15 October 2009

The Results Are In

"Enjoy the holidays!" was the parting remark from Dr. Glenn this afternoon.

The results of the endoscopy showed a bit of irritation at the top of the stomach so Dr. Boyton, the gastroenterologist, took several biopsies of the area along with biopsies from the area previously infected with cancer.

The PET scan showed a bit of increased activity in the stomach in different areas.

The opinion of all involved in diagnosing is that the only lymphoma that is active is the MALT. Currently there is no sign of the Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma, the more aggressive form that was the target of the chemo treatments.

The results of the bone marrow biopsies done in July showed no cancer cells in the bones.

Lab results on blood tests showed nothing out of the ordinary.

The plan from here is for Ford to be seen again in three months with a check up and assessment of how he has done. Then in six months will be the next check at which time another PET scan will be done. As long as nothing appears abnormal, that will be the plan for a while. If something seems out of the ordinary, then it will be determined if an endoscopy needs to be done.

Now we just need to find a way to curb the MALT. Dr. Glenn told us that if the MALT had been localized in just one area, it could be killed with radiation. But in Ford's case, it has been in several areas and is considered to be systemic. So he needs to be super aware of any changes. (Fatigue, vomiting, bleeding, pain, and weight loss.)

We are so very grateful for all the prayers and support. This is indeed great news for us!

Schedule Change

Tuesday was pretty busy for the first half of the day.

We started out by me going to the Coumadin clinic and checking my INR levels. I already knew that they were down. I found that out at in the ER on Sunday. The surprising thing to the nurse in the clinic is that no one made the adjustment in my dosage at the hospital. I had called and left a message on Monday, but the phones were messed up in the clinic, as were the computers. The important thing is that the adjustments have now been made.

After the Coumadin clinic, it was over to the lab at IHC for Ford's weekly blood draw. Since we have been going there almost every week for about eight months, most everyone says hello to us and wishes Ford well. The lab techs are excellent.

Then we headed up to SLC and the Huntsman Cancer Institute for Ford's PET scan.
The PET scan went well. It just takes a long time. It is about a three hour test with the first hour spent getting the IV connected and letting the dye do its thing.

When Ford was done, we took our chances and went over to see the scheduler (A'lisha) for Dr. Glenn and asked if there were any openings earlier than next Tuesday. She right off said that she doubted it, but as she scanned her computer found an opening on Thursday, early afternoon. We took it. So we go today to find out the results of Ford's tests.

Since this seems to be the week to spend at different doctors and clinics, Ford will also stop in this morning to see his dermatologist. Apparently, Ford's risk of having melanoma increases after having the lymphoma and chemo, so this is a routine check to make sure nothing new has come up.

We will post the results of what we find out today when we can.

“How might we have joy in our lives, despite all that we may face? Again from the scriptures: ‘Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you.’ ”

Thomas S. Monson, “Be of Good Cheer,” Ensign, May 2009, 89.

12 October 2009

One Procedure Done

The first procedure is done and out of the way. Traffic into SLC was a bear this morning. Two major accidents and a couple of minor ones had traffic pretty backed up. Plus there was some debris on the road that I could not avoid and I worried all the rest of the way up to the U of U Med Center that something might be damaged. It turned out okay (just like Ford kept reassuring me that it would).

The IV was a little hard getting threaded this morning. It is sort of a conundrum that being well hydrated makes finding veins easier, yet, of course, for this type of procedure one has to be fasting for at least 12 hours before hand, thus creating dehydration. With a warm towel over his arm, moving the position of his arm, and calling in a nurse that seems to be an expert at placing IV's, things worked out.

The whole process beginning to end took about an hour and 45 minutes. In recovery, Ford was more alert and awake than he has been when the procedure was done in Provo. And they didn't let him lollygag around. They got him up and going, told him to get dressed, and we wheeled him to the car in a wheelchair (he was still a bit unsteady on his feet). He did begin having chills and it took a while to get him warmed up once we got into the car with the heater turned on high.

The one other thing that took me a while to realize was happening was an apparent reaction to the sedatives that Ford had been given. His nose began to run and he began sneezing. By the time we arrived home, he had begun to itch. As soon as we got into the house, he took some allergy medicine and then laid down to take a nap. This helped quite a bit.

We called the U of U Med Center and spoke with the nurse in charge. She was curious what meds Ford had been given at the Central Utah Clinic Surgical Center for his previous EGD. When I was allowed into the recovery area after the previous procedure, Ford's arms had large red blotches on them from wrist to elbow. At that time, the speculation was that he was having an histamine reaction. We called the Central Utah Clinic and a wonderful nurse looked up Ford's record. The common narcotic given for both procedures turns out to be Propofol. Looks like we get to add a sensitivity to Ford's medical records.

He is doing well this evening, but looking forward to a good night's sleep.

Tomorrow he is scheduled for a PET scan. This is scheduled a little later than today's procedure was, so we are hoping for better traffic conditions. I'm a real wimp on the roads. I'm praying that the storms predicted for tomorrow either pass us up or aren't very severe. Brrr. I feel winter coming on.

More updates as news happens.

08 October 2009

Three Month Check

Well, the fun is about to begin once again. This week Ford has a long-overdue dental appointment. On Monday, 10/12/09, he has an appointment up at the U of U Med Center for his EGD (endoscopy) where they will scope his stomach to see if there is any visible change and also do a biopsy to check which, if any, cancer cells are present in his stomach. Then on Tuesday, 10/13/09, we travel back up to the Huntsman Cancer Institute for a PET scan. This is to check if there are any "hot spots" that are taking up the radioactive sugar. Our appointment with the oncologist, Dr. Glenn, will be the following Tuesday, 10/20/09, to get the results of all the tests.

This will not be an easy week for us. I've been trying to prepare myself for the wait and whatever the results may be, but the tension is already mounting and my emotions are beginning to bounce off the walls. There is a lot to be done around the house, so maybe some of that craziness can be dispersed doing chores. Since it looks like winter is on our doorstep, there are some winterization things that need doing. Brrr. I am missing the warm weather already.

Ford has been driving to work the past several weeks. During his lunch time is when he has typically worked out by playing frisbee. He had two new personal bests the past two weeks. He had thirty-two consecutive throws and catches with three frisbees and either one or two frisbees in the air at all times. Today he consistently had three frisbees in the air for eight throws and eight catches! This is a great achievement. He not only gets a physical workout, but also is sharpening his brain, coordination, and concentration skills. HOORAY for Ford!!!!

We have had great support throughout this whole year's experiences. Please, if you will, remember Ford in your prayers in the next coming weeks. We are hoping with all our hearts that his tests come up clear.

Love to all!