Apr 04, 2012 - 9:25 pm
Well - the good news is that out of the seven lymph nodes taken (everyone has a different amount and they take what they can see during the surgery) none had active cancer, two did show scarring but no active cancer.
The pathology report was not what we hoped for - we called for the report and a nurse called us back and she was literally reading the report and not very informative. We had an appointment with the chemo onc today who explained it to us and he said he talked with the surgeon yesterday and the surgeon told our chemo doc that he (the surgeon) should have called us in his office prior to the 17th and explained it to us. It was frustrating trying to ask the nurse questions she could not answer. But we were relieved to talk with our chemo onc today. He was very informative and gave us a copy of the pathology report.
Don still has cancer in the margin on the stomach side. They removed as much of the stomach as they could, but the cancer was still in the margin (for the newbies - the margin is where they cut away). So at the resection - where the stomach is attached to the esophagus (in the neck) there is still cancer so in approximately 4 to 6 weeks, Don will need to undergo 'cleanup' radiation and chemo. We were told this is very rare. Don will have about 3 months of radiation and chemo - not sure yet exactly how much of each and whether it will be concurrently or separately. The tumor boards at Univ of Mich and West Michigan Cancer Center are reviewing and on April 17 - we will see Dr. Reddy, the surgeon for post op checkup, then on the 18th we will see both the chemo and radiation oncologists who will go over the recommended plan for Don.
Paul researched this last night for us and found out that radiation after surgery is the standard procedure for cancer in the margin, and Jen told us that her dad also had radiation after surgery.
The cancer is only presenting at the resection margin and we are hopeful that this next round of the battle with the beast will be successful. Chemo onc wants to use another chemo therapy as the report stated 'poor response to treatment'. No mestasis is known.
Don was on carboplatin and taxol chemo prior to surgery as well as radiation. Of course, we are dealing with healing from the surgery - Don did very well with the surgery and each day improved - had no complications, but as you all know, this is a big deal surgery and really takes a toll, but he improves each day. This news was devastating - no one wants to go through treatment again - but like they say "It is what it is". Depression is the current state of mind - naturally occurs after a big surgery like this in a lot of people and then to top it with a crappy pathology report sure doesn't help. BUT! We are determined to beat this cancer and we are blessed to have an awesome support group in our friends, families, and everyone on this site and we trust in our awesome God that His plan is perfect.
I did read a report that it has been scientifically proven that cursing eases pain. I want you all to know that right now I am totally pain free. Don doesn't curse anywhere as much as I do, but I'm going to give him a copy of that report to read and see if he'll give it a whirl! LOL
If anyone has any experience in this type of pathology report and treatment recommendations, we would welcome your input. Thank you for your continued prayers, hugs, calls and thoughts as the journey continues.
P.S. The wedge for the bed came today so tonight I think we can actually sleep in the same bed together - I hope I don't bump him and I hope it feels good to him to be able to sleep in our bed again - he has slept in his recliner since we've been home and I've been sleeping on a sofa to be in the same room with him. Exciting!!!