Kelly here. It's been a while since I've posted--Jeff has been so diligent in updating everyone I haven't had to commandeer the blog. However, I'm happy to report that Jeff is once again incapacitated by the biochemo that started last night.
Jeff had a brain MRI yesterday which worried him considerably. Although he had no reason to believe the disease had invaded his brain and all the objective evidence seemed to indicate the contrary, he feels like he must perpetually brace himself for awful news. Fortunately, it did not come yesterday and the brain scan was "clean"--meaning there is presently no evidence of disease in his brain. When he received this news his mood immediately lightened and he was visibly relieved.
However, that relief was short-lived after Doctor Legha mentioned that he was hoping Jeff's subcutaneous nodules would have receded more noticeably by this point. Dr. Legha said that he will do more scans after this (Fourth) cycle of biochemo to see if he can "justify going forward with additional cycles." As he explained, it is possible for patients to show a quick response to biochemo (as Jeff apparently did after the first two cycles) only to "plateau" and show no further response to additional treatments. He said that although he would have liked to see a more marked reduction in the size of Jeff's subcutaneous nodules at this point, he is primarily concerned with the liver lesion and as long as it continues to shrink, more treatment will be justified.
Jeff was very disturbed and discouraged by the doctor's hint of concern and it bothered him into the night when the biochemo started. Therefore, Jeff asks for your continued prayers that the treatments work to their maximum potential and that any remaining tumors continue to shrink substantially. Jeff dreads the thought of what will come next if the biochemo does not render him disease-free. He does not want to have to continue to live far away from his family and he does not like the prospect of undergoing additional treatments that are so physically and emotionally hard to tolerate.
I guess I don't look at biochemo as an all-or-nothing proposition. Even if Jeff only makes it through four treatment cycles (instead of six), and even if the tumors are no longer responding as well as the doctor would like, we DO know that after two cycles Jeff had a substantial reduction in the size and number of his lesions which means that he is now better-off than he was in January when we discovered the cancer had returned. He knows for a fact that after two treatment cycles he had at least beaten it back a bit and who knows how much extra time that will give him to find alternative treatment options that may give him an even better chance of beating it into submission for good?
However, at this point, all of this is pure speculation. We won't actually know how well the biochemo is or is not working until the next round of scans. Until then, Cycle Four gives Jeff one more time "at bat" and he needs to focus on knocking it out of the park instead of being afraid to swing because there's a possibility he might miss.
So, before I move on to the next topic: pray, pray, pray both for Jeff's peace of mind and that the treatments are working.
Now, onto happier news: the BIG FUNDRAISER is this Sunday, March 25th at the CoachHouse Grill in Big Bend. It's not as far out of town as it seems and it's right off the interstate, so it's an easy drive. I continue to be utterly amazed at how much the band has done to pull this together and at the incredible response they have received so far. So, I hope for their sake that they have a great turn-out. They have really gone above and beyond the call of duty to put together a very professional event. Plus, the entertainment is first-class. I wish I was going to be there to see it. I'll still be here in Houston in the hospital with Jeff, but I trust our family and friends will represent us well! So, I hope you'll honor us by making your way out to the event this weekend. Bring your kids and your friends and your kids' friends and your friends' kids and make a day of it.
In the meantime, I want to wish Aubrey good luck tonight at her big debut in her first high school play (yes, HIGH school!). She is in Wauwatosa East's production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" which starts its run tonight. I also want to thank our dear friend Barbara Hayes-Dineen for helping with the kids earlier this week and for making sure Aubrey makes it to and from play practice (and that she gets fed somewhere along the way). I really can't thank you enough.
And, finally, thank you to all of you who continue to read this blog and leave posts and send Jeff mail. Knowing that you are all pulling for him has made this burden much easier for him to bear and continues to encourage him when he is down. We appreciate all of it more than you will ever know.