Monday, June 30, 2008


Written by Jodee McCabe    
Monday, 30 June 2008 2:25 PM

Many of you have been asking about what we found out about the "gamma knife" procedure so here goes: Today we met the radio therapist (yes, he is a doctor) and his resident.  We liked both of them.   The place we were referred to does not actually do "gamma knife", but something very similar called "stereotactic radiographic surgery".  If you really want the details, you can read all about it at:   This procedure accomplishes the same result using a different means of achieving the radiation; at least that is what I understood.  I have not thoroughly studied the web site yet, although we did watch a video at the doc's office.  
Although I wish the docs would quit "surprising" us with all these changes, this change has a big benefit:  Dan will NOT need his head to be screwed (literally) into a metal halo.  Today they molded a custom plastic mask-like frame to his face.  When they do the procedure next Tues., they will place the frame on his face and then screw the frame to the table.  It will have the same stabilizing effect that the halo has with NO screws into his skull!! Tomorrow he will have yet another CT scan and a high resolution MRI so that the docs (the radio therapist and the neurosurgeon) with the aide of computers, can plot out their plan of attack.  Then Tues., he will meet the neurosurgeon and later that day they (the radio therapist and the neurosurgeon) will do the procedure.
Dan has already begun taking an "anti seizure medicine" as a preventative measure and on next Tues. will also begin a short course of steroids ( Olympics for him!!)  This is b/c there is some danger of swelling in the area of treatment, although Dan's lesions, last we saw them, were very small and that decreases that risk somewhat.   Since the actual procedure is a week away, we are toying with the idea of taking a quick trip to NY for just a little break from all this craziness.  That means driving in holiday traffic but I think it will be worth it.  We shall see.  It might depend on how these drugs affect him. Unless there are big changes in the tests tomorrow (I'm still praying for the lesions to disappear!) there probably won't be another update until after the procedure next Tues.   Thanks again for all of your notes, cards, emails, Scripture verses, suggestions and especially all the prayers!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Written by Jodee McCabe    
Wednesday, 25 June 2008 02:12 PM

First of all, let me apologize for the "test" email.  That was a mistake.  I'll try to not repeat it. We have just returned from Indiana University Medical Center and our consult with Dr. Theodore Logan.   He differs in opinion (from the oncologist here in Cincinnati) about the treatment of  Dan's brain lesions and feels quite strongly that they should be dealt with immediately.  He recommends a gamma knife which is radiation that is pin-pointed onto the lesion.  He also seemed to think that Interluken2 was a possibility post radiation when the oncologist here did not seem to think so.  

The  risks involved and the side effects are so great, though, (for the Interluken 2) that Dan is not big on the idea, even though for the small percentage of people for whom this works, it is by far the longest remission.  We are going to be praying about this....IS this something we should strongly consider?  It involves a week in intensive care, a week out, then another week in intensive care.  After two months a CT scan to see if there is any response.  If there is, then a month later it begins again.   Apart from those points, the prognosis and treatment options were the same.   

The other two meds we would consider ALSO have significant side effects and are not pleasant but Dan seems more willing to try one of them.  B/c none of these options offer much in terms of results, we are going to Zion, IL to visit The Cancer Treatment Center of America.  They are not known by and not endorsed by ANY of the doctors we have spoken with so far.  As a matter of fact, the moment we mention the word, "wholistic", they all seem to react with a glassy stare.  While it could possibly be nothing more than a placebo-like treatment, I feel we have nothing to lose in investigating it while moving forward with the recommended medical treatment Dan feels he can tolerate. Even after re-reading this, I'm not certain it will make sense to many of you.  

