Roger Slideshow

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The MRI results came in at the end of last week, and did show that there are two tumors growing in Dad's lower back. The plan is, basically, to continue the steroids in an effort to shrink them, and to continue with the chemo. The nurse practitioner said that these new growths did not appear to be in quite the same places as the tumors Dad has had in the area before, which would mean that they might be able to use radiation on them if necessary (since radiation of this type and in this area is so destructive to the surrounding tissue as to be a one-time fix).

Hopefully Mom and Dad will be able to talk with Dr. Stadtmauer about what the growth of these tumors means, given that the chemo had been keeping the protein levels so low. The NP said something to indicate that the chemo Dad is on does not specifically combat the growth of tumors. So at this point we're trying figure out where that leaves us: does this mean that at this point the cancer remains stronger than we thought? What does the tumor growth tell us about the cancer's status that the protein levels do not? Apparently the thanksgiving week is not a good one for getting questions answered at the hospital, but we hope to know more soon.

So, a setback. A reminder that this fight is an ongoing one. Thanks for checking in.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

...Dad started on the steroids yesterday morning and by the end of the day was already reporting a great reduction in the pain. The MRI's scheduled for Monday night. Please play that he will be able to sleep. He's exhausted, but the 'roids have him all hopped up.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Mom and Dad did speak to the folks at HUP on Wednesday, and the decision was made to put Dad on a five-day course of steroids. These have shown some success with shrinking Dad's tumors in the past, and the hope is that they will go to work on whatever lesions might be growing in his back, until the MRI can be be done on Monday. Thanks to the responsiveness of Dad's nurse practitioners and doctors, we can now be confident that something is being done about this new develoment while we wait for the chemo to be completed. Dad continues to take the oxycondone for the pain. Thanks to all of you for your emails and comments, and for your renewed prayers. More when I know more...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hard to believe it's been another two months since our last post. I'm on here tonight to ask for your prayers about a recent development in Dad's situation. Dad has moved to a six-week chemo cycle, and is on the drip this week. His protein levels are still low (up a tiny bit from .1 to .2, but the doctor is unconcerned by this relatively small variance) and all signs are that the chemo has continued to be effective.

For the past few days, though, Dad has been experiencing gradually increasing pain in his lower back, pain reminiscent of that which, in the past, first indicated the growth of tumors along his spine. Yesterday the pain was particularly intense, and still worse today. He and Mom spoke to the nurse practitioner at Penn in the hopes of scheduling an MRI, but were told that since chemotherapy and MRIs can't be mixed, and the chemo is being administered this week, the earliest he could have the scan done would be Monday. She prescribed some oxycondone for the pain, which has helped but not solved the problem.

At this point Mom and Dad intend to call Penn again tomorrow and see if the MRI can't be moved up, and the chemo suspended if necessary, because Dad isn't sure he can push through until Monday. And if the tumors are back, then a few days' jump on any new treatment strategy might be beneficial. Please pray that the staff at HUP would be sensitive to Dad's situation and discern the wisest way to proceed. Pray for relief from the pain, and that the growth of any tumors would be halted. You may remember that Dad had some tumor growth this past winter, including along his ribs around his lungs. He was on steroids, in part to shrink the tumors, and this spring the doctors suggested that the lower protein levels and improved blood numbers, thanks to the chemo, were an indicator that the tumors also had subsided. The question now is whether the protein levels could be failing to register new tumor growth and the associated activity of the cancer, and whether the chemo is no longer working effectively against this particular manifestation of the disease.

...But that's really just anxious speculation from the non-professionals. Please pray for courage and faith for Dad and Mom, and for insight and inspiration for the doctors. Thanks as always for checking in. Mom and Dad and all of us have been grateful for these past few relatively good months and trust that God will continue to provide in every way for those to come.