Friday, January 23, 2015

Lymph Nodes are Garbage Disposals!

Today (Friday Jan 23) we met with Dr. Parks, the pulmonologist.  He discussed the scans a bit further.  He's the one who went over our original scans in such detail when we first came to CTCA.  We really like him.  He's a very serious, forthright, kind man.  Also, he wears the same size shoe as Rudy - a size 15.  Overall, Dr. Parks seemed at ease with the scan results.  

Dr. Parks explained a bit more about the lymph node activity and the lymphatic system in general.  

The lymph nodes are the body's garbage disposals.  They help the body get rid of junk.  When lymph glands show up on a scan as swollen, it doesn't necessarily mean it's bad.  There are some good reasons for them to be swollen as well.  Only a biopsy of the lymph node would tell if it's cancer, but there's no call to start biopsying lymph nodes on Rudy.  
Getting rid of the garbage!
We're hoping Rudy's swollen lymph nodes are just extra plump because they are working overtime disposing of cancer cells.  

We also talked with Dr. Parks a little about immunotherapy.  He explained that it's a fairly new therapy, but would probably end up being the preferred way to treat cancer.  

He said that Rudy would be an ideal candidate for it.  The treatment stimulates the patient's own immune system to fight the cancer.  Most patients whose cancers have progressed to Stage 4 and have undergone a number of chemos are in pretty bad shape and it's hard for their immune systems to put up much of a fight.  Rudy, however, is in great shape and this treatment could be even more promising for him.  

Rudy had his first visit with the chiro. today.  He came out smiling.  He'll be going back 3x a week for the next 2 weeks.  Honestly, between the chiropractor, the massage therapist, the acupuncturist, the nutritionist, the naturopath and all of the pampering he gets, you'd think he was at a spa.  I love that they are making him feel so great.  

Special note to Paige - Rudy said to tell Joe he really needs to take advantage of these extras.  They truly are working!!!!!  None are painful or even uncomfortable - you come out feeling better than when you walked in. 

If Thursday's chemo is anything like the others, tomorrow and  Sunday will be his super tired days. We'll probably lay low this weekend.  He's feeling pretty darned good today.  This chemo includes carboplatin which he's been taking every 3 weeks.  I'm assuming he had the full dose.  He also had a 1 week dose of Gemsar.  He goes back next week for another.  I don't think he'll have carboplatin for that one.  The only reason for mentioning this, is that since part of his chemo is different and it's a one week dose, we really aren't sure what his side effects will be.  

Will he feel gross with this new chemo combination?  Will he feel as tired as he did after the last one?  Will he ache?  Will his blood counts go down?  Who knows.  We are learning to live on the fly.  Planning anything while fighting cancer is an exercise in futility.