December 10, 2014

     Since our last update in October 2014, Jane has continued to suffer from certain side effects related to the hormone therapy protocol.  After consulting with Jane's M. D. Anderson doctors, Jane has discontinued the hormone therapy for the time being.  The doctors, however, continue to treat the side effects related to Jane's cancer and the side effects from the various drugs taken over the past three years.  Although you would never know it because Jane is strong, Jane is in constant pain that often elevates during different times of the day and night.  The doctors are doing all they can and Jane continues to persevere and meet each challenge with positive hope and a renewed sense of vigor. 

    Since Jane was diagnosed with a recurrent, metastasized cancer in October 2011, we have asked all of you to pray for Jane's healing if it is God's will through the intercession of Blessed Bishop Alvaro del Portillo.  Bishop del Portillo (1914 - 1994) started out life as a Spanish civil engineer in the 1930s and then was one of the first three men ever ordained for Opus Dei, a Personal Prelature of the Catholic Church, in 1944.  He served as the right hand to the Opus Dei Founder, St. Josemaria Escriva, in the formative years of the organization and then succeeded St. Josemaria as the second Prelate of Opus Dei from 1982 to 1994.  On his death in March 1994, Pope John Paul II recalled Bishop del Portillo's "zealous priestly and episcopal life, the example he always gave of fortitude and of trust in divine providence and his fidelity to the See of Peter."  In 2002, a cause for the canonization (sainthood) of Bishop del Portillo was initiated and, in 2012, as approved by Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican announced that his life had been recognized as one of "heroic virtue", which is the first step towards sainthood.  From this time on, Bishop del Portillo was styled as a "Venerable Servant of God".  In July 2013, Pope Frances published a decree declaring the miraculous character of a cure for a young Chilean boy attributed to the intercession of Bishop Alvaro del Portillo.  Bishop del Portillo was beatified on Sept. 27, 2014 in his birth city of Madrid, Spain and is now referred to as "Blessed Alvaro del Portillo."  In the Roman Catholic church, Blessed Alvaro del Portillo needs one more miracle to be attributed to his intercession in order for Blessed Alvaro to be officially declared Saint Alvaro!

     The Christmas season is already upon us as we are in the second week of Advent.  Jane's two sons from LSU will be coming home in the next few days for a month long winter break.  Jane plans to spend a quiet holiday at home with family and friends.  We wish each of you a very merry Christmas and please know how grateful and thankful we are for so many family and friends at this very special time of the year.  We pray for all of you every night. 

October 28, 2014

     Jane was originally diagnosed with a recurrent cancer in October 2011 so the month of October 2014 represents the third anniversary (3 years!) of Jane's initial diagnosis of a recurrent, metastasized adenocarcinoma of the uterine cervix.  Since that time, M D Anderson and its many doctors and staff have provided incredible professional care to Jane.  Jane has been through two formal clinical drug trials and a few other more standard type chemotherapy treatments; Jane is presently on a hormone therapy protocol.  To battle the related side effects that have accumulated over the past three years as a result of the cancer treatments, Jane has managed through multiple out patient procedures, hospital visits, emergency room visits, etc. and lots of help from M D Anderson supportive care to manage pain levels and related side effects.

    So far, Jane continues to hold her own and stay as active as possible.  Although Jane still suffers from acute pain and spasms, she remains cheerful, positive and hopeful.  One of our doctors mentioned during one visit that one way to beat cancer is for cancer patients to live as virtuous and as normal a life as possible.

    At this point, we are simply grateful for each day, for the small things like a visit from an old friend, and also for the big things as October 2014 is also the month of Jane's 23rd wedding anniversary.  Through it all, Jane's many family and friends have been right there along the way, praying, laughing and helping Jane to get better and feel better.  We could never thank you enough for all your support, love and assistance, but please know that we pray for each of you every day. We have come a long way and we are ready for the journey ahead!

September 29, 2014

Over the past year or so, Jane has been battling the accumulation of abdominal fluid that has caused significant abdominal pressure and pain from time to time.  Paracentesis is a procedure to remove fluid that has accumulated in the abdominal cavity (peritoneal fluid), a condition called ascites.  A common cause of ascites is cancer like Jane is suffering from at this time.  Jane has had the fluid drained over the past few months, but the fluid continues to reaccumulate.  Since there is the potential for continued reaccumulation of the fluid on a regular basis, Jane's MD Anderson doctors have installed a long term drainage catheter in her abdomen to allow Jane to drain the fluid daily at home.  So far, things are working great.  However, the general pain from Jane's cancer has continued to elevate so Jane's MD Anderson doctors have increased her pain medication levels to better manage the daily pain. 
 
