Treatment is (finally) underway

Fatigued. Nauseous. Watery mouth. Emotional. Shaky. Clammy. Tightness in chest.

No, I’m not describing dad’s symptoms. I’m describing the things I’ve been experiencing since we learned of dad’s diagnosis 18 days ago. I’m 99.9 percent certain mom and Kelly would agree. These symptoms subside, but they never entirely go away. And they most certainly increase in intensity whenever we go for an appointment or test. Fear does strange things to a person’s mind and body.

As for my dad’s symptoms, they are actually pretty similar. The majority of them are caused by the same fear, but he does have some discomfort in his abdomen and lower back that is managed by morphine. But for him, I’d increase ‘fatigued’ to ‘downright exhausted.’ This process – the diagnosis, the back-and-forth to the hospital, the waiting, and the unknown – has been mentally and physically exhausting on him. On everyone, really. Because we’re in it together, remember?

Today, however, we finally have answers. And a plan.

The MRI of his brain that was performed on Monday was negative. Hallelujah! The pathology report from the biopsy of his liver showed that the cancer type is small cell lung cancer with liver metastases. While more rare, aggressive and incurable, small cell is treatable. So, within 30 minutes of our consultation with Dr. Weiss, dad was in the infusion chair and treatment was underway.

The following medications are admistered via a port in his chest over a three-day period:
– Zofran to prevent nausea
– Decadron steroid to prevent nausea and allergic reaction
– Carboplatin and Etoposide chemotherapy to fight the cancer cells

The chemo meds aim to attack all cancer cells, in both the lung and liver and wherever else they might be hiding out. On day four, he will receive an injection of Neulasta, which is a bone marrow stimulant that helps the body make white blood cells that fight off infection.

He will go through this same treatment plan every three weeks for four cycles. In early August, they will repeat the scans, and hopefully we will see that the medications are giving cancer a much deserved kick in the ass!

He handled day one well, and the staff allowed all three of us to join him for today only. Kelly and Garett had shirts made for the entire party of 11, and we all wore them with pride. (FRONT: Hey cancer, you picked the wrong family to mess with! BACK: Team Chuck)

One thing that I have always observed about dad is that he treats doctors and nurses with the utmost respect and admiration. And they love him for it. He has always found a way to make them laugh, no matter the circumstance. And he’s still finding the humor in things today despite the challenges he is facing. For example, the nurse asked if he had any questions before she started the treatment. He said in the most serious tone, “Yes, can someone tell me what the heck these ‘jelly bean jackers’ are doing here?!”


One of many jelly bean jackers!

Since my first post, The day life handed us lemons, we have been touched by the amount of support we’ve received from near and far – in the way of comments, cards, phone calls and care packages. So many people have simply reached out to say they care, and that they are cheering for Chuck. We are very appreciative of your love and kindness, especially dad. In fact, the other night when he saw all of the comments on the Facebook post and the number of views this blog had received, he said: “That Prince guy ain’t got nothing on me!”

He’s right. And it’s that type of attitude that will see him through this.

Tonight, he’s resting comfortably. Hopefully, a little more soundly than he has been. His heart and mind have been heavy. And while we know the road ahead won’t be easy, we at least have a map to start following. And for that, we are thankful.

Until next time,
Mary Beth

mom and dad

Mom & Dad on Mother’s Day 2016


27 thoughts on “Treatment is (finally) underway

  1. You all are always in my daily prayers. You’re one of the strongest families I know. …here’s to kicking cancers butt!live ya all! !


  2. I Love you all !! And love that your attitude is always positive. I have you in my daily thoughts and prayers. Go team Chuck !!


  3. I had no idea until yesterday when my mom told me. I am so sorry this is happening to your dad, and to all of you as well. I know there is not much I can do so many miles away, but please be assured that I will pray for you all daily!
    Keep your positive attitude! Love to you all!


