Update – Cowboy Strong, Fighting Cancer

Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway. – John Wayne

John-Wayne1From the start of this fight, Greg has always said, we are going to hunt down this cancer and kill it off, one tumor at a time.  Fighting spirit like no other….. Greg brings “True Grit” to fighting Cancer.

In the past two and a half years, there are a few days that stand out in my mind.  Today was one of those days.  Greg has been having some vision issues similar to when new tumors were growing.  These symptoms worried me a bit.  O.K., they worried me a lot!  Greg had a brain MRI and Chest scan scheduled for July 9th.  The doctors decided to move Greg’s scans up a couple weeks to find out what was going on.

Greg as John Wayne

Greg as John Wayne

Greg finished his scans Friday at 2:00 and our amazing Dr. Gordon (Scottsdale) called us at 11:00 Saturday morning with the brain MRI results.  No new tumors!!!  YAY!  Shrinkage of existing tumors, no growth—YAY! YAY!   Some tumors almost dissolved!!!!!  YAY! YAY! YAY!  I did not want to keep him on the phone forever to get specifics but all in all—good news! No chest results yet but I am very confident those will also look good.

As we have explained previously we are still not out of the woods.  We are still “Duke” ing it out with cancer. Kidney Cancer is one tough bandit to fight.   We are, however, headed in a very positive direction!

O.K.  Those of you not wanting medical info, skip a couple paragraphs now. I scare myself with how much I have learned about this nasty thing called cancer. I will try to make it as simple as I can.  I have just had a lot of people ask details about Greg’s treatments.. So, here goes…

We are basically treating four things right now.

  • Existing brain tumors
  • avoiding future brain tumors
  • existing lung tumors
  •  avoiding future lung tumors

Most of the positive results on the existing tumors in the brain and lungs seem to be from the Gamma Knife Radiation. For slowing of future growth we are on a Targeted Therapy called Axitinib. Basically, this medication works by blocking enzymes that are found in receptors on the surface of cancer cells. These receptors are involved in the growth and spread of cancer cells and in the development of blood vessels that supply the tumors. By blocking these receptors, Axitinib helps to reduce the growth and spread of the cancer and cut off the blood supply that keeps the cancer cells growing.

Annie Oakley

Annie Oakley

Aim at a high mark and you will hit it. No, not the first time, not the second time and maybe not the third. But keep on aiming and keep on shooting for only practice will make you perfect. Finally you’ll hit the bull’s-eye of success. —Annie Oakley

Cari as Annie Oakley

Cari as Annie Oakley

The past month has been a tough one for me.   As always, Greg has been the picture of courage.  I guess I crumbled a bit. I was not planning on sharing my weaknesses but being the Cari that I am—“Honest Annie” I decided to share my weaknesses along with my strengths so that people know they are not alone if they are struggling emotionally being the lover of a person with Stage 4 Cancer.

I have been going to counseling to try to cope with the stress of a very scary disease of my lover, my best friend, and the father of my three incredible children.   I have been very determined to get through this without medications (ok, I told you before, wine doesn’t count).

Typically, we have scans every 3 months. In between the scans, I watch Greg closely to see if there are any personality changes, judgment changes, and changes in vision, changes in emotion, and changes in health. With brain tumors, changes happen overnight.  It is also very hard not to become concerned about every bite and drink that Greg puts in his mouth.  Greg is my cookie/sweets monster and would eat junk all day long if it were up to him.  Or not eat at all.

Liz and Cari at Kiwanis Western Dinner

Liz and Cari at Kiwanis Western Dinner

Sensing some over-the-top anxiety on my part?  Apparently, I wasn’t in tune to this but I’m pretty sure all my friends and family were.

