Friday, 30 January 2009

Date night !!

Just to prove that there is still some normality in Famille Mackay.....tonight we have "date night" - we've been doing it regularly now for sometime after going on the Marriage Course a couple of years ago. It's magnificent - once a week an evening focussing on each other...a time to talk, eat a nice meal together by candlelight and just spend some precious time together chatting about anything (except hospitals, treatment etc etc are definitely off the list)

So, the babe of the moment is resting, and the fillet steak (yes, you heard it right) is just been popped into the oven....garlic mushrooms are sizzling in the pan as I write....and a glass of red wine (all medicinal you understand!) is about to be poured.....the children are all out at friends......bliss !
3 things I'm grateful for today :-
  • date night
  • date night
  • date night

Cheers - and have a lovely weekend !!
With love to you
Craig & Karena

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Bad news/Good news....

And so the bad news first....CT Scan results are not final but confirm what the consultant suspected - that the cancer has grown - main ovarian growth is now ~15cm long (was 10cm a month ago), and probably 19cm wide (to be confirmed)....either way it's definitely bigger ;-(

The other piece of bad news was Karena was sick yesterday - we were told that when you come off the steroids (4 days after chemo) that you can come down with a 'bit of a bump' - now we know what they mean - so yesterday was a bit of a write-off !!!....

but onto the good she is feeling significantly better.... and more importantly the CT scan shows no evidence of cancer anywhere else (this really is good news)....specifically lungs, kidney, spleen etc etc (and they have a brand new machine in the Royal Berks which is apparrently only 1 of 8 in the country) - has better scanning functionality and sensitivity etc

We clearly still need a breakthrough though!

Psalm 24 :"The earth is the Lord's and everything in it, the world and all who live in it..."

Things Karena says she's grateful for today :-

  • "Having to only drink water for the scan rather than a pint of barium glupe"
  • "Flowers sent by lovely friends which make me smile everyday"
  • "Feeling so much better and much more alive today!"

Stuff to pray for :

  • Shrinking cancer/chemo starts destroying the cancer cells
  • Karena gains strength/energy
  • Good health (7-10 days after the chemo your immune system is lowest)

She's such a babe.....

Monday, 26 January 2009

Good news/bad news....

The good news is that Karena hasn't been sick after Friday's chemo.....hooray ;-) So if you were praying that one - thanks !
On Saturday, pumped up with steroids and tablets following Friday's chemo, Karena had more energy than Paula Radcliffe - she insisted at 8am on going "into town for a coffee" and some shopping - she really had more energy than she's had for weeks which was surprising but fantastic (until lunchtime when she was pooped again !)
So....with the children away with our very dear friends for the weekend, we had some quiet hours alone and just enjoyed being together (and the coffee !)

Tomorrow (Tuesday 27th) is the next visit to the hospital....Karena goes in for another CT scan (which takes X-ray photos in 3-D through the body)....the last CT scan she had was over a month ago which doc believes could now be out of date as he thinks the cancer has the plan is to get a baseline level now on the cancer so they can see how effective the chemotherapy is; they will then rescan her after 3 sessions and presumably tweek the treatment as they think necessary.
The bad news is that Karena is definitely in increasing pain (they said this could happen once the chemo started tho)

Things I'm grateful for today
  • Time we spent alone at the weekend - just being together felt really precious
  • Our friends who continue to surprise us with their generosity, practical help, prayer and love
  • Dinner brought around to our door tonight !
Prayer points :-
  • CT scan results to be positive - that the cancer hasn't grown or spread.
  • Continued strength for Karena
  • Chemo to now kick-in and start killing off the cancer cells

Thanks so much for reading, for loving and for praying.....

Friday, 23 January 2009

Quick update....

Karena had her first chemo session today...her sister Amanda stayed with her all day. I spent my day getting updates by text, reviewing equipment calculations and crying all to different degrees....
Karena is now home, very tired, woozy but glad to be out of the hospital. She described the chemo unit as hot and peaceful !!
Buzzing in my mind today was the scripture "All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be..." (Ps 139:16).....
Buzzing in Karena's mind was the scripture "The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer. My God is my rock in whom I take refuge" (Ps 18:2).....

Things Karena says she's glad for today :-
  • Staff at the unit were outstanding and provided great care and compassion
  • The DVD player they got to watch whilst the drip fed the goodies into her arm
  • "My sister" (no I didn't get a mention on the top 3 !!)
Things we'd love you to pray for :
  • No sickness (pleeeeeaaaaaaaaaassssssssseeeeeee)
  • Cancer responding quickly to the treatment and quickly shrinking
  • Strength as she feels really tired and weak.
Thanks for all the texts, prayers, and support, and amazing flowers! Your care overwhelms us.
Love to you.....x

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Out of control....out of control....

