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Lungs….whew….

Hey all

Update on the radiation and my status.  I’ve completed the head radiation treatments (see accompanying graduation pic!).  The treatments were fine and I don’t think the side effects were too bad.  Really the worst part during the actual procedure was the mask.  The docs cinch it down pretty tight so it leaves a lasting impression for a good 30 minutes after.  If that was the worst thing, I was doing pretty good!  I haven’t had any double vision again.  I’ll have a brain MRI at the end of July to confirm the tumor is dying or has died.  So that was good news.

A diploma from the radiation oncology folks.

A diploma from the radiation oncology folks.

My lungs have not cooperated as much as we would like lately though.  I had a CT scan two weeks ago which showed lung tumors that are starting to grow again.  We anticipated this; these are tumors that did not respond to the first chemo round.  One solution is to subject them to another round of chemo, only with different drugs.  So, it looks like I will be starting up chemo again in the near future.  The news was disappointing as we were hoping to make it through the summer without having to go back on chemo.  But, on the positive side, it’s good to catch it early and nip it before my hair gets any longer in case it falls out again!  Right now, the drugs that I will be getting are docetaxel and gemcitabine.  The drugs used for my first round of chemo (Nov-Apr) were doxirubicin and ifosfamide.  Side effects are similar to the first round, but the logistics are much easier.  Where I was going every three weeks for three 5-6 hour treatments over three days, these drugs require only a one day infusion, every three weeks, for 2-3 hours.  The one day versus the three day infusion makes a huge difference in the psyche of chemo.  Having to get up and go in for the last of the 3 day infusions was not fun.  But, coming in, getting the drugs and going home to mope without the worry of going back the next day or two is much more palatable.  And getting folks to watch the boys is much less painful.  So, chemo shouldn’t be as taxing this time around.

All that being said, it may or may not happen soon.  One of my lung tumors has been causing some bleeding lately and I have been coughing up some blood in the mornings.  Again, this is due to the tumors that did not respond to the first chemo round.  The CT scan showed blood near a particularly large tumor near an airway.  But, oncology to the rescue!  I am scheduled to have a bronchoscopy next Wednesday.  Basically, the docs will snake a tube with a camera down my windpipe determine where the blood is coming from.  If they can reach it with the scope, they can potentially cauterize it and stop the bleeding.  This should also destroy the tumor as well.  Nice huh!  Unfortunately, I wish they could to that for all of them in my lungs, but I don’t think they are all reachable.  If the docs can’t cauterize it, they can get a precise location which then can be used for more radiation treatments, only this time on my lungs.  So, the chemo depends on the results of the bronchoscopy and/or radiation.  I have no problems with pushing the chemo down the timeline!

And that’s not all!  The CT scan also showed that my nagging pneumothorax is starting to increase in size again. (I have to stop getting CT scans!) Grrr…. Reminder that I’ve had two chest tubes for the same one and they are not fun either.  But we’re steeling ourselves for another one if needed.  Nothing is set yet for it; we’ll talk to the lung folks during the bronchoscopy next week and get more info on when or if one will be needed.

On a positive note, my outward symptoms have not been significant enough to warrant any ER visits or having to alter my daily routine too much.  I’ve been really short of breath for the past few days and have been coughing more than usual, but am able to work, be with my family and just get stuff done, which is really what keeps my motivation high.  Jenn and I did make a tough decision this weekend though.  One of my colleagues is getting married in Maryland this weekend.  We had planned on attending for a very long time and were really looking forward to it.  We made the trip plans, reservations, were going to drive (sans kids who would stay with my parents!), enjoy a grown up wedding, and celebrate the happy couple.  But my health just didn’t want to play along this week.  So, disappointingly, we will not be going.  What’s frustrating is that it isn’t any significant hospital stay or symptom.  If something did happen while we were gone, it’s just better to be around here.  It was the right decision, but not the desired one!  Sorry MJ!

