mine. Kay is one strong woman.

This said, I am trying to convince her that maybe walking is a better option right now for her exercise. I think she is taking this under consideration.

Overall except for the blood counts (her neutrophil count is low also, but not dangerously low, and we start Nupogen again tomorrow) all is going well. No problems again today with chemo. Next week is Kay's off week, meaning no chemo infusions, and she is leaving Saturday for southern CA and a nice weeklong visit with her family. Jean is going with her for the whole week, and Brett and I join later in the week.

Pray for red blood cells and bone marrow function, for sunshine in So. Cal., and join us next week in giving thanks for all that is good. Happy Thanksgiving.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Brief update - Good.

Kay started cycle 3 of her Chemo + PARP today, and the big news is twofold. Biggest news is her CA-125 was down to 14.5 today, a nice drop from last cycle, and great news. The other news is Kay napped for 2 hours in the chemo today. She usually dozes for a few minutes, but a 2 hour snooze is out of her routine, and a nice way to pass her hours there. Anyway all is going nicely and we appreciate all the prayers and support.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cycle 2 and All's Well

Kay finishes her second cycle of the chemo for her recurrence of the ovarian cancer this week. So far no real problems. Her white blood cell count is somewhat low, so we're back into the no kissing mode, but hugs are still OK. She is getting a 3 day course of a granulocyte colony stimulating factor drug called Nupogen to push her bone marrow to produce more white blood cells in hopes of avoiding illness. She complemented me on my shot giving technique last night. I think she just likes it when I pinch her personally, but whatever makes Kay happy is my pleasure.

Kay has not lost hair yet, making it likely she will not with this regimen of therapy. She is happy about that and looks great. As we go into the influenza season, we are working hard to stay well, and so I posted today on tricks to Avoid Getting Sick in my medical blog today. You may want to check it out.

This week has been a challenging one, in that a long-time patient and family friend Abe Riggs passed away today. He is a long time member of Celebration Lutheran Church where we attend, and I ask you all to keep his family in your prayers.

Love and thanks to all for your continued prayers and support.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Update at the End of Chemo Course 2, Cycle 1

The first cycle of Kay's chemotherapy went very nicely. She continues to feel good, her energy is holding up fine, and good news is her CA-125 drawn yesterday was down to 32. Dr. Rob McCrosky, her oncologist warned us that the level often does not go down after the first course, and can even go up, so this nice drop is reassuring that this new regimen seems to be working.

Kay convinced them to reduce her dexamethasone treatment doses from 10 mg on Tuesdays and 4 mg on Fridays, to 4 mg on Tuesdays and none on Fridays. Dexamethasone is a very potent, short acting corticosteroid given IV. It's used to reduce the chance of allergic reactions and to reduce nausea during chemotherapy. In Kay, as in many others, it seemed to cause more fluid retention, make her a bit agitated and have trouble sleeping. It also gave her a voracious appetite, which she disliked. She seemed to do fine with the lower dose today.

Last week she spent a few days with Jean in Seattle, and they had lots of fun, and shopped relentlessly. Jean is our shopping guru, and Kay loves to shop with her. Kay's closet is looking much fuller now. They also seduced a makeup expert at Nordstroms who gave them makeup cases, lots of samples, and Kay rewarded him by stocking up the case.

My best news of the day when one of my partners, Nancy Grubb, volunteered to cover the Same Day Clinic for me on the Sat/Sunday after Thanksgiving so I can stay with Kay, Jean, Brett and the whole Colmar clan in SoCal for the long weekend. It will be the first time all the cousins are in one place since my children were very young. Everyone is excited.

Kay's white blood count was slightly low, and she is going to get a drug called Neupogen for 3 days after the infusions next week. It is an injectible med, given like insulin, that stimulates the bone marrow to hurry up and replace the white blood cells. Fortunately I can give her this so she won't have to inject herself or go to the doctor's for this. If her count gets too low she will be at risk for infection, and would need to interrupt her chemotherapy.

Pray for good bone marrow resistance, for safe passage through these courses of chemo, and of course for efficacy of the treatments to fight the cancer cells.

