Cancer Is Consuming, But We Are Pressing On

A six-hour ER visit, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, drowsiness, lightheadedness, sweating, gastrointestinal issues, abnormally high heart rate, unusual bumps on his hands, red spots scattering his back, a light rash emerging on his abdomen and sides, a knot in his stomach, heartburn and pressure in his chest, feelings of fullness and air in the abdomen, feeling unusually and painfully full when ingesting small amounts of food, ear pain, sore throat, mild cough, and two days with oxygen saturation rates as low as 91 and 92.

These are the countless number of symptoms my husband has experienced the past eight days. His diagnosis? Metastatic uveal melanoma, an incredibly rare form of eye cancer that metastasized to his liver four and a half months ago.

Cancer is consuming, but we are pressing on.

He stayed home from work one day. Went in for two hours the next day, three hours the day after that. Managed a half day the following work day. Worked from home yesterday. Trying to work today. Work goes on. Life goes on.

Cancer is consuming, but we are pressing on.

They spent two months tapering from 100 to 7.5 mg Prednisone, brought it back to 15 for two days to combat the host of symptoms, then dropped it to 7.5 again. Tomorrow, he’ll be back on 15 for two days, then they’ll taper and hold at 10. That’ll get us through the next six days, then we’ll meet with a new doctor who’ll have his own set of requirements for the clinical trial we’ll be trying.

Cancer is consuming, but we are pressing on.

Two days ago, we went in for a CT scan and MRI of the abdomen. Yesterday, we went in for a MRI of the brain. Today, we went in to meet with the doctor.

Hallelujah, the brain, lungs and other organs are still clear and cancer free. But all the liver tumors have grown. Whereas there were 14 tumors in the liver at the last MRI on September 7, 2018, there are now 15 liver tumors. Whereas the largest tumor (aka “Segment 6”) was 3.5 x 3.1 cm on September 7th, it’s now 4.1 x 3.2 cm on November 5th. Whereas the second-largest tumor (aka “Segment 7”) was 1.8 x 1.9 cm on September 7th, it’s now 2.8 x 2.4 cm on November 5th. The rest are the size of grapes or cherry tomatoes. Mayo Clinic’s website tells me that a 3 cm tumor is the size of a strawberry and a 5 cm tumor is the size of a lime. So the biggest lesion is somewhere between a strawberry and a lime. Seems trite to compare a strawberry, lime or cherry tomato to a tumor, but for some reason, that helps us comprehend.

Cancer is consuming, but we are pressing on. 

My husband’s first treatment, immunotherapy, was deemed ineffective, as the tumors increased in size and quantity during the time he was receiving those infusions. He had a severe reaction after the third infusion, which caused his liver enzymes to soar out of control. Unusually high liver enzymes were combatted with high doses of Prednisone, which was followed by a slow Prednisone taper. Three months later, we finally have normal liver enzymes again and low enough Prednisone dosing to move on with the next-best treatment option, a clinical trial. In six days, we will drive to Portland where we’re scheduled for an intake appointment with Dr. Curti who is in charge of the clinical trial, imcGP100. We don’t have a start date for treatment. We don’t know a lot of details about the trial, in fact. But in six days, we have the intake and will hopefully know more.

Cancer is consuming, but we are pressing on. 

Every day, for the past eight days, it has been difficult to predict what the day will bring. Will my husband feel well? Will he be dizzy, lightheaded? Will he be able to work in the office, at home, at all? Will he be sleepy and ill in the morning, afternoon, evening or all three? Will I find him reclining on the comfy chair in our bedroom, taking a break from getting dressed in the morning? Will he be in bed with the door closed, or on the couch with the TV on? It’s hard to say what ANY day will bring, let alone any hour. We don’t know. We are hoping for improvement. We are hoping for stability. We are hoping for some answers. They’re telling us it could be a virus that came on at the same time as he was tapering low on the Prednisone, that his adrenal glands have taken a hit with all the Prednisone and can’t keep up with production. Oh, and did I mention, we are getting a referral to the dermatologist for those unusual assortment of bumps on his hands and red spots on his back? The doctor took pictures. He hasn’t seen anything like it. Maybe the dermatologist will know from just looking at the pictures, but she’ll probably want to see them for herself. He’s going to email the dermatologist the photos and try to get us scheduled sooner rather than later. Does anyone know what’s going on?

Cancer is consuming, but we are pressing on.

Our former neighbor texted, asking for our address so she could send something. “I’m so sorry from the bottom of my heart that I haven’t gotten something out to you yet – there are really no excuses and all I can say is we were so busy…” She then went on to describe everything that’s been happening in their family the past five months. The craziness, the chaos, the unpredictability, the projects, the trying to get everything organized again.

I stared at her text, wondering if she felt guilty for living her life and not tending to us sooner. I could write a whole post begging you to live your normal, regular, boring, everyday life, but the truth is…

LIFE is consuming for ALL of us. We are ALL pressing on.

She went on to say she thinks of us “literally every day,” that they “are praying for all of [us]…and sending [their] love.” I responded intentionally with “thank you so much.” That’s all that needed to be said. Thank you so much for thinking of us. Thank you so much for your prayers, your love, your kindness in reaching out during our time of need.

LIFE is consuming, but we press on hour by hour, day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year.

None of us know where each hour, each day, each week, each month will bring us. None of us can predict where we’ll be a year from now.

So live, press on your path courageously. Recognize the good AND the bad, the ying AND the yang, the excitement AND the discouragement, the projects AND the piles left undone, the ups AND the downs, the joy AND the sadness, the health AND the sickness. For we WILL have trouble, but take heart, dear one. There is a God, and He has overcome.

So wherever you are, be there. Press on. Live hard. Take your vacation. Work that job. Hug your kid. Go on an adventure. Lie in bed and feel like crap. Pray to God He’ll restore your son’s health. Cry to the song you played on repeat when you were at your lowest. Live the best life you can. Every day. For today. Good or bad. Good AND bad. No matter what. Whatever life looks like. Believe it’s okay.


  1. Betty hjelmhaug says:

    Amy Seth and family my prayers go out to you daily god is by your side 

  2. Erika Novak says:

    You two are amazing!  Praying for miraculous healing and strength!  God Bless you both and He is with you each moment.  Love you and miss you!

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