Monday, September 15, 2014

Cancer Center

Well, Ritalin can take back seat to today's cancer center visit. (Although we started out with another good day on Ritalin, it ultimately went to hell in a handbasket...)

Last month his PSA was 11.2. Today it was 20.8. The minute he heard what the PSA was he went into a deep depression. And this was after taking THREE tranquilizers.

The nurse practitioner, Kathryn, said the medication Marshall has been taking for the past 17 months is no longer working and the cancer appears to be growing. Marshall has been having some intermittent pain in his ribs and in his leg. Kathryn looked at the last scans and said that's where it looks like the cancer is growing. So she wants Marshall to have new scans done just to compare them to the last ones and be absolutely sure what's going on. She said we could do the scans after we get back from Europe.

At first Marshall got upset and said how could he go on trips with cancer growing inside him like that, but Kathryn said that even if the PSA went up while we were gone, as long as the pain is almost nonexistent, that means there's time, so Marshall said he would think about it. (By the time we got home, he decided we should take the trips.)

Kathryn also said that sometimes there can be tiny random cancer cells that are very very slow growing and these cells can sometimes be the cause for a rise in the PSA -- she said it takes at least 100,000 of these little cancer cells to group together in order for them to actually show on a scan, so that is why she wants new scans to compare to the old ones. I hope I understood that correctly. It was very hard to concentrate on what Kathryn was saying with Marshall disintegrating in front of me.

So on October 14 -- after we get back from Europe -- we go back for Marshall to have the CT scan and the bone scan again. There is a chance that they might be able to just do radiation on the ribs and the leg and see if that kills the cancer that is growing in those two spots and stops the pain and maybe bring the PSA down. But it is likely that Marshall will have to have chemo in October.

Kathryn says that in a lot of cases, when a guy fails on a drug and then gets chemo, the body gets "reset" and the patient can go back on the drug again. That would be great.

Right now Marshall does not want to talk to anybody. He is very down. Tomorrow we go to see the psychiatrist and then Wednesday we head to Albuquerque. Right now, I am thinking that when we get to Albuquerque I will sleep for at least two days. I am SOOOOO stressed out and tired. I feel so guilty saying that when I'm the healthy one.......

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