Sunday, December 2, 2012

You can't hurt steel!

One year ago today Curt went home to be with the Lord. As we enter into this Christmas season, we dearly miss our loving dad, husband, and friend...with his cheerful hello and super-sized smile. He always had time to listen and some wisdom to share, and he always kept us laughing with that good sense of humor of his!

We miss him so much, but we are comforted with the assurance of Heaven, knowing that someday we will be seeing him again. Revelation 21:3-4...I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, "Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
Curt had lots of funny sayings and nicknames for people. "You can't hurt steel," he would say, even when the going was tough.  Always so upbeat and positive.  And he was right...when you have the Lord, the ultimate outcome is guaranteed to be glorious!
May you have a very blessed Christmas!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Curt is finally home!

After a long, tough battle, Curt went home to be with the Lord on December 2, 2011. We will dearly miss his smile, sense of humor, and contagious laugh, but we are so comforted to know that he's now free from pain. Even as his condition worsened during those final weeks, it always amazed us how he remained so positive, often asking us how we were doing!

Please join us for a celebration of Curt's life on Saturday, December 10 at 9:00am at Hope Chapel. We are so thankful for your ceaseless prayers, cards, and the many, many ways that you have shown your love and care. Words cannot even begin to express how much we have appreciated your support and encouragement! We love you all and look forward to seeing you on Saturday.

P.S. Your comments on this blog have been so encouraging! Any stories or memories you can share here will be cherished by our family.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Update on Curt

For those who may not know, Curt has been fighting an aggressive form of brain cancer called Gliosarcoma (a type of Glioblastoma) for the past 19 months. He has gone through three surgeries, two kinds of radiation treatments and several rounds of chemotherapy, and by the grace of God he has had many precious months to spend with loved ones and friends.

Three weeks ago Curt began to experience stroke-like symptoms (left-sided weakness, speech difficulties) and was too weak to walk, so we called 911. At the ER they did a CT scan which did not show any signs of a stroke. He was released and we headed over to Kaiser Oncology where he was examined by his oncologist. He explained that the symptoms were being caused by edema (swelling) in the tissues of the brain surrounding the tumor, which then presses on small blood vessels, cutting off the circulation and causing the stroke-like effects. The doctor felt that chemotherapy was too strong for Curt to continue, and suggested that we call in Hospice to help with mobility and pain control, etc.

This morning Curt began to experience chest pain and shortness of breath. The Hospice nurses are monitoring his symptoms and keeping him comfortable. The chest pain is resolved but he still has labored breathing. Thankfully, the bad headaches that he was having are gone, as he has been taking steroids to reduce the swelling. Please pray for continued relief from the pain and for comfortable rest. Thank you so much for tirelessly standing by us through everything that has happened…your faithful prayer support has been so important to us. We are so grateful for our awesome Hope Chapel family!

God bless,

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Praying for Curt, April is over, but don't stop praying for Curt and his family!

Thank you so much for your prayers for Curt this past month! He was growing weary of feeling tired all the time. The side effects of the drugs were taking a toll on him. When I would ask him how he felt he would sometimes tell me “I’m sicker than a seasick sea serpent” (remember the Beany and Cecil cartoon?). And then he would be quick to add “but you can’t hurt steel” (an old family saying that really means “guys don’t like going to the doctor“).

We can feel the covering of prayer, and it’s been such an encouragement to us. I sensed Curt’s spirits lifting as the weeks went by. In fact, just this past weekend he commented, “I feel better today…can you see the bounce in my step?” That made me smile!

Monday was another treatment day, so he’s especially tired this week. Please continue to pray for tumor shrinkage and for an increase in physical strength. (Muscle weakness is one of the side effects of the drug that he is on.) We have so appreciated the expressions of love and care that you’ve shared with us through this blog, cards and kind words in the courtyard on Sunday! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts…it means a lot to us. God bless you!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Praying for Curt, April 25 thru April 29

Praise God for such a beautiful Easter weekend! Awesome services at Hope and precious time with family and grand kids are wonderfully good medicine.