Jane continues to maintain a positive outlook and hopeful spirit as we head into Fall weather.  It will be three full years at the end of October 2014 since Jane was diagnosed with  recurrent, metastasized adenocarcinoma of the uterine cervix.  Since that time, it has been kind of a roller-coaster, and we have requested many of you to pray to Don Alvaro de Portillo, the first Bishop of Opus Dei, who was recently beatified by the Roman Catholic Church, to intercede on Jane's behalf.  We ask that you continue to pray and remember Jane and her caregivers in your daily prayer intentions.  We remain grateful and are indebted to so many of our family and friends who have helped us and prayed for us along the way!

August 22, 2014

Jane had a procedure performed at MD Anderson to drain a significant amount of abdominal fluid which had accumulated over the past few months.  This should provide Jane with at least temporary relief to get her through the next few weeks or so.   This build up of fluid is fairly common and the doctors are doing the best they can under the circumstances.   Jane continues to persevere and hold her own against the recurrent, metastasized adenocarcinoma cancer and the accumulated side effects over the past 34 months.  As you would expect, some days are better than other days but we are grateful for each and every day!

Many of you ask how can you help and you have helped by your prayers, rosaries, Masses and many cheerful notes and messages to Jane.  Jane's two older boys are back at LSU, with our remaining Strake Jesuit Junior at home so the house is a little less active and quieter.  We sincerely thank everyone for staying diligently with us through the highs and lows and also being very helpful over the last two and a half years plus!  We pray for you too as we march on.

Update...{July 22, 2014}

     Jane met with her doctors at M D Anderson on Monday July 21st for a regularly scheduled check up.  The doctors are monitoring the progress of the hormone therapy that Jane is presently taking and so far so good.  The cancer tumors are still there but Jane is holding her own.  Jane will remain on the hormone therapy for the foreseeable future.  Although Jane continues to suffer from multiple side effects as a result of the cumulative effect of the various treatments since October 2011, Jane continues to fight and defy the odds.  Jane remains fairly mobile and is able to attend daily Mass and interact with family and friends.  Jane's house has been full with all three sons home for the summer and it will be a little less active when two of her sons return to LSU in Mid-August.
 
     We continue to be grateful for everyone's support and assistance through this long battle.  You have all been very generous with your time and prayers and we continue to pray for all of you in our daily prayers.

June 24, 2014

As a quick update for June 2014, Jane continues with the hormone therapy that the MD Anderson doctors prescribed and is taking a daily dosage of the drug Anastrozole.  Although the drug itself does not appear to be producing any major side effects, Jane continues to suffer from other side effects such as, among others, chronic pain, lymphedema and abdominal fluid retention.  The doctors are attempting to manage the side effects with medication, to the extent possible. 

Jane stays as active as feasible under the circumstances and remains positive and hopeful.  With summer upon us, Jane's two boys from LSU are in Houston and working summer jobs.  So Jane's home is full with all of her three sons this summer.  We remain indebted and grateful to the many family and friends who continue to brighten up Jane's day with acts of kindness and prayers, Rosaries and Masses.


Update...{May 12, 2014}

Jane met with her doctors at M D Anderson today, Monday May 12th.  Based on the doctors examination and test results and the symptoms that Jane is exhibiting (retention of fluid in abdomen, increased pelvic pain levels, etc.), it appears that Jane's cancer is not responding to the Gemzar chemotherapy drug.  The doctors have prescribed a new drug for Jane, Anastrozole,  which is an oral pill to be taken daily; the good news about this drug is that there are no major side effects.  Jane will discontinue the every other week IV chemotherapy treatments.  MD Anderson has  had some success with this drug in ovarian cancer patients and Jane's tumors appear to be exhibiting ovarian cancer type characteristics. Anastrozole works by lowering estrogen hormone levels to help shrink tumors and slow the tumors' growth.

While Monday's news was not great as Jane's cancer remains stubborn,  we do have a plan and remain hopeful.  Jane's spirits remain positive and upbeat.  Jane had a great Mother's Day yesterday as her own mother was in town for the weekend.  Also, Jane's two older boys came home from college on Sunday afternoon so Jane spent Sunday evening with her whole family (including her two LSU attendees and a Strake Jesuit sophomore).  We continue to be grateful for everyone's care and concern and the outpouring of prayers, rosaries and Masses.