Monday, December 7, 2009


Hello Friends and Family,

I hope that this post finds you all doing well and enjoying this beautiful holiday season. I am sure that you noticed that I took down the blog for awhile, sorry for the delay, but I truly appreciate your continued warm thoughts and prayers sent our way.

The Hanson family has endured many changes in the past few months. Courtney has retired from work at Nucon Steel and is now enjoying his days at home. He has done this so that he can concentrate on his health. Courtney is continuing chemo both in IV treatments and in pill form. His CEA (tumor markers in his blood) levels remain stable and we are encouraged. The weeks that he has chemo are tough, and he tires easily, but we continually marvel at his strength. At the end of this post, I have added a letter sent out to Nucon steel, the company that Courtney worked for. It was sent by Don Moody, Courtney's long time friend and co-worker. It is a tribute like no other, and touches on the life journey of an amazing man. I thought you would all enjoying reading it.

Tyler and Courtney have been spending a few mornings on their car projects. They are both enjoying spending time with one another and seeing Tyler's old Spitfire come back to life.

Tyler and I spent Thanksgiving Day with my family in East Texas and then came back that evening to spend the weekend with the Hanson's. We had a shrimp boil and watched the Husker game on Friday. Of course, I studied for finals during the cheers of the game.

We are planning on spending a white Christmas in Nebraska this year. Jean, could you please order some snow for our arrival? This will be my first Christmas in Nebraska, and Tyler's first in a long time. We are super excited to be spending time with the family at the Johnson Lake with the Weber family. Courtney's oncologist has given him an extra week off of chemo during Christmas, so hopefully he will be feeling well on our trip.

We hope that you all have a blessed Christmas, and a Happy New Year!



Letter written by Don Moody...

By now, many of you know that last Friday (9/11) was Courtney Hanson’s last day
at Nucon.  He has decided to go out on medical leave to concentrate his full
attention and energy on his on-going battle with cancer. 

As you might imagine, this was an extremely difficult decision for Courtney.  He is
passionate about Nucon.  He is passionate about being a part of this team.  He is
passionate about contributing.  He is proud of being part of Nucon.  To make a
decision to leave Nucon, even in the face of cancer, was hard for him.

Courtney and I have worked together for much of the last 25 years.  All of the
times we did work together were in the light gauge load-bearing steel framing
industry in one way or another.  Over the years, side-by-side we made sales, ran
rollformers, fabricated trusses and walls, loaded trucks, made deliveries, and
framed buildings.  He was lots better at most of those things than I was.  Along the
way we evolved into our natural roles as we worked together with each of us doing
what we were better than the other at.  That is one reason I believe we were a good
team for so many years – we were good at different things.  We grew to effortlessly
understand each other.  Also along the way, we became very good friends.

When Nucor was looking for ways to enter the load-bearing CFS business
Courtney was the first person I called to help me put together a plan. Since then he
has been involved in every major Nucon event and initiative.  We have benefitted
from his solid thinking and his incredibly wide range of knowledge and abilities.
His contributions are too numerous to elaborate upon in this Green Sheet.  His
absence will be felt for a long, long, time here at Nucon.

I have received comments from many of you admiring the way Courtney has
waged his difficult battle with cancer.  I couldn’t agree more.  It has been inspiring,
but to me and I’m sure to many of you, not surprising.  We already know what he
is.  We already know the depth of his character.  We already know the internal
strength he possesses. 

Now he will focus all of that and more on beating cancer.  Please keep him in your
thoughts and prayers. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Time for Friends

Dear Friends and Family,

It has been a busy time in all our lives since my last post. Tyler and Courtney have been weekend warriors working furiously on the Spitfire. They are having such a blast, and making some great progress.

