Monthly Archives: September 2009

The whole story

Wow, I can’t believe that we have been back from Indy for two weeks, and I am just now finding time to sit down and write a more thorough update! Life never really does slow down, does it?

For those of you that we haven’t been able to see and talk to, I just wanted to write a more complete description of what Dr. Einhorn said to us. As we said, we were just so thankful to see a personable, compassionate physician. He had reviewed Clay’s latest scan, as had his urologist, and they both agreed that the minor growth was insignificant. He compared it to taking your temperature each day; it might vary from 98.6 by a few tenths either way, but that doesn’t indicate a fever. He said that some small changes are normal, and that none of Clay’s other symptoms, tumor markers, etc. indicate any kind of growth of the cancer. 

We also asked about the location of the mass. Dr. Einhorn said that he has followed patients with a mass in the same location for ten years or more after their diagnosis, and the mass usually causes no problems. He said that the mass would probably NOT change much in size, but he believes that it is just scar tissue at this point. He said that a PET scan would be helpful, but that he felt quite comfortable just doing CT scans every three months, since the PET scan didn’t work out. He also said that he felt that Clay was “probably cured”. That was worth the trip!

We are very hopeful and encouraged, but I guess still a little cautious about what the future holds. I think neither of us will feel entirely comfortable until we find out the results of this next scan. I can’t help but feel that we got some misinformation from Dr. Bolger, in several areas of Clay’s care. We talked with Dr. Einhorn about changing doctors, so Clay has an appointment tomorrow with a new oncologist at Brookwood. Please pray that that goes well. 

I have been thinking about why we went through this scare and this emotional roller coaster over these past few weeks– why God allowed it to happen. I know that God’s reasons are beyond my understanding, but maybe this happened to remind us once again of our desperate need for Christ. I am the queen of self sufficiency and wanting to do things my own way. I think sometimes it takes a major life event to break me out of my mold of selfishness and remind me of Who is in charge of every aspect of my life. I don’t know why I try to control it anyway… my way always just messes everything up. Maybe I will learn that one day. 🙂

Anyway, once again we thank God for you and your prayers, and praise Him for the good report! Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of lights…

    Much love,

   Lauren (and Clay)

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No more confusion

We just left our appointment with Dr. Einhorn. We are so thankful that he is a straight shooter. He said that based on everything that he sees we should not be concerned about the minimal change in size on the CT scan and that as far as he is concerned I am most likely “cured.” He also gave us a list of other doctors we could see in Birmingham. Lauren or I will write more later, but we wanted to share this good news as quickly as possible.

Thanks be to God.

Grace & peace,

Clay

Confusion….. Revised

After two and a half weeks of back and forth with doctors’ offices, the insurance company, and a number of very helpful people, we have finally gotten an answer. Not the answer I anticipated, but an answer nonetheless. Initially both doctors said that we would need a PET/CT to determine whether the mass was active or not. Now, Dr. Einhorn has had the urologist on his team review both of my recent CT scans and he said he feels that the slight change in the tumor is not significant, meaning that it is likely a result of scar tissue from chemo. He feels that this is not indicative of progressive seminoma, so I don’t need a PET/CT.

Thank you to everyone who has labored with us as we tried to figure out what the appropriate course of action is.We love you and appreciate your prayers and hard work.

I am still kind of shell-shocked from all the uncertainty of the last three weeks. I am tired and disappointed in how all of this was handled. We are still wrestling with some healthcare decisions that need to be made. Continue to pray for this and my appointment with Dr. Einhorn on Tuesday Sept. 15. Lauren and I are emotionally exhausted from all the stress.

Grace & Peace,

Clay

Fear not, for I am with you…

Hi everyone,

I know that we haven’t been very faithful about posting updates lately, but I think that Clay and I both have reached the point of being exhausted with talking about this whole situation. I think we have become tired of our own thoughts and conversations! That said, we still so appreciate everyone who has asked about Clay and prayed for us.

So this has been a really frustrating two weeks, mostly because we are getting a lot of conflicting talk from Dr. Bolger and Dr. Einhorn. They don’t seem to be in agreement about Clay’s course of treatment. I have to say, though, that we have been so impressed with how prompt Dr. Einhorn has been with his responses and how much interest he seems to take in his patients.

So after a lot of back and forth, Dr. Einhorn has told us that he would recommend that Clay get a PET scan before his appointment on September 15 (if possible). He said that the growth of the tumor is minimal, and there is about a 50% chance that it represents nothing significant. But there is also a 50% chance that it is a progression of the seminoma, and if so, he will probably recommend another course of chemo. He does not think that the tumor will be accessible enough for surgery. So Clay needs to get the PET scan, but we found out today that Blue Cross Blue Shield won’t approve it. However, the mercy committee at Oak Mountain has offered to cover the cost of the PET scan if Blue Cross doesn’t, which is a huge blessing. Just another reminder of what an amazing gift community is in our lives. So hopefully we will try to get the PET scan scheduled for next week.

It is interesting to me that God always seems to balance Clay’s and my moods, so that we are rarely in the same emotional state at the same time. So I was upset and depressed for about a week, and this week I am feeling more hopeful, and Clay has been depressed. I’m grateful that we are not often depressed at the same time! Clay is understandably upset at the thought of going through chemo again, and it is our prayer that that will not have to happen. Clay and I confessed to our LIFE group (who, by the way, are a huge blessing in our lives) last week that we were feeling really spiritually dry. I guess what God has been showing me these past few weeks is the importance of sometimes doing what feels like just going through the motions– praying, repeating scripture to yourself, and being really transparent with the Lord. Sometimes it feels really hollow, but I think that that is the complexity involved in having an actual relationship with the Lord. I tend to fall back into legalism and beat myself up for having so little faith and being such a horrible example of a Christian, but it is also quite fascinating and incredible to me that I am allowed to be so open and vulnerable with the God of the universe. Wow!

In other news, my sister and I are participating in the Race for the Cure in October, which is a race that supports the Susan Komen Foundation to combat breast cancer. Obviously, that is a very worthy cause, but we are also participating for survivors of other kinds of cancer, especially Clay. We feel strongly about participating with other people who have struggled with the journey of cancer. Katherine and I both are supposed to raise money to go towards the foundation, so if you would like to donate to either one of us, here is the link.


http://alabamaraceforthecure.kintera.org/faf/search/searchParticipants.asp?ievent=304893&lis=1&kntae304893=C4A8181A5C874453A2EF2C6AE2A084

Please pray for peace for Clay about the prospect of more treatment, and for me too. Of course, we are praying that the PET shows that it is minimal change and he doesn’t need any more treatment. Please pray for patience for us towards one another and openness to learn what God is showing us through this time. We are still planning to go to Indiana on September 15th to just get some time to sit down and ask Dr. Einhorn all of our questions.

Thank you as always and much love,

Lauren (and Clay)