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Walking With the Bakers


Catching Up

Written by Sue Baker.

17 December 2012

Family and friends -

I should be in the dog house for not posting more regularly since April!  Roger has been posting pretty regularly, though, and he tells the best parts.

This post is interrupted by a "hi from Matt".  We will resume update in the next paragraph.

If you are reading this today, I know you are praying for the families of Newtown.  We are too.

Roger is doing exceptionally well!  He is still taking chemotherapy each month; it comes as pills, so the administration is easy.  He has a visit to NIH every other month, and a visit to Bethesda every month; other than those visits, he's disgustingly healthy.

Many of you have noticed that his hair has grown back nicely, and that it does not have any gray.  Not to worry, I got it all!  I prefer to call it platinum, and note that these are the service stripes women get with children, husbands, and work.  I have a story for each one!

Roger IS working on his dissertation, and is excited that he is back to reading Greek and Hebrew without interlinear translation.  Would have excited me, too, except that I learned this information at 2 am! The house looks like a work room at the rare documents section of your local library.  Did you know that many pastors' families divest themselves of ancient libraries for the cost of postage?  Yep, I thought not.  So, we have ANOTHER bookcase full of theology references.  If you're looking for something on the parables, we probably have it - as long as it's in Greek, Hebrew, English, Latin or German.  Neither of us has cracked the code on Eastern languages yet.

We are looking forward to a joyous holiday season, filled with the wonder of the Christ child's birth.  Having seen Roger's extended family in November, we're opting to spend time in Pennsylvania (provided there is no snow or ice on the ground - my sister's driveway is a thing of determination!).

When we come back, Roger wil have another set of visits to NIH and Bethesda, and the next round of chemo. 

I expect to have tired of being a military retiree, and will concentrate on new employment.... I think staying home more than 6 weeks will make me nuttier than I already am!

So, it's off to finish the turkey for tonight's dinner sponsored for Fairfax County youth by our Sunday School class.  The potatoes are almost finished, too, and dear friends have been dropping off stuff all day.  It will be a good feast!

Blessings to you and yours!  Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!






Treatment Starts

Written by Sue Baker.

Family and Friends -

It's been one busy week! After all of the doctor visits (one every day this past week), we now have what looks like a schedule.

Roger will begin chemo and radiation on the same day, 10 April 2012. He will have radiation 5 days weekly (Monday through Friday) for 30 treatments. He will have chemo for the same amount of time.

Then, we'll make the same round of physicians, have more scans taken, and have about 4 weeks off.

After that, he'll be on chemo 5 days, then rest for 23 days and back to chemo for 5 days, then rest again for 23 days.

And so it will go for about 6 months.

At the 4 month point, we'll have new scans and physician visits, then at the 6 month point, and so on for a year.

The rest we'll make up as we go along. :-)

Thank you for your prayers, patience, and kind words as we get through all of the set up! You truly do sustain us!


A Visit with the NIH Team

Written by Sue Baker.

Family and Friends -


We met today with the NIH team. We were very impressed! Dr Fine has been studying this one disease for 23 years. The team spent over 2 1/2 hours talking with us, examining Rusty, and providing information about the treatment plan they recommend.

No new news, but a comforting feeling that Roger is being well cared for during this time. (Thanks, friends, for briefing me so well!)

NIH will now contact WRNMMC and pass the treatment protocol to Oncology and Radiation. They, in turn, will share their notes with NIH. Roger was enrolled in the history trial at NIH, so we'll have regular visits to "watch" this cancer.

We were also comforted that this NIH team doesn't believe in personal expiration dates.


Here We Go!

Written by Sue Baker.

Friends and Family -

We met today with the Oncology team. Roger will begin chemotherapy and radiation therapy at the same time in the next week. The good news is that the chemo drug is taken in pill form at home! No trips for IV chemo!

Tomorrow, we meet with the NIH team to see what additional options are available to Roger. Dr Fine is very well thought of, and has made some wonderful strides in treating this type of tumor.

Thank you for continuing to think of us, pray for us, and plan for us. We can feel love surrounding us every day.


Next Steps

Written by Sue Baker.

Friends and Family -

So many of you know that we weren't expecting the pathology report we got.

Rusty has been referred to the National Institutes of Health for treatment, and will also be followed by care teams at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda.

Our understanding is that Rusty will receive both radiation and chemotherapy at the same time for the next several months, then further decisions will be made.

In the meantime, he's decided to work on his dissertation - something on the Parables of Jesus - and plans to finish that by the time his first rounds of treatment conclude.

Thank you for your continuing prayers, words, and notes. We appreciate you all so very much!