Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Update: "Shooting for a Cure"

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,
The Clot

13 comments:

Doug Grant said...

Greetings Ashton Family

I just hung up from Janis and she gave me this "blog.clot" site. I so appreciate being able to catch up on what is happening. You are an amazing family.

Eleven years ago this past summer Mary Ann's Dad went through this same treatment - his chemo and radiation followed his surgery. There were some tough days with the Whipple, chemo and radiation but he is living proof you can make it. Being one of the “final six” is huge!

We held a fast for you on Sunday in our home and our heartfelt prayers are with you. Please know of my love and support for you Dennis and your entire family.

Doug Grant

jane said...

Dear Ashtons --
Sounds like you have the absolute best care possible. How grateful we are for modern-day medicine! The Huntsman Center is amazing. And, yes, our brass knuckles are on in spades!! Oh the blessings of maintaining a healthy body...Dennis is a great example to all of us.

Again, we send love and faith daily, hourly...even minutely! We're going to see a miracle here -- Dennis will be the one talked about to give everyone else hope.

Love, Jane

jane said...

Dear Ashtons --
Sounds like you have the absolute best care possible. How grateful we are for modern-day medicine! The Huntsman Center is amazing. And, yes, our brass knuckles are on in spades!! Oh the blessings of maintaining a healthy body...Dennis is a great example to all of us.

Again, we send love and faith and prayers daily, hourly...even minutely! We're going to see a miracle here -- Dennis will be the one talked about to give everyone else hope.

Love, Jane

jane said...

Oops! I didn't think I had gotten my comment in right! Sorry for the double...but we mean it double!! xoxo jane

duff said...

Hey everyone--thanks for the blog--it will be wonderful to be in the loop of all the goings on. I like that Dennis is in the 6%--I love that we have "hope" and I'm just sure we will witness a miracle. My love and prayers are with all of you--I am just a quick phone call if I can do anything. Love to you all--Deanna

New York Sims said...

Wow, you guys. My mom called to tell me the news the other day, and I was stunned! I thought "Dr. Ashton" was superhuman and bullet proof!! (He will prove to be!) I'm just really jealous that he gets to have some ink work done.

I will keep reading your posts; it's so great that you guys are doing this blog so we can all keep up.

I rarely meet people that are as amazing as your whole family. I have so much love and respect for all of you...I just hope you know that. Thanks for letting my family be a part of your lives!!

Many prayers and much love,
Mel "SF SISTER FOREVER!!"

FYI, your family was included in our fast on Sunday, and I know it will work!!

Em said...

Dr. Ashton and Family - I am Stan and Pat Olsen's daughter - Emily Adams. I have 2 little boys - Dane and Scottie who are Dr. Ashton's "little troopers." He is always so kind and gentle to our little guys. We are praying for him and all of you and hope that peace will be yours through this time.
Love, Dana and Emily Adams

Kris said...

Hi "CLOT" crew...it's Krissie! I was actually heart broken when I heard this about my "Uncle" Denny (don't worry about the logistics of that title--that's just who you are to me :) I have learned that God can work with any percent, in fact he doesn't even need a percent to work with so I am there with you, there's reason to have hope! My brass knuckles are on and shined and my "ink" will be with your "ink" in spirit. Actually having ink has opened doors to many interesting conversations. It's always great to have another reason to hit the temple, to continually get your name on that roll. Love you guys...
Krissie and Jake

jerry said...

So, so proud to be officially inked as a "Clot". Thanks for the definition of terms....I was getting a little lost. And thanks for the blog. I'll be checking it daily and praying daily for you too.

Jon & Pat Ashton said...

Den,

I went to the temple yesterday morning and put your name on the prayer roll. I spent extra time in the celestial room praying for you. You are in our prayers both morning and night. I know our Heavenly Father will respond to the supplication of all those who are praying for you. You are doing your part and Heavenly Father will do his.

Keep the faith and hang in there,
Love,
Jon & Pat & our little gang.

Debbie said...

Hi guys, this is Debbie (Jim & Linda's youngest). Just wanted to let you know you are certainly in our prayers! I'm sorry you have to deal with this crappy disease! I know how bad it sucks to have to go through this. We love you Dennis!

Ames said...

Hi Ashtons,

Well after reading yesterday's update, I say hooray! Ever since we found out about Uncle Denny on Friday, I knew that we had every reason imaginable to have hope and faith based on Heavenly Father's love for your family and on our testimonies of how miracles happen every day. But now it sounds like the Huntsman Center is backing us up! Such good news to hear that there are tons of good medical reasons why we should all be looking forward to having Uncle Denny around for a long, long time to come!

I especially wanted to say thank you to Uncle Denny for what a wonderful blessing he's been to our family since Jackson was born. It is so wonderful to know that you have a doctor for your child who is not only so brilliant and talented but who also truly cares about your baby and who cares about the baby's mom! Now that it's time for the doctor to become the patient, Jackson and I are looking forward to doing whatever we can to help take care of your family. You are in our prayers every day, and we love you all so much!

Love,
Amy Weech

joan said...

What an amazing blog page!!! How can you lose with such a fantastic family and friends to support you. I know chemo and then radiation at the same time is really miserable, but it takes really awful stuff to fight the enemy. We pray for you and your family and know that prayers bring miracles. With the best possible care, prayers, and the love and support of friends and family, we know you will get through this. Know you have so many prayers from so many, so much love and respect and the Lord will cause miracles to happen and bless you.
Love, Joan Nielson