Curt had blessed periods of renewed energy on Saturday and Sunday, so we were able to enjoy Easter with our church family as well as our extended family. Thank you for your prayers in this area! The grand kids hunting Easter eggs and chasing bubbles added to our storehouse of treasured memories!

Monday (yesterday) morning brought with it another chemo infusion, and the two-week cycle started all over again. We are praying that the energy-robbing medication will have even less effect this time. Thanks so much for praying with us!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Praying for Curt, April 15 thru 22

After a rather uneventful weekend, we are pleased to report that Curt’s appetite is holding! Fatigue is still a stubborn companion, however. Please pray with us during the remainder of this week for a breakthrough in this area. Pray for a restoration of strength and energy, and that we will be able to see a gradual, steady improvement as the days go by.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Praying for Curt, April 14

Your prayers for a good appetite are being answered…today has been a good day in that respect! Please continue to pray for fatigue and lack of energy. Thank you so much!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Praying for Curt, April 12&13

Happy to report that the blood tests on Saturday came back with good results! Monday’s IV treatment went smoothly, and now Curt is feeling the after-effects of the drug. Extreme fatigue, more joint pain and nausea are the main symptoms. Please continue to pray for strength and energy, a good appetite in spite of the nausea, and relief from the joint pain. Please also pray for the tumor to be shrinking, shrinking, shrinking!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Praying for Curt, April 8,9,10 and 11th

We’re gearing up for the next treatment session on Monday. They will do blood work on Saturday to make sure everything is good to go. Please pray with us for good results on the blood tests, and for minimal side effects from the infusion. Fatigue has been a problem these last couple of days, so please pray for strength and energy for Curt’s body. Mahalo!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Praying for Curt! April 7

Pretty good day today (Wednesday) - thank you all for praying! Curt’s shoulder pain is gradually lessening each day as well. Thank you, Lord!

From Craig: If I may, I would like to pray for their finances as well! I have told Curt he should get another part time job selling suntan lotions and Hawaiian trinkets but there's no market! J.K.
You can imagine the extra expenses they have during this time, that the Lord will bless them in unexpected ways to meet their needs.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Praying for Curt, April 6

Thank you Patti for sharing this up-date and these request!

Curt finished six rounds (six months) of chemotherapy in February. A follow-up MRI at that time showed the presence of what the doctors believed to be tumor, so they decided to alter the treatment plan. (One of the challenging things about this whole process is the lack of a definitive test that can tell the difference between actual tumor and something called "pseudo-progression" which are areas of necrosis and scar tissue from the radiation treatments).

Tumors rely on blood vessels to get the nutrients and oxygen they need to survive. The new medication that Curt is receiving intravenously every two weeks is designed to block the growth of blood vessels to the area, and starve the tumor of what it needs to grow and spread. Please join us in prayer that this new targeted therapy does its job and shrinks the tumor. Please also pray for protection for the rest of Curt's body from the side effects of this drug.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Praying for Curt, April 5th

Please continue to pray for fatigue and general malaise.
Psalms 62:5-6 Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Praying for Curt, April 4th

Please pray for relief from general fatigue...the new treatments have been making this more pronounced. Its frustrating, when your body just doesn't want to cooperate with your "to-do" list!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Praying for Curt, April 3rd

Please pray for relief from joint pain. He especially feels this in his shoulders (probably because of some old Rugby injuries) Please pray for healing and strengthening in his right shoulder in particular, which he recently "tweaked".

Praying fo Curt, April 2nd

Since the start of these new treatments Curt has been experiencing some nausea, especially at dinner. Please pray for this to go away so he feels like eating hearty meals at every mealtime.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Call to Prayer for Curt Franks

Hey everyone, Chris and I want to challenge you all to join us in prayer every day during the month of April for my "old" PK buddy and fellow H.C. staff pastor, Curt Franks, and of course Patti, and his entire family. I don't want to make more work for these folks so, I will try to give a specific request that we can pray for, and since we will use their blog, I would invite you to send daily words of encouragement, scripture, whatever the Lord lays on your heart to lift them up! Some of you may even want to put aside a day to fast for Curt and his family? Totally up to you, and if you have any other ideas, post them for the rest of us to see! That's it, the rest is in the Lords capable hands! God Bless you, tell others, and let them know they can join in anytime . Ok so for April 1st Lets agree to pray for Curt's complete healing, God Bless you, Craig and Christine Mauck

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

So Thankful for Thanksgiving!

