Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New treatment plan

Mark had an MRI yesterday and an appointment today with Dr. Fink. She said his scans looked good. Everything she saw looks normal for post-surgery. She feels that the Temodar is no longer an option for treatment. When Mark was at the very end of taking it, she noticed a spot on his MRI to watch and that is what turned out to be the tumor a few weeks later. That tells her that Mark’s tumors became resistant to the oral chemo. She will be starting Mark on Avastin this Monday. He will have that infused via IV every other week. In addition to the Avastin, he will be infused with Carboplatin (IV Chemo) every other time. So, he will be given Avastin twice a month and chemo once a month. The Avastin is a relatively new treatment designed to basically starve the tumors causing them to stop growing and even to shrink. It blocks blood vessels from forming on the tumor. It is used for a few different cancers including Glioblastoma. Dr. Fink said that patients are generally on it for a year or until a tumor appears, showing that it is no longer effective. It has some risks of side effects, some of them very serious, but the percentage of people that have them is low. One of the more common problems is complications with healing. Because of that, Dr. Fink was concerned about a noticeable thread (internal stitch) that had made its way to the surface of Mark’s head through his incision site. She sent us to see the surgeon. His PA saw Mark and was able to snip it down. She said it would dissolve eventually. So, it should be safe for Mark to start the Avastin on Monday. Mark said he is excited to start this treatment. I asked him why and he said it’s because it means he gets to live longer.

There was really no bad news today and I know we do have so many blessings to be thankful for, but I just cannot seem to shake this funk that I’m in. Yes, I’m glad this treatment is an option for us, and I’m glad that no new tumors have grown since the surgery. I know that it is a miracle that Mark is still here. Most GBM patients do not survive more than 14 months and Mark is still here after 18 months since his diagnosis. I am grateful that the Temodar worked as long as it did and that Mark felt pretty good while on it. I’m so very thankful that we were able to take some wonderful trips this past year and make some fantastic memories. But, I’m still sad and angry and very anxious. I have still not had any anger toward God. I still trust Him 100% that He will provide everything we need and get us through all of this no matter the earthly outcome. However, I feel so angry at cancer! I feel like it is so unfair that such a good, Godly, man had to be attacked in this way. I feel sad about the problems our boys are having trying to adjust to things. I wish the cancer could just go away! I am thankful for amazing people that have stepped up to help and support us during this time, but I’m frustrated when I hear people telling me to “chin up”, “trust God”, “don’t worry”, etc. I appreciate that they are trying to do something good and say the right thing, but really, I just sometimes need somebody to listen to me vent and try to sympathize with my emotions. I want to get to the point where Mark is. He seems to be so at peace about it all. I admire him so much. He is just amazing! Anyway, that’s enough about my crazy emotions. Thanks for reading this and thank you especially for all of your prayers and support.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

quick post-surgery update

I want to do a longer post here on the blog, but I just haven’t been able to do it yet. I thought that I would do just a quick update now and then come back to it later when I have some time to write about all of the details and emotions of the past few days. For now, I’ll just tell you that the surgery went well. Mark is back home now and doing great! It is a HUGE blessing that Mark has no speech problems at all! He has a little trouble with his right side – particularly with his right hand. He has some dexterity issues with it, but that is getting better and better every day. His spirits are pretty good. He is bored from sitting around the house so much and not being allowed to do all the things he wants to do. That will get better as he is able to do more things. He has an appointment next week with the surgeon. They will remove his sutures and do a little check up on him. He has another MRI scheduled for 3 weeks from now and then an appointment with the oncologist the next day. She will be able to tell us then (based on the post-op MRI) what treatment options are available for Mark. Then we will have to make a decision about what will be best. We know that realistically, he only has months left with us here so we don’t want to choose something that will make his quality of life horrible. We have not given up hope though! We still pray for a miracle of healing, or at least for more time for us to make great family memories. We thank everybody for all of the prayers and ask that you continue to pray for our family.