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Monday, August 25, 2014

Seattle Bound!

During Zach's 15th round of chemo last Friday night he received a call from Seattle.  We have an appointment up there in a couple of weeks to discuss the possibility of Zach receiving treatment through a clinical trial.  The trial I mentioned a few weeks ago in the blog has not yet opened; this is a different one.  We knew this trial was a possibility but one that Zach had to "qualify" for based on certain indicators in his tumor biopsy.  It wasn't really worth mentioning at the time because there was a very slim chance Zach was a candidate.  We are thankful that yet another door has been opened.  But during this journey we've learned that the highs can be very high and the lows devastatingly low.  Therefore we are remaining as emotionally neutral about the situation as we can.

The school year has begun for Zach.  He is managing his pain the best he can but the medication and chemo can have nasty side effects.  I would love prayers for Zach--that his energy be restored and his pain minimal.

 Zach on "daddy duty!"

 Love these brown eyes...

 ...and this smile!

Max loves the bathtub!

Zach and Oliver at the fair.  We went early one morning to look at the animals.  It was so much fun and the boys did so well we stayed for lunch AND returned for another 3 hours of fun after naps.  

Max and mommy!

Zach and Oliver watching a horse event.  

Family picture!

Nathaniel spent the morning with us.  Along with wrangling Oliver he was our entertainment, as usual. 

Oliver loves Pronto Pup (nearly) as much as me.  

 Oliver on his first fair ride!  He LOVED it and drove that boat like a pro.

Grams and Oliver on the kangaroo.

Oliver enjoying another snack.  And Zach waiting for him to share.

 Grams and Max!

Oliver's thinking: bacon.  
Pig's thinking: looks like one bite to me.

 Zach and Oliver.

Rocky Road ice cream is serious business in Oliver's book!

Zach is a good sport about pictures.  I think this was the look, however, that I needed to wrap it up :)

A wonderful day at the fair with our little family.

Stepped out of my comfort zone and did a run...for fun.  What's that you ask?  It means you don't have to train, eat properly the night before, or refuse coffee the morning of.  I should do these "fun" runs more often!

A colorful and happy bunch!  A few of the amazing girls who I am proud to call friends; they are a great source of support for me.

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Purple Grizzly Once Again

Zach completed round #14 of chemo today.  After next Friday's treatment he will have 1 week off.  So far the side effects are similar to what he faced with the other 2 drugs.  He has been able to manage them pretty well with medication.  

Last year a local family lost their young dad to brain cancer.  They had many wonderful memories in McCall and enjoyed staying at the Shore Lodge.  In support of other young families who are also battling cancer, the family reached out to us earlier this spring through MSTI and gave us a gift card to the Shore Lodge.  I booked the trip months ago for mid-August, not expecting we would have a bump in the road so soon regarding Zach's health.  Last week I wasn't even sure Zach and I would be able to go.  We didn't know how he would react to this new treatment and I was concerned about his level of pain.  Thankfully, Zach was committed to going regardless of how he felt and with the help of loving family who cared for Oliver and Max, we spent 3 wonderful days in McCall.  I didn't plan any activities in advance (shocking for those who know me!!) as we didn't know what Zach would be up for.  We were perfectly content to sit by the lake if we needed.  But Zach did feel good.  We kayaked, picnicked, golfed at Whitetail, watched the PGA (yes, I know I am an extremely understanding wife) and had some great meals.  

But it was a bittersweet trip for several reasons.  It was never far from our minds why we were there in the first place.  It was a wonderful gift that the family gave us but it didn't come without heartache on their part.  It was also a reminder of Zach's diagnosis.  We had the opportunity to talk.  But much went unsaid as it is still too difficult to talk about at this point.  

