First Chemo

Hey friends!

Today, I had the first round of chemotherapy and second radiation treatment. We checked in at 8:45am for blood work, medical oncology consult with Dr. Robbins, then IVs and injections for 4.5 hours. Followed by radiation, which was much shorter and tolerable. Then, radiation oncologist consult. Dr. Hochman decided to only radiate the left side of my neck and face.

We discovered a few ministry opportunities today. Details to follow..

A patient brought everyone Klondike ice cream bars!

Lisa and I celebrated my appetite by getting sushi!

Please pray for a good friend, Miranda who is pregnant with twins. She has been hospitalized until the babies are born.

Thank you for everything and press on friends, Rich

Weird experience

Today, I received the first of forty radiation treatments. The staff at the Florida Cancer Institute are incredibly nice. The experience of being bolted to a narrow table by my face was… scary. This treatment was longer than the successive ones as they needed to shoot some x-rays and consult with medical oncologist. The technicians were pleased with the initial procedure.

Tomorrow, morning we start chemotherapy at 8:45am. It’s expected to last five to six hours. At 2:15pm, I receive the second radiation treatment.

Thanks for the prayer support. I appreciate the cards and notes of encouragement. I apologize for not being able to follow-up with everyone directly. You are a huge part of my care team. Thank you!

Here are a few photos that Lisa took today.

Press on dear friends, Rich

Basic, simple faith!

It’s been five weeks (yesterday) since I was first diagnosed with a very rare, Stage IV CxPA cancer. After three surgeries, CAT and PET scans, injections, blood draws and intravenous therapies, radiation preparation and a multitude of doctor consultations and oncology visits, Lisa and I are overwhelmed, over-informed and very thankful.

We have been incredibly blessed by the support and random acts of kindness to our family and company by our wonderful friends and business colleagues.

Through greeting cards, this Blog, Facebook, email and CaresPages (search richardhayes) website we have received many encouraging notes about our strong faith during this wild storm in our lives. Jesus said in Matthew 17:20 “He said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.” Well, I haven’t moved any mountains yet, but my little faith has sustained me and given me great confidence to press on to whatever God has in-store for the balance of my life. I pray that its a long life, but none of us knows the hour, year or duration of this life.

Next week, I will begin intensive radiation therapy (5 days a week for 8 weeks) on my the left side of my face and both sides of my neck and chemotherapy (once a week (4-5 hours) for 8 weeks). The pathology and post-surgery reports were not what we were expecting.

We know that everybody has problems, difficulties and challenges and many are much greater than ours. I pray that many people come to know the Lord perhaps for the first time or more intimately due our story.

“For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” 1 John 5:4

Press on! Love, Rich

Thankful & Blessed

Wow! Finally able to work a full week, albeit shorten hours. Fatigue and pain have lessened throughout the week.

Digital Lightbridge acquired new business and new ministry opportunities this week. Our friends at Cornerstone brought the entire staff a wonderful lunch on Thursday. We enjoyed their fellowship and warm hospitality.

I also received a UPS package of incredible books and cancer resources from former Major League Baseball player and author Dave Dravecky.

Our three sons had a great time on Spring Break at Green Key Beach, canoeing on the Chassahowitzka River, disc golf and movies with their grandparents and friends.

Next Tuesday, we visit with the oncologist and begin radiation on my face and neck. My scars are healing enough to begin the treatments and I’ve gained 9 pounds in anticipation of losing quite a bit of weight during the eights weeks of treatment. Ironically, next week (April 12-19, 2010) is Head & Neck Cancer Awareness Week. A month ago, I wouldn’t have cared or known that cancer that arises in the head or neck region is sixth-most-common form of cancer in the United States. If you discover a lump or bump, please get it checked out immediately.

Being an entrepreneur and employer for the past nine years, has typically allowed me to be in a position to give and provide. I truly enjoy serving and leading my staff, their families, clients and strategic partners. I have been overwhelmed with the generosity, compassion, acts of kindness, and selfless-love lavished upon me, my family and company since my diagnosis of Stage IV Carcinoma ex pleomorphic adenoma (CxPA). Receiving these blessings has increased my faith. Thank you dear friends for everything.

