So… the big day finally arrived. Usually I write a draft then revise until I’m happy enough to post but tonight it is just news straight up, fresh off the press.
We know that Mathew will be receiving chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. The order has yet to be determined. There is going to be a powwow between the 3 doctors (and their consults) to determine the order, etc. We have a follow-up appointment for next Monday if they have a proposal put together by then. Otherwise that appointment will be moved back to when they do have their plan put together.
This is some of what we heard today:
– the primary tumour started in the L3 vertebrae and grew out into the surrounding tissue. It grew in a very bad and rare place. Surgical resection will be difficult there so the surgeon wants to see it shrunk before operating. The growth is pressing against Mathew’s spinal column so right now the tumour can’t be cut cleanly out (called: clear margin). Some cancer would be left behind. It would be a massive surgery with 2 surgeons operating at the same time; one from the back and the other from the side. It sounds very risky and terrible so we want the tumour to shrink!!!
– no one is sure if those nodules in his lymph nodes or lungs are cancerous right now. The ones in his lungs are tiny which is a good thing. The chemotherapy he is to receive is aimed at treating a metastic cancer so as to attack anything that may be moving beyond the initial tumour site. The doctors, as the oncologist put it today, are “moderately concerned” that those nodules will turn out to be cancer. Whatever that means.
– Mathew will receive two sets of chemotherapy. One will be administered on an out-patient basis and the other will require a 5 day hospitalization while he receives it. The oncologist said his hair will fall out within 2 weeks of starting chemo. She is thinking about inserting a port for ease of administering needles. One chemo cocktail will consist of 3 types of drugs and the other will have two (if memory serves me right). Neither John nor I know if they are administered at the same time or concurrently. Or how many sessions ~ cycles is the term used, isn’t it?
– Mathew will receive radiation to the tumour in his back. Again, I think the leaning is towards chemo first…not sure though.
– surgery will be considered as the results are monitored. While the surgeon does numerous back surgeries (duh, right?) he hasn’t done back surgery while trying to remove cancer so close to the spinal column. He has consulted with his peers in Toronto, Vancouver and Boston so he has support with his decisions. A panel of experts if you will.
– the oncologist plans to consult with her peer in Vancouver who is the head of the Sarcoma department there, to ensure the best protocol is developed.
– no word from the Radiologist and we haven’t met or spoken to him or her.
We were told that it will take probably about 6 months before anyone knows for sure if the cancer responds to treatment. Also that they may have a better idea of the stage of cancer then as well.
If all goes well all of this is going to take about a year or so.
I think treatment will start in 3-4 weeks if the plan is drawn up by next week. All I want though is to get a move on it! That effin’ cancer sure isn’t taking a holiday!
I will review everything and see if there is any more to add but not tonight. I was up from 3-7 am with Mathew last night and am pretty tired. And somewhat relieved.
Even though we still only know what we did last week.
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! (*phew* needed to vent folks. It’s rough in here!)