Monday, December 29, 2008

We are all curled up on the couches watching Mizzou and N'Western play football. Chandler is asleep, but they boys are keeping up. I don't know what's going on, but a football just hit an umpire in the face... that was kinda funny.

Frank and the boys got home yesterday from their hunting trip down in the Mississippi Delta. Chase shot his first deer! I got a phone call about 7:30 Saturday morning from a very excited and proud young man.....and after that, I got to talk to Chase.... :) Zach did a lot of duck hunting with his uncle Dave and a good time was had by all. Chandler worked Friday, Sat and Sunday, but we squeezed in some girl time and saw the movie Marley and Me.

The boys wouldn't have missed that hunting trip for anything, and we're so glad they got to go, but Frank came home admitting his pain has increased each day. He's having a lot of discomfort in his pelvic area, with pain shooting down his leg. He's also having some shoulder, sternum and rib pain. The good news is he doesn't wear his eye patch anymore (and subsequently stopped growling like a pirate) and the double vision has gotten better. Praise the Lord!

We got up early for his last radiation treatment. We also met with the Radiation Oncologist, Dr. Lee. We had a good talk with him and got some questions answered. We've been impressed with how detailed and attentive he is. We are so thankful we were able to do these treatments at home.

Frank and I were up all last night. He had trouble getting comfortable. We tossed and turned, took little white pills, and talked and rested until they seemed to help him. With Frank's increasing discomfort, we talked this morning and decided to call Little Rock. They scheduled an MRI, Cat scan and labs for tomorrow instead of next week. We will still see Dr. Barlogie on Jan 2 as planned.

It's half time for football now..... so we are switching typing duties, Peggy has been itching to watch the University of Memphis basketball game. Our family has deep ties to this game in particilar. Lisa & Jim and Jim's parents are torn (kinda) about who to root for. Mr. Amann and Lauren are both Cincy Alumni and they are all sitting together pulling for........heck, I don't know...but I hope the right team wins ! Peg's trying to find them on TV.

To elaborate a bit more on the weekend hunting event, Chase did bag his first deer, but Zach also had success shooting ducks and the three Carlton grandsons ( Zach, Chase, and Read) all enjoyed shooting a REAL machine gun and riding 4-wheelers. Grand-daddy Carlton is a gun collector and brought out a vintage WW II submachine gun. Compared to today's guns, this kind of weapon is not that effective. But to be able to shoot a 45 caliber, WWII, tanker machine gun was still pretty cool..... and I left my camera at home!
Go Memphis!

Hebrews 13:15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.

Please join us in prayer as we thank God for all He's done and for wisdom as we prepare to discuss the next phase of treatment for Frank, for pain relief for Frank, and comfort for every need.

Peg and Frank

Thursday, December 25, 2008


We hope you all are having a wonderful Christmas. We are having a sweet time just hanging out at the house today.

Frank's radiation treatments have been going well this week. He's really happy to have the day off though. He says about 2 hours after the treatment he gets really tired, and it's accumulative effect is catching up with him. He's napping pretty often and that seems to keep him going.... Right now he's packing the boys for their annual hunting trip. They'll leave tomorrow after his treatment and be gone till Sunday.

Thank you for your prayers for our family. We have been so thankful for each person that has touched our lives in so many ways. After we got home from our family Christmas, we sat in a circle and went through our Christmas cards enjoying every one's pictures, and well wishes. We spent sweet time sharing what God has done in our lives and in our hearts. We prayed for God's blessings on each of you.

Merry merry Christmas!!

The Carltongang

Monday, December 22, 2008

Good morning,

No doubt, with the last weekend before Christmas behind us, everyone is very busy. We opted out of several parties to have a more focused and relaxed weekend, but even at that, we've been on the move trying to "get ready".

Our pastor encouraged us last week to .... "Be still and know that I am God"..... to "get ready" for Christmas inside and out. What a timely message! A lot of our quiet moments have been in the middle of the night, as Frank nor I are sleeping that much. We haven't had so many 3 am conversation since the kids were in diapers. My other quiet moments are wet most of the time. His have too. I wish my tear ducts would have mercy on me and allow me at least some control. But even with all we have on our hearts, everytime I look in my yard I see a cradle and a cross. I am so thankful for the faithfulness and promises of our Lord and for His unfailing love.

Frank started radiation this morning. It went just like they said it would, FAST. Frank's parents are here with us so we all went to the clinic. We got there early and were done around 8:30 so we went and had McDonald's coffee (and the Big Boy Breakfast) to celebrate.

The treatments are everyday this week except Thurs, with the last one on next Monday, making a total of 5.

