Betty trying out different shades of hair.
Nicest place to be: in someone's thoughts
Safest place to be: in someone's prayers
Best place to be: in Gods Hands
God Bless You Betty!
[posted October 15]
Roger and I just returned from a visit with my oncologist. She gave us very good news – my CT scan was clear! No cancer present!! I will have another CT scan in six months to make sure this clear condition persists.
Dr M also spent time discussing some medications to eliminate and her confirmation that a gluten free diet is certainly worth trying to alleviate some long term “gut” issues. She will make a referral for me to see the neurologist to discuss the neuropathy symptoms and treatment. Maybe I soon will have to take only a minimum of medications.
So this has been a very good day.
Thank you again for all your affection and support.
[posted March 30, 2014]
Good afternoon, dear friends and family,
Spring often brings a renewed hope and this year is a special example of good news for us.
In addition to my clear CT scan, Roger’s cardiologist said that Roger does NOT need a Pacemaker. Medication has been prescribed to use in case of another atrial flutter. Other than that, we have instructions to return for a checkup in one year. Roger is looking forward, therefore, to resuming his regular workouts, not to mention enjoying being outside doing lots of yard cleanup!
Recovery from my chemotherapy (and the cancer) is still consuming lots of time with rehab at the special clinic at UNC three times a week. We met with another type of rehab therapist for the first time this week for treatment of my peripheral neuropathy. I will see her twice next week, so that means five days in a row of some kind of therapy! In addition to reducing the discomfort, one goal is to decrease some of the medication I have needed. (I know this resonates with those of you who have experienced long term rehabs.)
In other words, your continued prayer support is appreciated, even though we are no longer in crisis situations.
Two verses from this morning’s devotion and the book of Isaiah were especially meaningful to me
"You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You." Isaiah 26:3 NKJV
"But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31 NKJV
May we all learn more and more what it means to trust and wait. Simple words…not such a simple thing to do. In “community” we can support one another in these lessons and life changes.
With affection and appreciation,
Roger and Betty
[posted February 27, 2014]
Good afternoon, friends,
Maybe you both have had a chance to read the update I wrote yesterday.
Please post it to the class website, if you wish.
IF you do, please acknowledge how grateful I am for the many cards I have received from classmates. The support has been amazing and actually kind of surprising… I know that many of us have issues, many more serious than mine. Because of Roger’s encouragement to be transparent and real, these kinds of support messages have been possible. No one would have written if we had not been willing to give and to receive. I think the latter is the most important lesson we have been learning.
Anyway…we are almost done with Phase One and will be entering the unknowns of Phase Two. Glad our Lord is already there…preparing a way…His cup runneth over…
Love to you both and to all our dear friends,
[The following is a response from Duane Harms to Betty]
Thanks, Betty, I will send your last message out in an email. I will add your note from this email.
In my years of ministering, I also have learned how much of a blessing I receive when I can be an encouragement to others. Most often, it is giving encouragement in different forms to one person at a time. I also agree with you that being transparent and willing to receive can be a challenge but when we are open to others God seems to work through both the giver and the receiver in a mighty way.
So thank you, Betty and Roger, for being open so that we can pray for you and become aware of how God is working in your situation. I think it is so great that God has allowed us to be a part of his family. So it is nice when we can care for each other.
[posted January 20, 2014]
A revision and a correction…
Tomorrow, I will be starting Cycle 5 (not 6) – for planned 18 treatments…6x3=18
And, yes, it is a stationary bike. Funny to think of me riding a real bicycle while looking at a computer screen. Please smile with me.
So, now you have it: two examples of “chemo brain”!
Some time has passed since I composed a “group” E-mail to you, our much loved, loyal supporters.
We continue with “Tuesday Treatment “ days. Tomorrow will be a double whammy treatment with both Taxol and Carboplaten. This begins Cycle Six, with six treatments to go, finishing February 25.
As said before, I tend to get a little apprehensive just before this double treatment, especially now with the threat of Taxol being reduced due to the neuropathy symptoms. There is the potential the Taxol could be reduced once again. The other possibility is that a drug (Gabapentin) I am currently taking for headache maintenance could be increased. It is also effective in reducing neuropathy, but the tapering off process can be complicated, with a potential rebound effect. As usual, if this is “too much information,” please skip to the next paragraph.
