Friday, April 18, 2008

More Positive News

I had my second follow-up CT scan on 10-Apr, which followed my 4th chemo infusion by 2 weeks. The CT scans are the primary method of determining how effective the treatments are against the cancer. The interval of the CT scans is 6 weeks, which seems like a long time (even if you aren't the cancer patient). Deb and I also had to wait out another week before we met with my oncologist again. As you can imagine, anxiety sets in as you wait, because you don't know what to expect. I kept running the various scenarios through my head...

1) Will the chemo be effective and I continue on the same treatment path? OR
2) Will a complete miracle occur and there be No Evidence of Disease (NED is what cancer patients long to hear from their oncologist)? OR
3) Will my cancer continue to grow and take us back to square one?

Morgan and Landon had a great idea for us to take our minds off of such things. Let's go fly our kites in the park!

Our kids have wisdom way beyond their years.

We met with my oncologist this morning after my blood was analyzed by the lab. I have been fortunate to have a very large vein in my arm stay intact during my chemo treatments. The lovely nurses who draw blood from me every week grin ear to ear at the thought of how easy the blood draw will be, like driving on the interstate with 4 lanes open all to yourself.

I told my oncologist that I felt like I was improving physically (excluding the 5 days of side-effects after chemo treatments). Wonderfully, he shared that the CT scans seem to agree with my overall feeling of health. The mass in my left lung has decreased significantly again to the point were it is somewhat difficult to see on the CT images. The tumors in my liver have stabilized since my last CT scan.

My doctor noted that he has seen cases in the past for non-active tumors remaining on CT scans for up to 1 year, since it can take the body that long to reject the dead cells. To get a better idea of the level of tumor activity, he recommended getting a PET scan, which is non-invasive test that can detect the level of cancer cell activity. If the CT scan will tell you size of a light bulb, the PET scan will also tell you whether or not it is burned out. My PET scan is scheduled for next week (24-Apr).

I was supposed to have a chemo treatment today (#5), but since my platelets were low I rescheduled for next Friday (25-Apr). Hopefully the results of the PET scan will be available to review with my oncologist next week and we can get a better sense of what the CT results mean. If the tumor appears to be dead, I might get a reprieve from the chemo treatments for a while.

We appreciate all of the prayer support we have been getting from family and friends alike. We are praying bold prayers like many of you and God has answered those prayers today. Praise GOD! Please continue to keep us in your prayers, for encouraging results from the PET scan, minimized side-effects of the chemo treatments, reducing anxiety for both myself and Deb, and protection for our entire family from getting sick.


Anonymous said...

Hi Nate!

Great update. Those are cute photos also. Thanks for posting it. You are in our prayers as always and we can't wait to see you again soon.

Love ya,
John & Sally

Caren Hunter said...

Thanks for the post. I have been thinking about your family a lot this week and praying for things like flying kites that help keep you enjoying today. And today I am so excited for your great results!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Nate, great news! You have shown so much will power and strength that has helped everyone get through this. I'm so glad things are looking up. Always in my prayers. I still wanted to see you this coming weekend but since its a kemo weekend I'll make sure I touch base with you before hand.
love ya,

Stef said...

I was so excited to hear the results of your test!
We continue praying for you and believing that God has more miracles in store...

Jim N. said...

Thinking of and praying for you all. Sure hoping you and Josh can connect soon to button down a date for us to come visit and pray. Love you guys,

Jim and the 1thing crew

Anonymous said...

Hey man, I don't always know what to say except "Keep on keepin' on" You really should consider writing a book - I am very impressed with your writing style. You are in my prayers.

Your bud in FL, Charles aka Chuck

Anonymous said...

Nate, You continue to be in my prayers. Deb was a student of mine a long time ago, and I teach w/your mom-in-law.

Anonymous said...

Hey man, just checkin' in! I hope you are doing well and geting better and better and better... It's HOT here now in Florida - great time for the beach (you might want to mention that to Deb - lol!) Tell everyone I said hi - you are still in my thoughts and prayers. Time for you to kick this thing and move on to your next challenge! See ya!

Charles aka Chuck from FLORIDA!!!

Christopher said...

Nate, thanks for sending me the link to your blog. Although it is hard for me to see such a great person go through what you have been going through, I am grateful for the opportunity to read and learn about your experience. It was very emotional. As your friend said in an earlier comment, you do a great job writing.

It is extremely inspiring to see all of God's works throughout this treatment. The clearest of this I noticed was your pneumonia with no cancer cells in it. It allowed the doctors to find the cancer early enough that it still could be treated.

I wish and pray for you the best.