Saturday, December 20, 2008

Dear Family & Friends

We appreciate all the prayers and support that dad has received. We wanted to give an update on how he is doing. At the end of October he began 3 weeks of radiation on his shoulder. He made it through radiation without any serious side effects but after the treatment and just before Thanksgiving his condition worsened. For about 2 weeks he was very weak and not eating. Last week he had a blood transfusion because his hemoglobin was low. The blood transfusion has helped and dad has been doing much better the last few days. The doctors also noticed that his heart rate was high and he scheduled an echogram.

The echocardiogram showed that his heart is pumping well and strong. The doctors were glad to see the positive results from the blood transfusion and the prescriptions to boost his appetite. They will monitor his scans and blood test results and do whatever necessary to improve his quality of life. The radiation has almost completely eliminated the severe pain in his shoulder.

We are looking forward to a wonderful Christmas spent together with family and friends. We wish the same for you.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Now Updated October 14, 2008

Friends and Family,
First, we want to tell you again how much we appreciate all the prayers and support!
Dad's most recent vlog is only a week old and already outdated. Some of you may have heard that he only has 2 months to live. We assure you that is not true. No timetable has been given to us from any of his doctors.
Here is the latest: Monday Dad and Mom met with Dr. Peri to discuss the results from the scan and the report was not as good as we've come to expect. His previous scans while on the trial drug have shown excellent responses to the treatment. Either the cancer remained stable or in one case even decreased slightly in size. The latest scan however revealed that the cancer has grown. As a result, Dad is no longer a candidate for the drug treatment he has been receiving since April. This decision was not made by Dr. Peri but rather a policy established by the doctors and scientists conducting the drug trial.
This news comes to us with mixed feelings. On one hand the news that the cancer has spread is certainly worrisome. Yet at the same time we're happy that he'll be ending these treatments. Chemotherapy of any type can really take a toll on the body. Dr. Peri is essentially giving Dad's body a rest from the therapy for 6 weeks. We're hopeful that Dad's good days will be better and longer and his bad days won't be quite so bad or often.
In 6 weeks, they will do another scan and decide from there the next course of action. The possibilities....Medical technology is amazing and rapidly changing. At the beginning of this family journey we were often told that there were no viable drugs or cures for this particular kind of cancer (neuro-endocrine carcinoid) but within 6 months a new drug trial came to us, which Dad was able to get into. And in one short year, new drugs and more importantly new combinations of drugs have appeared. Dr. Peri already has other treatment plans lined for Dad and based on the scan in 6 weeks, he will decide which way to go.
Dad is doing great this week and as usual is in great spirits. Since the beginning he has never been fazed by any of the news he gets. Always positive, always trusting God will take care of him. So we ask for your continued support and prayers that God continues his care as He has done the past year.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Finally an update

Bill and Glenda are heading back to Delaware after Bill spent 2 weeks in Pennsylvania with Bonni's family. He had lots of family and friends come to visit in their new "lower level apartment". However, his visit ended with a stay in the hospital when he was diagnosed with pneumonia. He was treated with antibiotics and is feeling much better.

The trial drug Bill started in April is actually working - the cancer has stopped growing! He goes to bio-therapy treatments in Rehoboth every three weeks for about an hour. Between treatments, he has good days and bad days. We are hoping that a low hemoglobin level that discovered in the hospital can be corrected and he will bounce back with more energy.

Looking forward, Bill has a scan on Thursday and a follow up appointment with Dr. Peri on Monday(10-13). We are praying for God's continued blessing on this therapy and that we will see a decrease in the size of the tumors.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

As of today Sunday, April 20.
Dad got into the Avastin/Sandostatin drug trial group and started the program on Tuesday, April 8. He felt great for the first 4 days and not great for the last 7 days. He is feeling good again, so we are hopeful that the next treatment (somewhere around the 29th of April) will have a shorter duration of side effects. We praise the Lord for this opportunity to have God use this new treatment to heal Dad. Please pray with us for healing.

We met with Dr. Peri on March 21 to get the results from Dad's most recent scan, and the news was somewhat mixed. The cancer has spread throughout his bones. Previously it was located mostly in his spine and legs. It has now spread to his shoulders, ribs, sternum, etc. The cancer has also increased in his pancreas by approximately 15%. Thankfully, from what the doctor could see, it doesn't look like the cancer has grown in his liver, which is the most critical.

