I returned back to Seattle late Thursday evening from Houston (MD Anderson) after meeting with Dr. Araujo on Thurs AM to review my test results, and talk about the treatment plan for 2010. Not much change in the tumor shrinkage department to report. From reading the scans she couldn't see any change in the tumor size from my last scan. Not all bad news though. We have no spread or new growth which is great, and she feels really good about my continued ability to handle the chemo along with what she labeled as "control of the disease." My brother in law Tyler, has been to Houston twice with me during this process, and he is always really good at asking the tougher questions (Thanks BIG T!) for me. We wanted to get a better idea on how long we should expect to do the chemotherapy treatment(s). Things can always change, as this is an aggressive form of cancer, but for now I want to let everyone know that I will be doing the chemotherapy "until otherwise something changes." The particular type of tumor that I have doesn't respond well to "not" having chemotherapy blast away at it. Other people who may be in the same spot as I am with other types of cancer-as far as having their cancer under control might be able to get off the therapy and move on, I cannot do that right now as we really want to get more time under our belts of having the tumors (a)not grow or spread (b) continue to shrink/disappear. For now I am staying on the current chemo drugs that I have been taking, but may switch the chemo types during the year depending on our continued level of progress.
So: Is it disappointing to know that I have to do chemo for what may seem like a long time (years?) YES! But I'm also encouraged with my progress considering where I began last year. Also, I got the chance to spend some time with other cancer patients this trip in what I told everybody in the room at the time felt like "A scene out of the old TV show MASH" Sick people laying everywhere looking like we all had maybe walked through a minefield with IV's, bandages and blood access lines on everyone of us.....(I was happy with the big laugh I invoked from the crowd at 10 o'clock PM at a cancer hospital from people who I'm sure could always claim to not be in the mood...haha.) There were several younger gentlemen that had reached stage 4 cancers, they talked about their numerous years in chemo, radiation, stem cell transplants (3-5 years of chemo) and were subsequently bragging to the rest of us about their remission status. So, although I thought the bragging was a little much, I did take a quiet mental note on what they had achieved, and realized to myself that this is a bigger picture haul then just being cured in one year of chemo-but certainly achievable with the right focus and faith........As always the continued prayers are such a blessing from all of you. Chemotherapy begins again Monday, and this round (round 13) will end on January 1st.....
Anyways that's my update for now, I get to hang out with my Niece Riley all weekend so I am excited. Little kids bring out a ton of Joy in all of us, so its off to the aquarium!