Update #17 (March 20, 2020)

A few things that have happened over the past couple of days.  As mentioned in the last update, I have had swelling on my left upper back since around the end of January.  Originally it caused some mild pain, but over the past few weeks, the pain has gotten worse.  I had a CT scan in late February, but it didn’t report on anything unusual in that area of my back.

This week, my medical oncologist spoke to a radiologist about my issue and they were able to go back and look at my last three CT scans (Feb 2020, Dec and Oct 2019).  When they looked closely at the images they can now see a mass there in all three scans, but it is very difficult to differentiate between the mass and thickened muscle.  It appears to be growing and infiltrating into the muscle, which is causing the pain.

I asked the oncologist why the lump appears to be growing, yet I’m currently on chemo?  I thought chemo was meant to shrink masses! She said sometimes this can happen.  You body can give you a mixed response – some areas can either shrink or remain stable, while other areas can grow.  She plans to keep my chemo regime the same for now because it is working at keeping the other tumors “stable”.  She suggested I have some radiation treatments to help reduce the mass on my back and alleviate the pain.

I was referred to my radiation oncologist and he called yesterday.  Everything has moved very quickly since that phone call!  He really wanted to do the 5 days of radiation before my next IV infusion (which is March 27, God willing).  I spoke to him at 1pm on Thursday and he asked if I could be in Sudbury by 3.30pm that day, for a radiation planning scan (remember, Sudbury is a 2 hour drive from where we live!)  So off to Sudbury we went!  Dass drove over with me since Dan was at work … and Dad and Mom Wilton watched our boys and the Styles’ kids.  Tm Styles had already planned to do a science lesson with all the kids that afternoon, so that worked out well!

Usually it takes 3 to 5 days after you have your planning scan until you can start your first treatment.  A number of doctors have to review the treatment plan.  My radiation oncologist fast-tracked the process and I was able to have my first radiation treatment today.

I have been told that the side effects won’t be anywhere near as bad as when I had radiation on my neck back in September.  I was very thankful to hear that.  I don’t really want to go through the mouth sores and sore throat again!  Other side effects include a sunburn on my back, fatigue and I may get a cough as the radiation area includes the bottom part of my left lung.  The pain is also likely to get worse over the course of the next few weeks, before it gets better.

No doubt it will be a tiring few weeks, especially going into chemo next Friday after 5 days of radiation.  Please continue to pray for us.

It is incredible to see all the events happening in the world!  Who would have thought just a few weeks ago that we would be living life the way we are today … self isolation, social distancing, coronavirus, travel bans, border closures … these words have become part of everyday life now.  The world really has gone into panic mode, trying hard to stop the spread of the virus.  People are scrambling.  “Men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth…” (Luke 21v26)  It is at times like this that we are so thankful for the HOPE that we have of a better life to come.  Our world needs our Lord Jesus Christ to return to the earth to set up God’s Kingdom and to bring true healing and peace to a broken world.

“Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”