Thanks everyone for keeping up. While the news this time isn’t great, it also isn’t surprising, which we have found, with cancer, is much better.  We are still in high spirits, the boys are having a terrific time with camps and the pool.  Life moves ahead and we’re right there with it.  I feel fortunate to be part of it.

Hunter

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Radiation Update

Hey everyone

A quick note to inform everyone that the radiation treatment for my head tumor is a go!  My last MRI (24 May) was the radiation oncologist’s deciding factor; he said the tumor was in a good position for the treatment.  Ultimately, the goal is to destroy the tumor so my double vision will not return (yes, as well as get rid of the pesky tumor!), and I can get off these dang steroids.  One of the side effects I’ve had is a constant thinking about food and where my next meal is coming from.  Talk about voracious!

I had a head mold made last week for the treatment.  Pics are attached.  Basically, I laid still for a half hour while the team applied a warm polymer mold to my head that cooled and solidified.  This will be used to keep me immobile during the actual radiation treatments.  I’ll lay down and the machine will take over, bombard a very small target in my head to prevent collateral tissue damage and deliver the dosage based on the MRI and more CT data.  It’s pretty amazing how it’s all calculated.  I’m anxious to see how it all fits together.

As mentioned, I will have 5 treatments. They start on the 12th and go through the 18th and will last 30 minutes each.  The actual dosage is a 5 minute procedure; getting set up is what takes the most time.  The docs have again reiterated the small possibilities of side effects and slight risks; but regardless of them, I’m pretty excited to get this thing dying soon!  One (of many) things I’ve learned about cancer is that people can live, work, and exist with tumors in their bodies, which to me regarding cancer was a foreign concept.  I’ve always thought that any kind of tumor was completely detrimental.  But if they are kept in check, monitored appropriately and any new symptoms are quickly addressed, a good quality of life can be achieved.  All that aside, any kind of tumors swimming around in near my brain still make me nervous, so onward with treatment!

I’m still feeling good and going to work.  The boys are out of school and Jenn is planning their summer.  Ben is already signed up for two camps and Jack just wants to go to the pool all the time.  Normality is creeping up on us and we’re reveling in it!

Thanks everyone for keeping up.  The responses to the last blog really reassured me that support for this is never ending and I am still humbled by it all.  Going through it all without this tool would have been a much lonelier experience.  I still have difficulty imagining anybody having to face it without some kind of link to humanity which to me is proof that people really care about others in distress.  Thank you for your continued empathy in the responses. Have a great day!

Mold Pics

Hunter

Hey all

Quite a lot has happened in the past few weeks, culminating in some excellent news, which I’ll go ahead and share.  My primary oncologist has been very happy with the latest CT scans and has classified my case as “well-managed.”  I honestly can’t remember what I was previously classified, but it must have been lower than well managed.  But I do know it’s a good category to be in!  She called on Monday to tell us that and we were ecstatic.  I’ll remind everyone that I have two tumor sites that have been the primary concern for the last 6 months:  1) the lung tumors, which cause all the chest problems and 2) an almond sized tumor on the base of my skull near the left back – not in the brain – an important distinction! The bottom line is that the chemo has been working its magic; both the lung and head tumors have shown no growth since the end of the last cycle (Apr 2).  Getting here, though has been experiential.

After the last episodes (chest tube, pneumonia), I started feeling better to go back to work full time beginning on May 6th.  I was really excited to get back to the lab.  I went in all week, getting back into the swing of things and feeling really good about the future.  It was finally looking up and maybe I was finally seeing the chemo in the rear view mirror.  Mother’s day weekend, though, I started getting sick and throwing up twice a day.  This was unusual, considering how good I felt.  I told the doc and she said take some more anti nausea meds.  I have been on blood thinners due to a chemo induced blood clot in my leg.  For those who are not familiar, getting on blood thinners takes some calibration, which includes two drugs during the first month or so, then staying on one drug for as long as needed.  I think I was a little overdosed on both drugs that weekend I was sick.  When I went off the other drug, I immediately felt better the next morning.  Anyway, another sick weekend (also Mother’s day! Sorry Jenn!).

