Good News – But Still Cold!
08 January 2015 | Annapolis, Maryland
Tuesday morning we experienced our first real snow storm in several years. We did not miss cold, or snow while we were out cruising. Our poor dinghy is sitting in the back yard, losing air and covered with snow. We both agree, that is not how we want to be seeing our dinghy!
We have been waiting for the past week for a while now. Bill had a new chest CT scan on Friday. We've been holding off on planning anything until we got the results from that. We knew it would determine the next steps we take in Bill’s cancer treatment. We could see that the targeted drug therapy Bill has been on for the past two months has been working great on his leg. His tumor is just about gone now. We assumed the same thing was happening on the tumors in his lung but we needed the CT scan to find out for sure. We didn't see the results until Monday morning, and then it was just a medical report. We had to wait for Wednesday to talk to the Johns Hopkins oncologist. The report looked good but there was enough “medical-eze” to freak us out.
Before we saw the oncologist he wanted us to go back to our original surgeon and get her current opinion on taking the lump out of Bill’s leg. Of course that appointment was on the morning that Annapolis got its 2 inch snowfall. It took us forty five minutes to get there when it would normally take ten minutes. No we really didn't miss cold and snow the last two winters when we were in the Bahamas and the Caribbean. The surgeon doesn't have a lot of experience with the drugs Bill is taking since they are so new. She was amazed by his progress. She had never seen a cancer tumor disappear the way his has. She gave us her opinion and the next day we drove to Johns Hopkins and saw our oncologist. He told Bill that if a radiologist was reading his CT scan and didn't know about the previous tumors, he wouldn't see anything wrong. That was good news and bad news. All the tumors, large and small, seem to have disappeared, which means the small tumors they saw were cancer too. At least we know that Bill won’t be having any lung surgery.
The Johns Hopkins doctor decided he really wants the tumor on Bill’s leg to be removed, and soon. The surgeon wants to wait a month to see what more the targeted drugs can do. We don’t have a date yet but we figure Bill is having surgery the first or second week in February. We saw the plastic surgeon today too, hoping that with the great progress he is making there wouldn't have to be a skin graft to close up his leg. The plastic surgeon didn't think that would be possible though, he is still likely to need the skin graft because the surgery is on his calf and there isn't a lot of extra skin there.
Once the surgery is completed Bill will probably change from the oral chemotherapy he is currently on to an immunotherapy drug called Yervoy, that he will get by infusion. This is a twelve week process, one infusion every three weeks for twelve weeks. This drug works for 35% of people who use it but 25% have a long term remission (over 10 years). Of course 15% of the people have bad side effects from it. Our plan is to have no side effects and be one of those 25%. Moonraker is waiting patiently for us and we are anxious to go cruising again!