Love to all.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

First Course a Breeze

Kay is in her "off week" of her first course of chemotherapy, and the first two weeks of infusions on Tuesdays and Fridays went uneventfully. She was a little buzzed from the high dose dexamethasone she gets prior to each infusion, but except for that really had little difficulty. The biggest thing for Kay has been that the treatments take up about 4-5 hours on Tuesdays, and 2-3 hours on Fridays. She really hates spending that much of her week in treatments. She is doing so well she has been going alone, and that has been mostly positive. She naps, reads, and watches movies, but still it's a long sit.

This week Jean has Wednesday thru Friday vacation days, and she and Kay are in Seattle having girl time. Today Jean and Kay looked at places for Jean to live, and went shopping. Lots of fun on their agenda for the next 3 days. The struggle between Mother and Daughter is Kay trying to book as much fun as possible, and Jean trying to keep Kay from wearing them both out and being sure to get lots of time to relax and enjoy each other. My guess it they'll enjoy each other, but the relaxation will be active relaxing more than lying back and relaxing.

Kay and I went to the coast with our birding friends this past weekend, and had fun in the rain Saturday, and enjoyed unexpected sunshine Sunday.

Prayers of thanks for the relative ease of the treatment infusions, and prayers for effectiveness in ridding Kay of the cancer are in order. Thanks for all your support and prayers.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Week One of Chemo is No Problem

Kay's first week of chemotherapy was really no problem at all. She had a minimal amount of nausea, but didn't miss any meals, and overall felt pretty good. We had another busy week, helping Brett move into his apartment in Seattle on Thursday, Kay getting chemo on Tuesday and Friday, but have had a relaxing weekend and feel ready to face week two of course one of the new treatments.
Keep us in your prayers.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How's Kay?

This is the question on everyone’s mind and the question I am asked numerous times every day. Each time I think about who’s asking the question, and decide on which answer to give. Is this a question that begs the same answer as, “How are you today?” If so should I answer with the equivalent of, “Fine thanks, and you?” Is this a factual question from a concerned person? If so the answer is that she feels quite well, but is in the early stages of recurrence of her ovarian cancer. We’re hoping that starting chemotherapy now will lead to her continuing to do well. Thanks for asking.” Is this a close friend or family member who wants to have a conversation about how she is doing physically, emotionally, and spiritually? If so I often don’t have the emotional energy or time to give them the information and love they deserve, so I’m going to try to lay it out here for all who are interested to read.

First we just got back from a great vacation. We left for Maine on my birthday, Sept 2, and spent a terrific week with my family, and with Jean and Marc, at our camp on McGrath Pond in Oakland, ME. We ate lobster, got to know Morgan, Allison and her husband Josh much better, and just enjoyed ourselves. We also visited Betty and Don Caton and their girls and new son in law at Little Sebago Lake after picking up Jean. We mostly slept through the rain effects a hurricane, and swam every day. My Mom and Dad are doing pretty well, and it was a great visit.

After a week, we left for Rome, and on arrival after a red-eye flight from Portland, ME à Philidelphia à Rome dropped our bags at a hotel in town and walked to the Coliseum. It was daunting to walk where the ancient Romans walked, and our sweat may be mingled with that of Caesar, as it was very warm that afternoon. That night we visited the Spanish Steps in the city lights, and had our first of many great Italian meals. We had our first 3 hour-four course meal. I could get used to that style of eating. A good bottle of red and lots of time to talk make a great meal really memorable. The next day off to Tuscany, a week at Borgo di Vagli, a 14th century hamlet far from anything, and a week of day trips to Florence, Assisi, Cortona, the Adriatic Sea, and Montepulcinno. Our trip ended with a day back in Rome, a whirlwind tour of the Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s Basilica, and a 20 hour, one stop flight home. Overall it was a trip to remember. I decided to post prior to having a real photo gallery to link to but here are a couple of photos to get a flavor.

Borgo di Vagli

Looking down into the Coliseum

The Spanish Steps at night

The last week has been a whirlwind of catching up, getting ready for Kay to start chemotherapy again, and preparing emotionally to start the fight again.

