Dr. Corcoran called this afternoon (Tuesday Oct. 26) in between surgeries to give us the follow up on Thursday’s biopsy. That he would make time in a busy afternoon shows the commitment to proactive care which I deeply appreciate!
He confirmed what we expected: it is metastatic melanoma. The BRAF studies which will indicate responsiveness to immunotherapy are pending. He is referring me to the same oncologist who saw me when I had the melonoma diagnosis 6 years ago for follow up work. That adds a fifth doctor to the care team along with who know how many other medical professionals.
The bladder cancer extraction is scheduled for Nov 9. There will be a biopsy of that seemly unrelated cancer. The gall bladder cancer is on hold right now waiting on the other two biopsies. How there can be three different cancers at the same time is baffling to everyone! The melanoma is the bigger issue at this time but all three cancers need treatment.
Sherry is up mostly up but also down sometimes. On the down side, she finds that she can’t concentrate, but not really anxious about me. We are enjoying the husband/wife growing old together with strong family and friend connections a lot.
I am doing fine. No symptoms at all. Same grumpy old guy who believes God is saying, “This is not the end, keep on with what you are doing.” I find there is a LOT of wonderful things that I love doing with and for Jesus that are fruitful and fulling.
I will follow up as more information comes to light.
We had everything pointed to Sherry taking me to the Surgicenter at 2:00 today (Monday) for Dr. Burt and team to remove the beautiful but dangerous little bush in my bladder. However, I just got a call (9:30) from Dr. Burt that pneumothorax makes anesthesia unsafe, so surgery will be postponed for a couple of weeks.
It’s odd to have this much cancer in my body but no symptoms or discomfort at all. That along with a positive medical prognosis and God’s word to me, “This is not the end. Keep on with what you are doing” leaves me in a good place, sleeping well and doing what I love.
Sherry drove me down to the early check in and soon the prep team was doing IV, monitors and such. They wheeled me into the same room where the first CT scan discovered the cancers and the very friendly efficient team went to work, doing the scan to find the best place to take the nodule sample. The doctor came in and the process began. I could not see what was happening, much as I wanted to. Then I heard the doctor say something about inserting a chest tube. His pre-op discussion alerted me that I had developed a pneumo-thorax, which is air between the lung and chest wall. That can happen when they insert the needle to get the stuff for the biopsy. He sucked much of the the air out and they did an x-ray to check – more news to come.
The doctor just notified (3:00) me that the pneumo-thorax is small, but still present. So they will continue the suction through the night which means I will be spending the night here. There is some discomfort from the chest tube but other than that I feel fine. Doing the breathing machine to promote the full inflation.
Right now (Thursday afternoon), I am co-teaching the Providence and Prayer class with Todd Miles at Western doing it by Zoom in my hospital gown!
The big down side is no visitors – not even Sherry. Maybe even worse, I am in a room with a VERY noisy roommate. 🤢 But lunch came and it was good. Sherry brought my back pack so I can do some work and update this blog.
Noon Friday update: I have had two x-ray’s to check the pneumothorax. It went from 9 mm yesterday to “Prior trace right apical pneumothorax is not definitely identified.” So the suction tube is clamped and another x-ray coming. If it’s good the chest tube will come out. If that’s good, then I’ll be released
Friday evening update: I passed the pneumothorax test and was soon out of the hospital, finally able to put my wedding ring back on. Thursday night was the first night since March 22, 1968 that I have not worn it. I can see why hospitals need to keep patient’s valuables out of their care, but I don’t have to like it!.
So I am at home watching Nicole play tenor sax in the Oregon State Marching band via live stream. And very glad to be felling fine with no lingering effects of the unexpected events of the last two days.
The new news is that it looks like the Melanoma has made a new home in my body. I made a video of the journey of discovery to give context to the journey. I will add new ones as we continue the diagnosis and treatment. For those curious ones (like me!) there is a screen shot of the CT scan here.
The bullet points are (1) blood in my urine led to a CT scan that showed a beautiful, but cancerous bush in my bladder. It will come out on Monday afternoon, Oct. 25 and be biopsied; (2) strange stuff in the CT scan prompted a second contrasting CT scan of my lungs that confirmed “multiple bilateral lobular solid pulmonary nodules/masses of varying sizes in all lobes”; (3) a PET scan showed most of my body is “unremarkable” (my new favorite word!) and three “hot spots”: bladder, lungs and gall bladder; (4) an early morning needle biopsy of my lungs will be taken Thursday, Oct. 21; (5) Dr. Corcoran will review results with us Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 26. (6) Hopefully, the biopsies will explain what is perplexing everyone: why do I have three apparently unrelated hot spots in my body?
When I had the Melanoma before, I laid out four principles to guide me: (1) When I go to the past look for lessons, not regrets. It is easy for me to shred myself for what I did/didn’t do; (2) in the present build plans based on what I actually know so I can act wisely and responsibly rather than feeling helpless; (3) the future is where the “what if’s” are. Satan dwells there. Don’t dwell with him; (4) Jesus is in the present, look for Him. Like the bush in Exodus 3, He is easy to miss.