(Written Friday, Feb. 7th)
Hi folks...... Just thought I'd update the last post...sort of a "post-postscript" of sorts. Today is Friday, Feb. 7th and this morning Dan had his fusion MRI on his brain and his chest CT scan. The MRI shows only a couple of new spots; one, though, is bigger than usual. Often, when they do the brain CT scan to create the hologram (which they use for plotting the radiation) they find more. We are hoping there will not be many more this time. So...PRAISES for there only being two visible at this point and PRAYERS, please, that they won't find many more.
The CT scan of his torso showed that the tumor we saw externally on his back right before Christmas is, as thought, part of the tumor on his R tenth rib. Unfortunately, that indicates disease progression (that was also presumed --thus the change in chemo that occurred right after Christmas) and there appears to be new cancer activity in his lower spine, thus his increased pain. Sigh.
Dr. Breneman (the oncology radiologist) called Dr. Crane (our oncologist) to confer and they may decide to radiate that 10th rib and possibly even the locations of disease on his spine to help with the pain. Right now I'm waiting at Dr. Breneman's office as they create a new mask of Dan's entire head. That is what they use to totally stabilize his head for the radiation. So...PRAISES that we could accomplish two tests, the Doctor's visit AND the mask creation all today. PRAYERS, please, that the two docs will figure out how to best alleviate Dan's back pain while not making chemo treatment less effective, and that the radiation of those brain spots would be able to happen quickly and that they would be effective.
I think I forgot to mention in my last update that we had just seen a back specialist for a second opinion about possible treatment for Dan's back pain. He said that there was so much going on in Dan's x-rays, that it was very difficult to tell where his pain was originating from.....the spine, or the affected rib. They talked about two different surgical procedures but said that at this point they could not promise positive results. Dr. Tobler was going to confer with a radiology-back specialist before making more of a solid recommendation. At that point, we were unaware of the disease progression in his spine found in the CT scan today. So this complicates things even more. So, PRAISES for such amazing diagnostic tools and educated, experienced physicians to interpret them for us. And PRAYERS please, for just the right interpretation of all the data that has been collected so that Dan will receive the most effective treatment and pain relief.
While none of this "news" is very surprising, I have to admit it is a bit disappointing. We were hoping that the change in chemo would cause a decrease in evidence of cancer rather than allowing for an increase. We offer PRAISES, though, that the new spots in the brain, although larger than before, are still small enough to be treated with the miraculous stereotactic radio graphic surgery they have been using.
I'm offering PRAISE that a friend from church was able to get into the conference last minute and so she will be accompanying me. We will be in different tracks located on opposite sides of Lafayette, but at least we will have someone to eat dinner with and decompress with...and believe me...you NEED to decompress after 8+ hours a day of learning!! Please PRAY for Meg, as she becomes chief cook, bottle washer and chauffeur for her dad this week while I'm in Indiana...and for safe travels for Colleen and me as we get to drive through more snow (yippee!!)
Thanks for slogging through all the medical jargon to keep track of us on our "journey". We need and really appreciate each of you and the support and encouragement you continue to give us and all of the many many prayers offered on our behalf!
Jodee (and Dan)
Jodee (and Dan)