Monday, April 27, 2009

April 27, 2009

Back again. Today was the first day of chemotherapy. Actually, it was only 2 weeks ago that the diagnosis of metastatic colon cancer was made, so I think things have been moving along pretty well. Up until now, we've been setting up for today--kind of like a chef getting all of the ingredients ready before cooking. (I like to cook and put all my stuff in "ramekins"--little dishes--before anything goes on the stove)

We went to a class about nutrition today. Boy have I been way off! Not really, but did you know you're only supposed to eat 5 1/2 ounces of meat or meat substitutes per day? And of that only 3 ounces is supposed to be red meat. So much for a 16 ounce ribeye! For those of us that don't have cancer yet (thankfully that's most of us), it wouldn't hurt to look closely at our diets. Apparently what we eat or don't eat can contribute to cancer risk. Other factors count too, obviously, but why take chances? The newest food pyramid wants us to eat 2 cups of fruit per day and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables per day. I wondered if a slice of blueberry pie for breakfast (one of my favorites) would count--but apparently not.

I've mentioned it before, but this place is so fantastic when it comes to patient education. They have several libraries for patient education, and pamphlets galore. There are classes on nutrition and chemotherapy that we've gone to. The handouts they give you are numerous and very informative. They also make sure you understand everything that's going on and make sure you have phone numbers to call if there are any questions or problems. I'm finding out what it's like to be "on the other side". I just hope I can copy this in my own practice so I can make my patients as well informed as you become here.

I've also mentioned before how caring people are. The nurses have been fantastic. They spend lots of time with you and make sure that you are very comfortable. Volunteers came around every 30 minutes or so today to ask if we wanted anything to eat or drink, a blanket or pillow or whatever. Wow. I am so impressed with this institution, that I'd love to bring Anne back here for all of her treatment, but unfortunately, that would be logistically impossible. She will need chemo every 2 weeks for about 12 sessions (I think). I'm hoping to get the protocol that they have been using to give to Dr. Balcueva when we come home. He was the one who recommended we come here and I really appreciate that.

Tomorrow we don't have much going on. Anne has a pump that is delivering a dose of chemo that takes 46 hours to give, so that won't come out until Wednesday. We meet tomorrow with the gastroenterologist again. Other than that, I'll be doing lots of reading and checking emails.

It was my sister Anna's birthday today. I won't mention her age for fear of reprisal, but today also marked for her 2 years free of breast cancer. She went through a heck of a lot with tremendous courage and has done well, thank God.

Thanks again for your prayers--incredibly, more people have been contacting us daily. God is so awesome!!!


  1. Hi, guys! Heather just sent me the link to this blog today. What a great idea! I'm so glad everything is coming along well. You two are such strong people, and I'm so proud of you both for being so level-headed and loving through all of this. I can't wait to see both of you this summer!

    Love, Martha

  2. Hi Anne and Tony,

    Reading this blog is the first thing I do in the morning, well...actually the second because the first thing I do is say a prayer for ALL of you!

    I'm happy to hear the treatment is going well so far. It seems the comfort you are receiving from the staff and facility as a whole is in itself answer to prayer!

    Keep your positive attitude and smiling through all of this and know so many others back home are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers.

    Thanks so much for the blog Tony!!

    Love, Tammi

  3. Hello Toni and Anne,

    I am so thankful to have this blog shared - Deb Papenfuse shared it with our community group. How awesome to read of your journey - mostly the spiritual side as it is such a blessing.

    I have had you on my mind Anne, ever since I heard the news. God placed you in my heart and I have been praying for you and the whole family. Not sure if you know this - but husband Dick had a double lung transplant Easter Sunday at U of M. I certainly can understand what you mean by the support of prayers and dear friends. What an awesome blessing God provides us through dear friends and family.

    Your writings are truly a blessing and I am so thrilled to hear that everything is progressing well. Sounds like a tremendous place (Mayo) as I have found U of M to be also.

    Dick came through his surgery well and may be home in the next few days. The Lord is truly good and hears the prayers of his people. Many prayers from us and may God continue to bless you all.

    Marge Thompson

  4. Tony, I agree with you about how much we could improve the patient experience, and I hope that you can lead some changes here as well. I think that ortho may already be leading the way here in Saginaw in that regard.

    We have missed you all here, and look forward to your return.


  5. Dr. deBari, I am so glad to hear that your guys experience at the Mayo clinic has been wonderful. How nice to be at a place like that in the time you are still trying to gather yourself on this whole roller coaster of emotions journey. We miss you at work and hope to have you back soon. Send our love to you and your family. Know that you are kept in our prayers and thoughts every day!

    Sincerely, Santana