Total: $0

Sort Articles:

X Clear Search Results

Hope Faith Belief and Support (The Spirit Side of Humans) - Part 5

Written by: Normand Dubreuil
Published: April 2015

There seems to be a silver lining in our trials if we look for it. One of our employee’s husbands came over to the house and remodeled our bath room; he took care of the plumbing and electrical needs as well and did not charge me a cent for all of his time. He really enjoyed himself while he was at the house putting in many hours into the project. There are a lot of good in people and they want to help; in this case I got help from someone who is very handy and he wanted to do something for me.

As we started a new year in 2014, I had a sense that this will be a great year. Knowing that I had many individuals praying for me, being thoughtful and considerate I believed I had a great chance of beating the odds. I planned to put my best foot forward and give it everything I had; being positive, seeing the cancer go away, feeling great, accepting the support in its various forms and being optimistic.

January through March went extremely well. I felt really good; socially, emotionally, spiritually and physically. On March 14 I was told that I was progressing in a positive direction. My brain lesions and Adrenal Gland lesions were barely noticeable; my Lymph nodes were back to normal and most of my nodules in my lungs were gone. Since I was doing so well and because I was tolerating some of the side effects of my oral medication the doctor told me that I did not need to tolerate the side effects anymore. He said it is alright to reduce my medication from 150 mg to 100 mg. This would make taking the medication more tolerable. I was extremely nervous about doing this and was told that I had enough medication in my system, at this time, that by reducing my medication it would help to reduce the side effects that I was dealing with and still continue to keep the cancer at bay.

During lunch I spoke with a woman that had stage IV lung cancer and also had the EGFR gene mutation and was on the same medication I am on. She just found out that her lungs are inflamed and has to come off the medication and start a regimen of steroids and chemo therapy. So I was quite nervous that this could happen to me as well; it is a side effect of the medication we are taking.

On April 27 I started my first day of 100 mg of Tarceva. I continued to take the lower dosage through my next appointment and found it made a difference in minimizing the side effects. My next appointment was on May 23 and this is when I hit a bump in the road.

My wife, son and I went to DFCI for my scheduled appointment and ran the entire routine of test along with a CAT scan. Once the testing was done we met with the doctor to find out that my mass in my right lung was growing again. He said “I know you’re going to say it’s because I reduced your Tarceva down by 50 mg and it really has nothing to do with this.” (Right I’m thinking) The doctor wanted to schedule a new lung biopsy and a head MRI for the following week and before we embarked on a different regimen he needed to know if the cancer morphed into a variation of my current EGFR gene mutation. He said that someone would call me to make all the arrangements.

I did my best not to get discouraged but it was really difficult. We headed back home and the next day I received a call to schedule me for my biopsy and MRI.

On June 4 we headed back down to Boston and had my bloodwork and MRI completed that evening. I was scheduled for my needle biopsy the next morning.

On Thursday morning of June 5, I had my biopsy and all went well procedurally. I had to stay under observation until early afternoon before being discharged. I did not have an appointment with my doctor that day; I would receive a call when the results came back. We decided to have lunch prior to leaving Boston. After lunch we headed back home when my phone rang. The nurse asked me how far away from the center was I and I responded not far but traffic is incredibly busy (bumper to bumper) and nuts. She asked me to turn around because the doctor just found something on my scan that he just received and needs to see me before I go home. This did not sound promising at all. I told her we would turn around but it could take one hour or more to get back. She responded with “he will wait for you.”

Turning around in downtown Boston on a Friday afternoon when people were just getting out of work and heading home is not an experience I wish to repeat. However we did make it back to the DFCI.

When the doctor came in to see me and said “I don’t have good news for you.” I swallowed really hard and listened intently. Your brain has multiple lesions that were not there two months ago and the mass in your lung has started to grow and proceeded to show me the scans. We discussed how the cancer is starting to grow resistant to the oral medication that I am taking. He recommended a regimen for brain radiation (goodbye hair) and start a regimen of chemo therapy after I complete the radiation treatment. The doctor mentioned that I could do those treatments back in my community rather than travel to Boston daily for the radiation treatment.

Here we go again down the roller coaster. The roads in downtown Boston were so congested that it took us two hours just to get outside of Boston and still had over two hours left to drive home. All I wanted at this time was to get home because I was so exhausted from the trip, the biopsy and the news. By the time we hit the first rest stop my wife and son went in to eat and I stayed outside walking around the parking lot, contemplating how much time I had left and started down a dark alley. I got fairly emotional with the thoughts I had going through my mind.

As we continued back home it was quiet in the car without much being said by anyone. We did not get home till nearly 8:00 pm. It was a long day. I remember my son embracing me and letting me know to stay positive and optimistic and everything will be alright. My wife was very supportive as well and said we would get through this; it’s just another bump in the road.

I really thought this was going to be a really good year, what just happened? I was just dealt a low blow but how will I handle this. Like the poem “Footprints in the Sand” when I see one set of footprints in the sand and I think I am alone and forgotten it is then that the Lord is carrying me and it is his footprints I see.

Normand Dubreuil

Normand Dubreuil

Normand Dubreuil was the President and CEO of Maine State Credit Union. He has two professional designations; CCUE - Certified Credit Union Executive and CCE -Certified Chief Executive. He's was with MSCU from 1985 - 2016 and worked in the credit union industry since 1977. His educational background is Accounting and Business Administration. He worked with the credit union's philanthropic cause, Maine Credit Unions Campaign for Ending Hunger. He served as a board member for the credit union's state trade association and was also the chairman of their Technology Services Committee. Normand also serves in his church in various leadership roles. He is married, has four children and twelve grandchildren.

After being diagnosed in 2013 with stage IV lung cancer he decided he wanted to be an advocate for the cause in providing hope, encouragement and inspiration to other lung cancer survivors and families. Being involved with a lung cancer organization has provided him the opportunity to reach out to others, touch lives and assist those with needs. In some small way he is hoping to give of himself in order to help others achieve their goals. He served as a board member for Free ME from Lung Cancer foundation.