26 November 2013

An Unwanted Anniversary

Today marks one year since we received C's diagnosis of stage 4 prostate cancer.  We have been blessed by friends and family who have held us up, stood by us, and stepped in when we have needed help.  We have weathered the difficult side effects of the cancer and the treatments, confronted our fears, tried to find and hold on to hope where we see it.

With a year under our belt, there is a small sense of victory in that this time last year everything seemed helpless and dark.  C has been progressing and finding his stride in tempering his treatments with returning to our "normal" life.  Researching new treatments, diet, and finding a voice for the awareness of prostate cancer and the fact that it is no longer an "old man's" disease has given us encouragement to keep going.  C had returned to normal work, back to fully involved Daddyhood..... even finding time to be back to DIY everything around the house.  He was able to jump right in to Mr Mom gear when I had to have an emergency appendectomy and was hospitalized overnight.

We were set to travel to visit family and friends in TX who, through the beauty of the internet, have become strong supporters and prayer warriors.  We were looking forward to thanking everyone in person and spending time with family who we haven't been able to see in a long time.  C has felt pretty good overall, working with his doctors we have felt on more solid ground, and felt confident in our travel plans.

Then he coughed up a few small blood clots.  Naively we hoped that this was an ENT issue that would be quickly resolved and we would still be on our way.  The emotional roller coaster began again with the alarming discovery of nodules in C's lungs following a CT scan.  A biopsy has confirmed they are malignant.  And once again we are left wondering how, why, what, huh?  Once again, completely symptomless (no hacking cough, chest pain, or difficulty breathing as is typical with cancer in the lungs), we are facing a new uncertainty of what this cancer is and how the treatments will affect him and our family.

We have already seen how this is becoming difficult for the girls.  They had a rough time with the change of routine while Daddy spent a week in the hospital.  K is asking more questions than ever, ones that I wish I had answers for.  H is now waking in the middle of the night and wanting to climb into Mommy's bed for snuggles.  T is still our beacon of joy,  happily enjoying the bliss of ignorance to all that we struggle with.

It is a difficult blow that this is how we spend the anniversary of his diagnosis, once again waiting on biopsy results, praying they are wrong, and anxiously hoping the oncologist is able to start the right treatment right away.  We are relatively sure chemotherapy will start shortly after Thanksgiving, but whether we go through a new study at NIH or here in Frederick is still in the air. 

15 November 2013

In a nutshell........

"They're admitting me for the night. Apparently I have mestases in my lungs and one is bleeding. There's no concern that my lungs will fill up, but they are going to talk to [oncologist] in the morning about possibly seeing a pulminologist."

This is the text that I received from C at 12:24am Tuesday morning.  We had debated then decided he should go to the ER Monday night following the "coughing up" of marble-sized blood clots.  Most would ask why there was a question in the first place, after all, that isn't normal. The reason was twofold, first it had happened a few weeks prior though shorter in duration then went away, and second, when we asked the doctor, they felt it was an ENT issue.  There wasn't any pain associated with it, it felt as though it was coming from his throat not his lungs.  However, that night they sent him for a CT Scan and discovered many "little marshmallow sized spots" peppering his lungs.  Being that C has metastatic prostate cancer, the immediate assumption is that the cancer had spread further into his lungs.

Following the initial diagnosis from Monday night, he has undergone further tests including a bronchial scope and biopsy to pin down what is going on.  Unfortunately, the results have been mixed.  The initial scan shows pneumonia, yet C has had no symptoms.  The scope didn't find any tumors, and was able to see that the bleeding had stopped..... yet still didn't find a reason for the initial bleeding. The biopsy will take awhile to come back.  Our next steps on the cancer front hinge on those results, and we'll deal with that when/if it comes.  Our frustration now is not knowing why these clots are coming up in the first place.  He continues to cough up clots, though they are infrequent and smaller in quantity.  They are still determining when they will feel comfortable letting him leave, we are hopeful for the weekend, the doctors can't seem to agree on what the criteria will be.  So we are in limbo.

This information feels like yet another sledge hammer hitting us in the gut.  C has had no new pains, in fact he has felt good enough to finally commit to traveling to TX for Thanksgiving, which we have had to postpone.  And even throughout his stay in the hospital, he hasn't had any pains aside from the typical ones he has had all along.   

Hopefully we will get answers soon and C home sooner.