Courtney's last CT scans were completed several weeks ago, but the Denton oncologist did not have any scans to compare them to, since all of his recent CT and PET scans had been at MD Anderson. They had sent them off for MD Anderson to read, and got the results back this past week. It was tough news to hear. He has new active tumors in his liver and the tumors in his lungs are larger. The doctors had always gone back and forth about the tumors in Courtney's lung, "were they scar tissue, or tumors?" They always had remained stable, but on this scan they had changed. This gave the doctors the information that they most likely were tumors. Courtney will complete this round of chemo and then the doctors have a couple of other chemotherapy regimens that they can try. The problem is, that the tumors eventually "learn" that you are trying to kill them and adapt to whatever current chemo you are on. It appears that Courtney's tumors have "learned". I will keep you all posted on the next step.

On a wonderful note, we had some great visitors down this weekend to lift up Courtney's spirits! Joe and Pam (long time friends!) came down from Canada to visit. Bob and Teresa (Sue's brother and sister-in-law) came from Arizona. We were also joined by many other friends including The Moody's and even our friends Jeff and Amanda stopped by. We had a long 5 hour dinner at Villa O in Dallas, it was great to catch up! We laughed and enjoyed the evening and for all of us it was a great escape.

Bob and Teresa spent Sunday at the Hanson's and the guys pulled out the old Porsche that Tyler and Courtney had started to re-do a couple of years ago. With the intention of selling it, and using Bob's ebay skills, they pulled out all the parts and photographed them. I think it was just to much for them to bear, and they remembered why they bought it in the first place. So now, we have our next project after the Spitfire, a 1966 912 Porsche! Tyler then cooked for all of the family that night, a wonderful dinner! We were so sad that we had to leave and that Bob and Teresa had to get on a flight back to Phoenix the next morning.

Thank you all again for your prayers and support of our family. Courtney appreciates all of you, and it lifts his spirits to know just how many people care about him. Thank you for keeping up with this blog, I will update again soon!


Monday, August 17, 2009

Harley's, Spitfire's and 90th birthday's...oh my!

Dear Friends and Family,

The Hanson family has been super busy since my last post. We headed to Nebraska on August 7th for Grandma Billie's 90th birthday party. Sadly, Courtney was still feeling pretty under the weather from his last chemo treatment, so he and Max stayed home. Sue, Tyler, and I had a wonderful time catching up with family. We spent some very relaxing days at the Weber's home on Johnson Lake. Since I met Tyler, I have been hearing about the wonderful days at Johnson Lake in Billie's house there. It was so nice to finally get to see this famous site!

The weather there was absolutely perfect. It stayed in the 70s and 80s, a much needed respite from the humid 100 degree days we've been having in Texas. We tubed our hearts out on Johnson lake and I think some of us forgot how old we have gotten. Tyler could hardly walk the next day and Lacy broke a rib and has some internal bruising! But we enjoyed every minute of it!

Grandma's party was amazing. She is so sweet and loved by so many. It was a joy to see her celebrate this wonderful milestone in her life. It made me proud to be a part of such an incredible family. Lacy helped make a scrapbook of her life, which took some amazing organization on her part. The night before the party, Grandma B spent the night with family at was at the Barrel, a famous Hastings landmark of burgers and beer! She made the comment that she had never ridden a motorcycle. Well, the Bienkowski's jumped on that and found a family friend that had a beautiful Harley. He pulled up to the party the next day, to take her on a ride! She climbed on like a pro behind him, held on, and they sped down the highway past the cornfields! She loved it! It was the perfect ending to a wonderful day!

This past week, Sue had rotator cuff surgery (on her right shoulder). We were pretty worried that it was going to keep her down for awhile, however we should have known better. Tyler and I visited them this past weekend and she is feeling good, taking minimal pain medication and up moving around. She just has to wear a sling and go to therapy three times a week for 6 weeks. She is such a trooper. She says that if Courtney can go through what he has been through then this is "easy". I say, "hardly," since this is famously one of the most difficult ortho surgeries to go through, but the drive in this family is amazing.

Courtney is feeling much better now, and the boys worked on the Spitfire this past weekend. They are making a big headway on it, and enjoying every minute of it. It is good to see them having fun restoring Tyler's old car.

