The Wind Before The Storm
It’s been almost a week since we had Shane’s MRI. A lot has happened and things about to change.
Unfortunately, the MRI showed a 1.3 cm nodule in his pancreas. All other organs are clear and the site of the primary mass has continued to shrink (mm’s). At the time of diagnosis, his pancreas was littered with tumors. Next week, Shane will undergo a ct and pet scan to check if it is cancerous, but the radiologist is certain it is recurrent. They will discuss his treatment options and decisions will be made in the next two weeks.
Clearly this was a big blow to all of us. Shane is doing so well and was responding to the chemo. A relapse….already, before the end of treatment?
The next day we drove to Boston to visit The Dana Farber Cancer Institue. If you remember, we had this trip planned in the beginning of September, but then Shane came down with his first ever fever. The mood had changed a bit, but the original anxiety I had was gone because nothing could be worse than what had just happened the day before and we were there for help, answers. The doctors spoke very eloquently to us about our situation and the reality we face. What is happening with Shane and this relapse is typical for his type of cancer. There just is not enough research or knowledge on it, like adult cancers. The doctor described this as the “wind before the storm.” There is no cure for his cancer, so we rely on treatments and hope that he will be able to maintain a good quality of life while doing so.
The biology of his cancer in combination with the type makes it even more difficult. He was stage 4 when the lumps were discovered because it’s so aggressive. It was caused by a fusion gene whose transcription factor is thought to drive the gene expression causing a worse prognosis. To a former researcher, it’s frustrating and clear to me.
The doctors don’t want us to lose hope, no matter what. They had suggestions for different chemo drugs and to enroll Shane in a immunotherapy program set to launch in February at CHOP. Finally, they want us to enjoy him and be grateful for how beautifully he has gotten through these past 7 months of treatment. That in itself is his miracle.
Paul and I did not have the time to truly process this news. We drove straight from Boston to Chase’s soccer game and have just been going ever since. We took time yesterday and today to work through things. My in laws took Chase and Ella down the shore to give us time with each other and Shane. A night to cry, drink, and cope. Today we took him to the zoo. It was a great day. He continues to not look sick- aka the Gerber baby.
I have to find a silver lining to all of this. I’m glad it happened now. He was not supposed to be re-scanned until January. This blow was huge, but if it happened then, I’m not sure I could pick myself up and move forward then. We would have been done with 42 weeks and then find out? How much bigger would the nodule have gotten, would there have been more? We have some time and we can do something.
We also need to live more. I want to take him to Disney and do whatever is going make him smile and shimmy. He is so full of life. It’s just heartbreaking.