Saturday, August 22, 2015

Good News!!

Dear friends, we're trying to tell everyone personally but if you haven't heard yet ... We got a great report from Lila's big scan on Thursday. Her cancer seems to be GONE and her heart echo showed no damage from the chemo. We should be scheduling her port-removal surgery very soon.

We are officially entering Surveillance mode! We will continue to do scans every 3 months for the first year, then step down the frequency as long as the results are good. And if the same tumor comes back, we are heartened to know that it has already responded so well to chemo and that Lila was able to tolerate the treatment. Also they're developing new treatments all the time.

She will likely need to remain on antibiotics for 6-12 months while her system recovers. She can get a flu shot but must wait to receive her regular vaccinations. We are relying on herd immunity to protect her from diseases like measles, smallpox, and whooping cough. (Please vaccinate your children.)

I didn't realize that good news can put you into shock as much as bad news can. On Thursday, Sarah and I just felt exhausted ("like a limp noodle," she said). But we are beginning to accept this good news and actually feel good about it. I guess the recovery is as much a process as the treatment was.

Right now I'm happy that Lila can just be a kid for awhile. No more needles or tubes.

We're very grateful for your many calls, texts, prayers, letters, meals, and positive thoughts this year. There are so many people to thank. (Does this sound like an Oscars speech?) This is not something you can survive alone, and our extended community has really rallied around Lila and us. Someday we'll try to put better words around our feelings of gratitude.

For now ... JOIN OUR TEAM!

The Duncan Friends team is raising money for St. Jude in Memphis (where Lila's surgeon worked for years). The walk happens September 26 in Nashville. You don't have to actually walk it, but we're gonna have fun with it. For us, it's both a chance to give back and a celebration.

Would love to have you join us! Let us know if you have trouble signing up under our team and we'll add you manually.

Sunday, August 2, 2015


Well, it would seem this blog post is long overdue! I have no excuses other than there has not been anything much to report. The switch from weekly chemo to chemo every three weeks has been great! It has been nice to not be at the clinic so much, and I think it has helped her feel better overall. The first two treatments Lila received were half doses. This is because the radiation intensifies the chemo's effectiveness, so they do not need to use as much for 6 weeks following treatment.

The last time we went in for treatment, she got her first full dose since April. There are certainly days and moments when I can tell that she doesn't feel good, but for the most part she has no idea she has cancer. We have had a lot of fun this summer! Her hair was growing back in, but this morning before church I was pulling out clumpfuls, so it seems like we'll need to wait on that.

Lila's last chemo treatment is scheduled for this Thursday! We hope and pray it will be her last ever. August 20th will be a big day for us. She will have a CT scan in the morning to check to see if there is any evidence of cancer in her body. They will also do a heart echo to check function since one of her chemo drugs can cause heart damage. Prayers are appreciated as always. We have come such a long way since February! We are so grateful.

Dr. Lila at the Creative Discovery Museum

Sisters! It has been very special to watch them play together so much this summer.