Victory has been declared with the metastases in the liver – the most serious issue I’ve had to face in this battle with cancer.
Now round 2 is about to start against the Primary growth in the rectum.
My senior Oncologist from Christchurch phoned today with the results of the specialist team meeting yesterday. It appears that the primary tumour has started to grow again and appears “angry”. It is now nearly 7 weeks since my last chemo and that has given it some respite to revive.
The plan of attack now is that Bronwen and I will return to Christchurch next week for consultations on Tuesday with the Radiation specialist and the Senior Oncologist.
Because the liver has responded perfectly they have decided to treat me as if this is a first cancer and hit the Primary with ‘full treatment’ – what they describe as “maximum aggressive therapy”. In about 3-4 weeks I will be subjected to 5 weeks of daily combined chemo/radiation therapy in Christchurch. There will then be a 4 – 6 week recovery period before I will undergo surgery in Nelson to remove the tumour and the lower rectum. Unfortunately, because of the location of the tumour I will end up with a permanent ‘stoma‘ (sounds like a stomach without the ache!)
Evidently there has been cancer in the Mesorectal Node because the MRI, comparing this scan with the first MRI scan last October, states that this node has reduced to 4mm. It will possibly be removed at the time of surgery. Fortunately no other nodes are affected. This scan also shows that instead of growing out in volume as it did at the start, it has been flying under the radar and is now growing around the rectal wall. This has been showing on the CT scan as “slight thickening of the wall”. The outward volume had reduced but the ‘circumferential volume’ is increasing and that was evidently undetectable by the CT scanner.
We are relieved that the medical specialists are now “on to it”. The head of the research team told me that the 3 specialists handling my case are the best around and have very good reputations. Even the Nelson surgeon was highly recommended by the Christchurch team, including the surgery professor. The Oncologist said that this is highly unusual as they usually like the surgery to be done “in house” in Christchurch.
God is in control and we are not phased by this latest turn of events. At least now we can plan our calendar till the end of the year with a little more certainty!
Sola Dei Gloria