He had his post-chemo CT scan on Wednesday, b/w on Thursday and meeting with the oncologist on Friday for the results. Kel has been feeling well since the chemo fatigue wore off and he mostly got rid of his cough, so he (and we) was (were) expecting good news - that all was shrunk, and all is done. Instead, this is what we learned:
-The nodule in his lungs is gone.
-There is some scarring in his lungs from the treatment - probably why he is still coughing and having some irritation.
-The kidney swelling is gone, his kidneys are working well.
-The mass in his back has shrunk by ~65%, from ~10x10 cm to ~7x4 cm, the aim was less than 1x1 cm.
-The bloodwork did not progress as expected. His main marker (AFP) was down after the 3rd cycle as expected, going well, and did go down again, but not much (from 32 to 20-something ... if it had progressed as expected that # should have been 2). LDH (another marker) also did not progress.
The end result is that he still gets to play the cancer card to keep me from beating him up for lame comments (like he did tonight), at least for a while. The doc is waiting 2 weeks and then retesting the b/w to see if those markers decrease. If they don't decrease, then the plan is two more rounds of different chemos (Taxol, Ifosfamide and more Cisplatin) that are not pleasant, followed by a major surgery.
If his biomarkers decrease, then Kel will wait 2 more weeks, have more b/w and another CT scan to make sure things have stabilized, and then it is just the surgery.
I say 'just the surgery', but that part is no picnic either. It is a retroperitoneal lymph node dissection: ~ a 6 hr procedure to remove that mass, anything they find it attached to (ignore the dangling participle), and all of the regional lymph nodes. Then he will be in the hospital for a week, with a month recovery to follow.
Yesterday was a bit full of anger, today is more full of concern about side effects, time off work, future works, etc. The end result is still CURE, this is just a lot harder of a road to get there, and we will deal the hand given. Many, many others have it worse, and within a year we will be beyond this and about to celebrate David's 5th birthday (his 4th is on Monday, btw), but for now we wallow, and get pissed and rage against the cancer.
No insight to follow, nothing amazing to share, just pissed at f@%ing cancer ... AGAIN.
Cancer sux ... a lot.