A history position opened up in July at Rocky Mountain (thus the Grizzly title reference).  Zach applied and got the job.  He left Rocky for Eagle 2 years ago with the hopes of becoming Eagle's varsity basketball coach. When the basketball position opened up this spring, however, it became clear that Zach's health would not allow him to be the kind of coach the kids and the program needed. He would still like to coach at Rocky this year but that will depend on his health.  It is definitely not ideal to coach at one school while teaching at another. Rocky is the best fit for where he is at in life.  And while he is thrilled to be back at Rocky Mountain we will miss Eagle's incredibly supportive teachers, administrators, parents and students. Both schools have been an amazing source of support for the 4 of us and we are forever grateful to both!  

Dinner at Cottonwood Grill with family.  My Aunt Pam, Uncle Marc, cousin Phillip and his wife Sheryl were in town for business and treated us to a fun evening.  

Zach felt surprisingly good after last Friday's first round of the new treatment.  He slept through the infusion and joined us for dinner.  He was his usual jolly self! 

Mitch and Jessica!  So cute.  

My dad and Zach.  

Zach and I kayaked in McCall.  Such a peaceful and beautiful morning!

Floating along, looking for moose.  Sadly, we saw none.  

A picnic on the beach after kayaking.  

Zach golfed at Whitetail.  I caddied.  And drove the cart.  But was nearly fired after I drove it full speed off the sidewalk and crashed onto the road. Why on earth anyone would make the sidewalk and road the same color is beyond me.  Looked like a smooth flat surface to me! :)  

We eventually settled into our rolls: Zach telling me when I could/could not drive on the greens and me suggesting he use his driver for every shot.  

Clearly he needs to work on his short game.  

Lunch at the Shore Lodge before we headed home. 

Ingersoll selfie!

While it we had a fun 3 days in McCall it was wonderful to get home to Oliver and Max.  

Max doing what he does best--smiling!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Very Sad News

2 1/2 weeks ago Zach started having lower back pain.  He attributed it to working out too vigorously and perhaps one too many rounds of golf (no such thing!!--says every golfer out there).  We spent a week on the Oregon Coast at the family condo and the pain persisted.  Massages and prescription pain killers did not offer any relief.  This week, Monday and Tuesday were tough days for Zach.  The pain began to radiate to his stomach.  Wednesday was awful as he could not do anything to lessen the pain.  Late Wednesday night he was in such excruciating pain that I decided the ER was our best option.  After convincing Zach that I was not about to let him drive himself to the ER I called my mom who came over to stay with the little boys.  In the ER Zach was given morphine and once that hit his system he announced "the party has started!"  It definitely helped deaden the pain for a period of time.  He was put through a myriad of tests and scans in the ER.  It was a long, sleepless night waiting for the ER doctor to share the results with us.  Finally around 4:00 a.m. we received some very tough news--Zach's cancer has metastasized to his liver and lungs.  The cancer has also grown in his lymph nodes.  The cancer has gotten smarter and mutated in order to survive in other areas of his body.  

Ironically, Zach was scheduled for chemotherapy and an appointment with Dr. Dan early Wednesday morning.  So we left the ER, came home to shower, then left again for MSTI.  We discussed 2 options: seek out a clinical trail in Seattle or begin a new chemo regiment in Boise with a new drug (Ramucirumab) that was approved by the FDA in April.  

Dr. Dan called today with some news. He has not had the opportunity to speak directly with anyone in Seattle yet. But through his research he was able to find a clinical trial there that he thought might benefit Zach.  The only problem – the clinical trial has not yet opened. And no word on when that might happen. So tomorrow Zach will begin a new regimen of Ramucirumab and Taxol.  3 weeks on, 1 week off.  

While Zach and I knew full well that there was a likelihood the cancer might metastasize at some point, it is surprising that it happened so soon.  Zach is coming to the realization that he has far less time than he originally though.  That is a tough pill for both of us to swallow! But God is giving us an incredible sense of peace.  We both believe without a shadow of a doubt in God's promise of an eternity with Him.  We are remaining faithful...regardless.  