We have an appointment to see Dr. Barlogie in Little Rock on Jan 2.

Our devotion out of Jesus Calling yesterday ended like this:

Do not fear your weakness, for it is the stage on which My Power and Glory perform most brilliantly. As you persevere along the path I have prepared for you, depending on My strength to sustain you, expect to see miracles -- and you will. Miracles are not always visible to the naked eye, but those who live by faith can see them clearly. Living by faith, rather than sight, enables you to see My glory.

2 Cor 5:7 We live by faith, not by sight.

Please join us as we pray and look for miracles! We feel like Frank is a miracle already!

Please pray we see fast results from the radiation and his double vision will subside.
Pray that Frank will have a clear cut answer before him as new plans for treatment are discussed and that he (we) will feel a peace about what to do next.
Pray for strength: emotional, physical and spiritual for each of us.

Much love, peg and frank

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's Tuesday morning and I apologise for taking so long to publish this, but we had a long day Monday. When we pulled up to our house, little angels had decorated our yard for Christmas, and our table was set for dinner. After that, the snuggling began.....

To begin with, the meeting with the Dr. went about like we thought it would...I still have some areas of active disease. We kinda sorta knew this was going on, although we had hoped by some miracle, that the myeloma sites were going away.

The tough part is that I have a new lesion above my right eye over the frontal lobe that is causing me to have double vision among a few other symptoms. We wound up getting into an difficult situation with Dr. B in Little Rock asking me to stay for immediate radiation treatment, but my insurance telling me since I had suitable facilities in Memphis I needed to go home. We wound up coming home. It was sleeting in Little Rock when we left and we were glad to get out of there when we did.

All of that was a direct answer to prayer and a confirmation for us. Last week, after careful thought and consideration, we changed local oncologist and I am now back with my first doctor, Alva Weir. He had moved away, but is with UT group now. Peggy ran into him a few weeks ago not realizing he was seeing patients again. We met with him last week and decided to make the move. He helped us set things up right away and I have an appointment this morning with a radiologist to see about getting started with radiation to the lesion pressing on the right eye area.

Running late.... please pray! We'll report more later tonight.

Love Frank & Peggy

OK, it’s the end of another long day but progress was made.

Peggy and I met with Dr Lee this morning, who explained that he needed a special CAT Scan that involved me making a mask and having different kind of MRI in order to for them to make a final plan for treatment. Thankfully we got it all done today.

I was also discussed at Tuesday conference in Little Rock. When Dr. Lee called to have the MRI FedEx-ed here, Dr. Barlogie's nurse was taken off guard. They thought I was there, ready for treatment. We explained what happened with insurance and that we would be back the week as soon as these radiation treatments are over. She shared with me more chemo with stem cell recovery was discussed this morning. At least now I know what their thinking. But like we said before, we are glad to be home for now ... home for Christmas.

Wednesday we will be waiting on a call back from Dr Lee’s office to let us know when the treatments will begin.

We will be back on offense with my cancer soon!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thursday and Friday have been very busy, but we are back home.... safe and sound. Zach drove us home, logging more interstate experience to his driving time. He did great.

Frank did his PET scan, labs and MRI's yesterday. He had his bone marrow biopsy this morning. All the staff asked where Zach was.... just grinning from ear to ear. The story got told again of how he just slid right out of his chair last time he and Frank were there. They all thought that was so funny. And we did too. We told them Zach has a really good attitude about the teasing because we really give him a hard time about it. Zach says he did it on purpose to help make their day more interesting.... it was sacrifice!

The kids did a great job staying focused. They worked on school while we were there, and even in the car. We did have really sweet family time together. There is something about being in a little space with nothing to do..... I love it!

We can feel the prayers! Thank you so much. I love it when God just meets you where you are. I know He always does, but sometimes it's just so obvious! Our devotion today started like this:
(from Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young)

"I am taking care of you. Feel the warmth and security of being enveloped in My loving Presence. Every detail of your life is under My control. Moreover, everything fits into a pattern for good, to those who love Me and are called according to My design and purpose." (Romans 8:28)

and ended like this.... "If you could only see how close I am to you and how constantly I work on your behalf, you would never again doubt that I am wonderfully caring for you. This is why you must walk by faith, not by sight; trusting in My mysterious, majestic Presence." (2 Cor 5:7)

Thank you, Lord! (wow, I should have had a V8)

with hearts wide open....

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

20 days since our last entry....

Our computer's been broken.............. No?
We forgot our password?..................... No good either?
Yea, no excuse.