At the conclusion of my 31st day of surviving cancer, I am feel thankful and blessed.

Press on! Love, Rich

Stitches Out!

Yesterday, after working from early morning to noon, Lisa and Mitchell (he’s on Spring Break) took me to lunch, Chili’s. Afterward, we went to my doctor appointment. I had the eyebrow stitches from the March 29th eye surgery removed by my primary surgeon Dr. Steiniger. He also told us that he and Dr. Alidina remove 75 lymph nodes and additional tumor from my neck during the March 23th neck dissection surgery. The tumor and 10 of the lymph nodes were cancerous. The scars are healing very well and the cancer doesn’t appear to be outside of the face and neck. On Tuesday, April 13th we go back to the Florida Cancer Institute and meet with Dr. Hochman to begin radiation treatments. I believe they will first create the radiation mask. I will undergo 40 treatments over the course of 8 weeks, 5 days a week. The treatments should last about 30 minutes. Next week I also start physical therapy to regain full range of motion and feeling to my upper left arm, neck and shoulder. Still trying to gain weight in anticipation of losing weight during radiation.

Thank you again for the overwhelming, beautiful support and warm encouragement of our friends and family. Your prayers mean a lot during these strange times.

Great News! Yesterday, we were presented by the agency with the beginning of the adoption package for our foster son. The process is months, perhaps years away, but its great progress within this very slow and challenging system.

As we strive to walk closely with the Lord, I was reminded this morning in my quiet time that God goes before us, He stands beside and behind us to provide protection and comfort (Psalm 139:7-12). Even in the midst of bewildering circumstances, the Lord is there.

That give us confidence to press on.

Lisa posts updates from her perspective on www.CarePages.com, search for RichardHayes (no spaces).

The Journey

This morning I had a conversation with Rich and he asked me to share the following things with you.  I pray that God would allow me to communicate clearly the hope and excitement (yes – I said excitement) that Rich is feeling at this time.

Again I remind you to please use this blog as your official information source regarding all of God’s work within the Hayes Family.  Thanks!

The History

It was about 8 months ago that Rich wanted to surprise a friend and take him skydiving.  After doing a little research and calling the skydiving location for more information, he was told that 285 pound guys play football and 150 pound guys skydive.  Ouch.  That served as a wake up call for Rich.  He knew that 1Corinthians 6:19-20 said that his body was a temple of the Holy Spirit.  Time to get healthy!

Within the first few days of March 2010 Rich had someone mention to him something about a lump on his face.  Rich knew it was there but hadn’t really thought much about it but since he was trying to be healthier, he went to get it checked out.  First the dentist, then an Ear, Nose, & Throat doctor (ENT).

The ENT sent Rich for an MRI which revealed a tumor on the salivary gland on the left side of his face.  This wasn’t something common but 95% of these are really nothing.

On March 10, 2010 Rich went in to the have the tumor removed in what was supposed to be a procedure that would last about an hour.  5 hours later, the surgeon had removed the salivary gland, some lymph nodes, and the left facial nerve as these all were infected with cancer.  The removal of the nerve resulted in the left side of Rich’s face being paralyzed and an incision that goes from above his left ear to the mid-point of his neck.

The Present

Rich had a PET scan of his hole body, “Head to toe” in Rich’s terms, done Wednesday, March 17, 2010 to see if there was any remaining cancer in his body.  On Friday, March 19th, 2010 he was given the results.  The good news: there was some remaining cancer and it was ONLY contained in the neck and head.  The bad news: It was in the neck and the head.  The type of cancer is Carcinoma Ex Pleomorphic Adenoma.  Of that 5% above where the tumor might be something, this is 1% of that 5% that get this type of cancer.  In other words – this is EXTREMELY rare.  This is stage 4 cancer because of how much it has spread and the size of the original tumor.