So, “How’s Kay.” The real answer is complicated. Physically she is still feeling quite well. She got through the initial phase of her PARP inhibitor study without any complications. She still feels strong, is exercising regularly, and feels about 95%+ in terms of health. She has been more fatigued for the last month or so, and feels slightly full in the upper abdomen, where we suspect the remnants of her cancer are hiding, aolthough no imaging has found it yet. Spiritually she stays strong. She feels and needs continued prayer support. Emotionally the situation is much more complicated. She finds it hard to dive back into chemotherapy when she feels so good. Last time we were desperate to start chemo, because we could literally see and she could feel the cancer destroying her. Chemo was clearly her friend at that time, and she could honestly call the port on her chest wall, “My life sustaining port.” Now we are treating a cancer that is only making itself known by a number we see on paper as her CA-125, and by this vague fatigue. The number today was 58, continuing its upward march, and the reason to start the chemo. She really is dreading losing the sense of normalcy that we have enjoyed for the last 9-10 months. She fears being on chemotherapy the rest of her life and never feeling fully strong and healthy again. She asks me how long until I’ll become the, “Finder of things again.” Chemo causes her to lose just a tiny bit of her sharpness for remembering where things are and she seems to misplace more stuff. The joke is that chemo knocks out part of the second X chromosome that somehow allows women to see things other than at eye level. We’ve had our share of tears over this anticipation of loss. Kay has had trouble sleeping, and I could sleep all the time. Still overall we are emotionally holding up pretty well, and feel ready for the battle.

Today Kay had her first infusion of the first course of her chemotherapy for the cancer recurrence. We did our old hypnotherapy regimen this morning and the infusion went uneventfully. Sometimes I think her judgment is impaired, as she is now out for a walk with friends, just 90 minutes after arriving back home. She thinks fresh air is going to do her well. I suggested rest, but … This chemotherapy regimen is a much more time intensive schedule than last time. She will get Carboplatin, Gemcitabine, and the PARP inhibitor on day 1, the PARP inhibitor on day 4, Gemcitabine and the PARP inhibitor on day 8, and the PARP inhibitor on day 11 of each 21 day cycle. She dreads spending four half-days getting chemo every 3 weeks. Still, Kay being Kay, she has a road trip in her plans for the first “off week” when Jean is taking a week of vacation and they are going somewhere fun together. She is hoping, probably realistically, not to lose her hair this time, though we just looked at some pretty cute photos of Kay without hair. We are both praying for great success in suppressing and possibly eliminating the cancer this time. We know that cure is not likely at all, but miracles happen. I want to thank you all for your prayer support and friendship
I hope this marathon post updates you all, and I trust you’ll keep Kay in your prayers. Love to all.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Another Port - Thankfully No Storm

Unfortunately a poor weather report in the form of a rising CA-125 makes this necessary. Kay cruised through the ordeal of the PARP inhibitor trail, and now is going to get the PARP plus two types of chemotherapy. I'll outline this in more detail, this is just a heads-up before I head to work for the morning and to be with Kay to get this port this afternoon.

Today Kay gets her port back in to be able to start her chemotherapy again Tuesday. The dreaded NPO again, though not until 9 AM an only until she gets home this afternoon.

Keep Kay in your prayers today, and next week as we go down the treatment road again.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Study Done - Gone on Vacation

A quick update before my last day of work before a long vacation. Kay found out last night that she is done with phase 1 of the PARP study, she did not have to return to collect more excrement. That's great. Now we finish packing tonight, and head for ME tomorrow AM. After Maine we are excited about lots of Italian food and culture in Rome and Tuscany.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

PARP Trial All Good

Kay is home after her 6 day, 5 night stay at the Charles River medical trial center in Tacoma where she got her first infusion of the PARP inhibitor, and had extensive testing done to study how it passed through her body and was excreted. She got home yesterday, and is doing great. Now a quick couple of days to pack, plan and fine tune or vacation plans, and we're off Thursday for a week in Maine then 9 days in Italy.

I just got back from a 3 day birding trip. Brett was the man, visiting Kay much of the day on Friday, his 22nd birthday, and bringing her home yesterday while I was off playing.

After our vacation Kay will start her chemo. We're mostly trying not to think too much right now, and just go have a great vacation.

Love to all.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Now to Collect the Toxic Waste

Kay did great today with minimal side effects on getting her first dose of the PARP inhibitor. The medication was radiolabeled, i.e. tagged with a carbon-14 radioactive marker, and for the next 5 days she is primarily there for the study personel to collect as much of Carbon-14 as possible as it exit's Kay. THey need to figure out how much is renally and how much hepatically metabolized. The hepatic metabolites primarily come out in the stool. The air there has a not-so-faint odor of excrement, as the collection of the #1 is pretty simple, but who wants to collect #2.