It’s been over seven months since Curt’s cancer diagnosis, and we are indeed grateful for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving celebration! We're also thankful that lately things have been blessedly uneventful as Curt has been undergoing his monthly rounds of chemotherapy. He is on a schedule of 5 days on, 23 days off (for each 28-day cycle), and has just completed his third cycle this past weekend.

We have a pretty good system down now to get through the chemo days...

● Take an anti-nausea pill in the late afternoon.
Take another one hour before the nightly chemo pills.
● Above all, always take the chemo on a completely empty stomach!

This regimen has so far prevented a repeat of the gnarly first chemo cycle, which was like a bad flu times 100. Definitely a few nights we would like to forget!

Curt’s been doing well through all of this, I feel. (His oncologist says he’s amazing!) The main obstacles are fatigue and nausea, especially during the week immediately following the chemo. Just the thought of food is enough to make him feel like upchucking (even though he doesn’t). We’re still experimenting with menus for this time of the month…any suggestions from those with experience would be greatly appreciated!

I think the most exciting thing that happened recently was a couple of weeks ago when Curt asked me “do you want to go to the gym this morning?” I almost did cartwheels! Well, not quite... Actually, to give you some history, Curt is the most disciplined guy I know when it comes to exercise. He’s been going to the gym faithfully several times a week for over 40 years. Wild horses couldn't keep him away. But he just hasn’t had the energy to go since he got sick, so this was a major milestone. He’s been exercising several times a week since that morning…it’s hard, but he’s doing it!

He’s also going into work at Hope every day. Although he doesn’t have the stamina to stay all day, you can almost always find him at church from the morning through the early afternoon. He monitors his email and phone calls from home as well.

We don’t know what God has in store for us in the future, but right now we are trusting Him and enjoying the privilege of living every day with a new appreciation for each other, our family and our friends. The chemo is scheduled to continue for at least six months, so we’ll keep you posted…

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Gamma Knife treatment went well, everyone! Curt’s radiation oncologist was happy to report that Friday’s MRI showed no growth in those small tumors since the last scan was taken a month ago!

Everything went very smoothly…Curt checked in about noon and proceeded to have some prepping done by one of the nurses. Then his neurologist arrived to attach the head frame with screws – OUCH!! Curt next went for some MRI and CT scans, followed by the development of the computerized treatment plan by the team (based on the scans they had just taken).

The picture of Curt (above) was taken soon after the completion of the treatment plan…he was in a wheelchair on his way to the Gamma Knife treatment. (And yes, he told me to post this pic...I'm not sure if it he just wanted to gross everybody out, or if it's just to get some sympathy...probably the former, knowing!)

The actual radiation treatment was painless and took less than an hour. They wanted us spend the night on Oahu in case the whole thing went long, but as it was we could have come home the same day. Isn’t modern medicine amazing? (We tried changing our reservations to an evening flight but everything was sold out…for the sake of our economy I hope they were all tourists on their way to Maui!)

Thanks again for your prayers for the procedure…it went as well as we could ever have hoped for! Now our prayer is for those tumors to be completely dissolved by the radiation they received, and for Curt’s chemotherapy regimen that is coming up soon to be well-tolerated.

God bless,

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Latest Update

Curt had a good month’s break from treatments after the first round of chemo and radiation ended. He has gained almost all of his weight back, which is just wonderful. His energy level is still not where it was before, which is to be expected, but he is in good spirits and he still keeps us laughing!

A follow-up MRI showed several small spots that the doctors have decided to treat with a process called Gamma Knife Radiosurgery on Oahu. It's not actually surgery, but a specialized type of radiation that targets small tumors. We are very grateful that he was approved for this treatment, and were just notified today that they have scheduled it for this Friday, September 17th.

