Thursday, March 31, 2011

Interpreting Scan Results

There is nothing weirder than seeing your wife's body rendered in transparent, skeletonized 3D and the oncologist using the mouse pad to turn it around so you can see it from different angles.  Weirder still is seeing these little bright dots which represent tumors (boy, those tumors like sugar).

The result is: it's not bad news. The best news is there is no internal spreading, no new organs affected. Internally, it's still just the lung, and the same three tumors. Two are same size and one grew slightly. Her skin tumors (they are actually subcutaneous tumors and you can't tell anything at the surface, they just look like little objects put under the skin) have grown a bit, and she has one new one.

The conclusion: it's still progressing, and we have to do a new treatment. Instead of doing a course of the final FDA approved treatment for melanoma (Interleukin 2) here in town, Kaplan wants to send us to the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda. They have a number of clinical trials that Meagan might be eligible for, and some combine the new (adoptive cell therapy) with the old (Interluekin 2). So off we go for an assessment. We'll call to schedule on Monday. Likely we will head back in mid-April. The hope is we go back, qualify, they take out some tumors to use to grow in the lab and harvest killer T-cells (which takes 26 days or so), and we return just after Riley's graduation on May 15th for a two week in-hospital treatment. That's the best case scenario. Along with Meagan's tumors continuing to be slow growing, not spreading internally or at skin level.

Some relief that it wasn't bad news. No tears, so that's good, we'd kind of prepared ourselves for this scenario. We get to go to probably the best place on the planet if you have an immune system cancer for evaluation and treatment. We'll probably be nervous that we have to wait effectively 45 days for the next treatment. But we will be able to see Riley's graduation with Meagan feeling fine. And we will have time to be able to figure out the logistics of getting treated there. Things could change so we will still be nimble of mind and attitude. But that's the news today. I'll reflect more in a different post.

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