I was always a fan of the daleks when I was younger.... it was when one of them got zapped by some futuristic weapon and spinning around would cry in a strange electronic voice "out of control".....
this is how life feels right now. Monday's visit to the oncologist only made matters more concerning....having discussed Karena's treatment he said that her cancer was "rapidly growing"....this is not the type of language you want to hear....and the fact that the cancer is in more than one place (2 that we know of) certainly isn't a positive thing. I am realising, slowly but surely, that this is all totally out of my control....and so the tears fall once again as I comtemplate the future....but no matter how much I panic (I've done a fair amount of this), cry (I've done loads of this!) or feel sorry for my wife or for myself , there's only one place where either of us really find any peace......Psalm 46:10 says "be still and know that I am God"....Father, this feels like chaos to me, I'm so glad that you're in control !
Chemo Session #1 is this Friday 23rd.
Tuesday 27th Karena has another CT scan to see what's going on inside.
Things I'm grateful for today:
  • My wife's sense of humour ;-)
  • My wife's stylish new haircut which we will enjoy for about 2 weeks (similar to photo 8 on her blog)
  • Our magnificent GP : Dr Sharp
Stuff to pray for :
  • Chemo Session#1 - that it happens without problems, without sickness, but a significant reduction in the size of the baddies inside (if it can grow quickly, surely it can shrink quickly ?!)
  • Karena's overall health - strength and continued bravery (she is truly amazing !)
  • CT scan - ie. that the doctor's concern of the rapid growth is proved wrong.

Monday, 19 January 2009

A bad hair day ?

See for the lady of the moment.....

She takes my breath away !

And so to the starting blocks....

It's Monday - not my favourite day under normal circumstances, but today is different, it feels to me like we've at last arrived.... In 20 minutes we leave for the hospital to talk to the oncologist and for Karena to have her 4 hour blood test to check kidney function in preparation for Friday's chemo.
It will be good to get this underway as Karena is loosing energy by the day and in increasing pain/discomfort as the days go on too. She is in good heart, and, as ever, God is with us as we head off.
Things I'm thankful for today :
  • God never leaves nor forsakes us
  • Friends who take our children to school
  • Doctors and the NHS
Things to pray for :
  • Karena kidney function to be normal and OK for us to start chemo on Friday
  • Wisdom for doctors as they finalise the details for the chemo
  • Continued strength in heart and mind
Thanks for being our friends and for caring ! Have a great day too ! Must dash, we have an appointment to get to......

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

The facts as we know 'em......

Summary of visit to hospital today for biopsy results and appointment at clinic :-
  • Karena definitely has a stage 3 cancer diagnosis - apparrently described in latin as a "Serous Adenocarcinoma" (there you go !)
  • Primary site is the ovary (they took the biopsy from the other lump in the 'omentum' but it points to the ovary as the primary site)...I think this is good news.
  • Seeing oncologist next Monday 19th Jan + kidney function test over 4 hours
  • Start chemotherapy on Friday 23rd Jan (at last, a date to start !) ;-)
  • Plan is for 6 sessions of chemo every 3 weeks on a Friday as an outpatient (sit in a chair all day with a drip in your arm, then go home with some steroids feeling a bit woozy)...then operation another 4-6 weeks after last session (ie June-ish)....but it may all change yet (watch this space!)
  • Karena will be receiving 'Carboplatin' & 'Taxol'; the latter makes the hair fall out ;-(
  • The hospital do a great line in wigs and turbans and hats ;-) Personally my vote is for a pink rinse wig ! Karena's vote is for a funky bandana.....I think she get's the casting vote !

Karena is good in heart, strong in faith and looking forward to trying out new hair styles and funky's gonna cost a fortune but I can't think of anything I'd rather spend our money on !....oh, and she's also a babe !

Monday, 12 January 2009

A lifetime companion

As I looked out of the window into our garden yesterday I noticed the "companion seat" which sits in the corner. It was given to us.....very quaint (!?)...we have sat in it together on a few occasions (but not that often at the same time to be honest!)...last summer I recall Karena sitting in it in the sunshine eating a sandwich and reading a book.....she is my lifetime companion....of that I am very grateful & long may it continue! It also reminded me that our confidence in the midst of the heartache is that God has promised to never leave us nor forsake us.... God's spirit is described as one who "draws alongside" us (aka our companion).... Karena needs that right now, so do I, so do the children....

Things I'm thankful for today :
  • Karena had a better night's sleep last night than she's had for the last month (the wonder of the right painkillers!)
  • Friends who laugh with us and cry with us
  • 'Normal' life moments in the midst of the abnormal ones.

Things to pray for....

  • Peace in the midst of suffering
  • Strength & relief for Karena (pain, continued good sleeping)
  • Test results to be back on Tues (13th), a good prognosis and a concrete treatment plan in place on Weds (14th).
  • Speedy start to chemotherapy.
  • No further spreading of the cancer.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Here goes........

Well here we are....never done this whole blogging lark before but times change....I'm an engineer so it's likely to be factual rather than too touchy here goes.....
An update on Karena for you....current plan is as follows :-
See consultant Weds 14th Jan - biopsy test results should be complete and back by then hopefully.
See oncologist Mon 19th Jan to finalise treatment plan, more blood tests etc
Start chemotherapy approx 2-3 weeks time (ASAP !).
Things I'm so thankful for today :

  • My wife and children
  • Outstanding friends & family
  • People who pray
Things to pray for :

  • Strength & relief for Karena (she's in a lot of pain, can't get comfortable & can't sleep well)
  • Test results to be back so we can get a concrete treatment plan in place next Weds.
  • No further spreading of the cancer.