Sunday, October 17, 2010

I am presented at Tumor board while in Philadelphia

We are back from Philadelphia. I finally met my grandson Eli. There is a slight culture clash here. It seems Eli is a Phillies fan and I root for the Giants.

Below is a photo of Eli, Sammie Mike and Leanna.

Here is a link to photos from Philadelphia.

I was presented at Tumor board at St Agnes Medical Center in Fresno. I learned of this when my oncologist, Marshall Flam called me and asked if I wanted to attend. Of course, being out of town, I could not.
Dan Stobbe also called and offered to take notes. Here are extracts from those notes.

Not much new info from tumor board.  Main point I learned was from pathologist, that these tumors are C-KIT positive on staining; that raised question of whether any possible relapse might be treated effectively with Gleevec.  Nobody seemed to know of any literature re: that, might be good question to ask your doc at U. Wash. (I will ask. I see Dr Nghiem on Nov 30)
Concensus was that local treatment with RT (radiation) was the way to go.  Surgical resection alone higher relapse rate.
Unknown if spontaneous regression of primary (suggested by multiple negative skin biopsies) is a positive prognostic factor or neutral.  Another good question for U. Wash MD. (I asked Dr Nghiem this question and he had no useful information on this subject.)
All agreed that follow up/surveillance with phys exam and PET would be wise. (My follow-up PET/CT is to be done just before Thanksgiving)
All wondered/were curious if U. Wash will be drawing repeat circulating Merkel cell studies as surveillance. (I hope so)
Back home, Gary met us at the airport with Sara. She gave me such a loving greeting. She is a real sweetheart.
Go Giants! (posted while they are losing game 2)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

My Visit to Montreal

This has been a very enjoyable visit. My mother is in good spirits. She also seems to be in excellent health.

I got a chance to spend time with my two brothers. Jon lives in Florida and is a Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Florida. Robert is a retired teacher and lives in Montreal. Thank God for that as he has the responsibility to be the first line of defense for my mother. He brings her won ton soup every Saturday, carefully proportioned out to last the week. Is it a coincidence that when I was at my worst with side effects of radiation, I was living on War Won Ton soup?  I think the apple does not fall far from the tree.
That's Jon on my right and Robert on my left.
We played bridge yesterday recalling many family bridge games when my father was alive.
It was very close but after 16 hands, my mother was the winner.
We went for dinner at Ty Breiz, with my niece, Andrea and her husband Ben. Also joining us was Sandy, Jon's wife. The onion soup was almost as good as I remembered it. I guess my taste buds are making a comeback. The mouth is still dry.
Everyone commented about how great I look. Is it because I don't look like I am dying or is it because of the weight loss. I think the latter. I recall a song by Gilda Radner who later died of ovarian cancer.The song was called Goodbye Saccharin  and it lamented the recall of the sweetener because it caused cancer at huge doses in rats.
"Men prefer girls with cancer to girls with flabby thighs" (perhaps not a perfectly accurate quote).
I am off to Philadelphia tomorrow and will post again after that visit.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Progress Report 5 Months After My Tumor is Discovered

There is not much new to talk about. I have lost more weight, down to 163 1/2 today. This is about 15 pounds since May. I still have little appetite and although my taste buds are returning, most foods have some taste, but not to my liking. Boost plus, chocolate tastes good. Most other foods are not intolerable but not good.
Here is my photo, 50 days following radiation.
 You can hardly tell which side was irradiated.
Here is my photo from the last week of treatment from my drivers license. Pardon the blurryness, as I used the camera on my laptop and it can't do close-ups.
I was a redneck.
We are on our way east on Wednesday. I go to Montreal to visit my mother and Judy goes to Philadelphia to visit our son, daughter-in-law and their two youngsters, including Eli, our first grandson.
I will join her in Philadelphia a week from Monday and we return the following Sunday.
My bridge results continue to be good, coming first in the last 4 club games played, with two different partners.
Go Giants. Can't you win ONE more game?
Here is a photo of me with Rocky, our Goldendoodle. He did not like sitting in the chair with me.
Next week, if technically possible, I will post from Montreal.