Wednesday, November 07, 2007

My brother

My brother Clint was diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year. Because he is in generally poor health anyway, they've had a hard time tracking down exactly what he has and the extent of its spread. Yesterday they went to the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City.

Here's what they had to say:

He has bronchalveolar cell carcinoma, a rare form of adenocarcinoma. Non-small cell. In both lungs. Stage 4. The spellings of those seem to be questionable. You'd think doctors would agree on spellings of diseases. Unless if you stick an O in there it changes it altogether. I don't know. Whatever.

He will have two more tests, one today and one next Tuesday. After these two tests, the doctors will choose what kind of chemo would be the most helpful to him.

Without any treatment, life expectancy is about a year. With treatment, who knows? My sister-in-law says that is the miracle of hope.

Oh, looky. My sister-in-law just sent me another email. Here's what she said. It's scary.

***************UPDATE, NOTICE**************

None of the stuff below is mine. It is straight from an email from my sister-in-law. Sorry it wasn't clear.

The test Clint needs to have next Tuesday is a brain MRI. They want to see if the cancer has gone to his brain. If it has, I don't know what the treatment will be. If it hasn't, that is the really great part. If the cancer is just in the lungs, Dr. Ackerley at the Huntsman Institute will see that Clint qualifies to be part of a study group. That means that the medications will all be free. The two medications
that will probably be the best for Clint are some of the most expensive in the world.

These two medications are what most doctors try after all other chemo and radiation have failed. They are seldom used both together. The study is to try out the two medications together and before any regular chemo. The one that is given by IV is given once every three weeks. The pill is something Clint can take at home every day.

The test that Clint needs to have today is a simple CT scan, just because it has been a while since he had one.

"Expect a miracle."

One of the miracles is the relief I finally feel. We have finally found the right doctor and the right set of people to help us. It has taken months, since April.

In review, I think I am the member of my family who is most a peace with what happened yesterday. I am so much happier because the weight isn't on me anymore. It is on the medical profession, on the right bunch of people of the medical profession. All the other doctors we have seen up until now didn't lift my load, but Dr. Ackerley did. I have been looking for him for a long time.

When I called your mom last night, it was hard. She cried. I told her I felt like a Trojan horse, full of bad news and trouble.

Will you please see that Cynthia is told?



Marcia said...

I am at work and trying not to let the tears in my eyes fall down my cheeks. I never know when someone will come in the door.

You are such a dear person to have shouldered your family's troubles. And I know you hold your momma up more than anyone else...

My heart goes out to your brother and his tests. I am here to say that MIRACLES happen all the time and holding on to that does bring a kind of peace. Having good doctors and someone who is DOING SOMETHING brings peace as well.

From my own experiences in hell, it is the NOT KNOWING that tears you apart. Once you know what is going on, you can start believing in the possibility of miracles.

BTW, the postal worker came in the door while I was writing that first sentence. I blinked back the tears. He didn't notice, at least not enough to say anything.

He did, however, tell me to take a walk outside in the warm, sunny weather. I just might. You can be sure I will raise a prayer for miracles while I'm out there in the sun. I love you, Amy.

Amy said...

Thanks, Marcia. But it's definitely Lee who's shouldering this, not me.

laurie said...

i remember being with my sister when the doctors prescribed all kinds of CT scans and MRIs to determine whether or not her cancer had spread into her organs. it hadn't. but the day the hospital called to set up the tests was one of the worst days of her life, and probably mine, too.

she sobbed and sobbed, thinking that since they were looking for more cancer that meant that more cancer was there. i walked off down the hall to throw up.

it was awful.

i feel for you and your family and what you are going through. there is nothing easy about it, and i'm glad you're finding a sense of peace in finally finding the right doctor. that makes a huge difference.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

And you have find him. I know miracles can happen and they do.

Crystal xx

Amy said...

Laurie, in a sad way, you are lucky to have been with your sister at the end of her life. I know it was terribly painful and sad, but to have helped her was the best thing for both of you.

Crystal, yes, miracles happen.

Thanks to both of you for your kindness.