So the Tuesday after Mother’s day, I was feeling strong, somewhat stable on the blood thinners and felt like going to work again.  Whoo hoo!  It was not to be.  I got ready, excited to be feeling well, jumped into my car and began the drive in.  About 2 miles from our house, I realized that my vision was not right.  My eyes were not responding as fast as they should have been.  I briefly considered powering through, but decided on the safe route, turned around and went home.  A significant down on the emotional roller coaster.  Something with my vision could only mean my head tumor was up to something.  I got home and told Jenn about it.  Throughout the day, I realized that my vision was becoming double again much like it had been in December.  It turns out that the tumor is located in a very close proximity to a bundle of nerve fibers which run up to my eyes from the back of my head.  Logic told me that since I hadn’t been on chemo for 5 weeks, the tumor must be growing, and pushing on those nerves subsequently causing the double vision.  Grrr!!!  Just when things were looking up (pun intended.)

I stayed home that Tuesday and woke up the next morning with my vision impaired even a little more.  My doc scheduled an MRI to determine if the tumor was growing.  I  decided on Wednesday to have Jenn drive me to work instead of sitting around the house feeling sorry for myself.  As long as I could focus on close up objects, close one eye occasionally, and sit still, I would be okay to do some experiments.  I was getting determined to not lose the momentum I had established the week prior.  Jenn agreed as well.  We got in the car and started out, but cancer would prove to be the ultimate snake in the grass again!  As soon as we made a left turn, I felt an overwhelming dizziness, numbness throughout my body (not just on one side), and almost felt like fainting. The experience was surreal.  I could look at my hands and see them but they didn’t seem like they were in front of me.  Surprisingly, though I did not feel nauseous.  I told Jenn to stop the car.  I could talk and listen, but I knew something was not right in my head!  Ahhh!!!!  Not only extremely discomforting, but another complete surprise symptom.

We went home and I sat for about 20 minutes.  The feeling subsided and I decided to stay home and just sit.  I didn’t need any fainting spells that day.  I was feeling okay and Jenn decided to run some errands.  We agreed that if it happened again, we would call 911 so she wouldn’t have to deal with me in the car.  Of course, while she was out, it crept up on me again.  The second time was not as bad as the first, but I definitely knew something was wrong and probably needed immediate medical attention.  Jenn got home and we called the doctor and 911.  The doctor prescribed steroids to help with the vision issues.  And the 911 call allowed me to ride in an ambulance!  That was fun. Although, it must not have been much of an emergency as the driver didn’t turn on the lights.  I must comment that the ambulance crew were incredible.  They stayed with me the entire time, took me to Vanderbilt ER and ensured I was cared for every step of the way.  The driver even said a prayer for me that I will never forget.

Once I arrived at the ER, I had a third and final episode which was the worst.  I coughed up some blood (grrr…. lung tumors still bothering me?) and I felt just completely weak.  Fortunately, having the episode in the ER moved me up in the MRI line.  I had the scan and the hospital admitted me overnight for observation. What a day!

Thursday, I felt much better, had not had a dizzy spell, and I realized the double vision was improving.  Steroids are amazing!  We also received the news that the MRI showed no head tumor growth which was great!  My doctor and I agreed, though, that radiation, instead of chemo, was a viable alternative for the tumor in my head to prevent any more double vision.  We had discussed this in December, so it was not a surprise.  Really it is just the next logical step.  The chemo has worked its charm on my lungs, and now addressing the tumor in my head was next.  I met with the radiology folks both in the hospital on that Thursday as well as this past Monday.  They explained it very well.  Based on the MRI, they believe that the tumor is pressing on those nerve fibers I mentioned and that if it can be destroyed by radiation, I should have no more double vision issues.  So tomorrow (Friday 24 May) I’ll have a zoomed-in MRI of the tumor in my head.  If the radiology folks determine that the tumor is a viable candidate for radiation, they will then plan the treatment, which will last about 5 days overall, about 30 minutes each session.  Side effects and risks are very minimal.  And it’s about a 5 minute (convenient) walk from my lab.  Considering the alternative would have been more chemo (the arch nemesis!), radiation sounds like a walk in the park!  If all goes well, I should be starting treatment in a couple of weeks.  If the chemo was intended to destroy as many lung tumors as possible, then getting the head tumor under control with radiation is just another tweak in the process and I view it as progress toward a minimal symptom life.

