Monday, March 24, 2008

Keep the prayers coming!

The last few days my blood pressure has been going down! It is not where I would like it yet but I do feel better and have relief from the pressure in my head.
I am praying to get it to 120/70 and to be able to run without problems. Thanks for your prayers!
Chris and I see the cardiologist next week on April 2nd ~ Elayne

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Test results and changes

The last couple of days have been very busy with doctors apts. and tests. I had an MRI of the brain which came back normal ~ I still have a brain and it still works :)
The next test was a muga scan to check the heart which did not come back ok. They then sent me for an echocardiagram and between the 2 tests they are showing a decrease in the function (pumping) of the heart.
My blood pressure remains high, most likely for this reason. I am now being sent to a cardiologist and being taken off my treatments of Herceptin.
There could be a few reasons for this change with my heart but the doctor says the most likely one is that the chemo from many years ago damaged the heart and the herceptin added to the damage. His words were " having a wound and rubbing salt on it".
Besides being a little tired right now, I feel pretty good ~ today :) Will write again after I see the cardiologist and talk to my doctor about what to now do for treatment.
He said he does not feel at this time that I need to do chemo because my tumor markers are good as well as the last set of scans.
PRAYER REQUEST~ please pray that we get the blood pressure under control soon and for discernment for the doctors and Chris & I about treatment. Also, that there is no permanent or serious damage to the heart.
Thanks everyone for your comments you have left, e-mails and prayers! And thanks to my friend Donise that drove me to all these apts. the last few days and spent her spring break doing so.

Monday, March 17, 2008

"A Journey Of A Thousand Miles Begins With A Single Step"

When I first used the title written above for a website to fundraise and train to run in the Dallas Half marathon for my brother-in-law Jim I had no idea the journey I was getting ready to embark on. After loosing Jim to Leukemia in April, I began training and in late August I was diagnosed with cancer for the 2nd time in 9 years.
My cancer began as stage 3 breast cancer when I was 34 years old. I had to have surgeries to remove the cancer and chemotherapy, followed by 5 years on Tamoxifen. My kids were 8, 11 and 13 at the time. They are now 18, 21 and 23.
After 9 years from the original diagnosis, I began to think I had beat it. The cancer however has slowly been spreading and is now stage 4 metastatic cancer that is now in my bones, the rib and spine. I did decide to continue training for and completed the half marathon. I do believe that I was physically able at 43 to handle the treatments that were coming my way because of the conditioning I had while running. Posts 1-14 are the journey beginning with this second cancer.

I have several reasons for starting this blog which I had been considering and praying about for a long time. My hope and prayers are that my story of trying to live the best life I can with this diagnosis may be of help to others, their family and friends. To provide information that I have found helpful over these past 9 1/2 years being involved in nutrition & fitness. To keep all of you updated and hopefully to hear back from you! Your words of encouragement are very helpful. To have a place to post prayer requests. Many of you are prayer warriors and we believe there is power in prayer and support.

Most of you have been receiving my e-mails with updates ( posts #1-14). From now on I will post an update once a week and continually be adding information that is listed to the right. Feel free to check in whenever you would like, leave comments in the comment section, share with someone you know going through a cancer diagnosis and/or treatment for encouragement and information. If you read through the previous posts you will see there are many ups and downs and prayer requests and prayers answered. Please let me know if there is information you would like to see that I don't have up. There is also a "pole" listed in the top right hand corner if you would like to provide your response. I will change the question periodically.
I look forward to hearing from all of you and keeping in touch. I am honored to have you on this journey with me.
PRAYER REQUEST FOR THIS WEEK~ I have been having trouble with my blood pressure being too high and pressure behind my left eye. I will be having a muga scan to check my heart and an MRI of the brain this Wednesday followed by treatment on Thursday. PLEASE pray that these tests come back ok, the BP gets back to normal and for help with the anxiety. I appreciate all of you!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

update # 14 on 3-12-08

Hi All~ haven't sent out an update an realized it is probably about time to do so. So, here it is; It has now been 7 months since my diagnosis, had 25 rounds of radiation, 6 herceptin treatments ( # 7 is next week) 2 lupron injections and a daily oral med ( tamoxifen).