The Gamma Knife procedure is able to accurately direct many beams of high-intensity radiation to converge on one spot. Each individual beam is relatively low-energy, so the radiation has little effect on surrounding brain tissue and is concentrated only at the tumor itself.

It’s a one-day procedure that will start about noon on Friday. The actual treatment itself is pretty short, but there are quite a few hours of planning that take place beforehand. Please pray for the accuracy and precision of the physicist and doctors who will be developing the treatment plan. We’ll be spending the night on Oahu and coming back on Saturday.

Later this month, Curt’s second round of chemo will begin, when he will start a series of 5 days of chemo (in pill form), followed by a break for 23 days. This will continue for at least six months. They will use the same medication that he took during the initial round, but in a stronger dose.

Again we would like to express our gratitude for all your support as we “keep a keepin',” as my grandmother used to say (translation: keep on going, continue, persevere, don’t give up). Your kind words of encouragement and faithful prayers have helped to give us welcome energy boosts along the way. Thank you for persevering in this with us…we love you guys!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

First round of chemo/radiation completed!

Today is a happy day...Curt went to his last radiation treatment, and finished his first round of chemotherapy! These last six weeks have been far from easy, and we are extremely grateful and excited to have come through it to the other side! Curt has gained a very welcome 20 pounds since he came home from the hospital (for the third time) seven weeks ago. Fatigue has been an ever-present factor, but the nausea for the most part never got to the point of not being able to keep food down. Thank you, Lord!

We are looking forward now to a month's break in treatment, and then he will begin monthly rounds of chemotherapy (5 days on, 23 days off). He is following the normal protocol for this type of cancer.

Curt thankfully has not been experiencing any headaches, and we are continuing to pray for God's mercy and healing. We're also praying for this next month to be healthy and restorative, for his body to continue to gain strength, and for his blood levels to all return to normal (from the negative effects of the chemo).

Thank you to everyone for the incredible covering of prayer you have provided...we know it has greatly helped to sustain us through those moments of discouragement and frustration we've encountered during these last few months. God bless you guys!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Good test results today

Thank you Lord for the good blood test results today! Curt's liver levels are a little elevated, but they say that is to be expected with chemo (as the liver is the organ that processes and expels the toxins from your body). He's half-way done with his radiation treatments and the initial round of chemotherapy. What a blessing to be on the home stretch...just three weeks to go. He does feel it more by the end of the week, so the weekends are a reprieve and a chance for his body to build back up for the following week.

So far his appetite is holding steady, and he's eating big problems with nausea or vomiting (another BIG thank you, Lord!).

He still needs to avoid crowds as much as possible, and we're continuing to pray for protection from any illnesses. He's in good spirits, even though his low energy levels are a real challenge for him. There's so much he wants to do...but he runs out of steam before he gets it done! On Sunday he experienced a lot of joint pain in his knees again (like he did on Saturday the week before), and he's also had some foot cramps at night, so that's another little prayer request.

Thank you so much for walking through this with us. It's such an encouragement to know that you are praying for Curt, and it is definitely helping to hold us up as we navigate through each new day!

Love you guys,

Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

Hope you all had a great 4th of July weekend! It was nice for us, especially since Curt had a break from radiation today as they were closed due to the holiday. Over this past week we have experienced good days and bad days, but we're excited that we are 1/3 of the way through the six weeks of treatments!

We spoke with Curt's mom today, and she has just four days left to go in her radiation sessions. She sounded great, and said so far she hasn't experienced much in the way of side effects. In her case, the chemo will come later, and we were happy to hear how well it has been going for her.

There's really not too much else to report, but we'll keep you posted on the progress. We're praying for good blood test results again later this week.

Curt and I took a drive this evening to Ma'alaea Harbor and had fun reminiscing about the times we would take the family fishing by the Coast Guard station. The kids all loved it...endlessly baiting hooks, catching little (or not so little) fish, and going to the old Ma'alaea Store for snacks. It was such a neat store...we were sad to see it close several years ago. Established in the 1920's, it had a well-stocked fishing supply aisle...our son Jim was like a kid in a candy store! His brothers and sisters weren't too interested in fishing supplies though...they usually went for the manapua (the best manapua ever!) or real candy.

