Since Lu and I are living all of these details everyday, I sometimes forget how confusing the various appointments and reports might be. So, I thought that a brief summary article might be both helpful and appropriate. I’ll discuss what I have, what we’ve done, and where we’re at in the process now.
The cancer is a synovial sarcoma, accounting for approximately 0.016% of all diagnosed cancers. It is a soft tissue cancer, is often resistant to chemotherapy, and prone to spread to major organs (such as the lungs). It was found in my left knee.
- I have had two surgeries on my knee: one before the diagnosis and one after.
- I have had 33 radiation treatments on the knee and surrounding tissues. This is the maximum amount of radiation that I can receive. The radiation treatment was to reduce the likelihood that the cancer would reappear at the knee.
- I have had three rounds of chemotherapy treatments, with each round requiring infusion over a four or five day period and a five night stay in the hospital. The chemotherapy was given concurrent with the radiation treatments. I was intentionally “overdosed” on those three rounds, and have received the same amount of drugs that would normally be given over 4 rounds. Three additional rounds of treatment after radiation were available, but we have opted out of those treatments. The chemotherapy treatment was to reduce the likelihood that the cancer would reappear at another site.
Waiting for the Next CT-Scan
Due to the possibility of the cancer recurring at another site, I’ve been scheduled for regular MRIs of the knee and CT-Scans of my chest. The first post-surgery CT-Scan revealed a small lesion in my lung that appears new since the pre-surgery scan. I’m told that if I wasn’t being treated for cancer, the lesion is small enough that I would have been sent home for six months and told to come back for a retest then. However, with my cancer history, there is concern that this lesion may be the formation of a new tumor. After consulting with the surgeon and oncologist, we opted to wait for six-ish weeks and repeat the scan. If the lesion is smaller or the same size, then there will be another “wait and watch” period. If there are more lesions or the one lesion is larger, then this would indicate that additional treatment will be called for. I am on the thoracic surgeon’s schedule in the event that surgery is advised.
As we await the scan and whatever its results set in motion, I’ve been recovering from the radiation and chemotherapy treatments, expecting to be better physically prepared for surgery and additional treatments, if needed.
My radiation treatments were scheduled for every weekday for six weeks. The final series of treatments were “boosts”, and most of the damage to my skin came at that time. The first 20-something treatments were so easy that I’d not been prepared for the damage and burning caused by the boosted treatments. However, now, five weeks after the last treatment, most of the radiation burn symptoms have subsided. The swelling was decreasing, the skin had peeled (and peeled again), and I had more flexibility of motion.
A Setback on My Knee
However, after writing here about how slowly I walk, I ironically have had a setback that further slows down my walking. (I’m back to using a cane and sometimes even crutches now.) My knee has re-swollen, and the irradiated tissues are less able to deal with the unwanted fluids as healthy tissue would be. Range of motion is significantly reduced, and the doctors suggest it may be several weeks before the swelling subsides.
Join us in being thankful:
- That I’ve been able to work and concentrate more.
- That I’ve been able to continue my service as worship leader during this time.
- For the opportunity I have to preach this coming Sunday.
- That my appetite has remained strong.
- For the many people (like you) that have expressed love and concern.
- Pray that the suspicious spot on my lung is not cancer, and will be smaller or entirely missing on the next scan.
- Pray that no new spots appear.
- Pray that we’ll have wisdom and peace as we learn about the scan results and discuss any treatment options.
- Pray that my left knee will heal, that swelling will be reduced faster than the doctors expect, and that there will be less pain associated with it.
As always, thank you for your prayers, love and concern!