We received some other good news this past Monday too.  On Saturday, I had a CT scan of my chest to check the lung tumor progression since the last chemo session.  That’s when my oncologist said that I’m “well managed” and my lung tumors are not growing any.  There is one tumor that may have been the culprit during the ER visit when I coughed up so much blood.  But the steroids seemed to have helped out.  I haven’t coughed up any since; I haven’t had any more vision problems, and I haven’t had any more dizzy spells.  My doc said that if the lung tumors give me any more immediate issues, radiation is a good alternative for that as well.

So right now it looks like it’s going to be a good start to the summer.  Jenn and I are very encouraged by all the news we’ve received.  While I’m not in remission, the tumors are not growing.  And that’s the kind of response we like to hear.  We completely understand if things take a turn and the lung tumors start growing again.  But with the radiation possibilities, I’m hopeful the summer will be chemo free!  I’ve been back to work this entire week, walking much better in my prosthesis, and feeling much stronger every day.  My stamina is returning and for the first time in a long time, I actually think we’re starting to come out on top of cancer!  And to TOP it all off, my hair is growing in again!

I hope everyone is doing well!  I will update as the radiation treatment becomes more solidified.  Thanks for keeping up!

Hunter

Hello all
Sorry for the long delay between posts, but it’s been quite a hectic month with a lot of visitors.  This is a little longer than most so sit back and enjoy!  I will go ahead with the great news that I’m officially on a treatment holiday!  My latest scans last Tuesday showed slightly more reduction in some of the tumors, so my oncologist thought it a good time.  That means that I’ll get another scan in six weeks and if it shows no or slow growth, then I’ll continue without chemo.  That was great news.  But, I must say, it has been a long road getting here over the last month.
It started with getting my second chest tube inserted immediately following my last chemo round.  One of my lungs had been collapsing for a while due to a small hole because of tumor death.  So we knew another tube was coming, but just didn’t know when.  So the day after my last chemo treatment, I had a “take home” tube inserted.  The tube was the same size as my first one in December, but instead of being attached to a vacuum apparatus in the hospital, it was attached to a one way air valve that allowed air out, but not in.  Therefore, my lung could re-expand in a comfortable, home environment (sarcasm here…).  It just takes longer (a week vs. two days).  The insertion of the tube was a new experience.  It was on my left side, under my arm and it was quite painful.  The doctor used a wire as a guide before the actual tube insertion.  If you’ve ever attempted to unlock a car with a wire hanger, that’s the feeling I had with that wire tooling around my ribs.  I had a local anesthesia but it pretty much only covered the skin and not my insides.  Wow!  Having the tube at home was no fun either.  There was pain, but the worst part was having to sleep on my back and not on my side!  The tube and valve extended about 5 inches from my body and would flop over and wake me up.  There was very little sleep for the week it was in.  And the pain in my chest limited my ability to walk on my crutches. I’m glad it re-expanded my lung, but needless to say, I was ecstatic when it came out.  But it was tolerable because it was a result of dying tumors.  At the end of the day, that is the mindset that got me through it.
After the tube came out, I had a prosthetic appointment for a new type of socket. I had been working with the suction type for the last few months.  Reminder that this socket requires a type of liner that is difficult to put on, and also requires constant application of alcohol spray to lubricate the liner inside the socket so Short Round would stay inserted.  Unfortunately the alcohol would allow Short Round to slowly slide out of the socket while I was sitting.  So when I stood and walked anywhere, my leg might just not come with me as it would slide right off!  Amusing the first few times, but after a while it gets annoying!  Plus, everyone laughed at me…which was very bad for my self esteem.
So the new socket would have a pin that screwed into a plastic base in the liner.  The pin would attach to a locking mechanism on the leg, preventing any “leg losses” while standing.  Once I tried this new apparatus, I was dumbfounded as to why we didn’t use this one sooner!  First of all, the liner is much easier to put on Short Round and secondly, the pin mechanism provides a feeling of reassurance that my leg is staying with me, all day!  I have been progressing very well with the leg now and wear it everyday.  I’m still using crutches, but it’s only a matter of short time before I graduate to one crutch then to none!
