Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

First I want to say the birthday celebration for Dad on November 19th was great - good food and good company.  Both sisters (Echo and Monica) made the trip to celebrate with Monica and her family staying in Houston through Thanksgiving.  This was the first Thanksgiving Pam and I hosted in our house.  With lots of helping hands in the kitchen it turned out perfect.  There is much to be Thankful for.....

As mentioned in the last update, we were to receive news from MD Anderson regarding dad's progress with the clinical trial he is participating in.  After numerous CT scans the physicians concluded that a new therapy would be best for dad.  The scans showed some new (albeit small) tumors in the lungs and 23% growth by the largest tumor in the lungs.  The scans also showed stability and what appears to be an improvement in the throat.  Unfortunately, the new tumors and growth of the largest tumor is something we cannot have and thus the recommendation to stop the trial and try again.  There is another clinical trial beginning late January and the physician team believes this is a good one for dad to join.  In the mean time, there is a PO (by mouth) Chemotherapy drug which has shown to be effective in some cases.  Dad has agreed (and has already started) to try this drug to bridge the gap between the two trials.  This drug is taken twice a day on an empty stomach and is well known among the Anaplastic Thyroid "community".  One of the nice things about not participating in a trial is you are not required to have as many appointments and blood draws.  This allows a little flexibility for dad to do things.....like travel!  At the end of this week both mom and dad will take a much deserved trip to Tucson.  If there is anywhere in the world dad would like to be most, it's probably Arizona!  I know they will have a great time tending to their house, visiting friends and family, and reacquainting themselves with the mountains and cacti (not too much of that here in Pearland, TX).

So what's next?  Dad will have repeat tests and scans after starting this new drug.  If this proves to be an effective treatment (pray, pray, pray!) then continue the course.  If not, we have the other trial to hopefully join.  Unfortunately you are not always guaranteed the trial will be available to you.  The trial could be postponed due to unanticipated side-effects or even stopped by the FDA if they feel warranted.  Even if the trial is open, you have to pass a screening and meet their requirements to participate.  So, there is a lot more to come soon!  Keep up the prayers and support for Superman Steve.  His strength and energy is at a level that is still hard for us to keep up with - an amazing feat if you think about what he has been through the last 182 days..........

We have more Superman Steve bands if anyone needs more.  Thanks!

Friday, November 18, 2011


Last Monday (about 10 days ago), Steve had his 3rd clinical trial chemo infusion. This chemo does not kill all new cells; it only targets the fast dividing cells.  Steve now has his hair growing back and his skin tone looks healthier.  This chemo does make Steve very very tired and weak on days 8-11 post infusion.  So yesterday and today were both very tough days.  This morning Steve and Cindy went to MD Anderson for scans and Steve will have more scans tomorrow.  The Drs are testing to see if the tumors are responding to the chemo.  I think results of the scans will be shared with Steve on Friday.  Our hope is that the medications are working to stop the cancer growth. 

Please pray for positive news.  Please pray for peace in our hearts as we wait for the results.  Please pray for strength for Steve and please pray that Steve feels better soon! 

This Saturday is Steve's 58th birthday.  We will be celebrating with a family BBQ at our house.  We are hoping for good weather and that Steve feels well enough for celebrating. Each day is truly a gift for each of us.  We do not know what tomorrow will bring, so we embrace today and all the blessings there in. 