My brain is feeling a bit numb (again) and even with both of us having been there, asking questions and listening and taking notes, we barely get it. We meet with Dan's oncologist again tomorrow and will try to make some definitive plans to begin treatment, hopefully starting with the gamma knife.  If there are any new, major developments, we will let you know. so....Please keep praying for us....for clear minds, for ears to hear and eyes to see God's leading, for strength to face each new challenge, for peace in the midst of turmoil and uncertainty, for courage and wisdom in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others, and for Christ's love to fill us and overflow to those around us.If it is in His will, we would so love for Dan to be completely and miraculously healed.  But we want MORE than that and boldly approach God's Throne and ask for it.  Ephesians 3:14-21 says it all.  As Paul prayed for the Ephesians, please pray this for us: 

Ephesians 3:14-21

English Standard Version (ESV)

Prayer for Spiritual Strength

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whomevery family[a] in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love,18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Written by Jodee McCabe    
Tuesday, 17 June 2008 19:00

I don't even know how to start this.  When we went to the doctor's this afternoon, I was dreading it b/c I was fearful we could hear more bad news.  Once again, it was even worse than I had feared.  The MRIs showed that Dan has multiple other lesions on his spine and 3 in his brain.  This disqualifies him for the Clinical Trial we had been told was his best hope. Normally, the first thing that would be done with a lesion in the brain is that they would attack it with radiation.  However, with this disease, b/c it is all through his body, they do not want to do that b/c the radiation could make those already-messed-up-cells resistant to the chemotherapy.  Their reasoning is (I guess) that  IF Dan responds to the chemo, the drug will take care of the lesions in his brain as well.   If NOT, then it won't matter anyway.  It is a rather harsh logic but I guess reality. Again....we are stunned.  Even expecting more bad news, we were not prepared.  

We are still going to the consult at Indiana University but I did not get the sense that our oncologist believes we will hear anything different than what we heard there today.   What he believes is left for us to "try" is the standard treatment for renal cell cancer which has very "mixed" reviews.   Having said all of that,  I thought as I was listening to him.....kind of like Charlie Brown hears some folks (wah, wah, wha.......) I was thinking;  science doesn't seem to offer us much hope....but then much of "science" thinks we originate from slime, so why would we limit our hope to their opinion?  I think there is a Psalm that says:  Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. 

It might be a stretch to compare this with medicine but I don't think so.  The idea is that some trust in what is in the here and now (horses and chariots in King David's day;  doctors and drugs in our day),  but we are choosing to TRUST in the name of the LORD our God.  That did not mean that Kind David did not use horses or chariots.  It was just that he was fully aware that that alone was not enough.  He knew God was sovereign.  We know that as well and are so wanting to rest in that knowledge.   At the moment our emotions are pretty raw  We would be so grateful for prayers for increased faith and for the strength and courage to persevere through all of this while honoring God and continuing to live in the joy that He has promised for us, even in the midst of sorrow and hardship.  Please pray for wisdom and grace to know how to tell our grandchildren.  And please keep praying Phil. 4: 4-8  and 1:9-11 for us. 

Philippians 4:4-8

English Standard Version (ESV)
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 1:9-11

English Standard Version (ESV)
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filledwith the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Thank you again for all the prayer and love and support.  We need you and appreciate all of you.  

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bone Biopsy

Written by Jodee McCabe    
Thursday, 12 June 2008 

Today was our first visit to the oncologist to get the results of the bone biopsy.  Once again, the news was not good.

The biopsy confirmed that the spot on his pelvis is metastatic renal cell carcinoma.  There are also spots on his lungs and liver.  The type of renal cell carcinoma is "clear cell" which is an aggressive form.  It is not curable.  There are "newer" treatments that sometimes stem the disease process.  There is wide variation in response to those drugs and also in the side effects.

We have cancelled our trip to Oregon and Alaska for the time being.   The oncologist thinks we should be in a clinical trial and to be able to do that without re-doing all the labs and the CT scan, we would need to start right in the middle of when our cruise is in process. Even if we don't, I (Jodee) felt he should be beginning the standard medication regimen and be here to be monitored for a while.  We are attempting to get a consult at Indiana University Medical Center and should find out on Monday when that will be.

We both liked the doctor very much so that is helpful.  As you can imagine we are pretty overwhelmed at the moment.  We are determined to remember that God, who is our ABBA FATHER, is in control,  no matter what things look like, and He can be trusted.  None of us is promised more than this moment and we want to use each one to honor Him.

Please pray for us and for our children and grandchildren as we walk through this together.  We are so grateful for each one of you and for all the prayer and for all of the support you give us.