We are both so grateful to have had many times over these past couple of months to reflect on what a great life we have had together, and what a wonderful family (and extended church family) God has blessed us with. We already have so many good memories...and there have been so many significant spiritual markers along the way. We are confident that whatever is to come, He will give us strength enough for it, just as He gave us the strength to raise all those rambunctious kids!

Isaiah 43:2 reminds us of this:

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk though the fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you.
For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior."

Take care, and may God's blessings be upon you and your loved ones!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

So far, so good!

We’re 1/4 of the way through the six-week course of radiation and chemotherapy treatments, and so far it’s been pretty manageable. Curt has experienced a lot of fatigue (which is to be expected) and also some nausea, but nothing too severe. He has still been able to eat fairly normally, although he doesn’t have a big appetite and says he really doesn't get hungry. He hasn’t lost any weight, and has thankfully gained more than five pounds since he returned home from the hospital 2 1/2 weeks ago. PTL!

He doesn't complain when we keep the meals and snacks coming even when he's looking a bit "green around the gills," although he admits he's starting to burn out on the fruit smoothies and says if he has to eat another papaya he's going to throw up! Weird how certain things make him the smell of olive oil heating in the pan...that's one of the worst.

Lately he has been going into his office at Hope as much as he can, then heads to his radiation appointment at 3 pm M-F. Chemotherapy is in the form of pills that he takes at bedtime (to minimize the nausea).

We’re praying that things continue on this way, and that he is able to steer clear of any illnesses during this time. The doctors are monitoring his white blood count weekly, as well as checking his hemoglobin and platelet levels. Please pray for good test results!

God bless,
Patti and family

Monday, June 21, 2010

Going Into Battle!

Curt was so happy to see many of you at church on Sunday! It was wonderful to worship again with our church family at Hope. We had a great Father’s day, and hope all of you dads were totally spoiled yesterday by your loved ones!

Today is the first day of Curt’s chemo and radiation…we’re declaring WAR on this nasty tumor! His first radiation session went fine this morning, and the chemo, in the form of pills, will be taken once a day in the evening.

We’re so excited that you are joining with us to fight this fight in the heavenly realms, persevering in prayer for this battle over the next six weeks. Please pray that whatever is left of the tumor (after this last surgery) is beaten back into remission through the treatments. Please also pray for great precision and accuracy for the doctors, and for strength and protection from infection for Curt’s body.

Thank you for all of your support and prayer during these last nine weeks…so much has happened, and we have already seen God work in mighty ways!

With our love and gratitude,
Patti and family

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Back to Maui

We're on our way home! It's been a good past couple of days...pretty uneventful. Lots of rest and healing. The nurse is coming to give us our discharge instructions, and Curt is in great spirits.

We'll miss our little animal friends outside the window...the little mongoose family that comes several times daily for the tidbits that we feed them, and all the little birds that fly down to eat and then back up to the trees to sing throughout the day. It's quite the menagerie! There's even a calico kitty that the momma mongoose is always watching for on high alert.

We'll see you all soon...I've got to sign off now and listen to the nurse's instructions...

Love you!!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Another good day!

Curt is making great progress toward going home! They had him walking again today and climbing stairs. As of this morning he is on a regular diet- he enjoyed a nice omelette this morning, and spaghetti for dinner. It was a very busy day with doctor visits, nurses coming in and out all fact, the last doctor left just a few minutes ago (7 pm).

The test results came back today and indicated that the mass is the same type of tumor as the original is not an infection (abscess). The oncologist was upbeat and positive, saying that the end result of all this is that we have been able to "roll back the clock" and can now start over the way it all should have gone in the first place, with radiation and chemo starting within 2 weeks of the operation. If it had been an abscess, then treatment would have been delayed for many more weeks, as he would have had to be on long-term antibiotics.

We're looking forward to coming home in a couple of days! Thanks for following along with us in this journey, and for supporting us so faithfully in prayer.

