I’m happy to say the general trend of Isaac’s cancer diagnosis is good.
At the end of last week, one of the oncologists (it’s a group practice) did a little sketch for us of the lesions. (They use “tumor” and “lesion” interchangeably; I suspect “lesion” is more fashionable with the oncology medicos and “tumor” is the mark of a cancer-land outsider.) The tumors are stranger than we thought. It’s really more like one big lesion with two major lumps, the very prominent lumps being what we’ve been calling tumor one and tumor two. She said the whole thing is maybe 10-12 centimeters long. That’s a long bit of nasty.
There’s a third tumor outside the colon/rectum/anus, in his pelvis, plus some puffy lymph nodes that might just be getting huffy because of all the negative activity elsewhere. The lymph nodes may take care of themselves as everything else begins to chill out.
So now starts the chemotherapy and the radiation. We had a bit of excitement with the chemo. There is a shortage, nationally, of one of the drugs he needs. They had to delay the start of his treatment while they located a supply. It’s capitalism in action; not many people use this drug, so not much of it is made.
He’ll get the chemo once a month, but the treatment lasts four full days. The chemo is dripped into him around the clock. Although they’re doing the first round now with him in the hospital, for later treatments, they’ll hook him up with some kind of pack that he can wear at home. To that end, he’s got a semi-permanent IV hook-up in his arm that will stay there for the duration.
The radiation works a bit differently. He’ll go in to get zapped five days a week, week in and week out. (Not seven days a week, only Monday through Friday. Apparently, says Isaac, tumors take the weekend off.) He’s got all sorts of circles and arrows drawn on his belly and hips so they know they’re getting the nukes pointed at the right spots. Luckily, the pelvic tumor(s) are close enough to the anal/rectal tumors so they get zapped with the same shot. The radiation will go on continuously for as long as the chemo, anywhere from two to six months.
The best news of all is that he’s getting released from the hospital very soon, probably as early as Monday evening. The first round of chemo (it’s been running continuously) will end around 5:30 PM. After that, Gods willing and the fever don’t rise, he’s coming home. Which means I gotta get some housework done around here.
After a day or so to get him settled in, I’ll go back to work. I’m able to get this time off, for both my flu and his medical crisis, but not with pay. So if you want to help us out, we’d be grateful. Use this link or the “Donate” link in the right-hand column.