But there are some records that we'd prefer NOT to own. Dan achieved one of those yesterday.
We returned to Ohio on Monday (Sept. 16) so that Dan could get his diagnostic tests completed and have the radiation for the 2 + possibly a third tumor in his brain that they discovered on his regular follow-up MRI in late August. In order to plot out the radiation they need a high definition CT scan which they merge with the MRI. Often, they find new, smaller tumors when they do that test.
Just before returning we got a call from Dr. Breneman's nurse explaining that he would like Dan to have an additional MRI; one that included "spectroscopy" (whatever that is), in addition to the high definitions CT scan. That possible third tumor could have been one of the earlier tumors that did not respond to the radiation, or some damage from the radiation and this special MRI would help them determine if it needed to be re-treated or allowed to heal.
So Wed. morning we left the house at 6:20 a.m. in order to assure that we could be at the Medical Arts Building at U.C. by 7:30. They did the MRI there. It took over an hour. Dan said it was the longest MRI he had ever had. Then we headed north to University Pointe (West Chester) where he donned his mask and they did the high def CT scan.
Later that afternoon, Dr. Breneman called to tell us that that all indications were that the "possible third tumor" was a tumor that had not been effectively taken care of by the previous radiation and was larger. In addition to that, the high def CT scan revealed 4 new small tumors that had not been visible 4 weeks earlier. So all 7 tumors would be zapped on Friday.
We were pretty disappointed. We were so hoping that the Avastin would diminish the brain metastasis and that soon he would no longer require radiation treatments. But then we were reminded that God is THE ONE who is in control....not the doctors and not the drugs.
Friday morning at 7:30 a.m. we dropped Cocoa off at the vet's for her annual shots and grooming and headed back to University Pointe for Dan's radiation treatment. They had warned him that treating so many spots would take close to 3 hours but he wanted to get it over with so I brought along my iPad and some needlepoint to work on. A friend ended up meeting me for coffee for much of the waiting time and that really helped the time go faster for me. Dan said that they gave him a short break after each 2 tumors so he could move a little.
After the treatment which did last just about 3 hours, we met with Dr. Warnick, the neurosurgeon who plots out the radiation along with Dr. Breneman, the oncology radiologist. He explained what they did and why, noting that according to their count, Dan had just had his 49th brain tumor radiated and for his 22 years of practice, that was a NEW RECORD! (yay?.....not so much.....) But wait...maybe we really SHOULD be cheering. After all, how many people have 49 brain tumors and survive, much less, get to joke about it? In truth, we are so grateful for this procedure and still amazed by it!! Not all that long ago, the only treatment that would have been available was whole head radiation and there is no way Dan could have survived, much less gotten by with no collateral damage!!
So after his virtual brain surgery, we called Meg, who was in between appointments, and arranged to meet her for lunch. Then at 5:30 p.m. we gathered in the lobby of the high school and watched our daughter receive her honors. (photos at the bottom)
It would be easy to focus on the negatives here...but when we look at where we have been over the last almost 6 years, there is mostly thanksgiving and praises. Thanksgiving for loving and supportive family, for competent and caring doctors and other medical personnel; for amazingly loyal and committed friends, but mostly for a loving and merciful God who understands suffering and disappointment and chooses to walk through it all with each of us....not merely to comfort us, although He does do that, but to teach us and grow us in ways we never would have otherwise.
So now, after church on Sunday morning and getting to watch our grandson, Matthew, play a football game in the afternoon, we will pack up and head back to NY for our last 3 weeks. It has gotten pretty chilly there but we are still hoping for a few days of Indian Summer for another kayak trip or two, along with some serious Hands and Feet competition, a couple of campfires and maybe even a few games of Dominos.
Once again we thank each of you for sharing this journey with us. There is an old adage that says something like, "Many hands make light work." I'd adjust that a little bit to say, "Many hearts make a lighter burden." Thank you so much for sharing your hearts with us. And please keep praying for us to be able to follow Paul's admonition in Philippians 4: 4-9
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.8 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. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Jodee and Dan
Below are a few photos of Megan's special evening.
The four new inductees: Jill Westerfeld, Megan McCabe, Tim Marty and Ivan Fulton
Congratulatory bouquet from Mom and Dad
Meg with her proud brother, Tom (posed)
The "Keeping it REAL" brother-sister photo :-)
Proud Mom and Dad
Etched in Wyoming High School History