I also felt so good that I went back to work for a while.  My primary concern with work is walking from the parking garage to the lab.  I had a trusty lab mate walk with me and I’m proud to say that I made it with very little problems.  I went in on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  I was so excited to be back in lab, around science again.  I had even planned a series of basic experiments for Thursday to get my hands going again.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be.  My hopes were dashed on Wednesday afternoon, when in the euphoria of independence and autonomy my mind had developed, I reached for something in my car and pulled a muscle (or two) in my upper right arm.  Ouch!  Usually, not a big deal, but I use my arms for walking with my crutches.  So work was out for a few days while it healed.  I sat motionless for a couple of days and it finally healed after a week.  But it was a reminder that I have to be vigilant of my remaining abilities and that a pulled arm muscle will sideline me more than it did prior to my diagnosis.
Once my arm felt good enough to walk again, it was time for Ben and Jack’s combined birthday party.  Their birthdays already came and went, but Jenn had planned their party later for several reasons; scheduling of a science magician for the party, and it would also fall in my chemo cycle when I typically feel good.  So last weekend was the party and it was wonderful!  Everyone had a great time and Jenn’s planning was amazing as usual.  Unfortunately, I didn’t feel so good.  I was weak, and had been running a low grade fever throughout the weekend.  This had happened before and we chalked it up to some type of bug that I probably caught from one of the boys during my low white blood cell timing.
By this past Monday the fever hadn’t gotten any better and I was having chills too.  So we went to the emergency room Monday afternoon to determine if I was neutropenic (white blood cells get too low and may need antibiotics).  I wasn’t neutropenic, but I was diagnosed with pneumonia, which is not unusual for chemo patients.  Lowered immune system capabilities leads to easier infection.  Grrr….  Just one more obstacle.  It was an early detection, but required antibiotics and will probably knock me down a few notches while my body fights it.  Luckily, because of my holiday, I don’t have to worry about chemo getting in the way of my immune system this time.
We were discharged from the hospital at about 11:30 PM on Monday and had to do a quick, little sleep turn around to make an appointment with my oncologist at 9 on Tuesday morning.  But it was worth the lack of sleep.  The doctor came in and showed us the most recent lung scans (taken the day before).  Some of the tumors had continued to shrink and some stayed the same size.  But none had increased in size.  And combined with the 50% reduction I had since December, she was very happy.  Of course, so were Jenn and I.  So she said she was putting me on a treatment holiday – a term I find a bit misleading, but whatever.  It means, in six weeks I go back for another lung scan and if there’s no tumor growth, I can continue the holiday for another six weeks.  I was just extremely happy not to have to had chemo that day.  The long night combined with the pneumonia was making me a tired dog!  But a very happy day indeed!
When we got home from the appointment, I took my antibiotic for the pneumonia and then slept for a while.  Unfortunately, the good news we received would have to be put on hold to celebrate. I woke up in the middle of the night, and got violently sick.  As I was retching into my trusty bucket I was thinking to myself: Really?!  Really?!  Five months of chemo and I had meticulously avoided throwing up, taking anti-nausea meds at precise times.  I had gotten sick once or twice but not to this extreme.  After just receiving the treatment holiday notice, this was not the direction I had anticipated heading.
After a few more bucket episodes, it turned out that the antibiotic was making me sick.  We went back to the doctor and she changed it but told us if I still got sick, to just stop the treatment and the first four that I managed to keep down would hopefully have killed the pneumonia.  That’s what happened.  So now, after stopping treatment, I’m not nauseous nor throwing up.  But I’m pretty exhausted from all the sickness, back and forth to the doctor, and of course the pneumonia. Happy treatment holiday!!!  I will say, it is disappointing as I’m usually pretty perky around this time.  But it’s just one more obstacle which can be overcome.  So no worries.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Boston bombings.  I was devastated and discouraged  that anyone could take such a wonderful and inspiring event and turn it into a nightmare.  The victims deserved none of it of course and those that lost limbs, lost them in the most terrible way imaginable to me; completely unexpected in an environment where destruction and horror were far from anyone’s mind.  I was deeply moved to see the outpouring of money to help them, hopefully to cover medical bills and advanced prostheses that even with co-pays are still expensive.  I realize I am very lucky to be in a position where I have insurance to cover my treatments.  I wish all of them courage and continued hope and support.  I would ask that folks give prayers and thoughts to those that are now unexpectedly part of the amputee community and will require not only physical help, but serious counseling to overcome the trauma and adjust to their new normal.  Thank you.
It’s good to be back on the blog.  I hadn’t felt up to it for a while unfortunately, but now am a little more energetic.  I hope everyone else is doing well.  Have a great weekend!
Hunter

