22 June 2011

First floor, Radiation Oncology.

First floor, Radiation Oncology.
Yesterday was Ford's consultation with the Radiation Oncologist at the Huntsman Cancer Hospital. The check-in was essentially the same as on the second floor (minus the blood draw for labs). We first met with Dr. Mike Montejo who is in his last two weeks of Residency at HCH. At the end of June he will leave for Florida to be a "real" doctor off on his own. Dr. Montejo had a medical student "following" him. It adds another dimension of enlightenment with residents and followers because they spend extra time explaining the what's, how's and why's of what is going on with a patient, the diagnosis, the exam, and the procedures.

Dr. Montejo was very thorough in going through Ford's history of diagnosis and treatment. Through this process, he told us that the activity in the stomach was not only in-between two lymph nodes, it had now infiltrated the lymph nodes. New insight. He also told us that the bone marrow biopsy that had originally been done to diagnose/stage the lymphomas showed that it was the marginal cell lymphoma (MALT) in his bone marrow, not the aggressive, intermediate lymphoma (diffuse large B cell lymphoma). This is a bit confusing on so many levels, but we did not delve into any questions or explanations at this point. The rest of the time was taken up with explanations about radiation therapy and his examination of Ford.

Next, we met with Dr. David Gaffney, the radiation oncologist. He was very good at making connections with Ford. He is a biker and was interested in the recumbent bike aspect. He has had an ACL repair. He also explained that he was a lymphoma cancer survivor of 30 years. He also reviewed Ford's history, did an exam, took time to answer our questions, and then said to us that he would like Ford to allow him to treat him. That was interesting.

Dr. Gaffney then asked if we knew that Ford had an afternoon appointment already set up for what they call "planning." Although we had not been aware that we to be there all day, Ford called in to work and let them know what was going on, we also called family and let them know we would be longer than we thought.

We were sent off to lunch at which time Ford and I discussed the situation. Ford feels that this is what he needs to do and has made the decision to proceed with the radiation treatment.

Ford made it to "planning." This is where everything is set into motion. A CT scan was taken and the results will be "fused" with the PET scan results for a detail on the area that is to be treated. Measurements were made, Ford received "tatoos" that will pinpoint treatment areas, and all is entered into computers in order to specify and specialize treatment.

His next appointment is Wednesday, 29 June 2011, at which time he will go through a simulation. To our understanding, all will proceed as if he were having a radiation treatment, except that there will not be any radiation. This allows everything to be checked over and tested to assure that all systems and settings are correct. Then the next day, Thursday, 30 June 2011, will be his first treatment. His protocol is 15 treatments, one every day, skipping weekends and holidays. By my calculations, the last treatment will be Thursday, 21 July 2011.

We will appreciate all prayers offered in our behalf, for Ford's treatment, protection of healthy cells, and recovery, as well as for protection as we make the two-hour round trip for those days to follow.

15 June 2011

June Huntsman Day

Yesterday, Tuesday, 14 June 2011, was, what we've come to call, a Huntsman day. The Huntsman Cancer Institute and Hospital is a wonderful place with many wonderful people employed there. As great as it is, I do not look forward to these days. Perhaps it is because I now have a realization that our lives can be changed with a few simple words within a few short minutes.

Ford checked in for his PET scan at 6:30 am. He did well and was actually done earlier than previous times. Instead of staying in SLC until the 2 pm appointment with the doctor, we drove back to Provo in order to take care of some more details of moving.

We have moved out of our very large Grand Ave. home into a much smaller home. It, in the long run, will be a very good thing. Right now, we are very exhausted and still not completely done. A few things remain in the garage on Grand and a huge amount of items stored for a yard sale this Saturday. I had hoped that we would be able to go through more of the things that we moved in order to add to the sale, but that is just not going to happen.

Anyway, back to the Huntsman day. We arrived back at HCI in plenty of time for our 2 pm appointment, however the doctor was running behind schedule. She walked in to our room about an hour and minutes later. When she walked in, I could tell from her demeanor that all was not as we might have hoped. She asked the routine questions and gave Ford a thorough check over. Ford's RBC count is down and his creatine levels were a bit off. She then brought up the scan results. The thickness in the stomach where the MALT lymphoma is located has increased. The color that indicates activity levels of the lymphoma has changed also. These show increased activity. Being very near two lymph glands, the doctor is concerned. She told us that she thinks it is possible that the area is beginning to ooze. While it is not a huge increase in thickness or activity, it is an increase. She would like us to consider radiation therapy. She believes from her experience, that the MALT can be totally eradicated with radiation. We have the option of not doing radiation and seeing how things go, however, she would like to do some preventative measures (the radiation) before there is an emergency situation. She works with one doctor at HCI for this therapy. We have scheduled an appointment to consult with him next Tuesday. Then we will decide what we need to do. The therapy is every day, Monday through Friday for four weeks. It is a two hour round trip drive and the radiation treatment is only minutes in duration. We will do what we need to do, as always.

Not what we would have liked to hear, but it is what it is and we will do what we need to do and all will work out.