Friday, March 14, 2014

Bronchoscopy Results

Tim's been through enough procedures at GHS now that we feel like old pros but the structure of today was much different than any he's had before. We got to the hospital right at 6:30 and were actually the first ones in the business office which is usually fully packed out. With them having everything on file already we got checked in really quickly and after a quick stop for some coffee for me, headed up to the bronchoscopy/hyperbaric lab. It's really small, as in they only have one procedure room and one space in the recovery room (which is shared with the hyperbaric chamber). Tim's had some hits and misses with getting people at GHS trained to access his port so he went to the cancer center Thursday to get accessed which made the prep really fast. He even got to keep wearing his socks and slippers which he was thrilled about.

The procedure went really quickly and Dr. Cochrane came out to tell me that Tim's bronchial tubes looked pink, healthy and no sign of the cancer in them. That was a huge relief to hear. He went on to say that he believes the persistent cough is from a combination of allergies and Tim's reflux so we're going to try some new medications for awhile (which have already been helping some just in the week he's been taking them) and take it from there. 

Post procedure Tim was watched by two nurses until he began to wake up from his Versed induced haze. One blueberry muffin for him later we were headed home for the remainder of the day which Tim pretty much slept through although he did provide some entertainment throughout including when he accidentally wrapped himself from head to toe in a blanket while he was sleeping quite literally mummifying himself.

We were really blessed with great nurses for Tim today and a twist of fate actually had us meeting with Dr. Cochrane last Friday due to scheduling conflicts with the doctor Tim was originally referred to. He was incredibly patient, listened to every detail, question and concern we had, was upfront about every possibility he thought could be the cause as well as the background for each and gave us ideas as to how he'd approach each possibility. The rest of his staff was just as impeccable & caring in their bedside manner and couldn't have made it a better experience. We were both so grateful to have such a great & knowledgable team helping Tim.

Even with the good news today there are still a good many hurdles moving forward:

1. We have to find out if a reaction Tim had to his chemo last week was a one time occurance and we're reaching the end of being able to use that.

2. We have to evaluate all options for what the next steps are. Tim's been on this same chemo for over a year now so we know that there is a finite amount of time that the cancer will continue to be controlled by it as well as that his body will continue to tolerate it. We need to start seriously investigating the possibilities that have been thrown around and prioritize what the next step will be as well as what the steps after that could be. Dr. Edenfield is great about making sure that there is always a Plan A, B & C at any given time.

Many have asked how much longer he will be receiving treatment and to be blunt, it's until his body/he can no longer take anymore or until a cure is found. This is now the red-headed stepchild of our little family of 3 (our dog Maddy is Tim's golden child) and we consider lack of growth of the cancer along with Tim being healthy year over year as wins in our book.

3. We have to find out why Tim is getting out of breath so easily. This is the scariest prospect for me, so long as it is something that can be overcome or reversed it's doable but I know one of the things that has kept Tim so successful is how active he's been and how he doesn't look sick therefore people don't treat him as though he is sick. The idea of the possibility of some of the activities he loves being taken from him scares me but this is something we'll be waiting a few months to get the answer to. 

CT Scans expose you to an incredible amount of radiation and Tim has had a lot of scans already in the past four years so we opted for him to get the special CT needed to check for scarring of his lungs fm the chemo/tumors at the same time he gets his next scan to check for tumor growth in order to minimize additional radiation exposure. 

I know we say it often but we're really grateful for the thoughts, prayers, emails, texts, calls, notes, etc., etc. Each Time we've entered a situation that seems impossible and shared it, there is a sense of peace and tranquility I have gotten. The waiting game that we seem to constantly be playing is miserable and it only gets worse before procedures such as the one today. That peace and tranquility is a much needed respite in the insanity of everything else going on and wouldn't be possible without the prayers of many so once again, thank you.
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