Running for Others

Hello all
Throughout the course of both my recovery from surgery as well as my chemotherapy, I have been moved by the lengths that everyone involved with this blog have gone to show their type of support.  I have written that I realize everyone has their own coping strategies and methods of showing support for my situation.  I don’t pretend to judge any of them as everyone has different emotional backgrounds and will ultimately need to deal with my cancer in their own personal ways.  One person’s coping mechanism is not for everyone.  For me, it’s enough knowing that I have a support system generated by my own circle of friends and family and through this blog which has given me the encouragement to push through difficult times.  I will mention again how much I appreciate all the different methods (thoughts, prayers, prayer groups, gifts, visits; the list goes on!) that readers and posters have introduced me to.  It’s been extremely enlightening and helpful.
In light of all the support, I must highlight a recent one that touched me closely because of it’s association with running.  Many of you know I was (and will be again!) a runner.  I ran 3 marathons in my life, and a dozen or so half marathons with a number of shorter distance races interspersed.  I have run most of my adult life and have missed it tremendously during this latest hiatus. Many of you may have read on the blog a few responses from Dan Sullivan or Mike Pfister.  These two gentlemen, for the past few months, have been recruiting a group of runners from my previous assignment, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, just outside of Ft. Belvoir, VA.  I worked with most of them for four years and while there established friendships that have and will last lifetimes.  Just after Christmas, Dan sent me a message on the blog that said he was going to run the Shamrock Half Marathon (St. Patrick’s Day in Virginia Beach) in my honor.  As the months progressed, just Dan became Dan and Mike and eventually both assembled a group of runners and non-runners to run different parts of the race for me.  They designed a Short Round – based race T-shirt they would wear to increase awareness of my situation – Short Round comments that “Synovial Sarcoma is all just a bunch of hooey!”  They made a banner to advertise some of my character traits.  The banner went to the race, back to DTRA for inclusion of more folks’ signatures, then was mailed to me.  It now hangs in my hallway.  Some would run the whole marathon, some the half and some the 8K.  Regardless of the distance, I was incredibly humbled and thankful.  The races took place on my latest post chemo weekend, when I was rather low on both emotions and energy.  On that Sunday, I received emails with pics of the runners obviously having a great time in their shirts both pre and post race.  They were toasting me even though they had just finished grueling distances.  Some had even shaved their heads for me (thanks Sully, Mike and Zip!)  I was inspired and uplifted and coincidentally, at the exact time I needed it!  Some of the pics are posted below.  These folks literally went extra miles for me and I thank them from the bottom of my heart.  They are some of the best folks that I have had the privilege of working with in my career.  I am inspired by their selflessness and once I am back to running, I want to emulate them and look forward to joining similar teams in the future to honor other runners who have been forced to give up something they love for whatever reason.
Post Race Festivities!