Many Hugs,

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Puja: By Cindy Hansen

Prayers for my husband come from all sorts of people and a myriad of faith traditions from every corner of the world.  Maybe some readers of this blog would like to send in a short prayer in their own language, plus a translation.  Undoubtedly these heartfelt pleas have made a difference- the typical anaplastic patient only lives a couple of months past diagnosis, but my husband is mowing the lawn 4 1/2 months later-a little baldish, with a feeding tube and a trache, but very much alive.    
Maybe I was thinking ecumenically, or maybe I was thinking of the fun I had in Paris attending an Indian festival conducted by women who were praying for the long life of their husbands.  At any rate, I decided to go to another puja.  This isn’t something you commit to lightly because it means a dawn to moonrise fast from food or drink. 
This is how I found myself obsessed with the idea of drinking water as I sluggishly dragged through a neighborhood lined with two stored houses and tall trees.  I had henna drying on the palm of my hand, and was trying to glimpse the harvest moon.   Sighting the moon would signal it was time to break the fast.  I saw golden light in-between some tree branches, and it lured me further and further on a walk to see if could get a clear look at what was causing the glow on the horizon. 
 It was nine thirty and all the women of the household celebrating the festival were tired and listless.  I wanted to be the heroine who could run to the house saying she was the first to spy the moon…  But Wrong!  Alas, all that glitters isn’t the moon.  Sometimes it’s just a street light doing an impersonation. 
Next, I trudged upstairs to look out the window- zippo again! The view was blocked by the house next door. 
The moon had to be up; we just couldn’t verify that fact.  So we sent two guys out in the car to scout out a clearing; Mission Possible!  They spotted the moon near an elementary. 
 Two grandparents, two children, two parents, and me all piled into the car and drove to a school parking lot.  We disembarked but still couldn’t see the moon!  So, we walked along the road to the bayou, the women dressed in bright Indian clothes, modestly covering our heads, caring platters with small oil lamps, cups tied with red yarn, almonds, and bananas. 
Finally, Eureka!  We saw the moon hovering in space!  What happened next was speedy because we were all so thirsty and famished.  One by one we stood on a cricket stake, threw our clay lamps over our shoulders, poured out the cups of water and quietly said prayers.
 I don’t know what the others said, but I whispered to God to watch over Steve, and asked Christ to hold him in his arms and bless him physically, mentally and spiritually.   He has been a good husband to me for thirtyseven years, and I hope we can have several more happy years.
Send in your prayers.  Steve’s prayer cards remind people to pray.  To reiterate: “It is never too late.  God is listening.”
Cindy's henna on her hand


Friday, September 23, 2011

Wrist Bands

I wanted to let everyone know that we have more Superman Steve wristbands available if you need any.  You can email Pam at sweetp711@hotmail.com to request them.  Thanks!!

SMH our Superman Band

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rock Solid Faith

As you all remember, Steve had started his next course of treatment at MD Anderson.  This was a combination of chemotherapies, full-strength, which is designed to systemically attack growing cells both good and bad.  Of course this is the reason his hair had recently fallen out and causes other unpleasant side-effects. 

On Friday, September 16 Dad was to receive his third infusion of this treatment but beforehand he had a series of labs and scans to check on the progression/regression of the cancer - specifically in the neck and lungs.  Initially there was a positive response to the low dose of chemo received with previous radiation treatments, but it appears the cancer that remains in the lungs is not responding.  The growth in one of the lower lung lobes grew from slightly smaller than an inch to slightly longer than an inch during the course of the two chemo treatments.  The thyroid tumor, which shrunk from radiation, has remained unchanged which is definitely the take home message from Friday's appointment.

So what now?  Well, the physician's recommendation is to stop chemotherapy because it was ineffective in prohibiting the cancer, albeit small, from growing.  So, the infusion on Friday was canceled and we were given several options about next steps.  Ultimately dad chose to visit with the Clinical Trial group at MD Anderson.  In the near future he will visit with this team and see what type of experimental therapies are currently being tested at MD Anderson.  Of course we will keep our eye on the national clinical trials as well.

Dad's faith is rock solid and his strength is amazing.  In my mind this is a staged battle and two major steps were completed with radiation and chemotherapy.  Although dad's throat is still healing today from the radiation, it was a deadly blow to the thyroid tumor.  The cancer cells that will respond to this type of chemo have done so already, so it is time to move on - start the next stage of the battle.  Whether the next cancer battling medium is an experimental therapy, healthy diets and exercise, a growing faith, the power of a positive family around him, or the next super natural supplement, we are all behind Superman Steve.

