Where have you been? Where are you going? And why?
On Monday we talked to our first oncologist. More good news. More hard decisions. Before I go into those, though, I must say it was a relief to walk into an office filled with the orange “T”. Lots of them. Orange teddy bears, framed white helmets with the orange “T”, and a framed diploma from the greatest school on Earth. We were in good hands. Okay, for those of you tired of this already, I will get to the details. (You can read it to the tune of “Rocky Top” if you want).
He did an incredible job of describing the process of what has transpired. There are four major factors that can let the doctors know what the cancer is doing. Two of these are clear blood markers and no lymph node invasion. All of the four factors show good signs for me, and I am still in stage I. What a blessing. According to this doctor, during a case study with 250 men who had exactly my readings on those four factors, none of them turned out to actually still have the cancer in their body. The first surgery had removed the cancer all together before it could spread, in their case. Based on that study, I was told that my chances of still having the cancer are, in his mind, reduced from 30% to 10-15%.
Because of all this, he offered a third option: surveillance. This would require constant check-ups, blood work, and scans over the next ten years. The benefit of it is obvious: I would not have to risk surgery or chemotherapy right now. The con of surveillance is that the cancer, if it is even there, could spread without showing up on the scans and blood work. If the cancer did relapse, I most likely would not have the option of surgery, but only chemo.
This was really, really good news, but also hard news. We are not ready to make any decisions at this point. We plan on consulting a few more expert opinions to help steer us. However, we are very excited about the increased chances that the cancer could be gone. Thank you for checking in on us.
Here is a website I found off Lance Armstrong’s livestrong.org page that can help you understand testicular cancer treatment better: Testicular Cancer Treatment