A game changer

It’s hard to believe that it’s been well over a month since my last entry. At the same time, it’s not a surprise as our family has been very busy enjoying our summer together.

In my last blog, Living and loving life, I mentioned that we were looking forward to a little getaway to Cedar Point. Those four days were wonderful. We stayed in a cabin right on property and kept busy with all that Cedar Point has to offer – the park itself, the waterpark, the pool, putt-putt golf, the boardwalk. You name it, we did it! The forecast was calling for rain during the majority of our stay, but we believe Nan Jussila put in some overtime and moved those storm clouds out of our way. The threat of rain also kept the crowd to a minimum and the lines were no longer than 15 minutes. It was perfection.

Here are some pictures from our trip…we are already thinking about where we can go next!

DSC_0048DSC_0063DSC_0075FullSizeRenderOur journey with cancer continues. Dad is completing his fourth and final round of chemotherapy this week. He had a PET scan on Monday, and we received the results from his oncologist yesterday. The great news is that the cancer has shrunk significantly since diagnosis and has shown no sign of migrating to other parts of the body. While the impact of the chemo has started to bottom out, we learned yesterday that further pathology testing of his original biopsy in May shows a presence of non-small cell cancer, too. Yes, it is extremely rare to have both forms of cancer. University Hospitals has seen just 26 cases in the last decade, and his team believes dad makes 27. This may sound concerning, but actually, expanding the diagnosis from just small cell to include non-small cell opens the door for other treatment options, including immunotherapy.

Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that boosts the body’s natural defenses to fight the cancer. The side effects are much less severe than chemotherapy. We are hopeful that this, coupled with what chemo has already done, will continue to improve his prognosis. He starts this new treatment in three weeks and will continue every two weeks for two months. After, we will compare scans and evaluate next steps.

Aside from what tests and results tell you, we also have to listen to the patient. He looks and feels great. His outlook and attitude are positive. And we all know that attitude and how somebody feels is half the battle. In fact, he continues to meet with his prosthetic team and will receive his temporary prosthetic leg later this month – God is good.

In just the last few weeks alone, we have learned of loved ones who continue to be impacted by this terrible disease – by new diagnosis, treatment and loss. What we have learned through our short journey thus far, and reflect on regularly, is how important getting a second opinion can be. It’s not a surprise that the fear of standing still for too long causes many, including us, to begin a treatment plan immediately and based on one evaluation only. And for many, that works out just fine. But for us, obtaining a second opinion was a game changer. Our family is so very appreciative of the encouragement and efforts of our dear friend, Mary Beth Gunerra. Thank you, MB, for your recommendation and referral. It truly is the best thing we could have done.

And thank you to those who continue to reach out to see how we are all doing. Your continued thoughts and prayers help guide us through each day.

Enjoy these last few weeks of summer, friends.

Until next time,

Mary Beth