Posted on July 20, 2015
Posted on July 20, 2015Monday-7/20/15
It's been just over 4 months since our Youcaring update, the eve before his most recent brain surgery. However, we have been able to update via Facebook, that his 2nd surgery, to remove his most troublesome brain tumor, was a success. He ended up only spending 4 days in the hospital and came home to recover and ween off a lot of the meds he was on. About a month or so after surgery, Andy started Physical therapy at home to help him rebuild some strength, mobility,muscle and dexterity, mainly affecting his abdomen/legs. We also realized over a little more time, that Andy was having some side effects from 2 brain surgeries, that we now believe are permanent. Without going into a ton of details and making it simple, there is a "communication error/delay" from Andy's brain to some parts and functions of his body. These last couple months, these side effects, have frankly sucked and been extremely difficult for Andy and the family as a whole. But, we always had a game plan, tried new things (meds and equipment), utilized the help given to us. Andy's first set of scans since surgery, in May, were good and stable...no bad news...swelling was starting to diminish and no new growth anywhere. His hard work, determination and a well executed care plan allowed us to be able to travel to his favorite place Myrtle Beach just a few weeks ago. We had a good time and Andy was grateful to be there, but we did return a bit earlier than anticipated. He started with increased episodes of vomiting, high blood pressure (which was new) and a few other symptoms that made us agree that we wanted to be closer to home and the doctors.
Another reason we have waited so long to update is we have been waiting for some confirmations on a few things. It has not been easy decision for Andy or the family, but after a not so easy process.....Andy has officially medically retired, as a supervisor, 16yr. employee, from City of Rochester ECD/911 effective 7/5/2015. He can now focus 100% on KICKING CANCERS A$$ and always has the option to return to ECD/911 once he beats this nasty disease.
On Thursday, 7/16/15, Andy had his next set of CT Scans of chest, abdomen and pelvis and Brain MRI. Today, 7/20/15, we had clinic for bloodwork, consult, results, care plan moving forward and meds. Our results were a mixed bag of emotions....Andy's CT (lungs) showed some small growth but not enough to alarm the doctors and they still consider it to be "stable", that was the good news. The bad news, Andy's tumor is starting to grow back and his brain is swelling again. Based on some of the signs and symptoms he has been having, we had an inkling, but still had hoped for some other cause and better news.
So moving forward, Andy will continue on his oral chemo pill Tarceva and the doctors are starting him on a new med/regimen (via IV/port) next week in clinic, called Avastin. This medicine, in simple terms, will reduce the blood supply to cancer cells (in brain and body) and help reduce the swelling of his brain. It has some serious possible side effects that hopefully we will never have to worry about. Another brain surgery is not an option at this time. Also, Andy will be starting a low dose blood pressure med to help with his elevated BP's and eventually bump up as he continues on Avastin. He will receive the Avastin every 3 weeks for 2 rounds and then repeat CT scans and MRI after that 6 week course. As long as it continues doing what is supposed to do, he will repeat above steps (2 rounds then at 6 weeks repeat scans/MRI).
Andy has certain limitations now and side effects that we attempt to manage, but he needs to hear from you all. He can go out for short periods of time, but may be a tad slower. He has a lot more free time now, so stop by for a visit or we can meet you out for a bit, he obviously isn't driving now. I am home pretty much full-time now taking care of Andy, transporting, scheduling etc... and still remain per-Diem at RGH ( thank you RGH and my fellow co-workers). I hope to be able to at least get into work a day here and there soon.
As always, thank you for your continued support, prayers and well wishes....we appreciate them so much....Keep them coming!!! I will likely update again after his first 2 rounds of Avastin and next set of scans/MRI (9/9/2015)...Results to be given at clinic 9/11/2015.
Jen, Andy and AJ
Posted on March 11, 2015
Posted on March 11, 2015Wednesday-3/11/15- Eve of surgery -scheduled for 3/12/15
It's been a little over a month since our last update and what a month it has been!! Many thanks to 26shirts, Del Reid, Thurman and Patti Thomas, ECD-911 and all of you who bought the "THURMANATOR" shirt benefiting Andy. This fundraiser was a huge success that raised just over $5500 for Andy's medical expenses. Another big thank you goes out to Todd Clausen for his phenomenal article in the Democrat & Chronicle that highlighted Andy among other's who are battling Cancer and the workplace-(article can still be found online called "When cancer throws a career curve") and all of you who directly donated to our youcaring site. Andy also finally got to see his favorite singer Garth Brooks in concert this past Sunday night in Buffalo and LOVED it!!!!!
Andy is scheduled to have his brain surgery (to remove tumor) tomorrow morning (Thurs.3/12/15) around 8:45am and the surgery can be anywhere from 2.5 - 5 hours. Again, he will be in the ICU for at least 24 hours or more and then be moved to a surgical floor for a few days. I will be updating Facebook throughout the day/week of surgery but will probably be unable to update youcaring site until Saturday or Sunday. Again, your prayers, well-wishes and support are needed and unwavering! Thank you all again and wish Andy luck for a smooth and speedy recovery!
Jen and Andy
Posted on February 7, 2015
Posted on February 7, 2015Saturday-2/7/2015
Andy's chest, abdomen and pelvis CT scan came back as "stable, no significant change", which is great news. Yesterday (2/6/15) at his chemo/clinic appt. we received the official "go ahead" from Oncology, for removal of his brain tumor the second week of March. We also discussed a few other things for future thoughts and possible options/treatment plans. So yesterday was Andy's last chemo treatment until close to the end of April. He again, needs to be off chemotherapy about 4-6 weeks prior to craniotomy (brain tumor removal) to strengthen his blood counts/immune system and will be evaluated about 4-5 weeks after surgery to resume chemo again. He is on continued high dose steroids (Decadron) now to reduce swelling in brain and will be on them after surgery again for 4-6 weeks. He will also again, be on an anti seizure medication following surgery as a precaution and will need to be closely monitored for a few weeks. I will, again, be the one staying with him and monitoring him after surgery.
On a very positive and much needed note..we were contacted by the founder of a company called 26shirts and asked if Andy would like to be the recipient of their next fundraising effort, we of course said "yes and thank you!!!! " They are a buffalo based company who create a new, "limited edition" Buffalo sports themed t-shirts/sweatshirts every 2 weeks and they will donate $8.00 for every shirt sold during that specific 2 week period to the specific charity/ family in need. The "surprise" designed t-shirt\ that will benefit Andy is available for purchase from 2/16-3/1 and will be unveiled at midnight on 2/16 at 26shirts.com . All we know is it will be a Buffalo based sports theme/design....It is very exciting....so please, spread the word on 2/16 to visit their website and purchase the shirt/sweatshirt that supports Andy. Remember....Easter, birthdays, Mother's day, Father's day, anniversaries and yes, even next Christmas are on the horizon.... Thanks again everyone for your love, support, encouragement and prayers...we truly appreciate you all. I'll post more updates soon about Andy, his t-shirt benefit and obviously the upcoming surgery or if any changes happen.
Jen and Andy