Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Aug. 25th

The latest PET scan is clear!

I spent the day in Shreveport yesterday to get scanned and meet with the radiation specialist. He said that he (as well as the other 3 that work at Willis-Knighton) recommends treating the area with radiation. I asked how effective it is against Melanoma and he said there has been success with using it in higher doses for Melanoma patients, however if Melanoma metastasizes in that spot again it won't be able to be used there effectively. I agree with him though, it is in such a sensitive spot that anything to keep it from forming there at all has to be done.

He said the most common side effects are burns/rash to the area and also fatigue. Probably a total of 15-20 rounds will be needed. I'll have to take two treatments a day for a week or so. First I have to get another brain and spinal MRI so they can look at that area in better detail than what the PET reveals. I'm not sure if I am going to try and stay in Shreveport that week or if I will have to drive back and forth.

I'm still healing up from the back surgery and it feels like its taking forever. I'm still having night sweats too and I hate waking up in the middle of the night peeling the sheets off me. Regardless though, I feel like I'm in good hands and I know deep down that everything will turn out just fine in the long run. Thank you everyone for the continued prayers and support and I'll let you know more when I do. I feel so blessed that I have so many people that care about me. In that sense I'm very lucky. Take care everyone and God bless.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Aug 16th Update.

   So now that I'm actually feeling well enough to sit behind a keyboard and type a little I thought a blog update would be appropriate.

   The last 2-3 days I've been feeling well enough to spend more time out of bed than in it. Post surgery healing was alot of pain because my body just does'nt heal like it used to. Yesterday was the last day (hopefully) that I have to take any painkillers for it. I do still take pain medicine occasionally because the nerve damage from the first round of IL left me with some neuropathy in my feet, but I still only try to use it when I absolutely have to.

   I have a few weeks before I have to take another PET scan to see how effective the surgery was. The Dr. not being able to get 100 percent of the spinal cord tumor is what worries me. That's such a rare place for Melanoma to metastasize (38 people worldwide have been known to have Melanoma on their spinal cord like that) that I know they can't have much experience with it. So I'm going to have to do as much research as I can and really discuss with the doctor what he wants to do.

   One thing I've noticed since this whole ordeal began, is that death seems to be a really taboo subject in our day and age. Funny thing that I never really noticed how much I was guilty of it too, until I got sick with this damned disease. I think our society and culture tries its best to keep the thought of death at bay, that's one big reason youth is glorified and revered and nursing home residents are often shunned. Ancient people knew that death is just ultimately a part of life and that nothing ever truly dies. Today it seems too many people look at it as the end of life, but it's only the end of this earthly one. I believe that my true life is with my Creator. The "Great Architect" that put that divine spark in all of us humans when he created us. That divine spark is in us all and around us all. If you ever get a chance to go out in the woods and just get your body and mind still and quiet, you can see it all around you. I guess that's one reason sitting in a deer stand is so enjoyable to me, even when I don't kill anything. I guess rednecks practice meditation all the time and not even realize they're doing it!

   I'm still determined to not give up. It gives it power over you when you fear something, and I refuse to give Melanoma that kind of power over me. God wants us strong. God created us to be powerful beings, to be FEARLESS.  Jesus, Buddha, Ghandi, etc. All of the great teachers and wise men in history have one thing in common, they always tell their followers to not be afraid, that fear is the ultimate killer of the soul. I must say I agree with them. Courage actually IS being afraid. If you talk to a war veteran who has ever won a medal for a heroic battlefield deed of some sort, they will tell you that they were scared as hell the whole time. Courage is not feeling fear, it is feeling it and doing that which you are afraid of.

  Well, I know I went on a bit of a rant there, but I will definitely update here when i have more news.

   Take care everyone, God bless and thank you for reading.




Wednesday, August 7, 2013

How the surgery went......

Every entry in here has been written by my wife. I think its time to take that burden off of her for a while and write a few myself!

OK, so last you heard we were waiting on an MRI appointment. Well they moved it up to Aug. 25th. We went for a follow up that next week with the neurosurgeon and he wanted me admitted to the hospital A.S.A.P. The tumors had grown some (he did not say how much) and it would be 2-3 weeks for him to schedule the surgery again. So I told him that was fine with me, because I know exactly how fast this stuff grows and the sooner its gone, the better. I was admitted and the next day went under.

What was supposed to be an hour long surgery ended up taking over seven hours.

The Dr. said that the tumors were inside the spinal fluid sack. When they opened me up they could'nt find them. So they had to do x-rays on my chest. The x-rays showed that they were actually in the spinal fluid sack that surrounds your spinal cord. The tumor that was by my T4 vertebrae was 100 percent removed. But the tumor that had grown by my T9 vertebrae might still have some there because the tumor was growing into the spinal cord and the bone there. The Surgeon said he had never seen anything like it in his 13 years of  practicing Neurosurgery. 

The right side of my abdomen is numb, which is weird feeling. After the surgery they weren't sure if paralysis of anything would be an issue or not. I don't use the right side of my belly that much, and not being paralyzed and being able to walk and performs my main daily activities is a major blessing.

Its still pretty painful to move. However, I can tell today that the soreness is not as bad as it has been since the surgery. 

I have to go get my sutures out in a few weeks, and after that its time for another PET scan. Then my Oncologist will decide if he wants me to do radiation or not. Its a possibility since the Neurosurgeon said he is not sure if he got all of the spinal cord tumor. I sure hope so, that's not a good place for melanoma to start growing.

But that's about it! I started taking liposomal Vitamin C and turmeric supplements. They do make me feel better and have a little more energy than usual. They are supposed to help gt rid of abnormal cells in your body like cancer. I'm just taking it as easy as I can for the time being.

Thank you everyone for the words of love and encouragement. Please continue to keep myself and others who live with this disease in your prayers. I can only hope that one day they find a cure for this damned devil they call Melanoma.

Thank you for reading, God bless.

Where the tumors were Located in Spine