About 5 weeks ago, my sister-in-law and brother-in-law had a baby. I’ve seen some pictures….but today….FINALLY I got to meet baby Deacon in person. Babies are such a miracle. Two people forming an entirely new person. Still kind of blows my mind. So small and perfect. A new life full of so many possibilities!
Even Uncle Kevin (who kind of has a baby allergy) couldn’t help but find joy in holding his new nephew! Welcome to the family, Deacon!
Ok…speaking of miracles. We had a very long day in Los Angeles today. Met many new medical professionals, but I’ll go ahead and start with the best part first…the rest is kind of boring. Our last meeting of the day was with the radiation oncologist specifically to address the metastasis in Kevin’s brain. We were planning to discuss what type of radiation and/or surgery would be recommended for his particular cancer in the brain. Dr. Lodin was a pleasure to meet. He had really studied Kevin’s history and was able to tell us all of the events we have experienced so far. Getting almost all of the details and timeline correct without referring to his notes. Then….we asked about the MRI results from Wednesdays scan. Turns out that when he was studying Kevin’s history, the MRI wasn’t in the system yet. So he stopped….read the report….and told us….the brain metastasis were GONE! Both the confirmed met. and the area that was ‘questionable’ from the first MRI….both areas showing normal brain tissue. We looked at all the images side by side. It was truly amazing. Now….I will call this a miracle. I know hundreds of you have been praying for this healing….and we have been told that chemotherapy, may cross the blood/brain barrier, but it is not common that chemotherapy really gets up to the brain to eliminate the cancer. So…..I am believing that God has heard all of our prayers and healed that brain right up. Chemotherapy assisted miracle. Praise the Lord!
Psalm 22:5 They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed.
The other people we met with today were all in regards to what is called autologous stem cell transplant. The official procedure that may be done in the future would be high dose of chemotherapy with stem cell rescue. Basically, they give you such a high dose of chemotherapy that your immune system is shut down and would be unable to recover on it’s own. However, with the stem cell rescue procedure, what can be done is a harvesting of your own stem cells. They are then frozen for later use. You are given the high dose chemotherapy and a few days later when your immune system is shut down, they bring your own stem cells back in to your body and then your body is able to recover from this otherwise lethal dose of chemotherapy. It’s a pretty scary, but yet amazing idea.
At this point in time, we are unsure if this will be a required part of Kevin’s treatment. But based on the presentation of his disease doctors think it is likely. (However, we do believe in miracles…so feel free to keep on praying!) Next steps for Kevin will include lots of tests between round 3 and round 4 of chemotherapy to ensure that he would be a good candidate for this procedure. Then if he is a good candidate, the stem cells would be harvested after round 4 of chemotherapy in preparing for HDCT soon thereafter. If this step is needed, the care would be given at City of Hope’s facility in Los Angeles. This set of appointments was really informational for us to understand what to expect should this be part of his treatment. I won’t share all the gory details with you now….but if we get to that place, I’ll be sure to share in the future.
For the real current future…tomorrow we hope to enjoy a little baseball (at the local little league field!) And Sunday will be a day to relax and pack everyone’s bags for next week’s chemotherapy. (Ok….before I relax, I do plan to get a little muddy at the Ventura Eco Extreme race.) Kevin will be checking in on Monday after the kids are off to school and will be staying at CMH until Saturday morning. The kids will be with friends for the week (Thank you, Eldridges and Holloways!) and we pray that the chemotherapy continues to kick cancer’s ass and does not hit a plateau. The doctors have discussed this with us also, that they only do 4 rounds of this chemo because more rounds have not been found to be more effective and the chemo does tend to get to a plateau point. This means that there will no longer be such dramatic drops in the tumor markers. We are hopeful that the plateau does not come until the tumor markers are within normal range.
As always, we appreciate your prayers and support and I will continue to keep you updated as we move forward in this battle.
If you are thinking of visiting Kevin this hospital stay, he should be up for visitors Monday and Tuesday, but by Wednesday his is usually pretty wiped out and just wants to rest. You can always call or text me 805.637.5134