Friday, June 14, 2013

Well, the saga continues....

We have had mostly good news lately.

After several calls, the oncologist at Mayo finally called us back.  In the meantime several other parties had weighed in on my case.  The radiologist at Mayo re-read my MRI and his conclusion was "One tumor with other areas impossible to differentiate"  This is more consistent with what we were told by the radiologist here who said "One tumor with other areas consistent with radiation edema"  Irregardless, these are all better reports than the surgeon who basically felt like the whole area was full of cancer.  My dear friend, an oncology scientist, called it the VOMIT phenomenon, (Victim Of Modern Imaging Technology).

Also our friend, Dr. Foote, the head of radiation oncology at Mayo, also a good friend and the Stake President in Rochester, looked at my case and felt that we should use Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) to cut out the tumor.  This is sometimes called Gamma knife or Cyber Knife.  It's kind of like Star Wars stuff.  The tumor is mapped using CT scans into a computer and then robots operate on you using intense focused radiation as scalpels.  It's supposed to be super precise.  They never actually cut your skin, the SBRT can destroy tissue wherever they want without a surgical entry.  After talking to their sarcoma board at Mayo they all agreed that chemo was not a good choice at this point and that SBRT was a better choice.  As of right now we are scheduled at Mayo next Tuesday for the planning appointments and one week later for the surgery.  Recovery is supposed to be pretty good.  Not too much pain or time down.

In the meantime, we are working on backup plans just in case.  We are having our tumor analyzed genetically looking for any weakness that might be attacked.  This is being done at Harvard by a group called "FoundationOne".  This takes about 3 weeks to analyze.  We are also going to Huntsman Cancer institute on Monday to see if they have any other bright ideas.  And in addition we are making arrangements in Philadelphia at the Fox Chase cancer institute, to gather living tumor tissue prior to my surgery.  They are doing research where they implant your tumor into mice and basically give them your cancer.  They then use the mice to try out various chemotherapuetic attacks to see if any combination of chemicals might prove to be effective against the tumor.  They will take about 3 months to have results using this technique.

Mostly our good news is how we feel in our hearts.  Both JoLynne and I are at peace.  Others have told me the that they have the same impression.  They have felt that everything is going to be fine.  We called Peter on Sunday to tell him what was going on.  We had asked permission from his mission president before calling.  The mission president invited Peter to his house to make the call so that he and his wife could make sure that Peter was okay after getting the news.  After our call the mission president asked Peter if he could give him a blessing.  He placed his hands on Peter's head and quoted the scripture "Be still and know that I am God".  What are the chances that of all scriptures he could quote he would chose that one?  As I was driving to work the other day I had a profound feeling, hard to express in words, but there was a sense of awe and power.  I guess if I had to put it in words it would be "Behold, the hand of God", or "Prepare to witness a miracle".

Crazy Hair!
JoLynne and I refer to the "dark thoughts", the ones that creep into our minds and demand center stage.  Thoughts filled with fear and doubt.  Lately they haven't had much time at center stage and we are grateful.
Vivian's pool party

In the meantime, my hair is crazier than ever and Vivian invited us to a great pool party last night.  Life is good!


  1. Dear Vogels, Wow. Thank you so much for taking the time to post and share. You have been in our thoughts and prayers since we all visited in your office last week. In fact, Keith sent an email to Grandma Carol George regarding your family fast...and she forwarded it on to us, so we could join in. We wanted to plant our feet in the "Peaceful Camp" for you! We love the scripture quoted by the mission president...(we especially love that part in THE TEN COMMANDMENTS movie, in the depiction of God appearing to Moses, and saying those words). As we have been thinking of you and your family, these are the words that came into our minds: "...the desires of your heart." (Psalms 37:4) We feel that you have a lot more work to do here! First of all, JoLynne needs you, you have lots more grandchildren who need you to be their grandpa, and we need you to be our dentist :) We continue to be grateful and amazed at the many connections that our families share, and plan to continue our associations!! Keep being tough...we're pulling for you!

  2. Thanks for the update, we've been wondering about you. Keep up the good attitude, everything WILL be okay! Love, P and R

  3. This is an incredible post that gave me chills. I can't tell you how much I agree with the feeling of peace. I feel we are about to witness so many more miracles and I continue to pray and fast for the very best. I love you all!!