As of the last scans and blood work, the hormone therapy does seem to be doing it's job. All my blood work came back in normal ranges, including the tumor markers and iron levels! The last set of scans showed the rib & spine to be "stable"- no new growth. The pleural effusion from the lung was gone!

What I am having difficulty with is my blood pressure ( too high) and the adjustments of some of my medications. I began a new med. that after 4 weeks caused some serious side effects. I have been taken off that drug and now am dealing with the side effects and withdrawal until it gets out of my system. This has been difficult and I have not been able to run lately :(

I would like to ask for prayer during this time and for discernment about my medical decisions. And of course for healing. I once again thank all of you for your prayers and support :) Please don't forget Chris and the guys, cancer affects the entire family.

Elayne & guys

PS- I will soon begin a personal blog ( not the family blog) that I will try to update once a week. You can at anytime check it out if you would like to know how everything is going. This will be easier for me than e-mails. You will be able to leave messages on the blog-which I will look forward to reading :) Once, it is up and running I will let you know.

This was sent to me by my friend~

"I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers
I pray also that the eyes of your hearts may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you.." Ephesians 1:16, 18
Dr. Meyer says that in prayer there must be deliberateness -- the place, the time, the reverence. We are told that God knows our needs even before we express them, but He wants us to come to Him and express them. He listens to our forecasts and petitions and with His foreknowledge, knows better answers to them than we do. He always will meet our needs. If the thorn must remain, He gives the strength and grace to praise Him for it. If He does not take away the cup we have been given to drink, He sends an angel to strengthen us for it. We hear many terms for prayer these days - popcorn prayer where we are lead by the Spirit to pray for someone or something at the moment. There is a prayer that is unceasing but not vain repetitions for the same thing. It is a prayer of constant fellowship with the Lord when we listen and speak alternately. It is one of the loftiest forms of prayer. By whatever name, or in whatever form, without prayer we will shrivel up and lose our companionship with the Lord. Those who have ears to hear......

update # 13 on 2-17-08

Want to fill everyone in on how things are going so far with Elayne's treatment and progress and to discuss some of the mentioned upcoming events in March. So far she has had 25 radiation treatments, 5 Herceptin treatments, 2 lupron injections and tamoxifen daily. All of this over the past 5 months has taken it's toll on her both emotionally and physically. She has basically "hit the wall" and is having trouble with anxiety and panic attacks, along with numerous physical problems that may affect her treatments.. We are working with her doctors to adjust all the medications to help her through this time. Along with fighting the cancer they have thrown her into a very fast medical menopause that cannot be treated with conventional treatments (hormones). We did find out this week that her tumor markers are all back in normal range which is great!

So, for the time being her doctors have told us that this is a time for rest, healing and no stress.
I hope everyone understands how difficult this time is for Elayne and our family. Prayers, E-mails, cards, calls and short visits are all welcomed and appreciated. The encouragement and prayer support do help her.

Thanks for your understanding~ Chris & Elayne

update #12 on 1-28-08

Hello my faithful friends, family and prayer warriors!
I saw my doctor last week and my blood pressure has been continually too high and I have had trouble with a racing heart and irregular beats. We are not sure if it is from what he calls "situational anxiety", hereditary ( it is in my family, but usually when they are older, 60's) or a complication from the treatments. So, I am monitoring my pressure at home to try to help figure this out. If the doctor feels it is from the treatments they will have to be stopped.
I would like to ask for prayer on this. I am praying for relief from the anxiety and that I can get my pressure back down to normal so that the treatments may continue as they seem to be working. I have also been praying for protection from side effects and if this is a protection that God would show us this.