The good news is rehab has started at the nationally known cancer center at our own University of Northern Colorado. I completed both a physical and a cognitive evaluation. The latter was for participation in a “chemo brain” study being coordinated with the psychology department. I was and am delighted to be able to assist in much-needed research. For three months/three times a week, for 30 minutes, I will ride a Brain Bike (developed by a Canadian firm) while using a mouse pad and numeric key pad to respond to instructions, displayed on a screen (similar to computer games). These test my ability to follow instructions and react accordingly. At first glance, they look simple. They are not, when paired with the bicycle ride and given my decreased ability to stay focused. And, they will become progressively more complicated. Another 30 minutes of stretching exercises finish our visit. This rehab hour is being supervised by a energetic doctoral student. Brent is personable and a wonderful conversationalist. He also is a bit of a cheer leader. When I scored 57 % on a “game” he encouraged me not to pay attention and just keep peddling. This is yet another challenge for a normal “A” student. If you want to know more, you can check out the center on the following website. We know several people, cancer patients/survivors who have realized good results with this “exercise is medicine” approach.
Several times this week, when I have been worried about “chemo brain symptoms, ” a scripture has come to mind as further confirmation that our sovereign Lord has all under His control, even this cancer treatment and its side effects. From II Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (emphasis on the “sound mind” portion. Pastor Greg, of Greeley’s First Presbyterian Church, recently used this verse in a sermon, that I listened to on-line. A day later, a dear friend in DC sent me an E-mail using the same words of encouragement. I love it when God confirms His message to an individual, such as me, who clearly needs to hear it more than once.
You, dear ones, have more than once prayed for me and for Roger. I hope these update messages encourage you, as you have encouraged us.
With affection and appreciation,
[posted January 4, 2014]
Greetings from a cold and snowy Greeley,
For those of you who live elsewhere, we have enjoyed a couple of days of quite chilly weather and a snow accumulation of 4-5 inches. It is beautiful, of course, seen from our living room window.
This is the first 2014 group message written to you loyal supporters. After last week’s, New Year’s Eve, “double whammy” chemotherapy of Taxol and Carboplatin, I was feeling rather poorly. The oncologist decided the hemoglobin count had stayed low long enough so she ordered a transfusion. On Friday I received two units of “packed red blood cells.” The benefits have now been realized and I feel stronger than I have in some time. Of course, the temptation is to do too much. Because of the weather and my questionable condition, we sadly did not get to church this morning. Instead Roger finished clearing our walks/driveway and then did the same for neighbors up the street.
I am scheduled for a entry interview and assessment with the University of Northern Colorado’s nationally known cancer rehab center on Thursday. In addition to physical rehab, I will participate in a six month “chemo brain” study. This condition is a reality, not yet widely studied, though you might have read articles in the news, including a recent piece in the Wall Street Journal. I am grateful to be able to help with the research in this way. And, hope that the guided exercise will help to restore my strength.
Roger and I want to thank you again for all your prayers and your practical support. If all goes as scheduled, we will have only eight more Treatment Tuesdays, ending the 18 week regimen on February 25. Our lives have almost been totally dominated by this cancer treatment.
Thank you for being there for us and with us, our windows of communication have been as open as our front door has been for your visits. Your messages have kept me connected to the world, even on all those days when I remained at home. You have “comforted” us in the midst of your own tribulation.
We appreciate and love each of you,
Roger and Betty
II Corinthians 1:3 NKJV -
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
[posted December 24,2013]
Even though Thanksgiving Day was the month previous, we continue to give thanks for all of you, who have joined our support team in such special ways.
Yesterday’s “Tuesday Treatment” of Taxol only was almost routine, if one can ever be so. My blood levels continue to show the effects of the chemotherapy. However, still in the safe range, I will not require a blood transfusion this week. The fatigue builds, probably because I did too much on Sunday and Monday. Still, it felt so good to do some normal activities.
And, now we have passed the halfway point of the 18 week treatment plan! What a Christmas gift!
Next Tuesday will be the infusion of both Taxol and Carboplantin. Your prayers will be especially appreciated for then.
Until Tuesday, we are focusing on today, which is Christmas!
On September 10, right before the cancer surgery, Roger recited these words from Psalm 118 to me, “This is the day the Lord hath made, let us rejoice it and be glad in it.”
