The hematology/oncology team, led by Dr. G, visited late this morning.
Dr. G says that the clot is "sizable." It's located toward the bottom center of Steve's right lung. The location isn't ideal. (Sounds like the Damm Spot!)
The good news is that Steve's body seems to be tolerating Heparin well. The 6:30 a.m. blood draw showed that he needed a higher dose. That was adjusted this morning. More blood was drawn this afternoon to see if the level is better.
Based on his body's tolerance for the IV form of Heparin, sometime later today or tomorrow he'll start receiving Heparin injections instead. If that goes well, Steve will continue to receive Heparin injections daily for months to come.
Why so long? Blood thinners like Heparin don't dissolve clots. They stop existing clots from getting bigger and new clots from forming. As long as that clot is hanging out in Steve's lung, he needs to remain on blood thinners to prevent additional problems.
And when exactly will the clot be gone? That depends on his body. There are chemicals in the body that help break up clots so that the blood and tissue can be reabsorbed by the body.
Even when the clot is gone, there is the potential for damage left behind. Steve could have persistent shortness of breath indefinitely. That won't be a huge change from his condition the past few months, but we are hoping that the severity of the symptoms improves soon.
Steve's future treatment of the tumor is uncertain. It appears unlikely that he will be able to continue Avastin. We haven't heard that definitively from Dr. M yet, but all signs point to discontinuing the bio-agent that has sustained Steve for so long.
So, we'll most likely need something else to battle the Damm Spot.
Steve is receiving a breathing treatment now. He's been able to nap off and on throughout the day. We're both looking forward to a night of a few hours of sleep.
Thank you for your prayers and encouragement!