The Clot spent the day at Huntsman Cancer Institute. We met with an amazing surgeon who suggested that because of the tumor's proximity to a big vein and artery, my Dad should be treated with Radiation and Chemotherapy first before surgery. This would hopefully shrink the tumor enough, allowing the surgeon to remove all cancerous cells. (called "negative margin"). We want a "negative margin" so this is the only instance where anyone is allowed to think "negative".
Pancreas Cancer is not a good cancer to have. But our surgeon said that out of 100 people that come into his office, 90 are past the point of surgical option. Of the last 10, 4 would have severely compromised arteries and veins. So we are in the final six percent! And nearly every doctor we saw today commented on how my dad is in much better shape than most other pancreas cancer patients. So his good nutrition and health are going to give us another boost.
After a few more tests, we met with the radiologist, who discussed the radiation treatment. It looks like we will start treatment next week at the earliest. The treatment has to be extremely precise, so my Dad will have a CAT scan tomorrow to map out and pin point the exact location of the tumor. Then they will tatoo markers on his skin so they can zap the exact same location every day. The treatment will last for 5-6 weeks, five days a week.
In conjunction with the radiation will be chemotherapy. The main purpose of the chemotherapy is to make the cancer cells even more susceptible to the radiation. So we are calling it "a big dose of radiation with a side of chemo." We meet with the Oncologist on Friday, so we'll know more about it then.
After 10 weeks (5-6 weeks of treatment, 4 weeks of recovery) we will hopefully be ready for surgery. We are reminded that surgery is the only chance for cure for this crappy disease, and even then the chances are not in our favor. But that's never stopped an Ashton! The surgeon said "We are Shooting for a Cure" and so we are clinging to that mantra.
Please post comments- my Dad loves to read them!
A few definitions and references:
*Instead of "Tumor" we may refer to the "unwelcome guest" as the "BF-er". (Bloody Fracker) The two are interchangable.
*"Clot" refers to the Ashtons, and everybody else who has their brass knuckles on, including all of you.
*"Inked"- the street slang for the tatoo markers my Dad will get.
*"Tender Mercies"- the instances of blessings and little helps we are receiving daily, which seem to be piling up.
Love to you all,