Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cinco de Chemo

Yesterday we finally got the results of the CT Scan comparison and the report was....the lesions/tumors in the liver have decreased in both quantity and size, and the enlarged lymph nodes are also noticeably smaller!!! I don't have a copy of the most recent scan to post (nor have I seen it), but here is a picture for your viewing pleasure of the first scan I received back in July. I've debated whether to ever post this picture...reasons being its a bit depressing to see my swiss cheese liver, I still don't feel like that is inside of me, and in a way it forces me to confront how serious my diagnosis is.

If you need a little help distinguishing what is what, this is a very thin slice of my mid abdomen. The liver is the large organ on the left. A healthy liver would show up a solid grey...each of the spots on mine is a tumor or what they call lesion. The white circles towards the bottom of the image are my kidneys on either side of my spinal column. The thin white slits around the perimeter are ribs. There is a spleen and a pancreas in there as well. My epidermis and dermis are showing!!


But the news we received yesterday is very encouraging...there was always the chance that my tumors would not respond to chemo at all, and having to wait so long for the results was torture! As you can see, while this is great news, we still have many a tumor to get rid of before I am a candidate for the liver resection surgery. I have no doubt that these results are a combination of the chemo and all the prayers and faith from each of you. I don't know how to thank you enough! Our prayers are being answered.

Now that you've seen my insides, I can't help but share one more bit of good news from my appointment yesterday. In my Round 4 post I mentioned the tumor marker measured through my blood draws, CEA. Two weeks ago it was at around 8, and my blood work from Monday shows another downward trend, it's now at 5.5!

We talked more seriously about when Dr. Bachrach thinks I should have the colon resection, and his recommendation was in the next month. So, I'll be setting up some consultation appointments with different surgeons, and making that decision very soon. We have some very good recommendations of surgeons who specialize in laproscopic colon resection, so I'm anxious to see if I am a candidate for that, or if I'll be sporting a scar right down me whole middle! I referred to this as the standard 'fillet' method to my mom the other day, I don't think she liked the reference much....but its more or less what happens! I actually think it could be a pretty cool battle wound, think of the great stories I could make up to tell my kids or nieces/nephews about how it happened...a sword and box magic trick gone very bad... but then I come back to reality and the longer recovery time, and higher potential of complications quickly reminds me why its not at all worth wanting it if I'm a laproscopic candidate.

I've always loved watching the surgeries on Discovery Health, but the closer my own gets, I've found them very scary and steered clear while channel surfing. This isn't really a surprise, and I'm sure quite normal, but I thought I was being a little bit of a baby, so the other day I forced myself to watch a gastric bypass and can report I'm feeling much less anxious. People have surgery everyday, many times elective and have very few complications. The less I fear, I think the better off I am!

I guess thats all the updating I have for now! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for your prayers!!!

22 comments:

megan allen said...

I'm sitting here at the computer sobbing like a little baby, but don't worry they are happy tears! I'm so glad things are going so well! We love you so much and my girls never forget you in their prayers, it's actually very sweet to listen to. Love you!

Brooke Colvin said...

Susan, I am so happy to hear your good news and positive progress with your chemo! You are such an inspiration to me and to so many other people. Thank you so much for sharing your diagnosis, stories, thoughts, and feelings with all of us. Reading your blog has made me appreciate so many things that I normally take for granted in my own life. It has also taught me a lot about cancer and chemotherapy that I never knew before. You are an amazing person and such a great example to everyone around you.

Kempe Naegle Nicoll said...

I'm glad to hear the good news. Thanks for letting me come and hang out with you guys a week or so ago.

scott and lindsey said...

YEAY!!! That is such fantastic news and I'm so glad to hear it! You're on your way girl and I"m so happy for you. We're going to keep praying- I know everything will work out. You are such a strong woman and such an inspiration for those who know you and for those who don't. I love you lady! xx

Mike Steph and Brooklyn said...

YAY!!! You have no idea how happy I am to hear such good news. I am sure you have had bumps along the way but to get such positive news must feel great, I know I am so excited about it! Just today my neighbor was asking me about you, she said that they pray for you every night and that her daughter (who is Brooklyn's age) always asks who Stephanie's friend Susan is. Girl you have more people praying for you then you even know. You have touched so many people and continue to teach us so much! You know I love you and will pray that the results keep getting better!