In a consultation with the original surgeon yesterday, March 22, 2010 it was decided that Rich would have surgery TODAY, March 23, 2010 at 1:30 p.m.  The procedure is called a “Neck Ectomy”.  As a part of this procedure, Rich will have all lymph nodes on the left side of his neck removed along with all muscles which contain the cancer.

It is expected that Rich will be in the hospital for 2-3 days following the procedure.  This procedure is expected to remove 90% of the cancer with the remaining 10% being eliminated through radiation treatment which will begin at the end of next week and continue for 6-8 weeks.

On Monday, March 29, 2010, Rich will also have a small procedure done on the left side of his face.  Due to the left side of his face being paralyzed, Rich’s brow is already beginning to droop over his eye so he will have a brow lift done to help alleviate that.  He will also have a small gold weight implanted into his left eyelid so that he is able to close his eye while he sleeps at night.  Being paralyzed, his left eye is unable to blink and is open at all times.  Eye drops are applied hourly to keep the eye moist.

The Message

Very directly Rich stated, “God is in control and I am not.  I always have believed that but until you go through something like this, it is hard to make it real.  Romans 8:18-28 , in a nutshell, states that our present sufferings are nothing compared to the glory that will one day be revealed to us in Heaven.  The Holy Spirit will help us in our moment of weakness and all things work for the good of those who love him and have been called according to his purpose.  I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was afraid or upset.  I am also very excited.  I know that sounds like a weird word to use right now because we have no clue as to what lies on the other side of this and that is what is exciting”

Rich was very upbeat and cannot wait to see how God will be glorified through all of this, no matter what the end result may be.

His hope and faith in God are only strengthened when he looks back at how God revealed to Rich that he was to start a business that would help ministries.  Today, 9 years later, one third of Digital Lightbridge‘s business is giving their services to ministries FREE OF CHARGE!  A little over 2 years ago God very clearly sent a message to the Hayes family that their son Chandler was to go on a mission trip Australia.  Through lots of prayer, Rich and Lisa were able to release their 12 year old son to God, allowing Chandler to grow closer to the Lord and assist in ministering to the Australian people.  Then, 15 months ago while praying and asking “What’s next?”, God gave a foster son to Rich and Lisa, allowing them to pour out their hearts to a little boy who so badly needed the type of love that on Rich, Lisa, and the boys could give to him.  Rich has seen God do amazing things in his life and expects nothing less through this!

The Wrap Up

As for business… nothing changes.  It’s business as usual.  The Digital Lightbridge team can make everything happen.  Rich fully expects to be back in the office in a couple of weeks.

Please be praying for the Hayes family.  For peace that passes all understanding.  For strength to fight through all of the emotions they are experiencing.  For healing through the hands of the Almighty Father.  For rest.  For Chandler, Mitchell, and foster son – their emotions, their childlike hearts, and their faith in Christ.

As updates are available – they will be posted here in as timely manor as possible.  Again, we ask that all communications be funneled through the Comments section of this blog in order to consolidate and centralize your notes.

So as the Hayes family encounters this journey, let me encourage you with Rich’s words… Press On!

Rich’s Request…

Hello Friends!  I have been asked by Rich to manage his Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts in order tokeep you updated on the things God is doing in his life.  Many of you know the circumstances surrounding the Hayes family and many of you do not.  This blog has been setup to share with you the journey God is leading them on.

The various Social Media tools available make it very easy for news to flow in a viral fashion.  In order to make sure that this news is accurate, Rich has asked that all updates be funneled through this medium, his blog.  His Twitter, Facebook status, and LinkedIn account will be your tools to know that there are updates available.

If you would like to respond to the updates, please DO NOT respond via Facebook or Twitter.  Please, instead, comment on the blog.  Again – We are trying to make things simple for the Hayes family to RECEIVE the messages that you would like to send them by having you post in one central location.  We are trying to bring simplicity in a time of chaos.  Again, let me remind you, if you respond on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn – I cannot guarantee that the Hayes family will see them.  This is the central communication hub!

We make no promises as to the frequencies of updates, so please be respectful of the Hayes family during this time and know that as soon as an update is available, it will be posted here.

Thank You for your cooperation and understanding!