Thanks everyone~


update # 11 on 1-15-08

Hello friends & family!
Hope you all are having a happy New Year. Thought I would send out a note about what we are up to here in Texas. I guess our newest news is that we just celebrated Kevin's 21rst birthday on Saturday. All the guys were here along with Kevin's girlfriend Niki for uncle Jim's famous jalapeno burgers and cake. Kevin moved into an apartment the day after Christmas and has been utilizing "Craigs list" to furnish it. He received a promotion at Dallas Semiconductor and now has his own insurance, benefits and they are even going to pay for school for him! He is taking 12 hours at TWU this semester along with working full time. He is VERY happy with his girlfriend Niki, they have been together for 7-8 months now. She is a very sweet person.
Matt is taking 17 hours at UTD and working part time at CVS. He put in his 2 week notice yesterday so he can concentrate on school. After he completes 30 hours he is eligible to study abroad with his scholarship. He is leaning towards either Ireland or Scotland. He and Kevin are in a band together and have 3 concerts/ events coming up. He sings and plays guitar & keyboards. Kevin plays drums and they practice here :(
Tim is working full time at Prime Controls and finishing up his last couple of classes to graduate from UTD. He lives in an apartment down the road from Kevin, and Matt spends about 3 nights a week out there with them. They all play basketball at UTD a couple nights a week. They are good brothers :)
Chris and I are still running. We are keeping up with 12 miles a week, with a 6 mile run on Saturdays. Our time is greatly improving and I hope to be able to train for a marathon. I have not yet convinced Chris to train with me :) He said, "I bet Cindy and Carla would do that with you " :) Chris worked out a much needed "get-away" weekend for us to Beehouse, Texas. His friend has a house in the middle of nowhere on several hundred acres with two 4 wheelers ( my favorite part)! That is coming up next weekend.
I have my 4th herceptin treatment tomorrow and am over all feeling pretty good. I would like to ask for prayer for tomorrow's treatment and discernment on wether or not to begin a new drug that helps strengthen the bones but also has some possible serious side effects.
Thank you again and please feel free to call or e-mail anytime, it helps to hear from all of you! Have a HAPPY, HEALTHY New Year!
From our family ~ Elayne, Chris & guys! The Minichs

update #10 on 12-28-07

Thank you friends, family and faithful prayer warriors. Here are my test results~ First, the pleural effusion ( fluid on the lung) is gone! My tumor markers have dropped again! this is what we want they were too high. The rib and spine are stable- no new growth! My heart, lungs and kidneys are all strong and my counts have gone back up indicating my iron level is also going up ( it had dropped too low).

Where we go from here~ I will have treatment every 3 weeks with the herceptin and they will be adding a new drug ( Zometa) to help strengthen the rib and spine. The doctors call it "bone glue" and it will be approved this coming year for people with osteoporosis. These 2 bones are kind of a mess, there is a hole in the spine ( T1 for you medical people that like details :) They also believe the pain I am having in my rib again is due to the damage. So... besides the new drug, calcium, running and light weights are what I have been advised :) My doctors have stated that they believe at this time the hormone therapy is working.

Many of you ask for specific prayer requests. This will be on going for me and what we are praying for and would ask from you too is for complete healing and restoration of my body, as well as relief from the bone pain. I still have a long road ahead of me and we are praying that there will be no new growth or spread of this cancer.


Thank you again and please feel free to call or e-mail anytime, it helps to hear from all of you! Have a HAPPY, HEALTHY New Year!
From our family ~ Elayne, Chris & guys!

update #9 on 12-26-07

Hello everyone! Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and enjoyed your time with family and friends as I know we did.

Like most of you that headed back to work today, I headed back to the hospital for more tests. Three done today, CT scan, bone scan and x ray of my spine. Tomorrow Chris and I will meet with both of my doctors and then I have another treatment.