In the kitchen on a busy lunch rush at Macky’s, I lost my vision, my arms and legs went numb, and I felt very short of breath.  I was terrified!   I tried to call my friend Mona and just schedule a visit to her office.  My mom had a stroke at 47, so Mona was quite adamant that I go to the E.R.  Our son, Jeff was working in the kitchen with me, and Allie was waiting tables out front.  All I could think about was trying to act like nothing was wrong so that I didn’t scare Jeff and Allie.  Thank goodness, sweet, Rose Palandri was in for lunch and she took me down the street to the Fire Dept.  She helped me inside where all of my favorite fire fighters were having a meeting.  They asked if I brought a Bacon Burger with me and then realized I was not my normal jovial self and was not coming for a social visit.  Long story, not so short, I then went to the e.r. via an ambulance… How embarrassing……

Diagnosis..  a panic attack. Cari Day, Ms. “Has it all together” has a panic attack? Seriously?

My initial reaction—anger..  I just felt as if I had let everyone down,  I am supposed to take care of it all.  My poor kids, they have enough to deal with having a dad fighting Cancer…. Now they have to worry about their mom?  UUUGG!

Greg and Cari Dance the night away

John and Annie, dancing the night away

My second reaction-relief and excitement for a great tomorrow.    My whole view of people who have had panic attacks has changed forever.  To be honest, I have neverunderstood what they are, and what brings them on.  It was a very true wake up call for me.  I learned that pretending like you are holding it all together and actually holding it all together are two different things.

I’m still making my family and my hubby my number one priority, but I’m taking baby steps to learn take care of me at the same time.

This Annie Oakley is planning a shootout with Kidney Cancer. Ready to aim, fire and focus on the fight, not the fright.

Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday. John Wayne

Liz Cari Greg

Liz, Cari and Greg

33 Responses to Update – Cowboy Strong, Fighting Cancer

  1. Jeff Lodge July 3, 2013 at 6:36 pm #

    Great post Cari! You always reminded me of Annie Oakley, especially when you would take aim at your big brothers ass with a rubber band gun when we were kids ;)

  2. Ron Meyers July 3, 2013 at 7:00 pm #

    That is awesome news Cari! I’m so happy for both of you and know that there is still a long hard battle in front of you .. I have no worries that you’ll both conquer that battle with style and grace!!

    • Cari July 4, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

      Thank you so much Ron. We are up for the battle. Hope all is well with you.

  3. Luann Gil Carpino July 3, 2013 at 7:01 pm #

    how do I keep track of you all on this site? do I need to “like” somewhere? you are in my prayers…you write so beautifully, I feel as if I’m in your head <3

    • Jeff Lodge July 3, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

      Hey Luann, you can like the Facebook page at the top right of this page. Every update to the blog will be announced there :)

    • Cari July 4, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

      Thank you Luann. I have actually been sorting pics and may have some “older than mud” pics to post. Thank you so much for the prayers girl

  4. Kevin Appel July 3, 2013 at 7:09 pm #

    Numbness in the limbs and shortness of breath at Macky’s…If that’s a panic attack, I have had one every single time I see the server walking up with my wings.

    Glad to hear the good news about the tumors!! Keep on fighting Day family!

    • Jeff Lodge July 3, 2013 at 7:19 pm #

      LMAO. Me too!!

    • Cari July 4, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

      Maybe that was it? Thanks for the diagnosis Kevin. You should have been a doctor. Miss you guys! Hope the new house is going well. It looks beautiful!

  5. Joyce Keddington July 3, 2013 at 7:27 pm #

    Great job Beautiful.. You are a rock!!! We love Day Family.. ((huggs))

    • Cari July 4, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

      The Day Family loves you Ms. Joyce. Miss you like crazy

  6. Nancy Landino July 3, 2013 at 7:30 pm #

    You write so beautifully. Thank you for being so open and honest – who knows the number of people you are touching and helping who may be going through their own difficult situations. I will do as Jeff says above and like this Facebook page so I can continue to follow you. It’s such wonderful news about the tumors. God bless you all as you keep up the good fight!

    • Cari July 4, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

      Thank you Nancy. Hope all went well with your Arizona ladies! Happy Independence Day!

  7. Mike Clark July 3, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

    Thinking of and praying for the Day family daily. I would pray that I would have your strength to prevail should I ever face a similar situation. Both of you are amazing. Mike Clark

    • Cari July 4, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

      Prayers from everyone have been amazing. Thank you Mike!

