10-4-19

I did not intend to put out another update until the all-important PET scan was performed in November unless something out of the ordinary happened. However, the natives are restless.  I’m getting several inquiries as to what’s going on and when is the next update, etc. is so here is the latest and greatest.

I continue to get the immunotherapy treatment every other week. The aftereffects of the treatment are mostly non-consequential so far. My blood work numbers are pretty much normal, however, I’m still taking steroids to keep my liver and kidney enzymes under control. The doctor is weaning me off of those because the steroids make the immunotherapy treatment somewhat less than 100% effective. Hopefully in about 3 to 4 weeks I will no longer be taking the steroids and the enzymes will remain as they should.

I did have a CAT scan done on September 27 and got the results the following Tuesday and explained to me by the oncologist. He said that the tumor has stabilized (no change in size) and some of the lesions in my lungs have gotten smaller but others have gotten larger. I hear that as a net “no change”.   The CAT scan indicates size only, not the intensity of the activity of the cancer cells with in the tumor.   That is what the PET scan will show.

In summary, the doctor told me that I would be perfectly normal if it wasn’t for the tumor. My response was that sounds like saying that the Titanic is a perfectly good ship except for the big hole in the side of the boat. He said “yes, pretty much like that.” As you can tell he and I have become good friends since April.

So going forward, the treatment regiment will remain the same and we shall see what the PET scan has to show in late November.  So the game plan is: steady as she goes and react according to changes, if changes occur. To be extreme to make a point: I suppose one scenario would be to continue treatments every other week for the next 30 years as long as everything remains stabilized which explains the picture at the top of this update.

As far as quality of life…. We have been doing a small finish out project at our home. I try to do much of the work myself because I like to and keeps me busy (installing laminate floors, installing doors and trim, painting, etc.) In addition, I try to keep up on my honey-do list whenever the lovely Miss Jodell snaps her fingers. I’m also entertaining the idea of securing some type of construction consulting work here in the Skaneateles area.  Currently, I am in Tampa hanging out with Ryan and we intend to go fishing in the Everglades on Tuesday. So my point is I’m very grateful to be as active as I am and, at the same time, fight this life threatening disease.

My doctor has told me in the past that I will never be able to say that I’m cancer free but he apparently does not know the power of my God.

Thank you for all the prayers from the Saints and keep them coming!

Romans 12:12 

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer

Advertisements

August 21, 2019

Consider this a continuation of my last post. The last post was not definitive as to which way things were headed…..Either better or worse. If you recall, my kidney numbers (Creatinine) were extremely high. To combat this, I was given a lot of hydration. This caused other issues as described in my last post. The idea was to flush my kidneys to get the creatinine numbers in line. So in addition to the hydration they gave me medication to make me go to the bathroom. Once that treatment was completed on Friday, Jodell and I hit the road to go to Burlington, Vermont. It took two restrooms stops and a cornfield to get there but we made it! Now the good news: I was back in the cancer center yesterday for more blood work and a plan of action based on the numbers. Everything is pretty much in line except that the kidney numbers are still abnormally high but headed in the right direction. So the doctor put me in the infusion room to reinstate immunotherapy treatment. In addition, he put me on steroids attempting to keep the liver and kidney numbers where they need to be. Anyway, I see this to be a good thing because were now back on track in dealing with the cancer!

August 17, 2019

In my last report I indicated that there would most likely be a dry spell of updates until the next pet scan was completed sometime in November. I was anticipating routine immunotherapy treatment every other Tuesday. However, that was wishful thinking or just being naïve. I came in the cancer center for my immunotherapy therapy treatment on Tuesday and some of my vital numbers were out of whack. Seems that my kidneys were a little “jelly” of my liver getting all the attention the week before.  So immunotherapy treatment for the cancer has been postponed until further notice while we deal with this kidney issue. I’ve returned to the hospital every day this week including today (Friday) for hydration and steroids. My blood pressure has been as high as 215/101. My heart rate as low as 42. And temperature as low as 96.  However, those numbers are slowly returning to normal. I feel fine. It’s just frustrating that we can’t stick to the main task at hand and that is attacking the cancer!  My next appointment with my Doc is Tuesday to discuss the way forward.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” — Joshua 1:9

July 23, 2019

C:\Temp\back on track.png

July 23, 2019

I had my appointment with my oncologist today. I consider what he said to be good news! My liver enzymes have come back down close to normal and, as a result, treatments will resume on Tuesday of next week.  I will continue this treatment/infusion every other week until changes, if necessary, to the game plan are needed. My concern is that the future treatments will elevate my liver enzymes once again to the point where treatment has to be discontinued. He confirmed that is a concern however also indicated that there is a way to manage that issue. So for right now, I consider my mission to become “cancer free” is back on track. Unless something unusual occurs, be prepared for a dry spell when it comes to an update to the “McVey Report”. The next milestone will be the next PET scan approximately four months from now. As a reminder, this scan will show changes, bad or good, to all cancer tissue.

Currently I feel great and not many limitations on what I can or can’t do. However, I have lost about 30 pounds since I was diagnosed. I see this as a good thing. My appetite is good so bring on the barbecue, ice cream, all the desserts you got, etc!

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

July 10, 2019

When my discussion with my doctor concluded yesterday, I had some blood work done before I went home.  Very soon after my July 9 post, I was called by the doctor’s office.  Seems my liver enzymes are now very high (a bad thing).  The theory is that the immunotherapy treatment is causing this unwanted side effect.  A known side effect of immunotherapy is that it boosts the immune system to where it might attack good organs in the body besides cancer cells.  So for now, immunotherapy has been postponed and my elevated liver enzymes are getting all the attention.  That started today with a hydration infusion (salt water) via IV and prednisone (pills).  Once the enzymes settle down, it will be back to immunotherapy.  I just hope we are not taking the foot off the neck of the tumor and letting it up off the mat!

However the good news today was that we caught 8 lake trout and 2 rainbow trout this morning!  Grilled trout tonight for dinner!  God is good!

Luke 5:9  For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken.

July 9, 2019

“I’m happy” were the first words spoken by my doctor when he walked into my exam room this morning. He went on to describe the cancer on my liver, in my lungs, and the thrombosis (the streamer) up to my heart.  He said the tumor on my liver has actually decreased in size.  They suspect part of it may have died due to the treatment or cutting off of the blood flow to it during the stopping of the internal bleeding I was experiencing back in April. The lesions in my lungs actually have increased a little in size but the quantity has stayed the same. The increase in size maybe due to the immunotherapy treatment that is causing inflammation. And finally, the thrombosis has stabilized. All the above may not sound like great news because, relatively, everything is about the same. However, he saw this as great news because my type of cancer is very aggressive and grows very fast to the point you can measure the increase in size every day. So the fact that everything is pretty much stopped in its tracks is a good indication that the therapy is working as he’d hoped.

So I couldn’t help but ask what that meant to me.  Is this going to increase my lifespan to four years instead of two or three?  Or do I get to live out a normal life until a ripe old age? He said there is no way to tell. Immunotherapy is relatively a new treatment that’s only been around for about two years and my type of cancer is so rare, no one can be sure how it is going to react over the long term or even the short term.  So all I can do is accept his prognosis and continue to put my faith in the Almighty.

I am not feeling great but okay. I continue to take care of a few chores around the house until my body says enough is enough. I have plans to go fishing tomorrow to catch my first Skaneateles Lake fish!  Today was a good day and hopefully tomorrow will be a better one, etc, etc, etc

Continued prayers are most appreciated!

Proverbs 3:5-6:   

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”