The end of summer can’t come soon enough. After a couple months of uneasiness, waiting to see what would happen with Dave’s tumors, we have our answer.
We met at Dr. Kahn’s office on Friday afternoon. Dave had done all of the blood work and scans the week before.
I’m not sure what we were hoping for. We’d been told that the type of cancer Dave has is very non-aggressive and the tumors were such that they didn’t even assign a stage. Dr. Hahn had said that the follow-up tests would tell us where things stood. If there was no change or no significant growth, nothing would be done. Changes in size or new tumors would prompt further action.
Dr. Kahn is very no non-sense and he talks very fast. He cut to the chase right away.
Two of the tumors have grown, one (the biggest) remains the same, and a fourth was hard to find.
He said that he wanted to refer us to a colleague for next steps. He didn’t feel that radiation or chemotherapy were appropriate for Dave. He pulled out his phone and called the doctor, asking if we could be seen as soon as possible. We were told to go across the street right away, and his colleague would see us. Supposedly, the new docotr specializes in something called Y-90, or as Dr. Kahn called it, an “Atom Bomb” for cancer.
After scheduling a follow-up with Dr. Kahn, we hurried across the street to Banner Boswell Hospital. We were directed to the radiology department and only wanted a short time. Dr. Haugland is a very warm, friendly man. He had already reviewed Dave’s scans and records and pulled up Dave’s MRIs. He explained the scans, showing us the differences between the May tests and last week’s scans. When we asked about the Y-90 treatment, he said that he didn’t think that we needed to go that extreme. He talked about several options, including freezing, ablation, chemical treatment and infarction. Because Dave is not having any symptoms, and because the tumors have significant vascular blood flow, he feels that infarction would be the best option.
Dave would be placed under with general anesthesia. They go in through the femoral artery, and up to the base of the tumors. They insert medical grade pvc beads of varying sizes that dam up the blood vessels right where they feed the tumors. This cuts off blood flow and the tumors die. Dr. Haughland feels that this would do the least damage to the surrounding, healthy tissues.
We spent almost an hour with Dr. Haughland. He reviewed his schedule and we all agreed that sooner rather than later would be best to get this taken care of. We settled on Wednesday morning.
Dave will be out for a while, and after the procedure, they’ll monitor him. They may keep him overnight, depending on how he does. He’ll be off the rest of the week.
While I’m not thrilled that there have been changes in the tumors, I’m glad that the decision has been made to deal with them. Killing them off, to me, is infinitely better than living in limbo, always feeling like there’s an unexploded bomb waiting to go off.
Dave seems calm. He’s spent a lot of time this summer working on his journals and his faith is strong. He’s nervous about the procedure itself; but, he’s nowhere near as worried as he was earlier this summer.
Our journey continues. My mother will be with us on Wednesday, as will Isabel. I will probably spend my time tweeting and nervously counting the minutes until Dave is awake again.
If you would, please send up a kind thought for Dave. Let Dr. Haughland’s hands be steady and let the procedure go off without a hitch.