I had a nice evening with Kay, as we mostly cuddled on her twin bed and listened to her iTunes. As any of you who know Kay, the primary thing on her mind was food. She got them to make a special run for fresh fruit and veges today and vege dip, so she is getting her 5 servings daily. From now on it's mostly going to be trying to keep from going stir crazy, and waiting to excrete the drug.

Prayers of thanks for an uncomplicated infusion, and for patience and endurance for Kay.

Thanks to all.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Charles River and the PARP Inhibitor Trial

As the old saying goes we've got good news and bad news.

First the bad news.

I might as well get it out of the way. Kay’s cancer is trying to come back. Since her fifth course of chemotherapy her CA-125, the primary biologic marker of her ovarian cancer, has been very low. The range had been all <10 until about 6 weeks ago. At that time her level was found to be 27 on her routine follow up visit, and when rechecked a week later was 30. This was of concern because it likely signaled that her cancer was not cured by her initial chemotherapy, and had started to grow again. She had extensive imaging done, including an MRI of her abdomen, and CT scans of her pelvis and chest, and no single site of cancer large enough to be seen on these techniques was found. Still we were told, and know, that it is likely recurring in multiple tiny areas too small to see on imaging tests. She waited a month, and on testing again the CA-125 was 42, more evidence that the cancer is growing.
We have been researching her options, praying, and talking a lot. Thanks to her connections with Rob McCroskey, her primary oncologist, she has been able to get accepted into a study of a new and promising type of anti-cancer drug called a PARP inhibitor. See my post on today about PARP inhibitors. She was admitted to the Charles River research site in Tacoma as one of 8 persons nationwide to be enrolled in this study. She is literally under lockup for 6 days and 5 nights to complete the first phase of this study. She will receive the drug as a radio-labeled infusion, and they will be doing pharmacokinetic studies for the next 5 days. Then she’ll return in 5 more days for an overnight stay.
After that she will have access to this PARP inhibitor to use as an adjunct to chemotherapy for as long as the cancer stays responsive, i.e. does not show signs of progression. We pray, and ask you to pray, that this will be a very effective drug for Kay, and that her cancer will be cured or induced into a long remission.

Now the good news.

Kay is an exceptional advocate for getting what she needs. Anyone who knows Kay knows that she is not one to be shy about asking for what she wants. We have had a trip planned to visit Maine and then go on to Italy in September for some time. She has arranged to get this initial PARP study done just before we leave, to go on our trip, and to start her chemo after we return. She has also arranged to have the timing of the cycles of treatment work out so that our Thanksgiving trip to So Cal will fit between courses, and not require a “drug holiday.” In addition she has managed to get into this PARP inhibitor study, at least a couple of years prior to this promising drug being available in any other way.
So how can you all help. First pray hard and often. During Kay’s initial battle with this cancer, we could physically feel the power of prayers of support from our friends and family. It was awesome, and we want you to ramp it up again. This is going to be a long haul, so hunker down with us for the long term. Second, please treat us as normally as possible. Kay feels not just good but great right now. We are really trying to maintain a semblance of our normal lives, which are blessed and very good. We don’t need a lot of help right now, but may at some time in the future. We’ll not be hesitant to ask for your help when we need it. Right now we are just waiting to see how all this works out. Kay is going to be really busy tomorrow and the next day with this study. E-mail is probably the best way to send your best wishes and support. She can’t have many visitors, and she will invite anyone she is able to see, but cannot have drop in visitors at least for a couple of days.
So far Kay has tolerated every type of treatment like the incredibly strong woman she is, and we anticipate more of the same with this course. Still her energy level is likely to drop, and I’ll try to keep you all informed through this blog. Thanks in advance for your prayers.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Kay Remains Well

No news on this site is good news. Kay remains free of cancer as far as anyone can tell. Her tests so far, including follow up CA-125 and mammogram recently all are good. Her CA-125 remains less than 10 and she feels great.

This weekend Kay is in Los Angeles visiting Jean who is there on assignment from her Ernest and Young Portland office. Jean has a hotel downtown, the weekend off, and so Kay, Mary - Kay's sister, and Fay - Kay's mom are joining her for a girls weekend on the city. Girls just gotta have fun.

Kay is back to running, up to about 6-9 miles a week, and is doing a "Core and More" class at the YMCA, a really intense class. She is feeling pretty fit, and I'd say is just doing normally.

