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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

A Crossroads Just Before the SCT

Even though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Psalm 23:4 (NIV)

Yesterday was a long day at City of Hope. Arriving around 8:15 a.m., we first had an appointment for reinsertion of my PICC line (the temporary catheter line through which the drugs are administered and blood is drawn). The first line became unraveled and unusable last week (not uncommon). All went well with this procedure and it included my routine blood draw for tests.

We then waited a couple hours to see Dr. Nakamura, who was just back from his two-week vacation in Japan. More on our visit with the doctor and other members of our care team in a moment. Later in the afternoon, Dee Dee and I had a class on the Hickman catheter, the so-called permanent line that is due to be installed when I am in the hospital for the stem cell transplant (SCT). Finally, at the end of the day (ending around 6:15 p.m.), I had another round of chemotherapy, hopefully, to help control the tumor growth that has returned just over two weeks since the last chemo.

It is this reality that made our visit with our physician very difficult and sobering yesterday: He shared his opinion realistically and conservatively. Nakamura now believes that the SCT ONLY offers a 20% chance of effecting a permanent cure for the lymphoma, in his opinion. What's more, there is a 10% chance of death from the SCT procedure itself. In every other case, there is a 70% likelihood that something else will occur, including a high probability for a return of the cancer after the SCT.

All of these revelations are perplexing and bewildering. Indeed, they have us at a crossroads in the decision to go forward with the SCT just a few days before our scheduled admission on August 13.

For my part, I am inclined to take the 20% chance because I know not what "miracle" is in the offing. Without the aggressive treatment, we will never know. With it, we may not have the outcome expected or desired.


Jonathan said...

PRESS ON . . .

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.

Talent will not; Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.

Genius will not; Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.

Education alone will not; The world is full of educated derelicts.

Persistence and Determination alone are omnipotent!

Kathy said...

Mike - Our prayers are with you, Dee Dee and your wonderful family.

Sending you all our love, positive energy, strengh and hope.

Lots of Love,

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