Lisa Jean said...

I love you cuz! : )

Amy said...

Hi Susan! This is Amy (Snow) Kimball. We got a couple of visiting teaching visits in before we both got married. :) My cousin Matt filled me in the news and I'm so glad to see your blog and that there is good news. You are amazing! We're praying for you guys. Love ya!

hlmortensen said...

Once again we are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
happy to hear that the chemo is doing it's job. You had me cracking up with the cool "battle wound" stories you could come up with if you have to get the big surgery. Hopefully you will be a candidate for the laproscopic though. Anyways, you are doing such a great job making the most of your situation, Susan. We'll keep praying for you!!!
Love Always,
Heidi

Paul and Cindy said...

Susan,

Cindy and I are very happy to hear your good news and it is very good news. Having a positive outlook has been shown repeatedly to be an important factor in achieving good outcomes and you have both the positive outlook and the positive results. We'll keep saying our prayers Susan and thanks for being such an inspiration and reminding me of what is truly important in life.

suzanne said...

Tender mercies of the Lord.......Congrats on your wonderful news. Every step forward is a step in the right direction! And your battle wounds - FANTASTIC! We always joke about my husband (who is a Stake President) having a tattoo! They put small tattoos on him to mark where to do radiation the first time he had cancer. You should have seen our in-law kids' faces when we told them their dad -in -law had a tattoo! They just wouldn't believe it! Of course, we didn't tell them it was just a few small dots - we had great stories of a rebellious childhood and a dragon on his belly! continued success and happiness to you and your husband.........

Kyle said...

Yea! I am so happy to hear that your chemo is working! Great news!

Melanie said...

That is such Great news!!! Good luck with the upcoming events our thoughts and prayers are with you and Justin. I love hearing how happy and upbeat you are. It makes me want to be a better person. Thanks :)

Our Family said...

Soos!! I am sooo happy to hear the good news!! We know you can beat this. You are truly inspirational! We love you!

Robin said...

Hi Susan, I hope you remember me, Robin Andersen was my maiden name. I just found your blog, and I'm so happy to hear about your new good news! I was so shocked when I heard about your cancer. I think you are so right to inform anyone and everyone of the importance of getting thier check-ups. I know I've learned alot from reading your posts. Thank you for sharing your story with everyone. You are amazing! I know that you have an enormous amount of people thinking and praying for you. I hope you feel those prayers in action. Just remember miracles happen everyday!

Lauren Porter said...

Your amazing!!! I am so happy for good news!

THE MORTENSENS said...

Hey Susan! Heard about your blog through a mutual friend-I am glad you are writing one...have been wondering how you are doing, don't want to bother you by asking (thought you might get tired of people asking)! I am so glad to hear the good news. We are praying for you every day!
-melissa mortensen

THE MORTENSENS said...

Hey Susan! Heard about your blog through a mutual friend-I am glad you are writing one...have been wondering how you are doing, don't want to bother you by asking (thought you might get tired of people asking)! I am so glad to hear the good news. We are praying for you every day!
-melissa mortensen

Adam and Jessica Cooley said...

Congratulations on the good new! I actually checked this because you were in my dream last night...we were hanging out being nerds. Good times...We love you Susan!!!

Los Joneses said...

Hi I dont know if you remember me, but im Nicolas Jones one of your primary students. I just wanted to let you know that you are in our prayers.Even though your not teaching me in primary your still teaching me about faith and strength. thanks for putting up this blog so I know exactly what to pray for!
Love Nicolas Jones and family P.S. You guys are my favorite primary teachers!

The Bostock Fam said...

OH my gosh I totally know what you mean. I had watch c-sections MANY times while preggo with my first and was totally into it. But when I had to go in for my emergency all I was doing the whole time was trying NOT to think about what it looked like. With the second my mom came in and was describing everything to me. I was like umm no thanks mom.

The Bostock Fam said...

Oh ya and great news for you. I am super happy! Good job

Celeste said...

Susan,

FOCUS on the LOVE! The vast abundance of Love you experience is only a hint of the LOVE within you--the Love of God. You rest gently in His arms, now, always and forever. Trust in that gentle Love.

I love you Susan,

Celeste Cohorn