Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Good News

You may remember that in early September, David's grandpa was diagnosed with cancer of the gallbladder and the liver.  And the prognosis was not good.  The doctors gave him two to three months, tops.   We did the math.  September, October, November.  We cried.

The doctor suggested he try chemo.  So here's the (vastly oversimplified) medical breakdown in my (very limited) understanding:  a normal liver has 39,000 healthy cells. David's grandpa's liver had 119,000 cells.  The extra 80,000 were (obviously) cancerous.  The doctor hoped that with chemo, they could get the overall cell count down to 100,000 or so, and maybe hold it steady.  But of course, all of this would depend not just on how his liver responded to chemo, but on how it made him feel physically.  No point in having a treatment that would make him feel worse than the disease, since the doctors weren't talking about the possibility of a cure.

In spite of the terrible prognosis, he went ahead and tried the chemo, and has been going every week or every other week.  Remarkably, in these last few weeks he's been feeling considerably better, even having enough energy to take walks in the evening (back in late September, this would have been absolutely impossible for him).  We weren't sure how to account for his boost in mood and energy level.  I mean, he's nowhere near what we would have said is "normal," but he's been doing better in the last few weeks than he has in probably the last year.

That snazzy red convertible is the Mustang that was also the getaway car at our wedding--it's currently for sale and on display in a car museum in Branson.
So he went to the doctor yesterday, hoping to get an update on how the chemo was actually going, and make sure the doctor approved of their plans to go out of town for Thanksgiving.  And they found the cell count on his liver is down to 50,000.

Unbelievable.  That's the kind of surprise you like to get from the doctor.

The doctor was really surprised, as he did not expect him to respond so well to chemo, given that his cancer appeared to be so advanced.

It's what the old me might have called a "miracle."  And, hell, it really is a miracle.  We don't know why it happened, or how, or how long it will continue, but we were so, so happy to hear that news.  We're kind of attached to this guy.  And we'd like to keep him around for a while.

Life-long Cardinals fans, celebrating the big win after game 7.  Go Cards!
The English department at my grad school always puts together a Relay for Life team for the American Cancer Society, and I had just made my donation to it shortly before David's grandma called to tell us the good news.  I also bought luminaries in memory of my Grandpa Vance, in honor of my great-uncle Lee (also known as Uncle Lee the Great), and in honor of David's Grandpa Gene.  Because cancer sucks.  And those three men are three of the best guys you could ever know.

And one of these days, I really think we'll find a cure for this awful disease.

If you're interested in donating, and/or buying a $5 luminary in honor or memory of someone you know, the English department Relay Team and anyone who has a loved one with cancer would welcome the donation you can make by clicking here.


  1. This is awesome news.. I hope he will continue to prove his physicians wrong...

  2. Omg!!! What a blessing! That is wonderful news!

  3. That is such fantastic news! I am so glad!

  4. Fantastic news. Crying some good happy years for you guys. XO

  5. So glad to hear such great news!

  6. Your family certainly deserves some happy news . . .and then some.

  7. Wonderful, wonderful news! He sounds like a great man. I love those pictures of him with David!

  8. Such good news! I'm so glad for all of you, and I hope you get to keep him around for a good long time.

    On a side note, I actually rooted for the Cardinals in the World Series, thinking of you and David's grandpa. Which, you may be able to appreciate, is a big deal coming from a Cubs fan.

  9. so glad your family got some good news. hoping for lots more. ((hugs))

  10. That's incredible!! I love the Game 7 picture!! My grandfather was a huge Cards fan and died shortly after the NLCS clincher against the Brewers. Seems crazy, but I was so glad to know he knew they were going to the World Series!