See you soon!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

First day after surgery

We had a very good day today! Curt spent the first night in ICU (just like he did for the first surgery) and today about noon was moved down to a regular room. No monitors or IV's - hooray! He doesn't like being hooked up to all that stuff. We're so grateful to have a private room (for nice, quiet times of rest) that looks out over a greenbelt of trees and Moanalua valley. Heaven! There's even a window that opens and lets a little breeze into the room. Not your usual hospital experience. Thank you Lord for the little things that bless so extraordinarily!

Curt's starting with liquids to make sure all his systems start up again correctly, so for lunch we smuggled in a Jamba Juice and miso soup. That was a hit!

He was awake quite awhile this afternoon, and he and Jim watched a movie while I went back to the hotel for a nap. I will take the night shift...they have been letting me spend the night in the room (another blessing). We are praying for an uneventful few days of recuperation until he is released to fly back to Maui No Ka Oi. We miss you guys!!

Love you,

Monday, June 7, 2010

Curt status update- 6pm

Hi All,

Curt is awake, talking and cracking jokes! They gave him some medicine for pain, but he's in good spirits. All his fingers and toes work =). He and Jim are talking story... Thank you Lord for bringing Curt through the operation safely! Thank you all again for walking through this with us. Your encouraging comments are loving reminders of how we are so well covered in prayer. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Patti and family

Surgery Success

Hi All,

Dr Liem came out to the waiting room on the 4th floor at about 4:45pm to let us know that the surgery went well and Curt is in recovery. We are heading up to see him now. The doctor still wouldn't commit to what the growth was, but he said that it is pointing to tumor regrowth more than to a brain abscess. They will send it to the lab for analysis. Thank you so much for praying us through these last few hours! Love you guys!!

Patti and family

Surgery Today!

Dear All,

Thank you for your continued and fervent prayers- they mean so much, especially while we're over here on Oahu, far from family and home. We couldn't have made it this far without your outpouring of love, prayer, and support!

Dad had a good night, and his pain has been manageable... it comes in waves, but it's not nearly as bad as it has been the last few days. He was up for part of the morning, talking with us and watching TV, and napping in between. It's great to see him so strong and 'normal'- amazing considering we were just here 6 weeks ago, and there have been two surgeries and almost 3 weeks of hospital stay in between!

It is 2:00 pm and Dad just went in to begin the surgery- we found out late this morning that surgery was to be scheduled for 4:50 pm today, but an operating room suddenly opened up early. Dr. Liem, chief of neurosurgery, will be the one performing the operation again. It will take 3-4 hours, and they will be going in the exact same way as the first surgery.

Please pray for guidance and clarity for the surgeon and supporting doctors, that there would be no complications (however minor) from the procedure, and that there would be a clear diagnosis and strong treatment after the surgery. Thank you for standing with us!

I Peter 5:6-7, 10-11 "Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you... After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen."

Jim, Patti, and family

Surgery Monday

Curt's neurosurgeon met with us today and told us the only way to know for sure what is happening is to do another surgery. Curt's headaches are getting worse and on the MRI images the mass is actually larger than it was originally. He is on three different IV antibiotics to cover the possibility of this mass being a brain abscess rather than regrowth of the tumor. Dr. Liem said that his recommendation was for the surgery, and that this is the choice he would make if it were him.

They are scheduling him for surgery sometime on Monday, and we don't have a time yet. We probably won't know until right before it's time to go. Please pray with us for wisdom, precision and accuracy for Dr. Liem and his team, and for strength and safety for Curt's physical body. We take great peace in knowing that his spiritual safety is already guaranteed in the hands of our loving heavenly Father. And the fact is that there can be no bad outcome to this's a win-win for Curt either way! Nevertheless, we are praying that God, in his infinite mercy, will allow us to have him here with us for a season longer, so thank you for keeping Curt in prayer today. We will try to post another message as soon as we know the time he is going.

Take care,
Patti and Family

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Back in the hospital

Hi Everyone,

Curt is back in the hospital at Kaiser Moanalua (on Oahu). He is on IV antibiotics to cover the possibility of a brain abscess, and as of this evening they still have not made a definitive diagnosis. We are awaiting the neurosurgeon's visit tomorrow morning to discuss treatment options. (He will be the same doctor who performed Curt's first surgery...we are very happy he was the one on call this weekend.)

