Thursday, December 12, 2013

What's Up???

Dennis' New Treatment

Dennis started the new NovaCure treatment on December 2.  We are still trying to getting used to the logistics of carrying around batteries and planning for how long we can be gone before he runs out of power.  Dennis is finding that even when he is home it is easier to run off of the batteries instead of plugging into the wall unless he knows he will be in one place for an extended period of time, like at night when he sleeps.  At least when he is on batteries, he does not need to shut everything off and unplug before he can move.  I’m learning how to change the electrodes and I’m feeling pretty comfortable with it.  I am actually teaching a friend how to do it also in case I am not available when he needs a change or as Dennis says, “In case you are not in mood where I want you to do it.”  This treatment is not easy in that it is cumbersome and so visible.  On the positive side, there are no side effects with it.    He will have an MRI at the end of January but the doctor told us that the first MRI on this treatment often shows pseudo progression so it is not a good indicator of if the treatment is being affective.  We continue to pray for complete healing and restoration. 

Beating the Odds

It has been 18 months since Dennis was first diagnosed.  If you have done any reading on GBM, you know that he has already beaten the odds.  We are grateful for this and trust he will blow the statistics out of the water!  In those 18 months we have struggled, grieved, rejoiced, celebrated…LIVED!  We remind ourselves often that if we dwell too much on what the future may hold, we miss out on what the present is giving us.

A Look Back

As I look back over these 18 months, there are so many things for which we can rejoice and be thankful:
  • Dennis has never had a seizure with this.
  • Dennis has struggled with fatigue (which at some points has been pretty overwhelming), word finding and has recently had some balance issues but overall he has done well following major brain surgery.
  • Our insurance continues to cover the costs of his very expensive medical bills.
  • We are blessed with a large group of friends who have used their individual gifts and talents to help us over and over again.
  • Our financial needs have been met, sometimes in unforeseen ways, during all of this.
  • Brooklyn has flourished in our family despite all of the stress of dealing with a very serious illness.

And those are just the highlights.  I won’t bore you with all of the details but most of them are in earlier posts in this blog if you want to go back for a review. 


On the Home Front


On a bit of a sad note, we said good-bye to our golden retriever, Abby, on Monday.  She would have been 15 in February.  Abby came into my life before I met Dennis and has been a wonderful part of our family for all of these years.  Her sweet temperament will be missed in our house. 

Have a Great Christmas

I trust you all will have a wonderful holiday season.  We will celebrate our Saviors birth with both sides of our family.  We hope you also have the opportunity to spend time with your families in the weeks ahead. 


  1. Thanks for the update, dear friends.
    Nancy and I are continuing to pray with you and for you, trusting the Lord for His provision for well as the certainty of our future in Him.
    Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We celebrate His birth with you!
    George and Nancy

  2. Thanks for the update, Ellen. Kristi and I are going through RCIA to become Catholic so that we may join our daughter in First Communion next April. At the weekly meetings I always make a point to have you and your family included in our prayers. I am very sorry to hear about Abby. We have a cat that just turned 20. We know she will not be around much longer and she will be missed greatly when her time comes. I, like you, got her before I met my spouse and when my dear old cat friend moves on it will be like a significant chapter in my life has ended.

    I would like to send a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to your family on behalf of my family. May peace with you during the Christmas season.

    Jeff, Kristi, and Kayla De Meyer

  3. Thanks for the update, Ellen. Eighteen months certainly is a major milestone with GBM. I keep hoping for the best and will be very interested to see how the NovaCure works. I read some about it and it sounds promising. As you know, there are not a lot of options for treatment of recurrent GBM. This was not an option offered to my sister and after reading about it I wonder what her outcome might have been if she had done it.

    I'm sorry to hear about Abby. I know how difficult it can be to lose a canine family member after that much time but I'm sure she had a good life and was happy to be part of your family.

    Thinking of you all always,

  4. As I was saying "happy new year" today I remembered you both and how hard it must be for you to contemplate the masses cheerfully wishing each other happy new year. I'm terrible with formulating empathetic encouraging comments but want you both to know I am praying for you. I know I'm not in your inner circle of care-offerers but please do let me know if there is anything, anything at all, that you need. I'm going to Chicago tomorrow with my daughter, Hannah. Would you like a deep dish pizza? Do you have plans for watching the Packers Sunday (assuming you care at all)? Do you need snow shoveling? Anything? God bless you in your journey.