Well, I will post some pictures of Grandma B's famous ride and of the Spitfire, I hope you enjoy! I must give credit to Gracie, future photographer, for taking many of the photos at Grandma's party! Thank you always for your prayers and thoughts.


A Harley Ridin' Grandma

Grandma B's party

Spitfire restoration

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Starting chemo

Courtney starts chemo next Monday, June 22. Dr. Jan and Dr. Curley (Courtney's oncologist and surgeon) conferred about Courtney's treatment plan. It was decided that Courtney should complete six treatments instead of just three. It will be the same drugs as last time, since his cancer responded so well to them. It is tough to hear, we were hoping that this might all be behind us this year.

We also originally thought that the chemo dose would be reduced as well, and it will be, but only because of his major weight loss. We are worried about the side effects that he had to endure during his past treatments, peeling hands and feet, hair loss, nausea and more. Courtney has been such a trooper through it all, he has just been feeling so well lately and we don't want that to go away.

We enjoyed lunch together today, and the Hanson's did a little shopping. We ran from destination to destination since it was so hot! I will keep you all updated on his progress through chemo...

Friday, June 5, 2009

Back to Work

Tyler and I had the pleasure of spending some of this past weekend with the Hanson's by the pool. Sue and Courtney had gotten some great new outdoor furniture, so we enjoyed the day outside. It was a little warm, but we cooled off by getting in the pool. We grilled burgers, and watched the dogs swim! 

Courtney is back at work for half-days. He continues to regain his strength after surgery, and his incision is healing up nicely. I know he is enjoying getting back into the swing of things. We are thinking his chemo will start around the first of July, allowing his body to heal for the next month. He will then look at options for colon surgery closer to home, which will be nice for all of us. 

We are looking forward  to spending some time this summer with family in Nebraska. It's been a long time since we have been up there. Being on chemo and traveling will be a challenge, but we wouldn't miss it. 

School is about to start back in session for me, so Tyler and Courtney are gearing up for some projects around the house. Actually, Courtney just provides the knowledge, and Tyler is doing the work. They enjoy doing projects together, so it should be fun. Tyler is going to Denton this weekend to make a wood mold of our fireplace hearth. They are going to attempt concrete polishing eventually, which should be awesome if they can pull it off. They usually succeed at whatever they try, so its fun.

I will keep updating as things come along, thanks again for all your prayers and support.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Check up in Houston

Courtney and Sue traveled yesterday to Houston for a follow up with the surgeon and to receive final pathology results from all of the biopsies they had taken from his tumor and the surrounding lymph nodes. While the preliminary results showed that the labs would be all clear, they did find some active microscopic cells in the vessels surrounding the liver. This just means that the chemo hasn't killed all of the active cancer cells yet, and Courtney must do more chemo before proceeding on with more surgery.

Courtney will complete three more months of chemo, but not before his body is given time to heal from the surgery. So, in the middle of June, chemo will begin but at a 25% reduction in the dose from before. They don't have the large tumor or bowel tumor to contend with anymore so they feel comfortable reducing the dose. After completion of the chemo regimen, he will take a "rest from chemo" for a few weeks to let his blood counts rise. He can then have surgery to remove the area of the bowel that is scarred from the previous cancer that is now gone. The doctor at MD Anderson suggested that they have the bowel surgery closer to home this time, since the bowel surgery was not as involved and complicated. He previously had seen a colorectal surgeon at Baylor, so they will go back to interview him to see what is recommendations are for surgery.

Courtney got his staples out, and is feeling good after surgery. We continue to be confident in his progress and how amazing he has done. While this is a minor setback, the fact that the large tumors are gone is amazing. It is so promising that the chemo he will be on will most likely be the one that killed all the tumors before.

I will keep you all posted on his progress. Thank you again for all your love and support!


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Ignoring all odds...

