Dr. L and the good news

October 13, 2009 · 14 comments

We went to good ‘ol U of M again today.  It’s been our home away from home, it seems, these past few months!  Today was the first time we’ve actually had to wait to see someone.  We knew it would be bad when as soon as we sat down, the moaning and complaining began around us, words like “we’ve been waiting over an hour” and “how much longer is it going to be” attacking the nursing staff.  I settled in with my paperwork; Mike went in search of food. We got back in the room (finally!) sometime around 4 (our appointment was at 3:00).  First, Dr. L’s associate, Dr. Russia came in and talked to us and did a physical exam on me. He promised to discuss everything with Dr. L and they would both be back ‘shortly’.  A long time later, they both came in.  Thankfully, because we were both absurdly bored; Mike was on his umpteenth game of Paper Toss, I was playing Bejeweled.

Dr. L was very nice and he had a lot of information for us.  He seemed to have a little trouble talking in layman’s terms at first, mostly because i think he wanted to share A LOT of details of the medical side of things with us, but didn’t want to go overboard with information.  Once he settled in, we learned about the options and it turns out that in my specific case, since the amount of cancer cells found in those two nodes were microscopic, that the best course of treatment is actually no treatment.  That is, to be under surveillance (hehe) by having scans and skin checks and such every 3 months, and by checking myself out regularly.

The interferon treatment that we fully expected to be starting in the next couple weeks doesn’t seem to be the best course of action for my situation.  If the cells were more, or bigger, then it would be worthwhile, but given the microscopic state of cells and the side effects of interferon, combined with the fact that the interferon might help 1 in 50 people in my specific situation by increasing the cure rate.

All this to say, bottom line:

  • No interferon treatments (it’s good news)
  • Staples out on Friday
  • Drainage tube out within the next 2 weeks (then I can drive and Mike can go back to work!)
  • CT scans of body and MRI of brain in the next 2-3 weeks to get a baseline view of my innards.
  • Scans and physicals every 3 months for the next year

There are no guarantees.  The interferon, though, seems like it wouldn’t provide any benefit at this point. The cure rate at this point (Stage III Melanoma) is 65% within 5 years; the Interferon adds less than 5% to the cure rate within 1 year, but after 5 years studies show it makes no difference.

Honestly, the side effects aren’t worth it.  When we first were told about interferon, we thought it was the way to go; the standard of care in my situation. We honestly couldn’t figure out why we wouldn’t do it.  Dr. L presented it in a much different light, answered our questions and helped us make our decision.

Obviously, if any of the scans show anything odd or suspicious, things may change, but as of right now, we’re going to hope that the two nodes they took out were all of the cancer that was in me.

I feel like a huge weight has been lifted, to tell the truth.  I wasn’t looking forward to the side effects (extreme fatigue, flu-like symptoms), but had we thought it would make a positive difference, I would have done it.  That said, I feel like I’ve been given a year with my boys back.  I would have been a shell of myself for at least the first 2-3 months and that would have sucked.

So there you have it….good news.


{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

The Bare Essentials Today October 13, 2009 at 8:23 pm

Well that sounds like a good appointment, minus all the waiting. Keep thinking positive, it’s so important!


Tricia (irishsamom) October 13, 2009 at 8:23 pm

So glad to hear that news and it is good if it gives you some quality time without the horrible side effects of drugs. I will keep you in my prayers that everything will remain clear in all your scans in the next months. It must be so stressful, all this waiting. You are amazingly positive and strong. Keep on fighting. *hugs*
Tricia 🙂
.-= Tricia (irishsamom)´s last [bit of blogging genius] ..Remembering 9/11 – Repost – 8 Years =-.


Heather October 13, 2009 at 8:27 pm

Very good news.
.-= Heather´s last [bit of blogging genius] ..I Tried! =-.


Thea October 13, 2009 at 8:32 pm

So glad that the news today was good.I am still sending you lots of good vibes. You deserve all the best, lady.

Love you lots,


AndreAnna October 13, 2009 at 8:50 pm

This is great news! I’ll be sending as many healthy vibes your way as I can for clear scans!
.-= AndreAnna´s last [bit of blogging genius] ..Two if by air =-.


maggie, dammit October 13, 2009 at 8:50 pm

Yayayayayayay!!! Yay! YAY!!!!!!!

Yay. 🙂


magpie October 13, 2009 at 9:06 pm

So very happy for you. Here’s to clean scans going forward.


Shine October 13, 2009 at 10:26 pm

Whew! Such fantastic news!! I’ve been thinking about you all day, so I’m happy to hear the good news! YAY!!!!!!!!


flutter October 13, 2009 at 11:41 pm

This is very good news!!
.-= flutter´s last [bit of blogging genius] ..He =-.


Michelle October 14, 2009 at 9:05 am

HALLELUJAH!!! I’ve been praying and praying and praying and praying and praying and praying and praying and…. oh, did I mention praying? … for a miracle and maybe this is it!!!!! I too am relieved and so happy. Of course there are a few hurdles to jump still, but you can’t beat this GOOD NEWS!!, finally!! xoxoxo


Marilyn (A Lot of Loves) October 15, 2009 at 1:33 am

I’m glad you received news you are happy with – finally! I’ll pray that things continue to go well with you.
.-= Marilyn (A Lot of Loves)´s last [bit of blogging genius] ..Little Red Riding Hood et al: Wednesday of Few Words =-.


moosh in indy. October 16, 2009 at 1:23 pm

So so happy to hear there’s nothing odd or suspicious about you besides you just being you. Heh.
Couldn’t help myself. 🙂 🙂


Kathryn October 16, 2009 at 9:34 pm

Awesomeness. Awe. some. ness! 😉
.-= Kathryn´s last [bit of blogging genius] ..8 Years Ago Today =-.


Audrey at Barking Mad! October 16, 2009 at 10:09 pm


BTW, you rock! Just thought I’d let ya know. 🙂
.-= Audrey at Barking Mad!´s last [bit of blogging genius] ..Too Much Awesome! =-.


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