Beasties in Submission
He is kicking butt now!! The beasties are in submission and laying down their arms. The CT Scan today looked GREAT!!!! Nothing showed up in the abdomen or bones. The lungs still have some spotty areas, but because the previous PET Scan didn't show them as hot spots (as the initial PET Scan in January did), the general consensus is that these areas are scar tissue from the radiation burns. There is still a small suspicious area directly below Kevin's heart (where the largest mass was) that may still be tumor cells, or may be scar tissue. But if it is still residual tumor, it has shrunk considerably from the CT Scan 2 months ago. So this was fantastic news! Just what Kevin needed to hear since his hemoglobin is very low again and he is feeling extremely fatigued. He will need a blood transfusion. In order to have the transfusion here rather then going all the way to Abbott tomorrow, Kevin needed to go to Centra Care as soon as we got back to St. Cloud today for a lab draw to be typed and cross matched (for the special platelets needed for pre-transplant transfusions). It will take until tomorrow morning for the special blood units to get to Centra Care, so Kevin will be getting his transfusion tomorrow at 11 am. Hopefully it will restore some energy and well-being so he can enjoy his last week before the transplant.
Another medical mystery is yet unfolding--as if there weren't enough already. Ever since Kevin's last thoracic surgery at the end of January, over 1/3 of his left chest has been totally numb. The nerve damage also spreads into a portion of his back on the left side and has been very annoying for Kevin. The 2 surgeons who performed the thoracotomy had been following this. They both said that during his surgery, there were some inner stitches used to hold nerves in place. These stitches resolve on their own which then releases the nerves. They thought possibly one of the nerves was not released because the stitch holding it didn't dissolve. This would have been a quick fix--simple same day surgery to snip the stitch and release the nerve. Nothing wrong with simple--simple is good. However, when Dr. Mulsted checked Kevin this morning he determined that wasn't the problem because the numb area doesn't coincide with the incision areas (3). There goes simple right out the window! He was very perplexed as to what could cause such a large area of nerve damage. So to check the area out further, a thoracic MRI was ordered for Thursday morning. This may not give us answers as to the cause, but it can reassure us that another form of beasties haven't set up housekeeping in that area!
We thought you would like to get a glimpse of what Kevin needs on a daily basis in his battle with the beasties. The medication bottles on the table are just the ones he takes on a daily basis--he has again that many that are PRN (only takes when needed like after a chemo run). The bags of prefilled syringes are for the saline and heparin flushes he needs for his 2 central line lumens each day. GCSF syringes are also prefilled and are injections to his abdomen. The central line dressing kits are needed with weekly dressing changes for his central line--very important to keep this area sterile and free of infection since it goes directly into his heart. After the chemo runs, there are also CAD pumps (2) and large MESNA and fluid bags that he carries around in a duffle where ever he goes for 2 days. When he is finished with the MESNA and fluid IV administration he has to be careful how he bags the empty MESNA bags--since they are toxic--so Option Care can dispose of them. He manages all of this on his own with the exception of the dressing changes which I do for him. He has taken charge of his diagnosis and is doing a tremendous job of managing all aspects of his treatment. Quite the undertaking for a college freshman! After this, he will be able to manage anything life throws at him since he has already mastered the worst.