Tyler headed up to Denton today to help mow the yard, but it was just too wet. Courtney continues to improve, just feeling really sore. We continue to be amazed at his progress. I found this quote from Lance Armstrong, and it really hit home...

If children have the ability to ignore all odds and percentages, then maybe we can all learn from them. When you think about it, what other choice is there but to hope? We have two options, medically and emotionally: give up, or fight like hell. ~Lance Armstrong

Thank you all again, take care!


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Update at home

I have received many emails asking how Courtney is doing so I thought it best to update the blog. I spoke to Sue today, Courtney is doing great. He is sore of course, and getting up the stairs is tough. When I talked to her, they were out running a few short errands. Much to Courtney's dismay, Sue mowed the lawn this morning. Those of you who know Courtney, know that he loves to mow, and this was really hard for him to watch her do. No one can ever do it quite like he can, with all the straight lines that have to be mowed. I have often thought that he cared for some major league ball field in his previous life! Tyler is probably going to head up there this weekend to help them around the house some more. 

Courtney heads back to Houston for a check up and staple removal next Wednesday. They will then plan their next course of action...more chemo, surgery? 

I cannot begin to express to all of you how important that your support and prayers have been throughout this entire ordeal. If you had told our family that we would be dealing with this 2 years ago we would have all laughed. How things change so quickly and catch you by surprise. This thing we call cancer can shake your faith, make you question life, and most of all make you angry. You just keep asking, "Why?" What we have learned is that faith knows no boundaries, love knows no limits, and God will always be by your side. We have grown so much as a family, and are stronger because of all of this. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and all of our hearts for all your love, prayers, kindness, compassion, and words of encouragement. You all can never imagine the impact that you have all had on us. Thank you!

I will continue to update this blog periodically with Courtney's progress, as the climb is not over. We are looking at more surgery, chemo, and treatments. Thank you all again!


Monday, May 11, 2009

Going home

Just wanted to let you all know that Courtney gets to go home today. He is just waiting for the doctor to come by and dismiss him. He will return next week to Houston for a follow up. Thank you all for your prayers and words of encouragement!


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Walking a lot!

Its 8:30 pm and I just got an update from Sue. Courtney continues to do well, and ventured outside again after we left. Part of his motivation to get up so much has to do with the fact that if he doesn't get out of bed, he gets to wear these uncomfortable inflatable boots to prevent blood clots. If he gets up enough, he doesn't have to wear them. Whatever works, I guess. 

After his big lunch this afternoon, he wasn't feeling much like eating dinner. It's tough when you haven't eaten for days! 

I will update tomorrow as I hear from Sue since Tyler and I are home. Hopefully, they will be headed home tomorrow or the next day!


The first meal

Its 11:30 and Courtney is enjoying his first full meal after surgery. What did he order? Potato soup, a chocolate milkshake, and two scoops of chocolate Blue Bell ice cream with chocolate sauce. He said it was "wonderful!"

Tyler and I are going to head out soon. He is going to come home with me, and we hope that Courtney and Sue follow us tomorrow. His pain is still under very good control. He has walked 3 times today, his minimum is 5.

Diana and Jo, you have Courtney figured out. He is already planning how he can mow the yard when he gets home. We have strongly discouraged it, and Tyler is going to try to get at the yard before his dad does. 

I will talk to Sue later on tonight and I will update the blog again then. 


Man of Steel

Its 9:20 am, and Dr. Smith has been by and made a lot of changes. He has pronounced Courtney as a "Man of Steel" hardly using any pain medication since yesterday. We think it might just be a tinge of "hard headedness." They have advanced his diet so he can eat regular food, and he is currently enjoying some gourmet graham crackers. He just hit up the nurse for some more, wagering the saltines that he had for some more graham crackers. 

They have taken him off the pain button and he is now on oral pain medication. His numbing medication that is at his incision site should run out today. They will then remove those tubes. 
Every day he gets rid of more and more. All he has left are some IV fluids, which he should loose soon. 

