A Long Day with Doctors

November 11th, 2008

Hey everyone.  First of all I have to say WOW!  I can’t believe all the feedback I have received so far.  Thank you so much for your messages on here, emails, Facebook notes and phone calls.  I really can’t begin to tell you how much it means to me, honestly.  Whenever I let this Cancer get me down, I remind myself of the wonderful family and friends that are sending me their positive thoughts, messages, and prayers. Thank you!

So an update:  Today was a very busy day, so here is the long and short of it: I spent most of the daylight hours at Christ Hospital meeting with my team of doctors.  First, I met with my Oncologist, Dr. Phil Leming at the Cancer Center in Christ Hospital.  We were scheduled to meet at 8:45 am, but I guess he didn’t get the memo because he showed up at 10:45.  No, no, I’m just kidding, well not about him being late, but he is an extremely busy doctor with many patients to see and responsibilities, so I don’t fault him at all. He is a great doctor whose reputation and respect from other doctors precedes him.

I also met with Dr. Martin Popp, he is also a well respected surgeon and a friend of my mom’s, so he has to be cool, right?!  HAHA!  Anyway, Both Dr. Leming and Dr. Popp spent a great deal of time with me and explained things in layman’s terms for us. They also answered a slew of questions my parents and I both had.  They helped me better understand my Melanoma and my specific plan of action.  That plan is:

Tomorrow, Wednesday Nov 12th I will be going back to Christ Hospital for an MRI and a CT Scan.  Dr. Leming wants to be sure that the Cancer has not spread to other areas of my body.  I am also scheduled for a PET on Monday the 17th.

On Thursday of this week, at Dr Popp’s office, as part of preparation for the surgery on Friday, I will have dye injected into the area around my neck and back to determine exactly where my lymph nodes are located. This process is called Lymphoscintigram.

On Friday Nov 14th Dr. Popp will perform a wide excision, which means he will remove an area of skin and tissue around the Melanoma, ensuring that it is all removed.  During the same surgery, Dr. Popp will inject blue dye into the area of the Melanoma and trace the dye to the exact Lymph Nodes that the Melanoma may have reached.  He will then remove those lymph nodes and send them off to a Pathologist to be tested for cancer.  This process is called a Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy. If those results are positive, I will have a second surgery to remove all of the lymph nodes in that area.  The date of that surgery has yet to be determined as I am hoping that it is not warranted.

At this time, Dr. Leming has suggested that after the surgery, even if the results of the Lymph Node Biopsy are negative, I go forward with an aggressive immunotherapy program. I am still learning more about this and will update soon after I meet with Dr. Leming again.

Regardless of what I just explained, I want everyone to know that my spirits are high and I am very optimistic.  I am really looking forward to meeting up with some good friends tomorrow night for dinner.  (Sarah, thanks for organizing.)  I am also missing Steamboat Springs and the wonderful people there who are truly like family to me.  Marie, I hope that you get some good practice in this week for the Steamboat City Championships. I wish I was there to defend my title, but I have confidence in you! (Just don’t let Swiggart win) HAHA.  I also miss the mountains like crazy, but I will be back soon I know, hopefully just in time to hit the slopes.  I want to thank Pat and Dave in Denver for taking care of Boomer while I am away, he is my special little guy so it’s nice to know he is in good hands.  Also, a big thanks to Dave for constructing this awesome website.  I would never have had the smarts or courage to do this but with your encouragement, I can.

Again, I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for the love and support I have received. With me, I carry your strength and determination to win this battle.

What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
(Thanks Pat)

Posted by andy in His Own Words