Please pray with us for the decisions that have to be made tomorrow. Please also pray that if they do surgery, he will be kept safe throughout the procedure, and that it will have another successful outcome.

Sending our love from Honolulu,
Patti and family

Friday, June 4, 2010

Please pray!

For the past several days, Curt has been running a fever and having pretty bad headaches. (Prior to this, he has had no headaches at all since they did the surgery to remove the tumor.) The doctors have been trying to determine where the fever is coming from, as there are no other symptoms that would indicate a cold or the flu, etc. They have been doing blood work over the past few days to determine the type and source of infection that might be causing the fever and accompanying fatigue. They did an MRI this afternoon, and we got some disappointing news...they discovered a mass growing in the original tumor bed.

There are two things that this mass could be: a recurrence of the tumor or a brain abscess. Differentiating between brain abscesses and high-grade brain tumors (such as Curt’s) is often difficult, even with an MRI. This evening (Thursday) he was put on IV antibiotics at the outpatient Kaiser clinic in case it is an abscess, and then we came home. (The three different antibiotics they gave him were the same that would have been given at the hospital to treat a brain abscess.) Tomorrow (Friday) morning, the neurosurgeon on Oahu will be consulted to get a diagnosis and determine a course of action.

Please pray for an accurate diagnosis of Curt’s condition, as this is the most important thing at this point in time. Everything that will be done stems from this diagnosis, so please pray for the doctors to have supernatural insight and wisdom as they view the MRI images and review the blood work.

If it is determined that the mass is a tumor, there is talk of starting the radiation and chemo immediately (they were scheduled to start on June 7th). There is a new drug that has been showing good success in recent studies in shrinking tumors and surrounding swelling. (We were hoping to be able to have this type of chemo right off the bat, but it is only approved for recurrent tumors.) Please pray that if this treatment is right for him, that it will be approved.

Thank you so much for supporting us in prayer as we face this next challenge. As Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:8, “we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing…” We trust that God will guide us through these deep waters! Please pray with us for Curt’s recovery, and for strength and perseverance in the days ahead.

Love you all,

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Next Steps

Today makes two weeks home from the hospital, and Curt is getting stronger each day. The doctors say that gaining all his weight back right away is not something that we should worry about…to the contrary, they don’t want to see a rapid weight gain. (This would mean a gain of water weight, which is not a good thing.) So one or two pounds per week is a good goal.

We met with the doctor at the radiation center yesterday, and we left very impressed and encouraged. The Pacific Cancer Institute, right next to Maui Memorial Hospital, is very up-to-date with their technology. Our son Jim has done a lot of research and is amazed at how cutting-edge they are, right here on our little island! We are very comfortable with the chemo and radiation regimen that the doctor recommended. Curt will go in this coming Tuesday to do all the preliminaries for the radiation, and then begin treatment about week later.

There will be six weeks of treatments, five days a week. The actual radiation sessions are very short…just about 15 minutes long. The doctor works with their full-time nuclear physicist on staff to map a 3-D image of the tumor bed. They will be doing Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), which is an advanced mode of high-precision radiotherapy. In IMRT, very small beams, or beamlets, are aimed at the tumor bed from many angles. During treatment, the radiation intensity of each beamlet is controlled, and the beam shape changes hundreds of times during each treatment. As a result, the radiation dose bends around important healthy tissues in a way that is impossible with other techniques. Because of the complexity of these motions, physicians use special high-speed computers, treatment-planning software, diagnostic imaging and patient-positioning devices to plan treatments and control the radiation dose during therapy. Chemotherapy will be done at the same time as the radiation therapy.

Thank you again for all of your prayers over the past five weeks! The next couple of months will be challenging in terms of the side effects of the chemo and radiation (fatigue and nausea, etc.). We would greatly appreciate your continued prayer for Curt as he goes through these treatment sessions. Mahalo!!

Patti and Family