Well.... Here we are again. Back where we didn't want to be. For those of you that are unaware, I will catch you up. Following Chris's final treatment in July he returned to work and our life resumed. We began to breathe. We went to MD Anderson in October for a 90 day follow up and all scans were CLEAR! He was told he was CANCER FREE! While, it was the news we anticipated, it felt so good to hear. At that appointment, they told us that Chris would follow up at MD Anderson every 90 days for the first 3 years, then every 6 months until 5 years and then annually after year 5. He would have a CT of his chest every 90 days and MRI of his brain every 6 months. In January, we returned for Chris's normal 90 day follow up. It was during these visits that our wind was knocked out of our sails. Chris was feeling so good, his energy was returning and we anticipated another round of continued good news. What they told us was that there were new nodules in the pleural lining around Chris's lung. These nodules were concerning and that if these nodules were, in fact, confirmed to be cancer it would mean metastasis and he would be in stage IV. A PET scan would be needed to confirm this. We met with his oncologist and were told of the treatment plan should the nodules be confirmed to be return of cancer. We had the PET just before we left town. It was by far the hardest day we have had in this journey.
We received the PET scan results the following week and were told that the nodules were so small that it was basically inconclusive and a biopsy of the nodules was needed. The biopsy was able to be done in Wichita, praise the Lord! So, a week later Chris was admitted to SF and his cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Grizzell, biopsied the nodules. When he met with Marianne and I he told us he was worried. The frozen section showed atypical cells and he was going to speak with our local oncologist to determine next steps (which ultimately was that the biopsy slides would be sent to MD Anderson for diagnosis and confirmation). Chris did spend one night in the hospital, but had the best care. The next day Chris had an appointment with his local oncologist. His oncologist told us more of the same. It is concerning and it appears that Chris's cancer has returned. (This was now the 4th physician telling us this- so we began to accept it even without pathology confirmation). He did not feel that Chris should wait for final pathology results. He was ordering chemo to start within a week. This time, immunotherapy would be added to the regime.
So, today... round 2 began. Chris arrived at CCK at 8:45 for lab. Just after sitting down in the lobby he ran into his friend, MIke Church. They prayed together right there in the lobby. It was a God moment! Chris sent me the following text (grab tissues!):
God is amazing.... just saw my friend Mike Church as were both getting ready
to have lab drawn. We prayed together. We are going to beat this thig in His name!!!!
If you have followed this journey from the beginning, you can see God woven into every step of this journey. He, once again, showed himself to us today! It definitely provides peace when you see Him. We know He is carrying Chris and that He has this journey in his care. He is with us every step of the way!
We did find out today that this step would be another 4 rounds of treatment. One treatment is 3 weeks total. Chris will have 3 days of treatment (today was day 1) followed by 18 days of rest. That is 21 days total and is one full cycle. One of the key pieces of the treatment this time is immunotherapy. This will help boost Chris's immune system so that it can help fight the bad cells. This is a key therapy to keep this cancer from spreading. So, even though chemotherapy is 4 rounds the immunotherapy will continue every 3 weeks.
Specific prayer right now is for Chris to tolerate this round of treatment and that his body responds well to immunotherapy.
Thank you all for your prayers, support and love. We can definitely feel our village. We appreciate you all so much!!! I will keep you posted!