Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Scan Results after Biotherapy Treatment

Deb and I had our follow up visit with Dr. Flaherty this morning to discuss the results of my MRI (brain) and CT (abdomen) scans. The good news is that there is no evidence of metastatic tumors in my brain.

Unfortunately we didn't get the positive news we had hoped from the CT scan. The tumor in my liver remains ~ 9cm in diameter, which is slightly smaller than a grapefruit. The official analysis of the scan states the liver tumor is larger than my last scan (July 11), but the reported measurements are nearly identical. I suppose it really doesn't matter if it is slightly larger or not, since I still have to deal with it regardless. The pre-existing tumor in my lung remained the same size as before ~ 3.5cm in diameter, which is slightly smaller than a ping pong ball. However, an additional tumor in my lung was detected in this scan, also measuring 3.5cm in diameter.

The bottom line is IL-2 biotherapy was ineffective in treating my Stage 4 Metastatic Melanoma. We are now going to look at my experimental drug options (known as Phase 1 trials). Deb and I will be meeting with doctors from Karmanos who specialize in selecting specific drugs for cancer patients who haven't responded to existing therapies. This meeting will be in the next 2 weeks and treatment will start soon after. If I decide not to enroll in a Phase 1 trial or if I have to wait for a trial to open, there are chemotherapy drugs that are available, but these would only be for slowing the progression of the cancer.

As you may imagine, Deb and I returned home with heavy hearts this afternoon. We had felt that my recent improvements in health would be reflective of my internal battle with cancer.

- I have a very small risk of near-term organ failure
- I have a number of options in my next "at-bat" against cancer.

Please keep us in your prayers as we have difficult decisions to make in the next few weeks.



Barbara Hillman said...

Dear Nate, Deb, & Family:

I am sorry that you returned from your doctor(s) visit with heavy hearts. It can't be easy. Yet...you are making some plans for Phase 1 trials and are using your decision-making abilities to empower yourselves. This empowerment will make you strong........even in the "broken places." You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Barbara Hillman

Anonymous said...

We will continue to pray for you and your family. Hopefully there will be better results from the trials. Thank you for taking the time to keep us updated.

Tom, Kristie, Sydney, and Gabe Randel

Loo said...

Praying hard.
If you ever need anyone to be with the twins while you go to appointments, don't hesitate to contact me...
Nate, Deb, rest in His arms and gather the strength that ONLY He can provide...

Carol said...

I'm so sorry you didn't get the news we had all hoped for. Our God is the Everlasting God, as long as He is, there is hope.

Anonymous said...

Hi Nate and Deb- I just wanted to let you know that I read your blog faithfully and am praying for you all. What a scary/emotional battle you are fighting! Please know that you are being lifted up daily in prayer. Nothing is too big for God. I hope you feel Him each day.

Salome Ellen said...

PH D of K will intensify our prayers!

Anonymous said...

Nate and Deb...we love you and our hearts are heavy too that your news wasn't better humanly speaking...we continue to pray hard for you and will pray even more now..thanks for letting us know even when it likely wasn't an easy letter to write...dave and ruth vr

Anonymous said...

I have loved seeing you when you come for the twins here at Bedford. You will both in my thoughts and prayers - especially in these next few weeks. Thanks for sharing your journey and courage. --Laura

Tracy said...

Dear Nate and Deb - You are right -press on - because There IS Hope. I have seen many of my patients do well with Phase I studies. Right now I am praying that your hearts will be lifted and that you are enrolled into a study that is designed by the Creator - just for you - one that brings healing - one that will put you in complete remission. Praying in Faith - Believing in God's Grace & Power - Tracy

Anonymous said...

Nate, Deb, & Family,

We want you to know that we continue to pray for you everyday! We truly understand what you are going through, all of the struggles and challenges, and especially the unknown. Please know that we are here for you anytime. We truly believe that positive thoughts will carry us through this challenging journey.
- The Bodis Family

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to hear that the IL2 did not work...I am speechless. You and your family are in my prayers and I hope that there is a trial that you can get into. Try to keep up your spirits and remain strong.
Tania Caballero XOXOX

Anonymous said...

Dear Nate,Deb and Family,
Every morning at about 6:45 am when Gabriel takes me out for my morning exercise I pray for God's power in your life. I have been thusly praying for Ian for 33 months as well. May God hold you close in his limitless grace and may his healing power overshadow all earthly concerns.

Mrs.Doc said...

Dear Nate,

You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers. Glad i found you on facebook! You were a very strong person in high school and I can tell you still are in this fight! Take care! God Bless!

Nigel and Family

Anonymous said...

Nigel told me about you and your fight with cancer. I have a very dear friend who 1 1/2 years ago was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Many people joined in prayer and today she is cancer free. I will pray for you that you also will have a complete recovery. Nothing is impossible with God!!!! God bless

Anonymous said...

Wow... not exacly the news I was looking for, but remember this: "you don't get a miracle until you need one..." You and your family are still in my thoughts and prayers.

Love, Charles aks Chuck in Sarasota

Future Bulldog said...

Hi Deb and Nate,
I don't alway understand God's plan. I am continually praying for healing for you. I just want to let you know Erik found out that he also has cancer. He has cancer of the blood and will be undergoing blood transfusions and bone marrow transplants.
I love you guys and know will be praying for both you and Erik. I will be updating on my blog.

Anonymous said...

Dear Nate & Deb-We are greenhorns when it comes to our p.c.This is an attempt to write you a not to tell you we pray for you daily.God is the Great M.D. and wedepend on Him to give us all we need.Romans 8 tells us that nothing can separate us from the love of God. Today I will send you a sermon on this which will be of great comfort.Grandpa
Hi, Nate and Deb! I can't believe it! Grandpa found out how to send a note to you! Wow! Now I can write , too!

We think of you so often and pray for you becuase this is a most difficult time!We just do not understand God's ways, do we! But we KNOW that He is in control and all things will work together for good (even though we wonder "how")
We love you..we are sorry the report wasn't more positive but we will continue to hold you up before our Lord in prayer!Grandma

Calvin Van Reken said...

Dear Nate and Deb,
It was good to be able to talk with Deb in person at my parents birthday party. I'm sorry that you, Nate, weren't well enough to join us.

I'm sorry that you have to endure this severe trial; it would be a real challenge to anyone's faith. It would make me feel like God isn't paying attention, or not enough attention at any rate. I continue to hope and pray for your recovery. There must be times when you become very discouraged, like when the medical reports are not what you hoped for, and I wish there was something someone could say or do to make everything the way it is supposed to be. One day it will be, yet that seems such a remote promise in the face of such immediate threats.

May God strengthen, bless, and heal you; and may you know his presence and peace.

Cal Van Reken

Anonymous said...

Margie is on her way to visit you..and your parents have been with you, too! The presence of loved ones is very precious when one feels weak and somewhat discouraged. Oh, may our God give you comfort...peace.. hope..and even faith in your present troubles! And maybe our Lord has pleasant plans for you. As Grandpa says "Nothing is impossible with God!"
We pray for you and Deb constantly.
With love, Grandma VR