Those words are especially appropriate on this Christmas morning. May we rejoice in this special day that honors the birthday of Jesus. As we/you spend it in a manner/place of our/your choice…with family…with friends…with self, please take a moment to acknowledge the reason for this day.
With love & blessings,
Roger and Betty
[posted December 18, 2013]
I thought of addressing this message to “Our dear Tuesday Prayers” then realized that, thankfully, many of you pray for us on days of the week other than treatment Tuesdays.
This past week, I received a combination of Taxol and Carboplatin chemotherapy drugs. This was another week one, the beginning of cycle three of the treatment plan. The past few days, other than the really rough IP treatment, was the roughest week yet. We have battled headaches and fatigue. One and two hour naps have been the norm. Dr. Datko, honestly told us that the fatigue would accumulate and worsen as we continue the chemotherapy.
My hemoglobin count was slightly up, so I did not need a transfusion. This will be evaluated again next Tuesday.
The ultrasound of my legs did NOT reveal a clot. The swelling of feet and ankles could due to the treatment drugs, the anemia, or even the removal in September of the cancerous lymph nodes.
I will have a cat scan on Monday to seek the reason for the pain in my side.
The really good news is the CA125 number is down to #5! That is reason for rejoicing!! This indicates those white hats are doing their job, seeking out and destroying (to use a military term) any remaining cancer cells.
Christine came for a visit yesterday, helping us with some pre-Christmas wrapping and shopping. She also made old-fashioned comfort food for lunch – grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. We really enjoyed and appreciated her company.
The following verse was part of my morning reading today. I have been thinking that these words are a combination of encouragement and exhortation. It does not seem like a neutral verse…but one of instruction, no matter how one feels. Honestly, there were times last week when sadly I had to concentrate to find something to write in my “thanksgiving” journal. That attitude does not agree with this Psalm.
Psalm 95:1, 2 NKJV "Oh come, let us sing to the Lord ! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms."
Thank you again for your prayers. I hope this message is not TMI (too much information) as the younger ones might say. It is my desire to be open with you, so you indeed know how to pray for us. Maybe, we can call this our “salad” verse (lettuce) and approach God together with joy!
With great appreciation and affection,
Roger and Betty
[posted December 4, 2013]
Thank you for your messages of support and concern as we went to the FRCS for Taxol infusion yesterday. This visit finished week six of an 18 week program. Twelve weeks seems like a long way out... However, we are making progress. Next week we begin the third cycle (of six) with the combination of drugs (Taxol and Carboplantin).
My blood levels again allowed the chemotherapy. The hemoglobin count was low. If it does not increase by next week, a transfusion might be ordered. At least we have a medical reason for my extreme fatigue of these past days. And, the changes in blood levels again confirm that the drugs are doing their duty. RN Karen explained all the blood counts and said the other “red” numbers have to be really out of whack before chemo is cancelled or postponed. I am trying to eat well and drink plenty of fluids and obey all the instructions, of which there are many. And, Roger is always by my side helping to see that all is done well and in good order.
Tuesday had a brisk, north wind. But, we, thankfully, got home before the snow started. Today and the days following are forecast to be the coldest we have had in this area for three years. I am grateful to be watching it all from the inside today, through a front room bow window decorated with our collection of nativity sets, thanks to sister, Barbara. She was kind enough to drive up from Conifer on Monday and help the house look a little more like Christmas. How grateful we are for the many expressions of love that flood our house and our hearts.
Wherever you are, may you have a safe, warm (as possible) day.
With love and blessings,
Roger and Betty
[posted November 27, 2013]
Several of you have asked for a quick update. Here it is… Yesterday’s Taxol infusion went very well. My blood levels were well within safe zones. And, the adjustment of pre-chemo medications (elimination of Benadryl) prevented any strange side effects. Of course, there are still side effects, sleeplessness from the steroid medication on the night of treatment being one of them… (You might note that I am writing this message in the wee hours of the night.) We have been advised to meet again with the neurologist to adjust medications as the headaches are barely under control. However, we are thankful that such are being managed relatively well. Flexible ice bags worn on my head are another reason to give thanks. Next Tuesday will bring another Taxol infusion, which will end the second three week cycle. It is great to be able to see some progress on the calendar. God willing, we will have another positive report to share with you then.
