Monday, September 12, 2016

Scan to Scan

Debbie has been feeling ok on most days. Good on some days...bad on others. She couldn't really describe how she felt. She just felt wrong...and very tired.

Debbie's blood work  hadn't been ready at the consultation, so they weren't able to go over it. She received a call one day saying that her thyroid levels were very low and that she needed to start taking medication for it immediately. She has hypothyroidism. This was caused by the IL2.

Hypothyroidism has many side effects. Some of the ones Debbie is experiencing are extreme fatigue and hair loss. She estimates that she has lost more than 50% of her hair. 

As we processed the information from the CT scan consultation and the blood work, we began having more and more questions. We called and spoke to the nurse practitioner that was involved with Debbie's treatment. 

Debbie asked if she was in agreement with the doctor's plan to not carry out Weeks 5 & 6. She said she agreed. She explained that Debbie's body had been pushed as far as they were comfortable with. Debbie only received two doses on Week 4. Debbie would likely only get one or two Week 5  and they may not even have her go through Week 6. She said that Debbie's body had responded as well as possible to IL2 and that her cancer was stable. 


The doctor had told her that she had no evidence of disease. I don't know about you, but NED is very different than your cancer being stable.

We had planned on speaking again with the doctor, but he was on vacation for two weeks and we hadn't had the brain scan yet. So...we waited for the MRI.

Debbie finally had her brain scan. She was very strong and went with the regular MRI instead of the open MRI. God helped her through it. For a brain MRI, Debbie is strapped down and has headphones put on. There is a metal cage that is snapped shut over her face. She is supposed to remain still for 45 minutes. If she moves or the image gets messed up, they have to start all over again.

The results showed no cancer in her brain!

Thank you Jesus!!

Debbie made an appointment with an endocrine specialist to help with her thyroid issue. We wanted someone that can focus on this one area. The medication takes awhile to kick in and is tricky to figure out the correct dosage.

We had a consultation on Wednesday with doctor Smith. It was mainly to clear up some of the questions we had, but also to do blood work. He said that depending on her thyroid levels, he would probably have to increase her medication. They have to start out the medication at a lower level so it won't shock the heart. He reiterated about not having her do another round of treatment and told us that another round of IL2 could have killed Debbie. He was positive that the treatment had done it's job and was happy with her results. He told Debbie that her cancer was in remission. He told us that if a persons cancer comes back, it is typically within 2-3 years. She needs to be scanned every few months and won't be dubbed "cancer free" until 5 years of clean scans.

Dr Smith called back later that day and told Debbie that her thyroid levels were near normal and he wasn't going to increase her medication! Thank you Jesus!!

All of this has been challenging for us to know how to convey Debbie's situation to others. We
have to stick with the facts...the truth.

The truth is we are very thankful and blessed. We know Debbie has been healed. We will take the rest of this journey scan by scan. It is challenging to not have it all wrapped up in a neat little package, but we will continue to surrender the outcome to God. He is the Great Physician and Healer!

Mark 5:34 "Daughter, you took a risk of faith and now you're healed and whole. Live well, live blessed! Be healed of your plague.