I mentioned Dad's strength earlier for a reason.  As many of you know, Dad likes to remain very active and it continues to be true.  It's hard to keep up with him when every time you turn around he is installing shelving, mowing the yard, refinishing furniture, cleaning out the fish tank, so on and so forth.  This weekend we went to the beach and attended soccer games for both Taylor and Gabriel!  I know Dad's body is not up for the activity, but his will is very strong.  His unworldly strength comes from his faith......and his faith is rock solid.

Keep the prayers and positive comments flowing our way!

The kids are very jealous that Grandpa gets to ride the scooter in the grocery store!

Superman in action!  A special cape with lots of sentimental value from dad's sister.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Superman's new 'do

As expected with chemotherapy, dad's hair finally started to come out to such a degree that he went to get it buzzed off.  I actually think he looks pretty good with the clean cut look!  I'll post a photo below along with a lot of other great family and friend supporter photos.  Another change is dad's living arrangements.  Now that the treatments and doctor visits are fewer and farther between it didn't make sense to live in the Texas Medical Center and pay exorbitant rent for corporate housing.  With room to spare and close proximity to the Medical Center, mom and dad have moved in with the Pearland Hansens!  We are so glad to have them with us.  Plus, dad's dog, Pima, is now under the same roof with him.

Dad's second chemo treatment is this week..... please pray for him to be strong and the cancer responds positively to treatment.

Speaking of prayer and the power of prayer.....Dad has been a witness to the power of prayer through this journey.  There have been a string of small and large miracles that have taken place.  You can't question the power of prayer and the role everyone has played in helping our Superman up until this point.  I mention all of this to say that dad has felt a calling to spread the power of prayer, no matter how long or short, the action of prayer is greater than any superman power.  Dad had thousands of cards made to remind people to pray.  He will pass them out as he sees fit and if anyone would like some cards as well, we can send them out to you.

Dad's prayer reminder card

Jim Clymer, Matt McTeague, and Connie Borden supporting Steve.  Thanks!

Superman's new 'do

One more

Check out the Superman t-shirts!  Thanks Green Family, et al.

Y'all are overachievers with the shirts! Thanks for the support.

The 'Green siblings' supporting Steve

one more....

Thank you to all the family in Kentucky/Tennessee area.  We need your continued support!

Friday, August 12, 2011


I'm happy to report there is not that much to report!  As I mentioned before, dad was discharged on Friday, July 29 from MD Anderson.  He had his chemotherapy treatment on Tuesday of last week and so far so good.  These things take time to determine the clinical efficacy, but he is receiving the same therapies during his radiation treatments which seemed very promising.

Although there are still daily struggles and battles with swelling from blood clots, anticoagulant shots twice per day (administered by Cindy), feeding tube, trach maintenance, etc..........Dad is VERY strong and continues to walk as much as possible, play with the kids on the floor and everything else you would come to expect from a healthy Steve.  Over the next week dad has various doctor appointments and labs at MD Anderson and then chemotherapy during the week of August 22.  Please continue to pray, visit, email, comment, and send those positive and healing thoughts his way.  I know sleep doesn't come easy for dad and thus he thinks and prays about all of you at night...........

Thank you to everyone for wearing your Superman Bands!  Here are some more pictures of our Superman Steve Supporters!!

Dad's Sister, Laura, showing her love and support

Pam's Uncle John with Great Aunt Shirley and Cousin Bonnie (Chicago)

Pam's Chicago cousins with Uncle John (in the hat).  They have you and your family in their prayers and are asking you to stay strong and positive in your winning fight.

Eloy, in France, giving platelets and showing his Superman Band!

Message only a Geologist could appreciate:
Only after a period of scouring and incision comes the healing fill.  Fill the canyon with the right stuff, and you end up with a heck of a good reservoir
The most effective treatments are therefore coarse, but at the same time well-sorted.
You have all of the elements to win this one!
- Rob Laronga (Clamarte, France)

Dad's good friend Martin Bolas:
Caught my first rock crab wearing my SMH Superman band!  Love you Steve!  

Pam's Uncle Dale and Aunt Suzi:
Stay Strong Steve!!!