Sunday, December 23, 2007

We Have a Plan

I spent the week at home with my Mom, Dad, and sister Em alternating days. Every day I feel a little bit better. Deb was back at work every day except for Wednesday. On Wednesday I had my first consultation with my melanoma specialist, Dr. Flaherty at Karmanos.

Karmanos is located just north of downtown Detroit, next to Wayne State University. Deb, my Mom, and I went downtown together for the appointment. Our friend Felicity, who works at Karmanos, visited with us before we saw the doctor, which made the appointment feel more comfortable.

Dr. Flaherty clearly explained what I was up against and his recommended treatment plan. Since I am diagnosed with Stage IV melanoma (in the body, not the brain), surgery isn't a viable option. Dr. Flaherty explained why surgery wasn't utilized for my condition through the following metaphor. If you found a dandelion (i.e. cancer) in your front yard, you could use a shovel (or even a backhoe) to remove the dandelion, but in the future other dandelions would sprout in the yard. The primary problem isn't the dandelion, it's what's in the yard. Dr. Flaherty discussed the treatment options that attack the cancer that is in my body (not necessarily limited to my liver). Unfortunately, the state of the art in body imaging (CT scans) can only detect tumors greater than 1 cm in size (about 3/8 of an inch)

The 2 primary treatment options that Dr. Flaherty discussed were chemotherapy and biological therapy. Chemotherapy was selected at this time because bio-therapy can cause fluid to collect in the chest cavity. Since I already had been admitted to the hospital with excessive fluid in my lung, there is a risk (at this time at least) that biological therapy would not be fully effective, as I would have to stop the treatment if I was re-admitted to the hospital.

I had another CT scan early Friday morning at Detroit Receiving Hospital (for which I drove myself downtown). In a small world moment, I chatted with a very friendly woman (also in for a CT scan) who happened to have Dr. Flaherty previously for melanoma and breast cancer (on separate occasions). She expressed a very positive experience with Dr. Flaherty.

On Saturday and Sunday, Deb's family arrived from Chicago and Grand Rapids for an early Christmas celebration. We fit 8 adults and 9 children (all under age 7) into our little bungalow. At times it was hectic, but we had great fun spending time together.


Anonymous said...

Nate, your blog is great for keeping me/us informed regarding your progress. It sounds like you have had some "good" moments and have been able to enjoy the holiday, despite your current situation. I and my family continue to pray for you, Deb, the kids and your extended family as well. God is good and will continue to show Himself throughout your experience.
Take care and continue to think positive.
Love and peace.
Anessa Martin (friend of Deb's)

Tocayo said...


You have been on my mind a lot and I want you to know you are in my prayers and I am getting the word out to others to pray for you.

The Lord is in control and I am praying for major peace in your mind and life. May God's peace rest on you and may you be healed in the mighty name of Jesus!!! Lord, I pray for miraculous healing of my friend Nate - may he live a long and fruitful and healthy life. Peace and hope, great night sleep and wisdom for his doctors. In the mighty name of Jesus Christ, Amen!!!

Nate, love you brother and praying for you.....Also, I work from my home and am free all day if you should ever need anything from me....errand or anything whatsoever. 248-565-4700 anytime. Your friend, Tocayo

Anonymous said...

You are an inspiration to all of us! May you continue to have the faith of God with you for he will never leave you nor forsake you!!

Amy Robinson
C.O.L.E. Prayer Team