We are sitting outside right now. He walked down most of the way, which is pretty far! It's humid today, but the outside air feels so great! 

The great news is, he may be able to go home tomorrow! Yes, back to Denton. They are so amazed at his progress that they are comfortable with him leaving. It's wonderful. They will just take out his staples in Denton. I have threatened that I could do it, but I don't think he could ever forgive me! 

Tyler is trying to decide if he will stay tonight and help Sue get Courtney back to Denton tomorrow. I would go home by myself. We will decide later on today. More updates later.


Saturday, May 9, 2009

A New Room

Its 4:00 and we have had a busy day so far. Courtney got up and took a shower this morning, well sort of a shower. It made him feel so much better. He ate another clear lunch, and is starting to get his appetite back. We went and got a wheelchair and took him to the front of MD Anderson and sat outside. The breeze was so nice, it was surprisingly not humid! He enjoyed getting out of the room, and we contemplated how far we could get so they could watch Formula 1 tomorrow. I told him that I thought they just might miss him. We sat and enjoyed the fresh air for about an hour. As soon as we got back, they announced that they had a new room for us.

He is now on the gastrointestinal floor in P509. Moving to this unit is a sign of his continued improvement. Much less monitoring required. Its a little larger, and a much better view from the window. He is planning on a nap after his busy day. Tyler and I are headed out to have dinner with my brother and his family who live near Houston in Missouri City. 

Courtney is so strong, able to walk pretty far, feeling much better without all his accessories, and using his pain button a lot less. We have enjoyed reading all your comments, he always gets a good laugh out of them. Tyler and I will head back to Dallas tomorrow, we are sad to leave, but confident that he will continue to improve as he has. I will continue to update the blog as I receive word from Sue. 


Busy morning

It's 10:30 and Courtney has already had a busy morning. He has made four laps around the nurses station and down the hall. He said he was trying to show off for the doctors so they would take out some lines and tubes. It must have worked, they agreed to take out two of his IVs and remove some other accessories. I think he about passed out when he realized what a garden hose one of the IVs in his hand was. 

He had breakfast of broth, tea and popsicles. They said he could have coffee, but when he figured out he couldn't have cream, he switched to tea. I do feel sorry for him because we waltz in here every morning with our Starbucks. 

He has discovered the AMC movie channel and is now watching his favorite old movies. The doctors guarantee that we will move to another, possibly larger room today. I think he is tired of staring at the same four walls. As far as Formula 1, they are settling for internet updates on the qualifying today. Tyler is still feverishly searching for a solution.

The palliative care wing is down the hall from us. It really makes you feel lucky to be where you are. Courtney is doing so well, and we are so thankful!


Friday, May 8, 2009

Saying goodnight

It's 8:30 pm and Tyler has gone to take Courtney's phone to him. We left not too long ago to head to the Rotary House to get some rest. He was doing pretty good with his pain medication and just wanted to sleep. However, he wanted his phone. My guess is that he just can't stand to be away and not know what is going on in the office. 

Before we left, we let the night nurse know we were leaving, she said she would keep an eye on him. With his past history of trying to be renegade and go bounding over side rails while doped up on pain medication, she thought it best. 

As far as Formula 1 viewing status goes, we are still working on it. Courtney is trying to devise a plan to sneak out in a wheelchair to somewhere that he can watch it (Gail, you weren't too far off!) We'll see how far he gets.

Moving forward

It's 5:45 and things are moving forward. Courtney has been up and made three laps around the nurses station. He sat up in a chair for about 30 minutes after. His pain is much better, and he is drinking a lot more. He is still enjoying his popsicles, now requesting certain colors. It looks like we may not move from this room today, the hospital is just too full. Courtney  thinks he has lost a few pounds, not eating anything. I went down to the gift shop earlier and grabbed some lollipops, which tasted really good.