Post Race Festivities!

 

More post race activities!

More post race activities!

 

Pre Race with Banner!

Pre Race with Banner!

The signed banner now hangs in our hallway!

The signed banner now hangs in our hallway!

Front and back race t-shirts

Front and back race t-shirts

Medically, I am feeling upbeat this week, which is the norm for this time.  This week I actually drove my car, by myself, without Jenn chauffeuring me!!  That is another milestone that gave me a sense of unimaginable freedom!  I haven’t driven since October.  I have another chemo week starting next Tuesday, which will bring me down again a few notches, but since it’s working the prospect of a few days of lethargy and physical discomfort are palatable.  On the prosthetic front, my days consist of practicing walking in a new socket I received last week, which is less painful than the first.  But my prosthetist still wants to improve the socket and is working on yet another one that will fit more securely.  I’ll get that one on Friday and continue progress with the leg.  Going through a number of sockets is typical for new amputees, so I’m not worried.  I have an in-home physical therapist who has been working with me since the amputation to strengthen my body in anticipation of walking again.  She’s been terrific.  Luckily for me, she is tough and pushes me on days when I’m complaining like a little spoiled brat.  I’m still using crutches with the ultimate goal of putting full body weight on my prosthetic.  Some days are better than others!  Just like life in general.
Thanks for all the support and continued reading!
Hunter

More good news!

Hey all!

Good news on the tumor front. They are still responding to treatment so more chemo!  Whoo hoo…:-\.  We are really happy with the news.  Really.  Happy.  And I should clarify, that these are lung tumors that my oncologist is measuring and we are able to see tumor shrinkage compared to previous scans and we also see tumor necrosis, which is where the tumor dies from the inside out.  It’s pretty cool, actually.

I started another 3 day round today and will get another in 3 weeks then more scans around the end of April. At that point, pretty much the same deal as before. More tumor shrinkage, more chemo; as much as I can tolerate.
Sorry for the short one tonight, but I’m tired after the first day and this week will be more tiring.  Anyway, scans are read and I’m off to bed!  Have a good night!
Hunter

Quick Update

Hello everyone

First of all, let me express my gratitude for the responses to the last blog post.  As always, they are amusing and reassuring.  We rely on the support displayed by such posts.  Thank you again.
I’ve had the leg just over a week now and it has been interesting to say the least.  I’ve been able to progress to wearing it for 4 hours during the day, and walking inside (still crutch assisted) with it for 30 minutes to an hour.  I’m somewhat surprised at the rate at which Short Round is getting used to the new attachment.  The hardest part of having the prosthetic is putting weight on it.  I have to eventually get to the point where I can put full weight on it.  I had another appointment on Tuesday and it’s already time for a new socket.  My residual limb has increased in mass since the first casting a few weeks ago and the current socket is too small in diameter.  So the prosthetist took another casting and I’ll be getting the new socket within two weeks.  I still can use the current socket; it’s just not as comfortable  – kind of like a pair of shoes that are too small, but are still too awesome to throw out.
With regard to my tumors, we are in a holding pattern until we get more information.  I have a CT scan scheduled for Monday too look at my lungs.  My oncologist will go over it with us on Tuesday and we’ll decide then whether to continue with chemo.  If so, we’ll start another round on Tuesday.  If the scan shows the tumors are continuing to respond to the treatment and are still shrinking, we’ll go on with chemo.  If the tumors have stopped responding, then we won’t do the treatment.  As much as I dread it, we are keeping our fingers crossed for continued tumor response…grrrr.  I’ll be honest though, this chemotherapy thing is not a whole lot of fun like I was told.
I’ll keep this one short.  I have to get back to walking laps round the house. Thanks again everyone for the support. Have a great weekend and I’ll post with the results we get on Tuesday.
Hunter