It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Last week was a pretty rough week for me emotionally, and there’s lot’s that I want to blog about, but first I know many of you are anxiously awaiting the update that I promised via my last Facebook post.
Tuesday morning Kevin and I went to an appointment with his radiation oncologist. Dr. K explained what the next phase of treatment would look like and again outlined the risks involved with radiation as well as going over the reasons he felt radiation was an important part of his treatment plan. After discussing everything over, we feel confident moving forward with radiation. I’ll be honest, we have both been struggling a lot lately with the numbers that have been thrown at us. So when Dr. K told us that the radiation he would be receiving could lower his risk of recurrence by half, we felt a great deal of hope. Now half is a number you like to hear. We finished going over the details with Dr. K, set up a start date for radiation of January 9, and then scheduled an appointment for him to have a special mask made that will hold his head perfectly still while he is having the radiation treatments. He has that appointment tomorrow, and then we should be all set to start radiation on the 9th. One last thing about radiation, we had heard from some folks that they breezed through it, but had also heard from others that it was really really brutal. Pretty hard to gauge and prepare when you’re hearing things on such opposite ends of the spectrum. Dr. K specializes in radiation for melanoma patients and he felt very confident that the radiation was not going to be tough on Kevin. He said after a few weeks he would probably be feeling fatigued, and might have some skin irritations, but other than that, he felt that there would be no reason he wouldn’t be able to work and continue with his regular life (though he did offer to write him a doctor’s note for a few days to play hooky “just because” if we wanted 😉
After the radiation appointment, we headed upstairs to see Dr. L, Kevin’s medical oncologist. At our last appointment, we had been told that interferon was the only course of treatment available to him because having radiation would rule out any clinical trials, AND that he really did need to have radiation. Since that last appointment, Kevin had his second (and third) surgeries, so they went over the results of those, which we already knew… one small satellite nodule from the main tumor site, two micro-metastatic positive lymph nodes, and one macro-metastatic lymph node. This puts him at stage 3C (TNM classification T4bN3M0 for the cancer nerds).
Also since the last appointment, Dr. L had discovered that there was a clinical trial that he was eligible for and that they thought he might be a good candidate for. Since the trial would randomize him to either receive the trial drug or interferon (which we were going to be doing anyway) we were interested and decided to research it. We are doing our reading and sending out the trial info to all our doctor friends and family for thoughts and insight. We have until the end of radiation treatment to make a decision about which way to go. It’s not a no-brainer one way or the other, so please pray for wisdom as we work on making our decision. It’s good to have options, I guess, but in some ways it felt easier to not have any options except the standard of care, because then we’d never be second guessing ourselves about the choice we made. Either way though, we are incredibly grateful for all of the coordinated care and the amazing doctors we are getting the opportunity to work with at Emory.
And because you know I can’t post without a picture, I figured I’d give you all a reason to call DFACS on us…