Wednesday morning, Dan met with his oncologist to review the results of the CT Scan from Monday and the blood work from two weeks ago.  Seems like he got good and bad news.  Let me do a little explaining.

The blood work is a test for a specific “marker” that indicates the chemical activity of cancer in the body.  Dan has shared that this number is typically 70-100 in a healthy person and up to 20,000+ in a person in final cancer stages.  Dan’s first marker 3-4 months ago was at 700 leading to the further inquiries and diagnosis.  In the middle of the chemo treatments, it went up to 1700 as the cancer was sort of stirred up.  The measurement as of two weeks ago from the blood work at the end of treatments was 170.  This is encouraging indicting that the activity of the tumor is reduced.  This is one important step to allowing surgery to get the tumor to slow down, I think.

The CT Scan revealed that the tumor has not shrunk appreciably.  At the beginning of the treatment, this was stated as a possibility because of the large amount of scar tissue in the area of the tumor.  In fact, it was this large amount of scar tissue that made the diagnosis so difficult to begin with.  The key question related to operability is whether or not the tumor has pulled back from key blood vessels allowing it to be surgically removed.  This decision will be made on Monday with the surgeon at Duke.

I visited with Dan on Tuesday.  He looks great and is gaining weight.  He is also back at 75% of his morning execise routine (which means he is in much better condition than I am!)  He still has some abdominale pain, but he does not know if it is from the tumor, the radiation effects, or just the stress of all of this.  Our conversation covered the waterfront and he is in good spirits with the exception of the waiting game.  He says its easier to go for treatments everyday than to wait for results. He remains steadfast in his trust and confidence in the Lord wanting to be used for His purposes in all things - even suffering.

This whole ordeal has taught me so much about love, caring, God, friendship and frankly what is important.  When all else is taken away, our faith and our dearest relations are what remain.  The power of faith and how it can sustain us through even the darkest hours and deepest challenges continues to be evidenced by Dan every time I talk to him or see him.

I would like to encourage you to leave him a note.  You will help him by just sharing with him.  Thanks again for so many prayers and inquiries on his behalf.