This is the beginning of a great post...
That is the auto-populated text on this app when I open a new blog entry. When I just opened the app to write this post, I saw it and I thought I’d keep it just like that to kick us off :)
Yesterday marked Chris’ 4th round of immunotherapy! Prior to treatment, he was due for a few scans to check on his progress, so we started our day early with blood work, an MRI, and a PET scan. After the results of those tests came in, we sat down with his oncologist, Dr. Izar.
Dr. Izar walked in and sat down with us and let us know he'd have to step out, expecting a call back from the radiologist who read the MRI. Dr. Izar had seen the images himself, so he assured us things were looking good, but he said that the radiologist had left off notes about the tumor in the clival area (the mass that was removed behind his eye). After taking the call with the radiologist, he confirmed that the lack of notes about that tumor was a result of the radiologist not seeing any tumor in that area! He was new to Chris' case and had thought the tumor was completely removed during surgery.
Looking at the MRI together, we were able to see that the smaller of the two tumors in the cerebellum was completely gone, and the larger mass that was initially 3.4 cm is now 1.8 cm, nearly a 50% decrease in size.
We also looked at the results of the PET scan together, seeing that the lesions in his kidney, lungs, and liver were almost completely gone, as well.
Here are a few pictures we took of the side-by-side initial scans, next to Friday's -- in both photos, the images on the Right are from December 28, the Left are from Friday. In the images of the brain, the areas that look white in the back of the brain and between the eyes are all tumor. In the images of the body, the areas that are black are tumor. The new images that don't have the white areas in the brain and black spots all over the body, mean that it's instead air -- no tumors.
We were a little overwhelmed with this information, of course, so we asked Dr. Izar for a clearer description of the progress. After the last scans, he had told us we were looking at a 30% change in size, so we asked him what percentage we should share with family and friends, and he said...
I think you can probably tell them: 99%
Physically, Chris has been feeling good the past week, so he felt confident going in, but we just walked into yesterday without expectation. We are elated and breathing a sigh of relief today.
The plan moving forward will be to continue immunotherapy treatments every 4 weeks for at least the next year, and most likely for another 2 years. Immunotherapy itself is still so new in the medical world, the research is still coming in with how patients respond to this therapy long-term. He'll have scans every month as well, so that we can continue to monitor progress. As always, we'll cross that bridge when we get there.
For now, we're going to keep on keepin' on. #FazStrong