Friday, April 17, 2009

Today's events

Today's Dr. M appointment was a follow-up from Steve's hospitalization for pneumonia. She wanted to see lab numbers and listen to his lungs.

In the past few days, though, his symptoms have gotten worse. His headaches are almost constant. Yesterday he needed hydrocodone for the second time in a week -- the pain isn't always relieved by Tylenol. Also, his left side seems even less responsive than normal.

When we met with Dr. M's nurse early this afternoon, we shared our concerns. And I asked for an MRI earlier than May 14, his next scheduled scan. The team responded quickly and arranged for a scan at 2:45 p.m.

(His lungs sound clear!)

Before we headed to the imaging center (part of the same building as Dr. M's office), we visited with Dr. M for about an hour. She is such a supportive doctor, concerned about Steve's emotional health as well as physical.

We talked at length about Steve's fears, how Cooper and Katie are handling life with cancer, how this whole process just wears you out but how it also offers clarity about life's purpose.

We talked about treating every single moment as precious -- especially with the children.

(The conversation reminded me of a Jacqueline Kennedy quote I recently discovered: "If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do well matters very much.")

She emphasized that Steve is an amazing father, husband and overall person. That his attitude and sense of humor have carried him this far.

After our visit, I grabbed sandwiches from a campus cafeteria, and we headed to the imaging center. And waited.

Steve's last MRI was March 20. Today is April 17. MRIs are allowed by insurance every 30 days.

So, the staff scrambled to get our insurance company to approve the scan. That process took more than two hours, so Steve waited until 4:45 p.m. for the MRI.

On our drive home, Dr. M called with results.

The image shows that the Damm Spot is slightly plumper all around, the cause of his increased symptoms. Dr. M's believes that this is swelling, not new tumor growth.

To address the problem, Steve will increase his steroid dose to 8 mg, up from 4 mg. Dr. M expects that this will help his symptoms. If it doesn't, she may increase it again to 12 mg.

The blood work shows that his platelets are a little low -- 93,000. We'll return Monday for another blood draw. If the counts drop more, the next dose of chemotherapy and Avastin will be delayed. If the numbers are stable or a little higher, he'll most likely receive the medicine on Wednesday.

1. Steve's lungs are clear, indicating his pneumonia is resolved.
2. His platelets are a little low and need to climb for chemotherapy and Avastin next week.
3. The tumor is a little plumper all around, compared to March 20. The theoretical cause is inflammation, which will be treated with a double dose of Decadron.

We give thanks for quick and compassionate response from Steve's medical team, for a scan that doesn't look too bad, for the hope that steroids will improve his symptoms, for a group of family and friends that continues to support us in every possible way, for unceasing prayer.


Sweetest Whimsy said...

Praying with you that it's just inflammation! Lots of love!

chapman.d said...

we do support you, but wish we could do more. Thanks for the updates that you give so graciously.

Chitnis and Chahal said...

Steve, hadn't checked the blog in a few days. Hope the steroids will help to keep the swelling down. Praying for your emotional and physical well being and that of your wonderful family. You guys make me appreciate life every day! Thank you and feel better!