I've taken nearly 1,500 pictures since the first of July. And no that is not a typo.  It was tough to narrowing them down.  You've been warned. 

The Ingersolls on the pier at the Oregon coast!

 Love this little boy so much!

Beach selfie!

Max on the pool deck.  

 I turned my back only for a moment!

 Lunch in Florence.  I think Oliver might be the only child in the universe who prefers carrots and pickles over his main entree.

 Zach and Oliver enjoying ice cream! It was a rare treat for all of us given Zach's healthy eating habits. 

 Kris and Mark.

Grams and Oliver hiking up to the Heceta Head lighthouse in Florence.

Max exploring his new home for the week.  He is turning out much like his brother--busy and inquisitive!

 Oliver and his loader moving some rock outside the condo.  

 Max and me walking around Florence.  Miss wearing him on the front and kissing that sweet forehead but he is getting too big.

 A rare shot--Oliver willingly holding my hand!

I enjoyed every minute of baby wearing this trip!  Before I know it Max will be 18...and likely far too large to wear then :)

 Zach and I snuck away for a hike and dinner while Grams watched the boys.  

Once guess who was supposed to be sleeping at this very moment...  

 Zach and Oliver waiting to board the ship to do some whale watching.  

 Zach and Oliver enjoyed snuggling on the deck during the rough seas.  We spotted 3 whales--well worth the rough seas and a slippery toddler.  

 Captain Oliver steering the ship into safe waters.  

 Max and his thumb were wide away for a very short time. 

 Whale watching is an exhausting task!

After 1 hour Oliver was ready to run around and get off the ship.  Unfortunately the trip was only half over.  Zach definitely earned his "daddy gold star" for wrangling Oliver.  

My running route each morning. 


Oliver and his puppy Douglass are reunited!  We spent the first night in Bend to break up the long drive.  We put the boys to bed at 6:30 which meant Zach and I also had an early bedtime.  Oliver and Max were well rested and wide awake at 5:00 the following morning. It was a crazy morning of spilled milk and flying eggs at breakfast followed by Oliver locking himself in our hotel room.  Alone.  Who knew the kid could deadbolt a door in the first place?!  It was wonderful to learn the room key did not unlock the deadbolt.  During the craziness Douglas was dropped.  But we didn't realize it until our first night at the coast!  A good samaritan (likely a mom) found Douglas outside the hotel room and delivered him to the front desk.  I improvised during our vacation and told Oliver since we were on a very special he got to sleep with his front loader!  Thank goodness he fell for that and Loader appeased him for the week.  We picked Doug up on our way home and Oliver was elated.  

 Max finishing off my coffee for me.

 Max, Zach and Sophie's legs.

 Jessica, Mitch, my dad, Zach and I enjoyed lunch at Cottonwood Grille to celebrate my dad's birthday!

 Max isn't quite sure about the whole shopping cart experience yet.

 The boys in the BOB!

 Our friends the Rathbuns treated us to a delicious dinner at Chandler's.

 Oliver!  Smiling!  And facing the camera!!

A friend offered us their McCall home in mid July. We got away with the boys and my mom for a few days.

 I'm pretty sure that's not sanitary.

  We spent a morning up at Brundage where Oliver preferred to sit in the parking lot with his toys and play in the dirt. He's all boy!

 Snuggling at Brundage.

On the beach in McCall.

 Grandma Kathi and Oliver after dinner in McCall.

 Happy Max!

 Oliver...busy as usual with Digger.

 Hiking around Brundage.

Max in the sand.  

 Zach and Oliver.

 Max building sandcastles.

 Our family!

 Max loved the lake and the sand.  He fearlessly crawled everywhere.  

 The Ingersoll boys!

Oliver and Digger playing in the sand.

Back in Boise we spent a morning at the Farmers' Market.  

Zach and his boys.

Oliver loved running through the Grove fountain.  

The boys at the park!