Thursday, April 26, 2012

we love fremont dental group.

This is the woman, along with Dr. Emily McCarthy, who found Mike's suspicious lymph node during a routine dental exam that led to us discovering Mike's cancer in his throat.  Her name is Shelly Steinkruger and we will be forever grateful for her.  Not only are her routine examinations thorough enough to detect this detail, but her compassion and care are off the charts.  (She still cries when she hears about Mike's journey.)

I had my routine teeth cleaning this week and the girls at Fremont Dental Group had asked to see Mike's radiation mask so Mike sent it with me.  This explains why Shelly is holding it in the pic.

Besides sharing our profound thanks for the excellent dental care we receive at Fremont Dental Group, this post is to encourage you to get the BEST dentist that you can find and keep regular dental care appointments.  Dentist chairs are where head & neck cancers can be found in the early stages.  And while no one wants any cancer in the early stages, it is a far cry better than discovering a cancer in the later stages.  When is your next dental check-up?

The number for Fremont Dental Group is 402-727-9100 if you are in this area.

8 more.

I realized this week that I left out some fun information about Mike's checkup in early April with Dr. Bruce Haughey at the Siteman Cancer Center in St. Louis.

1.  Mike put on 8 pounds since his December 20, 2011 checkup!

2.  Dr. H also said that Mike's salivary function should improve over a year, which we would love.

We are in the midst of conducting our own post-radiation research right now, as Mike is riddled with itchy red spots on his body.  They are the size of small to medium bug bites and itch like heck.  I know it is bad because Mike weathered his surgeries without a peep of complaining and very few peeps were muttered through his radiation series - but he is peeping about these spots.  We thought they were in random places because they are basically all over -  but our knowledgeable massage therapist Tara Currier said they are actually along Mike's meridian lines. So now we are thinking that his liver might be working to cleanse his body of the radiation toxins.  Just so you know, Mike has been to Dr. Martin twice for the itchy spots and has had a whole series of blood work done and it all came back clean.  He was treated for mites as well - but it wasn't that.  Antihistamines do help and sometimes Mike takes them to tone the itching down so he can sleep.

We covet your prayers for this - and we are doing more research.  We plan to see an Integrative Medicine doctor in St. Louis sooner rather than later. We will keep you posted.

Monday, April 23, 2012

amy and psalm 139.

I was re-reading some correspondence from a dear friend you battled cancer with grace and diligence.  May I share her insights that enrich the meaning of the glorious Psalm 139?

You will laugh when I tell you that I used Psalm 139 as my "spiritual imaging" psalm. Think about being shoved into one of the giant "machines" (bone scan, CT scan, PET scan) and then read the psalm. It's God's spiritual "machine"! He sees deeper, better, more comprehensively than any of our high-tech machines. They can't even interpret the liver lesion on my CT scan or decide whether the primary tumors in my breast are enlarging. But God sees and knows exactly what is inside us-- physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, etc. He even sees beyond time to before we were born! I love the last stanza; I keep telling God that it is one thing for the doctors to find spots of cancer in my body, but it's more important that He find the spots of spiritual cancer in my soul. That's the report I need to pay attention to!! 
Amy Sternberg - from an email written September 15, 2006

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


We continue to be more thankful than words can express adequately for Dr. Bruce Haughey and his staff.  And we are overwhelmingly thankful today to hear him say "can't find anything the matter".  During Mike's scope I only heard words like "it's good" or "it's great"... music to our ears.  Dr. H also reported that Mike still has a fair amount of saliva - which is encouraging.  Mike is always noticing the lack of it, but comparatively it looks like we should be in the thankful camp.

Dr. Haughey was telling us about some of his current research data which ultimately will put the treatment plans in line with Mike's kind of cancer (instead of the old smokers' version that still dictates the protocol.)   Bruce shared that this kind of cancer is fought by our own immune systems very well so the goal of treatments is to make the disease burden so tiny that your own immune system can attack and conquer.  We are so thankful for the care we have received and Dr. Haughey's continued research.

st. louis welcomed us.

We got an ALL GOOD report today, and St. Louis welcomed us.  The weather was intoxicating - fresh & crisp with everything in bloom.  We did lots of walking today and it was refreshing. Our good news was such a blessed relief that we both took a serious nap - Mike is still asleep.

Now our home-away-from-home is filled with amazing fragrances... Tom cooking Bolognase lasagna made with freshly made lasagna noodles made with fresh garden spinach. Ahhhhhh.  And Italian Prosecco.  A blessed day.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

one year anniversary.

Well, today marks one year since Mike's first cancer surgery in St. Louis.  I put on my blue band again for part of the day in honor of that part of the journey.  A big sweet thank you to friend and blog follower Jennifer Henson in West Virginia for even helping us to remember to mark the date.  We don't like to look back too much... but remembering is important.

"Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and grandsons."  Deuteronomy 4:9

Said another way
 "Be very careful never to forget what you have seen the Lord do for you.  Do not let these things escape from your mind as long as you live!  And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren."  Deuteronomy 4:9

We head back to St. Louis next week for a regular checkup with Dr. Bruce Haughey on Tuesday, April 10th at 1pm.  While we are always excited to go and be under Dr. H's excellent care, it is a tiny bit scary too.  Cancer is unpredictable and we are tired of it.  We are praying to hear good, healthy words from Dr. Haughey's mouth.  The only C-word we want to hear is 'C-ome back to see me in a few months.'