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.