  8. Sandi Crane July 3, 2013 at 8:28 pm #

    YAY to the great news! You guys are beating it all to hell….(that is where cancer belongs!) Kari, I used to have panic attacks. Your description was just like mine. I was in ER 4 or 5 times, before they figured it out. I haven’t had one for 20 years now…. thank goodness. They are really scary, and believe me, you have no control over them, so don’t feel that you are weak. Stress is the main culprit usually, or a poor diet, which I had back then. I changed my diet radically, and starting getting lots of exercise, and they disappeared. hmmm…… You will be fine, Greg is going to be cancer free soon, and there will be some big time celebrating to do!! love, Sandi and Dick.

    • Cari July 4, 2013 at 2:19 pm #

      To hell with you… Cancer. I like it! I also agree about the eating. Just made us a big bowl of nutty, fruity oatmeal. Always love to see your smiling face at church. Lots of celebrating ahead

  9. Jennifer Colburn July 3, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

    Great update! Don’t forget to take care of yourself. I really admire you. You are an amazing lady! xoxo

    • Cari July 4, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

      Thank you-Miss you Jen.. Need to bring that family to Payson. Hugs to all!

  10. Royce Kincanon July 3, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

    You Both are my strength.

    • Cari July 4, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

      Thank you so much Royce. Thank you again for the awesome DJ/KJ action for Jeff’s graduation. Love you guys!

  11. Bobby Davis July 3, 2013 at 9:39 pm #

    GREAT NEWS!!!!! Cari I am so proud of you and Greg. What a TEAM the Day Family is. You both are so strong and a joy to call our FRIENDS. My God bless each of you and I know that the Day Family will always be strong.
    It is an honor to be your friend.

    • Cari July 4, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

      Thank you Davis Family for soo.. being there for the Day Family. You have been a great TEAM leader Mr. Davis. The honor goes right back to you!

  12. Becky Sopeland July 4, 2013 at 1:44 am #

    This page is a great idea….so glad for good news about Greg….now Cari, you can’t CARRY this whole thing on your shoulders…you know who to give it to…

    • Cari July 4, 2013 at 2:26 pm #

      Yes, Thank you for the reminders.

  13. Gary Cordell July 4, 2013 at 2:21 am #

    What amazes me so much is that the two of you have such sustaining power. This has been a long haul. And your resolve is greater than ever. And that is through your love for each other. “The partial vanishes when wholeness comes. There are but three things that last forever. Faith, Hope and Love. And the greatest of them all is Love”. You are my heroes! Press on and love even more.

  14. Cari July 4, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

    Thank you Gary. My favorite verse! The greatest is Love!

  15. Bobette July 4, 2013 at 4:01 pm #

    Day family you are all my heroes!! Whether weak, strong, sad , or happy you are always real. Love you all so much. Happy 4th.

  16. Bernadette & Dan Dillon July 4, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

    Awesome update, thanks. You got lots of words and are incredible at putting them together! Let me know if you ever need a ride, we’ll take the long way ;)

  17. Rick Greene July 5, 2013 at 12:34 am #

    Hey, Greg. It’s Rick. I’m a John Wayne fan and a Greg Day fan, as well. I feel confident between the Duke and Annie that this bandit will get shot down!! We appreciate hearing the updates. Luv ya, Man.

  18. Robert Henley July 6, 2013 at 5:06 pm #

    Cari

    You sure have come a long way from my and Ann’s first conversations with you after you learned of Greg’s cancer. You, Greg, and family are an inspiration to everyone who knows the story. You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. I have always heard a journal is very therapeutic and using your website to communicate your thoughts to your friends is very helpful to all of us.

    Best to you and your family.

  19. Grant Gerke July 6, 2013 at 8:50 pm #

    Cari and Greg, thinking about you guys, and sending our thoughts and prayers your way. Cari, your family story is both courageous and uplifting. Stay strong and know that many, many friends are behind you!

  20. Liz July 7, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

    Love this piece. What an amazing women you are! Love you tons!

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