I continue to enjoy life after being medical director at Sound Family Medicine, and am having fun blogging as

We continue to praise God for Kay's health, and pray for lots more of the same.

Enjoy the spring and summer.


Friday, February 19, 2010


Some of you may not know that Kay is an Olympic fanatic. For 3 weekends and two weeks every other year she stays up late watching the games, and now with our DVR watches at breakfast, lunch, dinner and every spare moment. I'm a much more casual fan, and catch a little now and then. That said, we are excited about the weekend. We are leaving mid-afternoon today to head for Bellingham, picking Brett up from Seattle University on the way. We'll stay with Ron and Linda Bahr tonight, and get up early to go to Vancouver tomorrow.

We primarily want to check out the Olympic venue and get a feel for being at an Olympic games. We have tickets to a women's curling preliminary event at 2 PM, but mostly plan to put in a big day of experiencing and seeing the Olympic village and venue.

It is really good to see Kay essentially back to her normal energy level. She is doing great. Her port came out a week ago today, and she is now hardware free. No signs of cancer, and lots of signs of Kay. Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and beautiful, so pray for safe journey, and think of Kay when you see the games Saturday.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Lots of friends and relatives

Yesterday Fay Colmar, Kay Mom, had her 80th birthday party. All 5 children, all but one grandchild, and an incredibly interesting and adoring group of friends converged at Fay's home in Fullerton,CA. We had a lovefest worthy of the occation. Fay had the house decorated in high style, with a red, white, and black theme. Guests dressed to match the theme, and we all got a chance to wish Fay a happy 80th, as well as to renew old acquaintances, make new ones, and have a great day.

Kay is really essentially back to normal. She has a cute short hairdo, is really getting fit again, running up to 3 miles and working out 5-6 times a week, and feeling good. She is going to get her port out this week. It is the last piece of foreign material still reminding her daily of Cecil, and she looks forward to having it gone. She is quite thin, and it is noticible and a bit uncomfortable below her right collarbone.

Jean and Marc (boyfriend) were able to come down to the party. Jean has been in the midst of her first "busy season" as an accountant, and is working long hours, learning lots, and doing great.

Brett is thriving as a University of Seattle junior English major, and could not make the party, as he is in mid-terms.

I continue to love my post-medical director status as a family physician. I am enjoying my new blog, and Kay and I continue to have lots of fun.

Enjoy the Super Bowl today, and give prayers of thanks for Kay's continued health.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Continued good news

Kay saw Dr. McCroskey last week for her monthly checkup. All continues great. We got her CA-125 (the tumor marker) results back this week and they remain nice and low at 7. She worries that it is up from 6 the last two times, but 6 & 7 are really the same result in this type of thing, i.e. nice and low.

Kay's blood count keeps creeping back toward normal as her bone marrow slowly recovers from the 8 courses of chemotherapy. In a more visible reminder she is recovering she has a full head of hair, short hair, but looks really cute.

We are headed to So. Cal this week to celebrate Fay Colmar's (Kay's mom)birthday. Most of the family is going to be there. Brett is the exception, he has mid-terms the next week and needs to stay at school and work.

I continue to enjoy my medical blog It gives me a creative outlet, and has been a blast.

Keep up the prayers of thanks for Kay's continued health, and enjoy the rest of the winter.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Low odds, high stakes, we win!

We have been anxiously awaiting the results of the test for the BRCA2 mutation that Kay has that led to her ovarian cancer in our children. We got the results for Jean some time ago, thankfully NO MUTATION in big print on the top of the results sheet. Then yesterday we got the results for Brett. I had been sweating this, because it seemed like the results were taking longer to come back. As a physician I sometimes see that when abnormal results are pending, as often additional time is required to confirm the information. As I opened the envelope my heart was sinking, but i nearly leaped in joy when the same NO MUTATION was on the top of the results page. I took care to confirm that the correct mutation was tested for on both results reports, and then called Brett, Kay and Jean to let them know.

This is really great news, and we feel blessed. As you may recall the odds of each child having the mutation was 50%, so the odds of winning this coin flip twice was only only 25%, not the type of odds you want when facing a concern of this importance. We are happy that in our immediate family this mutation stops here.

On a side note, I am really enjoying my medical blog Some of you have been following me there, and I have been having fun.
Prayers of great thanks are in order.