When we started this treatment “journey,” we had no idea how much your love and support would mean to us.
As the days/weeks continue, your prayers, your greeting cards, your E-mail messages, your visits all bring encouragement at just the perfect time. Since this is Thanksgiving week, it seems appropriate to send this message of thanksgiving to you, along with a few verses of scripture that have been brought to my recent attention.
Psalms 106:1 Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.
Psalms 107:31 Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!
Philippians 1:3 I/we thank my God upon every remembrance of you
HE is good and you are good – may we express our thanksgiving together. We know that we are not alone in experiencing serious medical situations this year. Therefore, the nights when sleep is elusive provide an opportunity to pray for you. Your personal support for us is all the more meaningful, when we think of/remember your own “beds of affliction.”
With our deep appreciation and affection,
Roger and Betty
[posted Nov. 21, 2013]
Sorry to be slow in contacting you, knowing of your concern and interest in my chemotherapy. I intended to write this message first thing this morning.
I did not sleep well last night, which was a side effect of some of the pre-treatment drugs. Otherwise, though feeling weak, I am fine and the headaches are remaining pretty much under control. Great is His faithfulness in these areas…and beyond.
Because my blood tests were normal or within safe ranges, both chemotherapy drugs were infused successfully on Tuesday. There was only a minor problem with too much sedation at one point. The kind RN who cared for me phoned earlier today to check up on my condition. She discussed the drug “recipes” with Dr. Medgyesy and they have already made adjustments for next Tuesday, when I will receive only Taxol. Though we go weekly for infusions, think of it as a three week cycle with week 1) Taxol and Carboplaten then week 2) and week 3) with Taxol only. Other test results seem to indicate that those chemo drugs wearing white hats (and your prayers) have those cancer cells on the run!
We so appreciated your prayers and notes of support yesterday and in the days preceding. It was great to be in church on Sunday, as most of my outings are to the clinic and back home. Since a cold front is predicted, home is a safe, comfortable, bug-free place to be! Roger is a rock, running errands, running me around, and insisting that he is not being run ragged! I thank God every day for him.
I also thank God for each of you. You are like the friends of Moses; victory was possible only with their support.
“Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.” So Joshua did as Moses said to him, and fought with Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.” Exodus 17: 9-12
With love and blessings,
[posted Nov. 2, 2013]
Thank God Almighty we’re home at last!
Chemotherapy infusions (on Monday & Tuesday) were successful. Unfortunately a few side effects needed attention before I could be dismissed from the Poudre Valley Hospital. But, all is under control now.
Thank you for all your prayers. I often thought of the gentle hands of the nurses as being extensions of your caring. Roger and I so appreciate your support.
With love & blessings,
[Bill Rodden (class of "63") writes:]
'Betty I wish you the best. You have always been a fighter. This is just another round. You'll be fine" Oct. 29
[update from Betty October 27, 2013]
Here is a quick update:
We report to the Poudre Valley Hospital at 8:00 Monday morning. I will be admitted for two nights/three days for the administration of the first chemotherapy treatments, with careful observation. Christine will be with Roger and me. Either of them can be contacted should you have questions tomorrow. I’m sure that some kind of update will be shared if/when there is information of interest.
It was great having William and Shannon with us for a few days. The two of them did some diligent garden work with Roger, and harvested a few things to add to their Washington yard. We relaxed with good food and conversation, as well. The highlight of the week was a four generation, family gathering (of 18) yesterday. What fun to watch the little cousins play together while us older ones ate and visited.
And, a special prayer team from the church came this evening to bless Roger and me with supplication for successful treatment, using verses from the book of Ephesians, chapter 3…they/we asked for God’s “exceeding, abundant” provision during these weeks of chemotherapy.
We continue to thank God for all of you and the many creative, loving ways you have expressed your support for the two of us. You are cherished and appreciated!!
With love & blessings,
[update from Betty October 22, 2013]
The port surgery went well yesterday; we were home from the hospital by 11:00.
Thank you for your prayers.
Now, we have a few days of rest and recovery before chemotherapy begins on Monday the 28th.
We also happily anticipate the visit of son, William, and his wife, Shannon, coming from Washington State tomorrow.
It is a beautiful October afternoon in Greeley. The sun is shining and all’s right with the world!
