Sunday, March 25, 2012

My Cancer Is Back

Yup, my cancer is back.

After nearly two years, it is back.


Okay, here is what happened. Back on December 26th I had a CT scan, you may remember reading about this. The scan came back clean, and everything was looking really good going into the home stretch to the 2 year mark. Then on January 1, I had some vision distortion in my left eye. So being the good boy I am, I went to the doctor to see what was going on. After an initial eval, it appeared to be central serous retinopathy. It is fairly common in men under 50, so that was fine.

Then came that wonderful line, but because your history...

Yup, more tests. So I met with an expert and he ran three tests on me, one that saw a bump in the back of my eye, then a florescence test, then a ultrasound of the eye (that was quite a strange experience, I have to admit, having the goop and ultrasound probe on my eyeball.) After all the tests he said, it looks like an atypical case of central serous, so I want you back in two months to redo the tests.

Then we ran into insurance issues. That doctor wasn't in our network (a painful bill there), so I went to another doctor in our network, at UW. He ran all of the same tests, came back and said, it could be central serous but (wait for it) ... because of your history, I want an MRI and you to be seen by your oncologist. It could mean that the cancer metastasized into your brain.

Crap, another tube test. I hate those things.

Luckily I could do the open MRI, so I scheduled it in Madison, did the test, and waited for results. And waited, and waited, and finally I called. They had not received them yet, so they went searching, and on a Friday night at six the doc called me back and said that the tests were inconclusive.

Great. That means more tests.

He said there were two spots on my brain, one 6mm the other 2mm. But he wasn't sure if they were cancer. So he had me go see my oncologist, which I luckily got in on Monday at 1.

This doctor saw me, looked at the tests and the pictures, and said, could be cancer, but not likely so let's do a PET scan.

Another test, another tube. But he seemed hopeful, so ...

Two days later I met with my radiation oncologist (I have lost count of how many doctors I actually have now!). He looked at the pictures and had some other smart docs look at them as well, and came up with the same conclusion. It is something, but probably not cancer.

I was breathing a sigh of relief. I was all set to go into this PET scan and get a clean bill of health, then I would do an MRI in about 2 months, and all would be right in the world.

Well, that didn't happen.

I did the PET scan and thought it went well. Jen and I went to the oncologists office to hear what we thought would be good news and boom!

Damn I hate that word cancer.

Then tie it in with metastasized. That really sucks.

So the doctor read the report and showed us the pictures. There are at least 6 spots and they are on the bone. One is at the base of the skull where the neck and spine meet (this is the one they are most worried about right now because problems here could lead to paralysis). There is another one on the spine lower down, another on a rib, another on the femur, another in the pelvic area, and another somewhere else that I forgot about.

Now here's the thing, once again they should not have found this cancer. I just had a clean CT, I have no pain anywhere (which amazes the docs because I probably should have a fair amount of pain), and the only reason we ran this PET scan was because of an eye issue not related to cancer.

Okay God, I get it. You can get docs to do stuff.

So the cancer is found, and there is a treatment, another blessing.

First it looks like I will be doing radiation again, especially in that skull/spine area. I will learn more about that on Monday when I meet with the radiation oncologist again.

And then there is my Plan B pill. If you remember from 2 years ago, there was a pill in the trial stages that was designed specifically for this type of cancer. That pill is now on the market and doing quite well, the success rate is very high. There is one other patient in Beloit who takes it and has had all of his tumors wiped out. So I will be taking this, for the rest of my life, as long as it keeps working. I will be doing an EKG and another MRI, then starting on this pill.

So that is where we are for now. More cancer, more pills, more radiation, and in need of more prayers. Last time I got through all of this with your support and prayers, and so I am asking for them again. I will put updates on here as often as I can, and as I learn more about the treatments I will be doing. If you have any questions, please post them and I will get to them as soon as I can.

God Bless,

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