Saturday, October 20, 2007


We are back to earth with a thump. Yesterday we met with Dr. Dan our oncologist to review where things stood. He was pleased with the news from the colonoscopy but did not over react. I asked him with the surgery, if the cancer was removed and did not come back could that be considered cured. Unfortunately neither Karen nor I were ready for his response.

Dr Dan reminded us that Karen's disease is incurable. There is a chance it will not come back after surgery but it is very small. She may have "no evidence of disease" but will not be considered cured until going 5 years without a recurrence. She may have a recurrence and chemo may keep it in check but ultimately the cancer will grow resistant to chemo.

Dan's words were "Karen will most likely die from this disease". He shared that when K walked in to his office in April he did not expect her to be alive by now. That she has reached the point with surgery as an option is tremendous. The goal is to turn it into a chronic condition that will be treated over many years.

He was simply doing his job and in as caring a way possible but this is just tough to hear. We walked out shell shocked and I took the rest of the day off work to be with my family.

Today we have regrouped. We are focused on
a) non-recurrence. We have heard many stories of non-recurrence with stage IV.
b) That recurrences if they happen will be burned through RFA or kept in check by chemo.
c) that in the next few years new drugs will be approved that will provide a cure.

Perhaps I am in denial but everything in me just "feels" like Karen will not have a recurrence. I am obviously not in a good position to be objective but I cannot picture an alternative and I am usually good at envisioning potential outcomes from a given situation.

Is this where human strength gives up and faith takes over?

Karen goes again for chemo #11 on Monday.


Don said...

Perhaps prognosis is best left for the physician’s Hippocratic conundrum, but a Doctor that just facilitates our denial probably isn’t a very good one. It’s a hell of fight… but so long as we face its trials, we’re never in it alone.

Hold Fast & Keep the Faith.

Don MacLeod

Himanshu said...

A doctor who uses these kind of words is te worst thing to happen to a patient. It is self belief and faith which drives one to fight against such diseases. These kind of doctors shatter them up. I believe Karen is indeed a fighter and will fight back hard on the Cancer.

Do not loose the faith, it is hard to keep it though.

Himanshu Joshi

Chris said...

I have met Dr. Dan with Karen, and I believe he is a really good doctor. I am glad you guys have found him and I believe his efforts have helped to save Karen's life.

Having said that I think you should take his comments with a grain of salt. I always expected Karen to beat this but I never expected her to come so far so soon, and it seems that Dr. D didn't either. Never forget that while Dr. D is helping you to fight, Karen, you are the one that is fighting this - Dr. D is only facilitating. Keep doing what you are doing and you will continue to suprise Dr. Dan as well as any other doctor.

We love you Karen.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Chris for those encouraging words. Everything you have said I can resonate with 100%. Karen has made a wonderful recovery to date and I feel she is about to enter a new dawn.
Take the message from Cris and keep doing what you are doing Karen. There is a tremendous lot of support and prayer going on for you in many corners of the universe so keep your hopes high! Love galore from the emerald Isle. Jo.

Gavin said...

My doctor said the same thing to me - 9 plus years ago. And that was before Avastin. Keep plugging away - what else we be here in the next few years?