Devine site

A little bit about my day, my family, and my knitting.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Update on Gerry

When I last wrote about Gerry's medical situation I noted that he had been to Texas and they found another tumor. Yup, it was a 5 cm melanoma in his pelvis. After seeing his oncologist we called the dr. in TX and set up a date for surgery. A week or so later Gerry was having discomfort. The TX dr suggested that Gerry get an ultrasound. The test showed that in 3 weeks the tumor grew to 5.7 cm (note: the scans last October were tumors). We flew to Houston to MD Anderson on April 10th. The scans the next day showed that the tumor was now 6.5 cm. Guess this is what they meant when they said that stage 4 melanoma almost always comes back and usually does so with a vengeance! Gerry had surgery on April 16th. It took over 5 hours. They not only removed the tumor,but his appendix and gall bladder as well, as they were both infiltrated. The drs once again said they thought that they got it all. We stayed in Houston for two weeks, coming home on April 25th. The doctors, nurses and everyone were just fabulous there. I will continue to sing the praises of MD Anderson forever. They treat their clients and caregivers with the utmost respect, concern, dignity and make a bad situation bearable. Do you know, they even have ROOM SERVICE in the hospital? The patient is given a diet (clear liquids, regular food, etc) and a menu. When the patient wants to eat, they call room service anytime up until 9:30 PM and request their food, and it is brought up by servers in waiter's uniforms, and no tipping allowed. The patient doesn't have to adhere to hospital schedule for their meals. When the dr. told Gerry he could begin eating regular food instead of liquids (as he sat there with a tray of broth, jello, tea and apple juice in front of him), Gerry called RS and ordered TWO entrees (poor boy had not eaten in a week)...and no one batted an eyelash. As a "guest" I was able to order as well, only I had to pay, but the cost was nominal and the food was really good. I didn't do so until Gerry began eating, not wanting to eat "real food" while he drank his (so until then I ate in the cafeteria...also good food).
One day there was a knock on the door and these two walked in.
They said they were his "Doctors" - one was Dr. Feel Good (don't remember the other). They are volunteers and were so cute.

Gerry is feeling good, just tired. The staples that held the incision closed were removed two weeks after surgery. His surgeon gave me a tool so that I could remove the staples, even showed me how, but Gerry would have none of that. He had his internist do it (hmmm, do you think he didn't trust me to be gentle?). We have to go back to Texas but we don't know when. Gerry signed on to be part of a clinical trial that is going on, but we don't know if he will be a candidate until the tumor is processed. They took some of his blood and part of the tumor they removed and do something to it to try to make a vaccine to use against his own melanoma. Pretty cool, huh? So if he IS a candidate, we will have to fly to TX and stay a few weeks as he begins the regimen (and from what I've read, it's not pleasant). If he is not a candidate, we have to go there anyway for 2 - 3 days for scans and to meet with the medical team to discuss further treatments. We should know by the end of May.


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