Roger & Betty
This page is dedicated to Betty Burdorff Brown, our dear friend and classmate, whom is experiencing some serious health issues at this time. Our support and prayers are needed for Betty, Roger and family. Betty has given us the OK to share with all of you, her issues and treatment at the present and in the future. At the end of Betty's letter fully explaining the situation there is a comment form that you can leave a message on and I will post it on this blog. Of course, you can email her directly or send her a card or message by mail. I will not post either, for privacy purposes from others, rather than our class. Most of you should have her email and home address from all the info we have provided over the years. If you don't and want it, just let me know and I will send the info to you. The following is from Betty, today, Oct. 14, 2014.
Good afternoon Tommy & Duane,
If there was any doubt, autumn arrived in Colorado today. We are experiencing blustery winds and rain, with frost predicted for tonight. As much as I love October, I always hate to see the flowers nipped.
So, I promised to let you two know when it was alright to post something on our class website and/or share my health news by E-mail. I have written to a number of individuals that I wanted to contact directly and am now okay with sharing the information with the larger group. I know that I always appreciate updates on our friends so trust some will also want to know about me.
Here is the abbreviated story – most of which you already know. Please share the following as you think appropriate or combine this information with the message I wrote to you earlier. Thank you both for your messages of support and encouragement.
On September 10th, I had surgery for ovarian cancer, at the Anchutz Medical Center in Denver. Even with what we thought was an early diagnosis, the cancer had metastasized, staged at IIIC, a combination of rare clear cell and more common serous cancer.
Last week, on October 7th, I had surgery to install a treatment port in my abdomen. This week another procedure will install a port in my chest. The chemotherapy will use both ports for an infusion of a combination of drugs (which I picture wearing little white hats). This therapy will begin October 28 as an inpatient in a Fort Collins hospital and extend over an 18 week period. This delay will allow my body to heal from the surgeries and be in the best possible shape to receive this intensive treatment.
Roger and I have our sad moments, but overall are in good spirits, grateful for the outstanding medical community with whom we are connected. Our family members and friends have provided wonderful support, as well.
Those classmates that want to join our prayer team might consider this scripture that came to my attention recently. From Hebrews Chapter 11 The Message translation… Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that HE exists and that HE cares enough to respond to those who seek him." This sums up what I believe…
Many of us have had medical “bumps in the road.” Obviously, I am not the first and I will not be the last to battle a serious health issue. So, with this bit of news I also want to thank you all for our special friendship. The class of ’62 was and is a great bunch of people! It is great to be in touch with you.
Looking forward to September 2017, I send my love & blessings,
From Peggy Palmer
Dear Betty ,
Tommy shared your email today and I wanted you to know that we care very much about you and the challenges ahead of you. You have always been a very special person with a gentle and sweet spirit.
Please know you will be in our thoughts and prayers.
Like you said, it is a bump in the road of life and we know with your great doctors, family and friends you will be Well soon.
Please keep sharing with us.
We wish we could do more.......
From Tom Palmer
Knowing you, this is just a temporary set back for you which you will over come in time. Your classmates are going to encourage, support, pray and help you through all this. We all love you,
From Don Huddleston
Tell us it isn't true!
Betty Burdorff Brown! You are and have always been so full of life, it is hard to imagine anything getting you down.
I am so sorry you are having to go through this, and my prayers will be with you and your family. It sounds like you already have the best of attitudes towards the future (what else would we expect of you!) and you know how important that is.
God is good and this is not a change as far as He is concerned.
Just know that a whole lot of people loved you and looked up to you. You are special! Keep on keepin' on.
From Judy Burns McCrea
I know things are very tough but your spirit will prevail. I have a very good friend with ovarian cancer and it was already stage 4 when she went to the doctor. It sounds like you have great doctors but, as I am sure you know, we are your fan club! Take it a day at a time and know that we are all thinking of you each day.
Judy Burns McCrea'
From Randy Brooks
You have been on my mind since this past Summer. I am so sorry to learn of your condition. You are a woman of courage and a strong spirit and I know you will face this challenge with grace and dignity.
You and Roger will certainly be in my prayers. The scripture I've turned to during my darkest moments is Philippians 4:6,7. May you have that peace which surpasses all understanding.
Please let me and all your friends know how we can support you.