I have been putting off updating the blog for the last week or so because I wanted some time to process everything that has been going on. Believe me, I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about what has been going on,but for now a simple recap of the events will get you up to speed on things. Mike had a scope done at U of M on Tuesday, November 3rd. They found that he has a bleeding,fungating ulceric cancerous mass located at the exact place he has complained of feeling the pit in his stomach. We are assuming this is not a new mass,but the tumor he has had in his stomach continuing to act up.
I am sure you can imagine how freaking angry I am that it took a 4 day hospital stay,2 ER visits,and us strong arming them into doing an endoscopy before they found it.I am not going to waste my energy commenting much on these feelings,because I need my energy to fight the cancer.
U of M says that the cancerous mass is getting bigger,rather than smaller.However they don’t know much about immunotherapy,and this is one of the things that happens when you go out of state for clinical trials. Experimental trials are just that. Noone really knows what will happen, or how the body will react. There is so much unknown.I feel like everytime we go to the Dr or hospital, I am educating them on the clinical trial,and possible side effects etc If you read my blog you already know that there is a lot of pseudo progression that is possible with immunotherapy treatment.When the immune system sends the cells to fight the mass it surrounds the tumor,and makes the tumor look bigger.Whether the tumor is bigger or not time will tell.However,Ohio States scan on October 11th showed stability or slight shrinkage,and there is no evidence that I can find of a tumor increasing in size so dramatically on Keytruda.In fact,most talk of Keytruda continuing to work even months after final treatments.
With the results of the scope in hand we went to Ohio State on Thursday, November 5th. Their opinion on things is that the tumor shrinking could have left a hole, and when skin formed over the hole it created an ulcer.Bile washing up against the skin created this inflamed,painful mass.They went ahead and gave him his keytruda treatment,which was a huge relief for us.They gave us some medicine to coat Mikes stomach before he eats,and put him on a soft food and liquid diet.What a relief to have someone finally do something for him.
We have had a few missteps with the diet,which resulted in 2 nights of nonstop nausea and no sleep for either of us,but have been figuring out what he can eat,and for now we feel somewhat stable in an unstable situation.
If U of M is correct we have some difficult decisions in our immediate future.We are choosing to think positively about it,and take it one day at a time. It helps that as long as he does stay on the liquids and soft foods he feels pretty good.This leads me to believe that the immunotherapy is attacking this mass, and making it difficult for the food to pass through.We are due to go back to Ohio State in a week,and if things are like they are right now, I am sure they will continue to treat him.
Mikes spirits have been pretty low the last couple of weeks.He made the decision not to go up north to Deer Camp with his pals and brother because of the uncertainty right now.For some reason my offer to take him to the Saline Craft Show instead didn’t make him feel better.He just decided after our 15 hr vacation to Las Vegas that going up north so far away from his Dr would be irresponsible right now.
He is missing his kids,and dealing with some other life stuff that is just weighing him down.After our appointment at the gastro dr on Thursday he didn’t say 3 words the rest of the evening.Unfortunately for him I always have more than enough to say…