The good news is, Dad is now a candidate to be involved in a new drug trial program being conducted through Christiana Hospital. He will end up in one of two groups, and both groups are using a new combination of drugs. One group is using Sandostatin and Interferon. The other group will be using Sandostatin and Avastin. Sandostatin is what Dad was taking last fall, which didn't appear to be helping. However, that combined with one of the two other drugs is showing promise in fighting other types of cancer, and hopefully will be beneficial in Dad's type of cancer as well. Dr. Peri is hoping that dad gets in the Sando/Avastin group, so make that your prayer. Unfortunately, the grouping is done randomly. Fortunately, treatment will be done in Rehobeth. No long trips to Dover or Johns Hopkins. The Sando/Avastin group receives treatment once every 21 days. The Sando/Interferon group receives treatment 3 times a week.

The doctor is consulting Dad's cardiologist to double check on the condition of his heart. If all goes well and his cardiologist clears him, he should begin receiving treatment in a couple of weeks. The treatment is a type of chemotherapy known as biotherapy, but it's a far different type of chemo than we're used to thinking about. All the drugs have side effects, but they're nowhere near as severe as traditional chemo. These drugs are designed to target specific areas, and from what the doctor told us, the worse he could expect would be flu-like symptoms that don't last long and become milder as Dad's body adjusts to the treatment.

Overall, he is still in good spirits. Physically, he's up and down. He is experiencing some pain in his bones and is taking meds to control that. He was having problems eating due to nausea, but thankfully that has subsided and we have medications to treat that if it should become a problem again. That was a concern because he was dropping weight, but he gained a few pounds over Easter, which as we all know isn't hard to do, especially in Mom's kitchen.

That's the latest news on Dad. We ask for your continued prayers and support.


Monday, February 4, 2008

On January 25, we met with Dr. Peri and he explained that there is a new drug already approved and would soon be available for Dad to try in about 3 weeks. We are very encouraged by the development of this new prescription. Around the same time, Dad will have another CT scan and we will see if the tumor growth has continued or Lord willing, slowed down.

Dad is definitely feeling much better these days. He is exercising at the nearby recreation center, swimming laps and wearing out the treadmill. He is no longer taking the monthly Sandostatin injection. We all felt that the side effects of the Sandostatin out-weighed the benefits, which appeared to be minimal.

Thank you all for your continued prayers which are still needed. Dad has enjoyed the many visitors, emails and cards. We all appreciate your thoughfulness especially in your prayers.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Christmas Night 2007

On December 13th, Dad met with Dr. Peri to discuss the CT scan from his 3 month check up. Dr. Peri told him that the cancer had grown by approximately 20-25 percent in all 3 areas. Needless to say, we were stunned and confused. While dad's neuro-endocrine cancer is supposed to be non-agressive and slow growing, the last 3 months show something very different. Treatment options are limited and we're waiting to hear from Johns Hopkins about getting Dad admitted into a program they are currently running to test some cancer drugs.

At the time of his appointment Dad had been struggling with his health, which had been in decline since Thanksgiving. We're thrilled to report that shortly after his appointment he started to feel much better. He is slowly gaining strength and his appetite had returned. Your prayers and support are sincerely appreciated and still needed.

Christmas at the beach was special this year and Mom and Dad celebrated with: Glen (Dannyboy), Denise, Bonni, Tim, Riley, Reid, Billy, Natalie, Bear, Johnmark, DJ, John Jr., and Grandma Jo. We hope and pray that your Christmas was as meaningful and joyous as ours.

Our family has recieved so much support and love from people near and far. We are eternally grateful. We encourage you to send comments to our website, which Dad loves to read.

by Billy

The Ennis' are always looking for a new tradition to add to our family get-togethers. This blog is our newest addition. We welcome you to enjoy our goings-ons as much as we are.
Click on the 1st video to view 8/9 VLOG
Click on the 2nd video to view 7/31 VLOG
*NEW* Click on the 3rd video to view 9/14 VLOG

Bill's Corner