We would like to ask for prayer for these visits tomorrow and the test results. We have been praying for healing and ask that you would be in prayer for this tomorrow.
Thank you very much, we do appreciate it!

Elayne & Chris

Psalm 62:5

I wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him.

update # 8 on 11-26-07

Family & Friends~ Thank you for all the prayer support and help for me and our family. I have already had my first treatment of Herceptin ( given every 3 weeks) and today I began the next 10 rounds of radiation. This time to the spine. Overall I have handled all the treatments very well and my energy is good right now.
I do expect these next 2 weeks will be tough with the radiation, and another treatment of Herceptin. I would like to continue to ask for prayer over these next weeks, especially on Thursday when I will have another chest X ray done to check my lungs. Please pray hard on this one.
We are doing well and appreciate all of you!

Here I am again Lord in the same place as before, and I am asking you to "do it again".

update #7 on 10-18-07

Hi everyone~ my blood work came back about the same. Everything looks ok,
> tumor markers are still high but stable. No significant increase.
> MRI of the spine shows that the area that was in question on the PET
> scan is most likely also a tumor. It is smaller than the one on the rib
> about (1x1) and not effecting the spinal cord. I have decided to have
> about another 10 or 15 treatments on this area as well. It will begin
> after November 4th along with the start of Herceptin and a few other things
> which will be used as systemic therapy.
> The pleural effusion ( fluid on the lung) was also noted again on the MRI
> and the doctor could hear a difference in my breathing on the right side
> vs. the left today. Although I
> don't really feel much of a difference.
> Running 13 miles is starting to look easy:) I have a couple of weeks to rest from the biopsy &radiation and continue preparing for the Dallas half marathon
> The Minichs
> Words from a song by Greg Long ~
> There is trouble on every side but I'm
> not broken, I have been struck down but
> I'm not destroyed, my hope is in the Lord. Through the healing stages, I will stand courage

update # 6 on 10-4-07

Hi everyone ~
Thank you for the prayer support on the X Ray. Thankfully there was nothing new. The pain in my chest is from damage done to the nerve during the bone biopsy. The fluid is still there but has not changed, so no better, but no worse. It is actually not in the lung but in the sack or pocket right under the lung. For those of you that understand the medical terms it is called "pleural effusion". The doctor said it may "resolve itself". Please be in prayer that this happens and it goes away.

Otherwise, I have completed 8 radiation treatments and am half way through. I did decide to stop taking the pain meds. as it was causing too many side effects. Please also pray that the pain will be alleviated soon.

Last but not least for prayer requests, you all know how important being able to participate in and complete the half marathon in November is to me and Chris both. What began as a challenge has now become much more. I am praying for the strength and energy to continue training for and running this marathon for our "sweet Jim". I ask for your prayer support in this as well.

Thank you ~ Elayne & Chris


Update #5 on 10-1-07

Hey everyone ~ I was able to see my oncologist when I went in for radiation today and told him about some pain I am having in my chest. He feels it is most likely from the biopsy ( hitting a nerve) but is having me do another chest x ray tomorrow. I would like to ask that you all be in prayer that it is nothing new and that the fluid on the lung (right side) has gone away. Thank you very much for your continued prayer support on this. You are all awesome prayer warriors!

Elayne & Chris

Fourth update on 9-30-07

I wanted to thank all of you for all the prayer support and help to our family these past 2 weeks. I finished week one of radiation therapy ( 5 treatments) and feel pretty good. The pain in my rib is beginning to ease up some. I will have a total of 15 treatments, so 2 more weeks. Thank you to my wonderful friends that are driving me and keeping me company while I go daily to therapy. I have tried to stop taking the pain meds., but not quite there yet.

My doctors are ok with me waiting till after the half marathon ( November 4th) to begin hormone treatment. So, I will have 3 weeks in between the treatments to get ready for the marathon. Chris and I have, as you can imagine, dropped way back these last few weeks in our training but do plan to try to get back on track.