We enjoyed Thanksgiving in Jackson. It was great to all be together. Everybody was there! 9 grandkids: ages 3 to 16. That's always fun! Chase got his braces on a few days before we left, but he adjusted well and they didn't bother him a bit. Zach got to show off his driving skills for Frank and Frannie. (I'm sure the color has come back to their knuckles by now!)

Since we've been back, Frank's had weekly labs. You'd never know it to look at him, but his labs have been consistently lower than we have expected/wanted them to be. We both keep scratching our heads wondering why. Is this his new normal after 6 transplants? Is recovery just slow after that heavy of a chemo? Will a bag of stem cells help him? I bet they're better next week!! And so goes the train of thought.
But the labs hover about the same each week. Low enough to need a transfusion one week (Frank says "no thank you", "I don't have time to do that today" ) and just high enough to escape needing one the next week, only to repeat the cycle again next time.

This has been a bit frustrating. Low blood counts have kept Frank more tired/less energy than he's used to operating on. But he is VERY determined to complete a full day. He has been working and so happy to be at Elliott. His other complaint with low counts is that he's cold all the time. Of course winter weather doesn't help that any. We have space heaters in our room and bathroom. I now know what menopause will feel like! He's running me out of the room! Another patient gave us the warmest blanket last month. He'll curl up in the recliner after work with the blanket and nap all toasty in his cocoon!

His pain has been managed mostly with the Fentanyl patches. They're nice because you can wear them for 3 days. It has given him relief for which we are so very thankful.

We jumped right back into a full schedule when we got home. In the past 3 weeks, we've finished the soccer season , piano season, had a guitar recital, a dance, youth group parties, and a house full of kids (my favorite). I even drove to Orlando and back with mom to help her with her aunt. School is almost out for Christmas! We've all survived a semester of home schooling. I now have a nervous twitch, but that's not really important is it?? And finally, Chandler got a job. She is hostessing at a local restaurant and is very excited about ~ well, earning some money!!

But this is always the hardest part to share. I can type all day about all this other stuff, and I know that if you are reading this you either ARE family, or you care ABOUT our family, but the truth is we wouldn't have this website if not for another reason. After 6 years, it doesn't get any easier to come clean with the deepest fears in our soul. In a lot of ways, it has gotten harder.

Since we got home almost a month ago, Frank and I haven't talked much about 'things' at first. It felt good to be home. After being cooped up for 40 days, he gets to drive his own car, go to work, etc. It's great! I have been told that for the caregiver it can be different, and I have found that to be true. Our emotions don't always match, which is normal. I have been a bit numb for lack of a better word. Or maybe it's the best word ~ it is an honest word. As we've gotten back into a routine, things were getting back to normal.

But right before we return for a check up, we both get very anxious. All the wondering and questioning and hoping and praying. These past few days have been very emotional for us. We are concerned about some symptoms he's having. When the patch runs out, he notices pain in his ribs. He also has one eye that is giving him a dark shadow and some double vision. He called Little Rock about this and they're adding an MRI of the head to the tests.

We will be in Little Rock today and Friday, Dec 11-12. MRI's, PET, bone marrow, labs, ect. We'll come home for the weekend. We will return on Monday the 15th to meet with Dr. Barlogie and get the results.

Thank you all for your constant prayers for our family! What a precious husband and Daddy we have! We love him so much. Keep him lifted up tomorrow with his testing.

We are praying for good news on Monday ~ that this last treatment is working. We are still asking God for healing, for constant protection over Frank's body; for emotional and spiritual protection over the children; for comfort and peace for us as well as all of our extended family.

Psalm 139 (The Message)

God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand. I'm an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I'm thinking. You know when I leave and when I get back; I'm never out of your sight. You know everything I'm going to say before I start the first sentence. I look behind me and you're there, then up ahead and you're there, too—your reassuring presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful— I can't take it all in!

Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit? to be out of your sight? If I climb to the sky, you're there! If I go underground, you're there! If I flew on morning's wings to the far western horizon, You'd find me in a minute— you're already there waiting! Then I said to myself, "Oh, he even sees me in the dark! At night I'm immersed in the light!" It's a fact: darkness isn't dark to you; night and day, darkness and light, they're all the same to you.

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother's womb. I thank you, High God—you're breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I'd even lived one day.

Your thoughts—how rare, how beautiful! God, I'll never comprehend them! I couldn't even begin to count them— any more than I could count the sand of the sea. Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you! And please, God, do away with wickedness for good! And you murderers—out of here!— all the men and women who belittle you, God, infatuated with cheap god-imitations. See how I hate those who hate you, God, see how I loathe all this godless arrogance; I hate it with pure, unadulterated hatred. Your enemies are my enemies!

Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I'm about; See for yourself whether I've done anything wrong— then guide me on the road to eternal life.