Right now his main concern is making sure that he gets to watch the Formula 1 race on Sunday. We had previously hooked up a slingbox to broadcast their home TV over the internet. Unfortunately, the internet is a little slower here than expected, and it's not working as planned. Hopefully,  Tyler can figure out a solution. He has already contemplated stealing one of the network cables from the nurse's computers in the hallway! But, he figured that probably wasn't the smartest idea.

The plan for tomorrow is to remove some of his accessories (lines and tubes) and make him more mobile. He figured out that he has a front pocket in his shirt so now he has a perfect spot for his chapstick. We previously had contemplated taping it to his hand!

Thanks again for all your comments, prayers, and support! 



Its 3:00 and we are waiting to be transferred to another room. The room we are in now is quite small, with only two chairs. They are still waiting for other discharges in the hospital. Dr. Smith, the "green" intern is on his way to check on him. Courtney says "he is so green, I could mow him." He is having some pain and we may need to change up some of his pain medication regimen. He has been joking around with the nurses, we have had some really nice ones. It's hard as a nurse to be on the other side of things. Watching a family member go through something like this is difficult. However, I can only imagine what Sue and Tyler feel. What a blessing to have him doing so well! I honestly think even Dr. Curley and the nurses are surprised at his rapid progress. Thank you again for all your comments, Courtney was laughing reading them earlier. He read through the past blogs and said it was strange to read through what he had gone through yesterday. More later.

The first walk

Its 11:15 and Courtney just walked around the unit for the first time. He did great, and made two victorious laps. He's dressed and feeling much better. Dr. Curley, his surgeon, stopped in for a visit and was very impressed at how he was doing. He was confident that he got all of the tumors in the liver. The biopsies of the lymph nodes around the liver showed no metastasis. Dr. Curley and Courtney sat and joked about cars, or course Courtney would pick the surgeon that loves Formula 1. He's a Ferrari fan, and is going out with his friends this weekend to drive the 599. He said he would bring Courtney a picture.

Getting back to his old self...

Its 9:30 and Courtney is way more awake this morning, getting back to his old self. They took off the bandage over his incision, and it looks great. In Rhonda's words, "very good handywork." He is having some considerable pain in his left shoulder, most likely from laying on the operating table for so long. The plan is to get up in walk today, although before we were even here this morning, the nurse came in and found him standing by the bed, falling asleep. Not quite sure how he managed that, since the bed rails were all still up on the bed and he has lots of lines and tubes. But, you all know Courtney, he will figure out a way to make it work. He is resting now, I will update again once we make the first big walk.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Resting Well

Its 7:00 p.m. and we are leaving for the night. Courtney is so tired and needs his rest. His pain has been pretty well controlled with his "pain button" and his numbing medicine under his skin. He gets a little "loopy" at times, which we wish we had brought a video camera to document. As we were leaving, he mumbles, "hey, get me that thing in a box..." Not sure where that came from, but it has been funny comments like this all day. He falls asleep then wakes up and looks around like he's never seen anything before, our guess is that he will remember nothing. Thank goodness.

I will update again tomorrow morning on his progress. Thank you all for your support and prayers today!

In a room

It's 3:45 and they now have Courtney in a room. He is in a step-down unit of sorts, mainly because they did not have a room on the regular floor. He is doing awesome and is much more awake than we thought he would be. As we walked into the room for the first time he sleepily said, "I don't know why you guys were so apprehensive about this, it's a walk in the park!" We all got a good laugh out of that. It is good to see that he still has his sense of humor about him.

They gave him a Popsicle and you would have thought it was a gourmet meal. He made sure to let the nurse know that she needed to have an adequate supply of those. We have only let him have one so far, but I know as soon as he wakes up next time he will be asking for another. 

This room is not permanent, we will move once another room is available, most likely tomorrow. I will update again as the day goes on. We read all your comments to him and he was amazed. Thank you all.


In recovery

It's 1200 and we just saw Courtney in recovery for the first time. He is doing well, just in a lot of pain. They are trying their best to control it, without making him too sleepy so he forgets to breathe! His blood pressure is stable and he is eating ice chips. The one thing he wanted most was his chapstick, which for those who know him best, is very important!