Today was a good day ~ we attacked my garden that has also been neglected and planted some lettuce and onions. Tonight we went to "The Square" in Denton where Matt's band played outdoors in front of the courthouse for 2 hours. The weather was perfect and we ended the evening with Kevin and Nikki at Beth Maries for ice-cream. Tim is on his way over ( I gave him and his friends our tickets to a Dallas Stars hockey game ) and we are all spending tomorrow with a dear friend of ours that is visiting from Florida, JoAn.

Prayer request ~ please continue to pray for total healing. That I continue to tolerate the radiation, I know it gets harder from here. For discernment about radiating the spot on my spine and that the fluid on the lung is gone. Prayer is the most helpful and powerful thing you can do and we very much appreciate all of you.

Some of the words to a song by Greg Long.



Thanks again ~ Elayne & Chris

Third update on 9-21-08

Hey everyone ~ thanks so much for all the e-mails, prayers and support. The MRI of my leg was fine. No problems. I do begin radiation therapy on Monday. It looks like about 10 treatments on the rib and possibly on a spot on my spine ( T2). That should end on October 5th. I am then taking a break to recover and finish training for the 1/2 marathon. Hormone treatment will begin after November 4th.

We appreciate your continued prayer support on all of this as well as praying that the fluid on the lung is gone and that I tolerate the radiation therapy. Since the bone biopsy, I now have pain all the time in the rib. Please pray that the radiation takes that away ~ this is what they tell me :)

OK ~ this is one of my favorite quotes and applies quite well right now.


Please pray for my strength both mentally and physically. thanks~

second update on 9-18-07

Friends and family ~ thank you all so much for your prayers and thoughts today while I had my tests done. I could truly feel it. The praise goes to God, my tests were clean! You are some awesome prayer warriors :) The MRI of my brain showed that I do indeed have a brain and it is working fine :) The bone scan showed what we already know, that the rib has cancer. I will be having an MRI of my leg as a questionable area showed something, however it may be a stress fracture from running :) The doctor is not too concerned about it but does want to check it because I am training for the half marathon. Otherwise, it's clean. The doctor that viewed my lung X Ray felt there was not enough fluid on the lung to do a biopsy. This will be monitored. It was a long, exhausting day but I wanted to share this praise with you.

The plan from here and the next praise ~ I will be having about 12 treatments of radiation on the rib and hormone therapy ~ not chemotherapy! The doctor says I may have to play the chemo card at some point but that the hormone therapy at this point may be more effective.

Chris and I would like to ask for your continued prayer support as I still have a long road ahead of me. In particular on the MRI of my leg ( this Thursday) that it is an injury and not cancer. That the fluid on the lung is also nothing to worry about. For discernment about the upcoming treatments and that the hormone therapy is successful. And of course for total healing.

Thank you again, our friends and family ~ Elayne & Chris

First update on 9-17-07

Dear friends and family ~

Our family has been through many storms over the past 9 months and it appears we are going through yet another one. As you all know I had been diagnosed with breast cancer 9 years ago and I unfortunately have had a reoccurrence. The cancer has been found in my bones, the rib in particular. This is the original cancer and has been there the whole time.

Our family believes very strongly in the power of prayer and in all of you as prayer warriors. We are in the process of testing and plans for treatment. So far I have had x rays, PET scan, Cat scan and a bone biopsy done. Tomorrow, I have a bone scan, MRI of the brain and another X Ray to see if the fluid on my lung has gone away. If not, I then have to have another biopsy to check the fluid on the lung. We are asking for prayer for tomorrow and the results of these next tests, that they all come out clean and for discernment about treatment.

We apologize that some of you are getting this news in this e-mail, but I am sure you understand.
Thanks everyone
Love ~ Elayne & Chris

The Minichs

I WILL PRAISE YOU IN THIS STORM, and will lift my hands, you are who you are, no matter where I am.


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