Thursday, August 9, 2007

Bad news

Hi! We've had a sudden turn of events. I had an MRI scan performed this morning and it shows that the melanoma has spread to my brain. I have been on the phone all day with Dr. Legha in Houston and various local doctors as we try to determine the best way to treat this. I have been ordered a prescription for dexamethazone (sp?), which is supposed to help alleviate the symptoms until something more definitive can be done.

Here's what happened. On Monday, I was feeling great. I went for my usual lengthy power walk and even ran about a mile in the middle of it. When I got back home and did some stretching, I noticed that it felt weird when I tried to extend my left leg all the way. On Tuesday, I noticed my left leg felt a bit heavy during a portion of my daily walk but the feeling passed so I figured I was just tired from the day before. That night, I had a sharp pain in my hip, which I took to be a muscle cramp caused by the fact that I hadn't stretched after my walk (I was rushing to get the kids to swim lessons and had to abbreviate my normal exercise routine). Wednesday I noticed my left leg was acting funny. I was having trouble controlling it. It was like it was asleep, but it wasn't numb. I had trouble putting my left foot in a sandal, for instance, and every time I tried to turn on my left foot I felt like I was going to fall over because my foot didn't move with the rest of my leg. I tried to take a bike ride with Regan and Jack that evening but had to cancel it because I fell off my bike before I even got to the end of Perry Ct. I think I scared the kids a little by that, and I was starting to get scared myself at why my leg wouldn't work right.

Then this morning (Thursday), I could barely put my shorts on because my foot wouldn't go through the leg hole. Also, my left arm was beginning to feel heavy (it's acting kind of nonresponsive as I type this). I called Dr. Legha. He was very concerned and told me I needed to get an MRI today. Fortunately, my luck in getting quick appointments held up once again and I had an MRI scan this morning at 11:30. Dr. Legha called me at 2:00 and gave me the bad news. He hadn't seen the actual report yet--it wasn't finished yet--but he had talked to the radiologist who confirmed the presence of a suspicious lesion of roughly 3 to 4 cm in the right side of my brain.

Dr. Legha said we need to move quickly in treating this. He said I need to be working with an oncologist and/or neurosurgeon by tomorrow. Dr. Legha said this is something that could be handled locally here in Milwaukee but that if I was having any trouble at all in getting things moving that I should come to Houston tomorrow (Friday). I have contacted my local oncologist, Dr. Matthaeus and, though he is out of the office until Monday, his colleague Dr. Oesterling could see me tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. (Dr. Matthaeus and Dr. Oesterling were the two local oncologists recommended by my dermatologist, Dr. Barnett). I should know much more about my treatment options by tomorrow morning at 8:30. Dr. Legha said aggressive surgery is the best treatment for this; the idea is to get in and get rid of the tumor entirely before it causes any more problems. I hope Dr. Oesterling feels the same way.

We will keep everyone posted as we learn more. Please keep us all in your prayers.


Kara Smith said...

Jeff and family,
I am so sorry to hear this news. We will be praying for you to have good options and brilliant doctors. It must be a scary feeling, but as you have shown through your strong faith, you can do this! May God carry you through this! I will add you to our church's prayer chain!
Kara Smith
(a cousin in Goodland, KS)

DANAO said...

We will continue to praying for you and your family as you cross yet another path. Just wanted you to know you are never far from our hearts - be strong and couragous. Much love,
Dana (Olmsted) and family