One of our favorite women in the world, Sandra, recently commented on the blog, "Dare I use the M-word? Looks like we got one!" Seeing Shane's leaps and bounds improvements over the past month paired with the fresh results from his MRI, PET-CT, and bloodwork, we have to agree with Sandra. Everything points to him healing from cancer----a miracle in our book. We give all the thanks to God...and you. It was His mighty Hand, and your love, service, prayers and financial/emotional support that have brought us to this moment.
Ready for the breakdown of Shane's most recent tests? I know we risk getting too focused on numbers but these objective measurements are helpful for understanding progress. The other important piece, of course, is how Shane feels and what he's now capable of----in just eight short weeks going from almost completely incapacitated to truly living each day. We value those results more than any lab values or scan findings. Still, test results have their place.
BLOODWORK from today
The two indicators of Shane's cancer activity are down, AGAIN!
AlkPhos from 154 (on 9/13) to 128 (today)---he is now within the normal range (high end, but we'll take it!)
LDH from 567 (on 9/13) to 469 (today)--the lowest he has been since he was diagnosed in May (In Europe, his LDH climbed as high as 2700)
Pssst...need a quick refresher on why these numbers matter? Just go here.
MRI from last Wednesday
One brain metastasis disappeared! And the other met shrunk from 3.2 cm to 2.5 cm, a roughly 22% decrease.
PET-CT from today
"Near complete resolution of previously described diffuse metastatic bony disease..."
This one makes me teary because I remember viewing Shane's first PET results with our Stanford oncologist in May, seeing the scattering of black spots seemingly everywhere in his bones and despairing that this cancer was literally eating my husband alive. And now, the tumors on his spine, pelvis, sternum, and ribs are gone. The are only two remaining, one area on his right femur bone remains unchanged from his previous scan, and one spot on his right illiac (hip bone) has shrunk by about 40%.
"The left hepatic lobe mass has significantly decreased in size now measuring 8.1 x 5.5 cm, previously 10.5 x 11.8 cm. Max SUV today is 3.2, previously 18.3 (2/175). The mass near the hepatic dome also significantly decreased in size previously measuring 9.4 x 7.7 cm now 3.9 x 3.9 cm. Max SUV today is 3.8, previously 23.6 (2/156)."
Let's look at this one a bit closer. Start with the underlined words from the report. Shane had two large tumors in his liver (not to mention innumerable small masses), one of which has now shrunk by 60% and the other by 30%ish (forgive the terrible math!). Remarkable.
Now take a gander at the Max SUV. When I spoke with Ralph Moss (cancer researcher extraordinaire) in May he emphasized how high Shane's original Max SUV was, and I knew from my research that a high Max SUV is serious stuff. Max SUV stands for Maximum Standard Uptake Value, in other words, how quickly FDG, the radioactive sugar injected into the body prior to a PET-CT, is taken up by the tumor (it's the uptake of FDG that causes the tumors to light up like a Christmas tree). The higher the Max SUV, the more avid for glucose the cancer is. Plain speak? The higher the Max SUV, the more aggressive the cancer. The fact that the Max SUV for Shane's liver tumors went from 18.3 down to 3.2, and 23.6 to 3.8 is pretty damn incredible.
I'll be candid, I need some help interpreting a couple bits from the liver report, so I can't say with certainty what happened to those "innumerable" tumors that dotted the entirety of Shane's liver in May. We'll visit with the CO oncologist this week and hopefully get some clarification there.
Adrenal Gland Met
Gone. Vamoosed. Adios.
Shane's cancer journey isn't over, there are still tumors present and we will keep doing what we're doing until Shane has reached the elusive NED status ---No Evidence of Disease.
It's only been twelve short weeks of treatment, first in Europe and now our own carefully crafted plan here in CO. We are joyfully anticipating what the next three months will bring for Shane's healing.