We got a good report from the PET Scan today. On the first PET Scan you could see very clearly a very bright red spot in her foot and a very bright red spot in her shoulder. On today's scan there is a light red spot in her foot and a light red spot in her shoulder. The difference in how the spots look on this scan indicate that the chemo is killing the cancer. God is hearing us and answering our prayers of healing for Elaine.
As I understand it, the contrast they inject travels to the areas (disease) with the most metabolic activity thus appearing very bright red on a PET Scan. The fact that today's scan shows light red instead of bright red like before indicates that the metabolic activity is decreasing in those areas. In other words the cancer cells are being killed. The PET Scan does not tell us if the tumors are shrinking; the size of the tumors. A MRI will tells us that when we do another MRI but we do know from touching Elaine's foot that the tumor there seems to be smaller than it was. Additionally she does not have the pain in her foot nor in her shoulder that she had. We see no new places on today's PET Scan which is tremendously positive. All of this is very good news. Thanks be to God!
Elaine has felt better this week even though she is still experiencing side effects from the chemo. This week's most troublesome issues were stomach pain and back pain. Since we don't see anything abnormal in her back on the PET Scan we feel comfortable it is not cancer but side effects from the chemo drugs.
Elaine seems to be doing better emotionally. She enjoyed her birthday party. She got her driver's license this week. She allowed some pictures to be taken of her this week. She found a hairpiece that she likes and she has been out with it several times. She saw several of her friends this week. She had her maiden voyage of driving by herself (I had a hard time with that one). It's been a big week!
The next evaluation week will be about week 19 and during that week we will do the full battery of tests. That means another PET Scan, a CT Scan, a MRI and a Bone Marrow aspiration. One question you may have is why do another bone marrow aspiration if the first one was negative. That was the question I asked today and come to find out that the bone marrow aspiration they did was done on her hips so the fact that it was negative was good but I erroneously thought that meant there was no disease in her bone marrow anywhere but that is not true. It was not in her hips which means something but not what I thought it meant. The thing in her shoulder is believed to be in the marrow by her doctor. Apparently the MRI that was done on her shoulder did not show a tumor but we know disease is there from the PET Scan so the disease is believed to be in the bone marrow. An X-Ray of her shoulder shows that the cancer is not in her bones.
On Tuesday we start a new round of chemo. This round will last 12 weeks before we evaluate again. Much of this round of chemo will be done in the hospital and not as an outpatient. If everything goes as expected it will go like this. Week 7 we are in the hospital for 3 days and get 3 chemo drugs. Week 8 we get 1 drug as an outpatient. Week 9 we are in the hospital for 5 days and get 2 chemo drugs. Week 10 is an off week. Weeks 11, 12 and 13 follow weeks 7, 8 and 9. Week 14 is off like week 10. Weeks 15, 16 and 17 follow weeks 7, 8 and 9. Week 18 is off and week 19 is when we do the next battery of tests. We will also be talking about surgery on Elaine's foot during this round and making some decisions about that. Radiation is scheduled to start around week 21 so surgery will take place prior to starting radiation. More information on the surgery to come as I have it.
We 've got a long way to go but I'm so thankful for the results we got today and all of the people who have loved and supported us this far. #WarriorStrong.
Jesus replied, "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand." John 13:7
Rejoice and exult in hope; Be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation; be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12
I want to give a shout out to the 18 and under Warriors who are headed to The Loveliest Village on the Plains to compete in the State Tennis Tournament sporting Elaine's name and Romans 12:12 on their backs. Good Luck. Break Serve. We will miss being there with you! War Eagle!