Thursday, February 6, 2014


Is it just me or has this been a really long week?…

As mentioned before, Monday I had my scans, Wednesday we received the report from Utah Valley radiologists stating their belief that I had metastatic cancer in my skull and soft tissue.  We sent off images to Mayo and waited and waited.  Finally I went to Utah Valley to see if they had really sent the images.  They said that they had but they were sent via normal mail so, not expected in Minnesota before Monday.  So we waited, and worried and waited and worried.

Inside my head is this battle.  A battle with faith and trust on one side and fear and despair on the other side.  I'm trying to imagine what would be left of me if they operated on me and removed the base of my skull.  I'm wondering if I have enough strength left in me to go through something like that.  I'm wondering if JoLynne will be able to survive on what we have saved up.  I'm trying to figure out if it is worth moving to some other part of the world and trust my life to some experimental drug study that has not yet saved anyone.  

And yet on the other hand I hear my son Peter write in his later home, "Last time, before you told me, I just felt like something horrible was going on. This time I just feel kind of peaceful! It will all be alright, but we have to do our part! God will work another miracle for you if we have the faith and do all that we can!"  And I think of the many blessings that I have been given.  I think of JoLynne going to the temple and receiving the assurance of "by grace you will be saved after all that you can do"

So I fight back and forth, an emotional roller coaster.  By Wednesday we still had no word.  My dear friend Deb, who comes to my office has been so sweet.  She helps us with our supplies at my office.  She is a cancer survivor.  She stopped to see how I was doing.  By then I was exhausted from all of the emotions.  I told her "I've simply decided that I can't worry my head off over this any more or I won't have a head anymore.  That would solve the cancer thing though."

Late Wednesday I had a text from Dr. Foote, our dear friend and radiation oncologist at Mayo stating that he had just gotten the images and was sending them in to be read.  He was leaving for San Diego but promised that he would tell me as soon as he knew something.

At 1:45 am I got up and thought "who knows maybe he sent something."  Sure enough, there was an email from Dr. Foote.  Basically his email states that the radiologist can't see anything suggesting recurrent cancer and he  suggested another scan in 3 months.  He then forwarded the report from the radiologist.  It was completely different from what was said by the radiologists here.  So I sat on the couch crying tears of gratitude.  By God's grace my life has been spared again.  I thought about waking JoLynne but decided that then she would just sit up all night crying too.  So I waited until 6:00 am to tell her. Then we had a good cry together.

I had a hard time falling asleep after my 1:45 email.  When I finally did fall asleep I dreamt that JoLynne had told me "Eric, if you are going to stick around then we are going to have fresh strawberries every day."  She had me rip up our kitchen floor and plant strawberries all over in the kitchen.  I know, weird dream.

Well, back at the start of this whole thing we had a blessing stating that I would live to see grandchildren and great grandchildren.  So, now I'm thinking about a porch with rockers.  Got to have somewhere to sit while we are watching all the kids playing on the lawn.

By the way, thank you of for all the prayers on my behalf.  I believe in the power of prayers!  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Kind of worried….

Well, another PET/CT scan is back.  I am learning to hate these things.  So far we have the radiologist report from Utah Valley but not from Mayo yet.  I expect to hear back from them on Monday or Tuesday.

To be honest, the results were not what we were hoping for.  First I should explain what a PET scan is. Basically they have you fast then you come in and they inject you with radioactive glucose and then have you drink something that I think is radioactive as well.  Then you lay in a dim room for a while while your body uptakes the radioactive glucose then you lay on a table for about 2 hours while these scanners look to see where the glucose went.   The idea is that cancer is a glucose pig and so more uptake is more likely to be cancer.

Well, the PET scan showed increased uptake along my right skull base compared to last time.  This might mean that I have cancer in the skull base.  That was the conclusion that the radiologists came to.  In their words, "Likely metastatic disease around the skull base and soft tissue on right side"  Having said that, the CT scan didn't show any changes.  I can personally think of alternate explanations for increased glucose uptake.

We met with our oncologist yesterday, Dr. Wallentine.  He is a fine man and I have a lot of respect for him.  We are all worried, of course, but he wasn't anxious to jump to conclusions yet.  He felt the same as we do, basically, let's wait and see what they think at Mayo before we jump to conclusions.

So, here we sit, worried and prayerful that other doctors will read the images differently.  I know that tomorrow is fast Sunday for most of you.  I would hope that you might mention my name to Heavenly Father while you are fasting.  We are grateful for the prayers and faith of anyone who feels so inclined.

I wish we had better news.