Thursday, July 26, 2012

Great News!

Friday Steve and I went to MD Anderson at 10am for his MRI.  We were there till a little after 12.  When we re-checked his schedule, we saw that the check in for his CAT scan was not until 4pm and the scan was not rescheduled to start until 6:20pm.  So, we had a 4 hour window just to even just get checked in???  We went to the scan area and asked if there was any way that they could squeeze him in since we were already there and he had a work function at 7:30pm that he really needed to attend.  They were not able to squeeze him in.  They were booked at all of the scan locations within MD Anderson.  So, Steve and I decided we would drive home, he would get dressed for his work function and then drive back to MD Anderson on his own to do the CAT scan and leave directly from there to go to his work function.   Sounds like a plan right? Wrong!!  They were so busy that they were running behind like crazy.  At 7:30pm Steve finally had to get up and politely demand that they scan him.  They finally bumped him up in line so he could "attempt" to make part of his work function.  (His boss from NY unexpectedly flew into Houston and was taking the office out to dinner.  He only gets to see his boss on very few occasions and really wanted to take the time to thank him for his generosity during all of this melanoma mess!)  Steve ended up making it to the dinner @ 9pm.  Luckily they had not gotten their main course yet and he was able to join them, order and get his food with everyone else.  At dinner he made his first toast in his life to his boss to thank him for everything he has done over the last 7 months.

This afternoon Steve and I went to MD Anderson at 1:00pm to see Dr. Kim for the results of the scans.  Dr. Kim was running behind today also.  He had two students with him when he came in @ 3:00pm, so I am assuming that is what the slow down was.  We didn't mind waiting.  We never mind waiting.  Again, Steve really just wanted to make the office dinner last night.  Before Dr. Kim came in, we got to see our favorite nurse, Delores.  That is always a treat!  She is so sweet!  Then we also got to meet a new P.A, and although I didn't catch her name, she was sooooo funny and a true joy to be around.  You can tell she loves what she does.  She has been with MD Anderson for about 3 months.  She is definitely going to make a great P.A.  When Dr. Kim came in, he said that the MRI on Steve's brain looked great (yay!!)  he also said that since the CAT scans were so backed up last night that Steve's had not yet been reviewed by a radiologist, however he had looked at them and did not see any new melanoma areas on the CAT scan (yay!!).  He said that the CAT scan cut off right at the neck area where the swollen supraclvicular lymph node is, so he wasn't able to get a good look at the lymph node.  However, since we can feel it and Dr. Kim can feel it, A-we still know that it is there and B-we know that it has not grown in size (nor gone down in size).  I mentioned to Dr. Kim that when we had the follow up appointment with Dr. Lee (the surgeon) that we discussed possibly removing the lymph node if there was nothing new on the CAT scan.  Dr. Kim however suggested that we not remove the lymph node.  Since it was where we first noticed that something was wrong and we can feel it, it will serve as an alarm system for us, so to speak.  If it starts to get larger before the 3 month scans are due we can call and get back in there quicker.  I'm ok with that.....for now ;)

So, what's next?  NOTHING!  Since Steve still has the swollen lymph node, he can not be classified as NED (no evidence of disease).  Dr. Kim is classifying Steve as "stable".  Stable is good!  Steve will go back in 3 months for CAT scans and Dr. Kim will also specifically order a neck Xray also to be sure that he gets a look at the lymph node even if it gets cut off by the CAT scan.  He said he will not even have to do an MRI this next time around!  Yay!  He said that "We will do this for 2 years and then after 2 years the scans will be less frequent than every 3 months."  It is pretty awesome to hear Dr. Kim speak long term.  We are also realistic that this melanoma can rear it's ugly head again at anytime.  But for now, we are just ecstatic that we can live "normal" lives for the next 3 months.  During this 3 months, Steve will be on no type of treatment and have no type of appointment at all at MD Anderson.

So, what do we have planned the next 3 months? Well, August we will be going to Austin for my cousin's wedding.  We will stay an extra few days to visit and to have a mini vacation with the kiddos.  Later in August we have another mini vacation planned.  I bought a Groupon to a Bed in Breakfast in Louisiana.  It is kid friendly with lots of things for the kiddos to do.  I would imagine August will also include a trip to Coushatta since we got another free room offer :)  I also have to squeeze in back to school shopping, haircuts, etc.  In September, Steven and I will be going to New Orleans for the Saints season opener to celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary!  I am so excited for this, because I KNOW how excited Steven is for this.  We will be there a few days so we can relax and spend some "quiet" time together (we know New Orleans is quiet, right?) Also on September 22, I will be participating in the AIM for a Cure Melanoma walk.  I can't wait to raise money for this wonderful foundation!!!  Then, October (my favorite time of year!!) we take a trip to Sea World every year around Sadie's birthday.  Not only is the weather nice this time of year, but the crowds are thinner and they have all of their Halloween decorations out.  I am also going to squeeze in some platelet donations and writing more blogs for MD Anderson.  Of course I will also keep nagging you all to get your skin checked, practice sun safety, and not to dare step foot in a tanning bed!! So, it looks like we have a busy, and fun next few months ahead of us before the next scans.  The next scans are scheduled for October 24th.

I will post some blogs between now and the next scans to keep you all updated on Steve's health, our life, my fundraiser for AIM, and whatever else I may think about :)

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