  4. Herb family,
    I want you all to know that my family has your family in our prayers! Chuck, you were an inspiration growing up as a wildfire dad because you always led the dads to open up and show their fun side! I won’t ever forget watching you all march out on the floor to show us your support. Those shirts say it all– kick cancer’s ass Chuck! And know that our whole community is behind you! ❤️


  5. John and I were sorry to hear about Chuck and his Heath issues.. It can be beat..Tell him John has had 2 different kinds of cancer, not related to each other, and he is cancer-free at this time.. His started in 1997 with prostate.. Just this last November had part of his right kidney removed. It is a very difficult disease to face, more emotional than anything. Don’t ever give up. Be strong and lean on your support system. Just know there are hundreds of people who are praying for you. Keep up the good fight Chuck…sending our healing hugs. Debbie and John Furry


  6. Thinking of you every day and sending positive healing energy and virtual hugs. Hang in there, Team Chuck, and continue the fight. You’ve got this!


  7. Chuck and All the gang, I am 11 years cancer free. Prayers for all of you. It is a long tough road. But if I remember correctly the Herbs are a tough bunch! Love you all.


  8. Chuck,
    Hang in there and know so many people are praying for you in addition to your terrific family. Take strength in knowing you are loved by many. Keep up the fight!

    Bill Kennedy


  9. Thoughts and prayers out to all of the Herb Family…Thank you Mary Beth for keeping everybody updated on your dad’s progress and how your family is doing in this crazy deal you’ve been dealt!


  10. Hang in there Chuck and family. It is a hard road, but you can do it. Ron had prostate cancer, we got the news Dec. 27th., 2006. After 42 radiations, he is cancer free and has great psa’s since. We thank God above for the cure. We will keep you and your family in our prayers. God Bless you all.


  11. Keep up the good fight Chuck. Will be praying for all of you and thank you Mary Beth for the updates. Go Team Chuck !!!!!!
    Love and prayers
    Randy, Cathy and Jason Loomis


  12. Gary and I went to high school with Chuck. I believe Chuck and I even went through grade school together. What a great guy he is. So sorry to hear of his health issues. Sending out healing thoughts and prayers for him. God Bless Chuck and his whole family. Please tell him we are praying for him.
    Mary (Teppo) and Gary McLaughlin


  13. We love you, Chuck, and know you can beat this cancer. You have a super support system in your amazing wife, your woderful family, and in all of your friends. Thank you, Mary Beth, for keeping us all updated. A day at a time, that is all any of us can do. You are in my daily prayers. Sending POSITIVE thoughts. Love, Kathy and Jeff


  14. Chuck, we know you’re a fighter. We know you can beat this. With the support you have in your family, how can you not win. We’re thinking of you and your family and praying for you. Anything we can do, please ask.
    Clyde and Ann


  15. He is a fighter. I know when he gets tired the rest of you will pick him up and he will back fighting again. Sorry he has to go thru any of this. Please know prayers are being sent your way during this journey you all with be on. One day at a time, baby steps. Keep strong. Paula and Ron


  16. We are all praying for you Chuck, and the entire Herb family! You are all fighters and will keep on fighting this! We send all our love, support, and strength! Mary Beth, so proud of you for the strength you’ve shown in this wonderful blog you’ve started for your family. Cheers Chuck!! Love, Sarah and Keith Sherman


  17. Prayers continued for your family. Nicholas had both of those chemos and currently takes the other meds. Prayers for restful sleep, a lighter heart, a nourished body, and successful treatment ❤️


  18. We are sending prayers to you all on Team Chuck! Good thoughts and strength for all of you! Thank you Mary Beth for writing this blog to keep everyone posted on your dad!! You guys have an amazing support system together & can tackle anything together! Keep strong!!


  19. Reads like Conneaut is behind Team Chuck. And also now Montana. Just reading these comments brings tears to my eyes, an ache in my heart, and a lump in my throat. Chuck and Carol Ann, with all our positive thoughts and heartfelt prayers behind you…one can feel the love.


  20. Thank you for the update Mary Beth…so lovingly and beautifully written. Positive, healing thoughts and daily prayers for Chuck, Carol, you girls and your families. Stay strong,XOXO


  21. I will continue prayers here in Virginia as well for Chuck and Carol, and the entire Herb family. This update was amazing. Thank for the update Mary Beth. Chuck has been on my mind. He has a great support team though so I just know he will win the victory and kick Cancer in the patootie!!


  22. Pingback: Living and loving life | cheersforchuckdotcom

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