Thursday, November 20, 2008


Written by Jodee McCabe    
Thursday, 20 November 2008   6:15 AM

This last week or so has been pretty busy.  Last Friday Dan had a CT scan (yes, another one) and then Monday he had a high definition MRI to prepare for another stereotactic radiographic procedure.

Later this morning, Dan will have that procedure on his brain.  The first one back in July, treated 3 tumors successfully.  Today they will be zapping two small tumors, one on each side.  The docs say these are small enough that Dan doesn't need to be on the anti seizure meds.  We are very relieved about that b/c they made him feel terrible and pretty much killed his appetite.

The mask that was used the first time to stabilize his head just needed some minor adjustments so they did that last Friday and used it to position his head for the CT scan and will be able to reuse it today.

He needs to wait for 8 weeks after this procedure and then have another MRI to check those tumors.  IF they are gone and no other tumors have formed, then he might be able to begin the clinical study for AVASTIN.  In the meantime, he will do one more round of Sutent.  Even though it has not been effective enough, we are hoping that it will still minimize the progression of the disease while we wait to be enrolled in this clinical study.  He will be off the drug for nearly 4 weeks prior to beginning that new study.

His pain has increased somewhat.  It is mostly in his lower back but he also has some in his shoulder and upper back.  He has increased his pain med slightly by taking it in slightly shorter intervals.

Please pray for his own body to begin to figure out how to fight off the disease.  All the chemo drugs can offer is a little more time for that to happen.

Please pray for me as well.  Last night I developed a sudden sore throat.  I'm gonna try to see the doc late this afternoon.

Our first thought is always of healing.  But we know from reading Scripture and from listening to wonderful teaching and from hearing other life stories, that while God often displays His power and glory through healing, there is so much more to learn about Him, and about us,  through these trials.  We don't want to miss any of it.

Thank you to each of you for your continued prayers for us.  It is difficult to explain all that it means to us but as we gather with our family around the Thanksgiving Table, be sure that we will be thinking of each one of you as we thank God for all of His Blessings.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Written by Jodee McCabe    
Tuesday, 11 November 2008 10:45 AM

Yesterday was our visit to the oncologist to get the results of the MRI of the brain.  We were told that there are two new lesions in Dan's brain, one on each side and both are small.  This kicks him out of the clinical trial for now.  We were very disappointed but not surprised.  It seemed logical to us based on the results of the CT scan, which had shown that in other parts of his body, while some tumors disappeared, other, new tumors had formed.

We are staying at home this morning waiting for the radiologist to call to discuss further "options". We are hoping that he will agree to repeat the procedure that Dan had early this summer (stereo-tactic radiographic surgery) to remove the new growths in his brain so that we can continue with chemotherapy.  The current drug is not effective enough and we hope to get him included in a clinical trial once the new brain lesions are dealt with.

Some of you have written and reminded us that we are not limited to the discouraging news of the doctors, however accurate it is, and to keep our minds and hearts centered on God's Word, which is full of life and hope.  We are well aware that that hope is in being a part of Christ's Body for eternity; not in an endless life here.  But it does include an "abundant life" here, which we understand to mean that God will provide what we need to endure for now as we prepare for eternity.

Our children/grandchildren have been very attentive and friends have been doing all they can to support and encourage.  How blessed we are!  As Thanksgiving approaches, we have more than ever to be thankful and grateful for.  Each one of you is high on the list!  

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Written by Jodee McCabe    
Sunday, 02 November 2008 1:00 PM

Well, it has been an eventful week and yet little has been accomplished; or at least it feels like that.  Eventually, as I related in the last update, the oncologist did get the full report from the radiologist re: the CT Scan.  The results show that the Sutent is not adequately fighting off the cancer.  The doctor called twice last week to fill us in on the situation.  He explained that we needed to keep the appt. on Friday (i.e., not move it earlier)  b/c he wanted to consult with Dr. Logan, from I.U. Medical Center and he needed that time to be sure they could connect.  We were glad he was not SENDING us.  On Thurs. he called again to tell us that Dr. Logan had no other treatment options  to offer than when we spoke with him in June.  

Our oncologist had been made aware of two new studies that were using a drug called "Avastin".  One study was using Avastin in conjunction with another chemo drug and the second study only used Avastin.  He said Dan would need another MRI of his brain before he qualified for either study.  If there are new brain lesions, he would not be able to participate.  He felt there was no need to see him again until after the MRI was done but suggested we come in on Friday to speak to the research nurse who would inform us about the two studies so we could read the information carefully and have time to consider them before we had to make a decision

When we got to the appt. on Friday, one of the studies had already been closed out.  Some  folks would be disappointed but we are understanding this as an answer to your prayers for us: to keep our paths for treatment clear.  So now we wait some more.

Friday, the MRI will be done.  Tues. we will see the oncologist and talk about results and our options, if any.  IF the brain scan is clear, Wed. Dan will go for a bone scan.  That is for the benefit of the study (if he is eligible) so they will have a clear record of the starting point.  Also, if he qualifies for this study, he will discontinue the Sutent he is now taking and then wait for two weeks before beginning the new treatment.  This new drug will be administered IV once every other week.  After some time, results will be evaluated.  IF he is one of the few who is showing good response, those people will be randomly divided.  Some will be treated every week and others will remain with the once every OTHER week dosage.  In both cases the dosage is higher than previously used.  If you read the list of possible "side effects", you'd be worried.

In the meantime, Dan's pain has migrated from his flank down to his sacrum.  He has pretty much been on pain meds around the clock.  There are other areas that hurt but that is the major one.

It is very possible that Dan will not qualify for this study or that by the time we comply with all the tests, that it will be filled as well.  Even knowing that, it is hard to adequately prepare to HEAR it.  We though we were prepared for the results of the CT scan but discovered it is very hard to corral emotions.

Although the MRI will be done on Friday, we do not anticipate knowing anything until next Tues. (Nov. 11).  Although the wait seems long, I cannot imagine dealing with socialized medicine where you wait for months for diagnostic tests.  We are praying about that issue as well.

We also have increasing concerns about Dan's brother, David.  He has been having fainting spells at work and they have discovered his blood pressure is very low.  They took him off a medication he had been getting for Down's Dementia but that did not help his blood pressure go up to normal range.  They tried using a halter monitor to check his heart function, but he ended up breaking it.  We are guessing it will not be very long before we need to place him in a nursing home.  We are praying that God will grant David mercy and allow him to remain in the group home and sheltered workshop until the end of his days.

Please continue to pray for wisdom for the medical people; for wisdom/ discernment for us as we make decisions regarding their recommendations for both David and for Dan; and for that "Peace  that Passes Understanding" that flows out of total trust in our Savior and King, Jesus, and ALL that He has for us in this life and the next.