Friday, February 3, 2012

Scan Report

I have to admit to a bit of trepidation this morning as we headed to the oncologist's office.  We were due to get the results of the CT Scan taken Tuesday, but this was a case of wanting to know and not wanting to know at one and the same time.  No matter how remarkable Jimmie's recovery has been from the surgery - and it has amazed all of us - the fact is that following surgery he still had cancer in 3 areas of his body:  

  • a small sliver of the tumor that could not be removed from the vena cava, 
  • a dot too small to measure accurately in one of his lymph nodes, and 
  • cancer nodules in both lungs that the doctor would only describe as "many".  

So this scan would answer a vital question - "
Are the treatments working?"

Jimmie has actually been taking 2 treatments.  One the doctor ordered and another our daughter, Julie, recommended.

1.  Torisel Infusions.  
          The fact that this chemo medication is not designed to kill the cancer has always been disheartening, but typical poisonous chemos and radiation treatments used to destroy other malignancies have proven to be ineffective against renal cancer.  So this medication only attempts to block the cancer from additional growth.  More disturbing were statistics I found online that said this medication only works for about 20% of patients.  But it was the best hope the doctor had to offer so Jimmie has been getting weekly doses.

2.  Therapeutic-grade Essential Oils from Young Living.  
          I had never heard of these until Julie began learning about their health benefits earlier last year.  As soon as Jimmie was diagnosed she enlisted the aid of her sister-in-law, Keely, and they began researching oils that might be helpful.  They found 2 that had given positive results for others battling cancer - frankincense and orange oil.  Unfortunately, neither had any research with renal cancer specifically, but at that point in time we were being told Jimmie's tumor may be inoperable.  After reading everything I could find about these oils and other alternative treatments that others emailed me, I decided to try the oils.  
          Jimmie was not keen on the idea.  Actually, he was dead set against it.  I suspect that the only reason he finally agreed, "under duress" as he put it, was because it was his little girl who was begging him.  But that distrust evaporated when he saw how much better he began to feel almost immediately.  So he has been getting daily doses of both oils since before surgery, but only half of the recommended protocol after surgery.  I did not want to overtax his remaining kidney that also had to deal with the chemo.

And something worked!  The report today showed 2 important results:
1.  There were no new cancer growths anywhere.
2.  The "many" existing nodules in his lungs had all shrunk - every one of them!  

The radiologist recorded a decrease in every nodule of 1 to 3 mm each.  I know that is a very small amount, but when the largest nodule measured 21 mm before surgery and now it is 18 mm, that's a reduction of 14%.  I can get very excited about that number!

But Jimmie is even more excited about something else today.  After learning of the good test results, Jimmie asked the doctor about going to Africa in August - and the doctor approved it!  There is a pill version of this chemo that Jimmie can take while traveling.  

So, while my first phone call was to Julie to tell her the good news, Jimmie's was to make plans for the Africa campaign.

I do not know which of these treatments God used to answer our prayers, perhaps both.  But whatever treatments have helped Jimmie we know absolutely that God is the reason that they worked.  We also know without reservation that the prayers of our brethren have been vital.  Thank you! Thank you! 

We still have a battle with the cancer that remains and the side effects of the chemo, but the future today is looking considerably brighter.

- Linda

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