Right now we are waiting for a room assignment. They are trying to determine if he bears watching in the ICU or on the regular floor. There aren't any beds in the hospital right now anyway, it is super busy. They are waiting on some discharges. 

We went and grabbed something to eat. Tyler and Sue went to the hotel room to take a nap (it is connected to the hospital). I am in the waiting room outside the post-anesthesia unit. Right now he is sleeping. I did tell him that the people at the office were rooting for him, and that Lindsey and Cortney had sent him a message. He got this big grin on his face, I think he would much rather be with you guys than here!

I will post again when I see him, and when he gets a room.


It's done, he did great!

Its 10:00 am, we just got out of conference with Dr. Curley, Courtney's surgeon. In his words, "He did great, he's just not totally with the program yet." (smile). He removed 20% of his liver, one large tumor that was in his left lobe,  a small tumor in his right lobe, and did an ablation (froze) one other small tumor. This one actually looked like it was just scar tissue, but he got rid of it just in case. He took some biopsies from different areas in the gut that were scarred after chemo. They will run tests on these to help determine the next course of treatment, more chemo, more surgery, etc. Preliminary tests on these should be ready in a few days. Dr. Curley said he hardly bled at all, so he didn't even have to put a drain in his belly.

He already has his breathing tube out and we are waiting to see him in recovery. He has a couple of methods for pain control. The first is a PCA, which will deliver pain medication when he hits a button. He also has a pump that is delivering constant numbing medication into his abdomen at the incision site.

Many people have asked how to contact Courtney here and where to send cards. The address here is as follows...

MD Anderson
To: Courtney Hanson (patient)
1515 Holcombe Blvd.
Houston, Texas 77030-4009

They will deliver these to him. As soon as we have a room number I will send it out. They have said he may go to a regular room today since he did so well. We will find out after he is more awake.

Thank you all for your prayers and comments! 


Doctor update

The surgeon Dr. Curley just called. Things are going well, he is doing great. They will call once they have him in recovery. 

Our friends Jeff and Amanda sent their sweet pastor, Rev. Steve Thorney to check on us, who is a chaplain here at MD Anderson. What a comfort to meet him! We have such amazing friends and family, we are so fortunate. Thank you all.

The Surgery is Underway

Its 7:30 am, Courtney is in surgery. They took him back right on time at 7 am. We were all able to be there in the room before he went in. We met the anesthesiologist, she is super nice. She let us know that she would most likely have his breathing tube out before he even comes out of the OR, which was very encouraging. They gave him his Versed (i.e. liquid courage as she called it) before he went back. He was already sleepy and making jokes when they rolled him down the hall. 

We didn't want to eat in front of Courtney so we went downstairs and got us some Starbucks. None of us got much sleep last night, Tyler and I only got 3 hours. Its going to be a long day, but what a relief when he is done! I will update this again as soon as the doctor comes out to update us on his progress in surgery. Any messages you leave, I will deliver to Courtney as soon as he wakes up! 

Checking in

Its 5:30 am. We just arrived to get Courtney checked in for surgery. They have taken him back to get changed and start his IVs. Surgery will begin at 7 am. During surgery they will do a liver resection and remove the tumors in his liver. They will leave the healthy portions of the liver. The liver is so amazing, that most of it can be removed and it can still regenerate itself.  They anticipate the surgery will take about 2 hours. The surgeons have said they will update us about halfway through the surgery. I will send updates as I have them. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Preparing for the journey

Sue and Courtney left this morning to travel to Houston. Max gets to spend some time at doggie daycare (yes, I know what you are thinking, it's just like people daycare...only for dogs). Sue dropped Max off today to be with our dogs Bella and Nixon. They even have webcams so we can check in on them. They all have such a blast and it is so hard to get them all to leave! We don't feel so badsaying goodbye to them since we know they have so much fun.

