Friday, September 21, 2007

Gary Austin to Begin Chemo Monday

Gary Austin (at right, with his wife, Jean), pastor of the Grace Brethren Church of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has been locked in a struggle with colorectal cancer this past year. Here is an update and some prayer requests. (Ron Boehm photo)

My last stint in the hospital was the first week of August. Since then, I've been home, gradually getting off medications, developing a good appetite, trying to regain some of the pounds lost over the summer (40 pounds -- have regained 15+ ), and trying to build up physical strength through walking.

I met with the oncologist the end of August and persuaded him that I was not ready to start chemo treatments again, so he gave me three more weeks. We met with him this past Thursday and we decided to start treatments this next Monday, Sept. 24.

Because it's been almost 16 weeks since the May 9 surgery, his feelings that chemo will be successful in reducing the chance of reoccurring cancer have been minimized. It seems I'm "outside the window of studies" when chemo was started within 4-6 weeks of surgery.

Because of this, he's only putting me on one chemo rather than the two he had planned on! I'll carry a pump for 48 hours every other week that will pump 5-FU into my system. Then we wait and see what the Lord has in mind!

As for today, I'm back in ministry activities - preaching, counseling, meetings, etc. - while still trying to adjust to the urological needs that are not fully resolved. This chemo treatment will make me more susceptible to fatigue and infections - especially bladder infections. So I'm starting a new medication this weekend to combat that need.

The doc said if my white count drops off while under chemo, they may have to put me back in the hospital to bring it back up. I asked if there were any other options - besides the hospital. The nurses are really nice but I always seem to have a rough time when in the hospital. My veins don't like the IV's they put in, for one. And then they draw lots of blood - and that creates other issues. I'm also dealing with MRSA - a staph infection that's hospital generated and not resolving itself. [One benefit to MRSA is a private room in the hospital!]

So, you have a few things to pray about for me over these next four months of chemo treatments. Jean is doing fine though she's got an infection problem that keeps cropping up every now and then that won't go away.

You need to know that our thoughts and prayers are with you every day. Would love to hear from you.

Gary & Jean


Post a Comment

<< Home