Dr. Doug Lee Figures out what’s going on!

January 9, 2007 from Don | Encouraging Times, Quick Overview, The Whole StoryComments Off on Dr. Doug Lee Figures out what’s going on! | ««Previous - Next»»

We have had a wonderful Christmas with the boys sleeping in until 10:30 AM on Christmas morning. As we sat down to open gifts I found myself crying a lot. It just struck me what a gift it was to be alive, feeling strong, with all the Chemo and lab tests going well, knowing it was less than 3 months ago we were told this was not curable. You have also experienced the roller coaster of changes in diagnosis and prognosis although the overall assessment of a class III Squamous Cell Carcinoma has never changed. Yet there is no cancer anywhere else in my body except for the liver, lung and maybe my colon but no one is really sure about that anymore. The lung is the only area that has not been manipulated so it is considered the primary site to evaluate death of the tumor cells from Chemo.

I had my CT scan on Tuesday and met with Dr Lee this morning. When he walked in his first words were “You’re getting better, Praise the Lord!” Then we looked at the CT scans of the lung and liver. I have attached a close-up of the tumor in the lung. Part of the heart is in the upper right and part of the spine in the lower right. The dark area on the left and center is all liver and the large white mass in the center is the tumor. The small white lines are part of the normal lung- the only lung tumor is the large mass. The Nov 15 picture (left) is the day before we started Chemo and the Dec 26th photo (right) is last Tuesday after two Chemo treatments. As you can see the tumor is reduced by over 50% and this is considered great, dare I say amazing news for only two treatments. Doug Lee could not of been more encouraged or encouraging- again.

I did not include the CT scan of the lung but it is about the same size with a number of empty spaces in the center of the tumor. The drainage has gone from clear pink to white/yellow opaque over the last week (with no red cells) and Dr lee and Dr Ehni (Infectious Disease) both think this is dead cancer cells. Basically the liver is left with a cavity the size of the tumor and the leading edge of cancer cells are dying ( the tumor is not increasing in size). So now we wait and see on the liver- the space could collapse and heal, the normal hepatocytes could grow in and fill the space, or we may have to remove the cavity surgically. Since I have no pain or discomfort we will just continue to monitor by CT scan after each treatment and decide as we go. As I mentioned last e-mail, we will also move the the TGen chemo in January after discussion with their team led by Jeff Trent.

We also took a sample from the liver tube for culture and are going to hold off on the smaller tube until we are sure there is no infection. Since I have no temperature and I am not taking any temperature suppressants it is doubtful it is infection. Hopefully my liver tube surgery to reduce the size again will be late next week or the following week. I am also going down on my morphine dose from 60 mg/day to 45 mg. My blood test today was good with all my blood counts normal. This is also good news although I will still get a half dose of Newlasta (IM) tomorrow to make sure my white count stays high.

Well, that’s my update for tonight, sorry it was so clinical but I thought you would want to know. I don’t know if it is possible to feel more blessed or grateful for each moment but I am and I do. If it were not for this tube in my side, I would feel completely normal (normal Don that is!) although I do get tired from the Chemo and find myself resting at least once during the day. Sometimes friends come by or call and I am crashed and I am sorry about that, but the family does not wake me so I can keep healthy as possible. It’s not that I don’t want to talk, I just have to get my sleep when it comes. I do look forward to getting out more and catching up with friends and family in January.

Blessings and thank you for your prayers.

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