Tyler and I will leave tomorrow evening after work and travel to Houston. Courtney and Sue will meet with the doctors tomorrow and we will find out what time surgery is at 1:00 tomorrow. We are going to be staying at the Rotary House that is connected to MD Anderson. As soon as I know what room Courtney will be in, I will let you all know. Many people have asked for the address.

I want to thank everyone again for the outpouring of support, love, and prayers. It means so much to all of us. We are so blessed to have such amazing friends and family to lift us up in prayer and thought. While this all will be a difficult journey we know that the road is so much easier with all of you. Thank you again!



Sunday, May 3, 2009

Weekend before surgery

Well, it has been a fun weekend. Tyler and I traveled to Denton with the dogs to spend the weekend with Sue and Courtney. It stormed most of the day, but we did find some time to let Max (Sue and Courtney's Lab) swim in the pool. The guys sat out back and enjoyed some Honduran cigars they had brought back from our recent trip to Honduras. We had an amazing dinner that Tyler cooked, and enjoyed some great wine. It was Courtney's first time to drink wine since December! This morning the guys started their morning off with Sue cooking breakfast, the rain had subsided and of course, car cleaning time! It always amazes Sue and I how much time they can spend cleaning cars. They washed the Porsche, in anticipation of it sitting in the garage for awhile while they were gone. Tyler and Courtney have headed off to Best Buy to find some last minute gadgets for the hospital stay. They have wired up a sling box that will broadcast TV over the internet from their house. They will be able to pick it up at MD Anderson. Courtney didn't want to miss the Formula 1 races while they were there, and MD Anderson doesn't have Speed Channel! Very important.
We are about to have lunch and watch the Mavs game. Its been a nice relaxing weekend, this week will be hectic, getting to Houston, meeting all the surgeons/anesthesiologists, surgery on Thursday, recovery. Thank you all for all your emails, calls, and comments. We have been overwhelmed by the number of people who have viewed the blog, and are praying for Courtney. Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.
Sue had a poem on their fridge, that really hit home for all of us...

Cancer is so limited...

It cannot cripple love - It cannot shatter hope-
It cannot corrode faith- It cannot destroy peace-
It cannot kill friendships- It cannot suppress memories-
It cannot silence courage- It cannot invade the soul-
It cannot steal eternal life- It cannot conquer the spirit!


Saturday, April 25, 2009


Hello friends and family,

As most of you know my father-in-law, Courtney Hanson was diagnosed with advanced colorectal cancer. It had spread from the colon to the liver and lungs. It has been one year since Courtney's diagnosis, April 14th to be exact. We have come a long way in that time, getting mixed news of good and bad. We have struggled as a family to come to grips with his diagnosis. He has fought through it all, completing several rounds of chemo with multiple different medications. He has fought through all of the side effects, and has now been off chemo for a rest period for 6 weeks.
Courtney is receiving top notch treatment at Houston's MD Anderson, a leader in cancer research and treatment. Courtney's last trip to MD Anderson held some big surprises. After much consultation and exams, some great news. Courtney's tumors in his liver have shrunk at an alarming rate. The metastasis in his lungs have calcified. His colon appears clean, only with remnants of the previous cancer visible. We are so excited. Now comes a new chapter...

Courtney will have surgery on May 7th at MD Anderson to remove the tumors in his liver. This surgery is serious, but we remain confident that Courtney will do as well as he has in the past. The doctors plan on keeping him about 2 weeks in Houston. Tyler and I are traveling down to MD Anderson on the night of May 6th after I get off work, we will remain there through the weekend. This blog is to allow you all to check up on him and leave him and us messages. I know we will not always be able to have our cell phones close at hand, so I am hoping that a blog will help with updates.
I know I can speak on behalf of all of the Hanson's when I say thank you all for your continued prayers and support. Be sure to leave Courtney a message in the comments, they will be delivered to him daily!

Ashley Hanson