Brian Nolen Brian's Brigade

First post: Sep 25, 2016 Latest post: Feb 7, 2021
Our Journey Thus Far

Last Updated — 11/27/2018

I realize there are those visiting this site that may not be familiar with how we got to this point; therefore, I will try to bring you up to speed as best I can. I apologize in advance for my "frankness"; however, there's no pretty way to explain some of this.

In early February, 2016, Brian was seen by his primary care physician for a routine exam. At that exam, his physician became alarmed and sent Brian for an immediate CT scan at Erlanger. The CT scan revealed a large mass in his prostate. A biopsy was then scheduled along with colonoscopy and ultrasound on bladder. At the end of February, it was confirmed that Brian had a baseball size tumor in his prostate. After further PET scan, Brian was diagnosed with stage 4, very aggressive adenocarcinoma. He has had 4 months of chemo, and 6 months (continued) Androgen Deprivation (hormone) Therapy. All of this was done in an effort to shrink the size of the tumor, with the hope that his organs surrounding the tumor could be saved. Chemo and ADT were successful in shrinking the tumor ... but not enough. On Tuesday, October 4, Brian underwent what turned out to be a 10hr robotic cystoprostatectomy in which they removed bladder, prostate, tumor and 28 surrounding lymph nodes. Pathology on the flesh showed cancer in two of those lymph nodes and in the margins near the rectum.

We know the odds to cure prostate cancer at Brian's stage and grade are very long, but he felt he needed to be as aggressive as possible to chase those odds, knowing full well the Lord's in control. PSA results showed the cancer persisted after the surgery. Pelvic MRI and DRE indicated presence of tumor in the rectal wall; PET/CT confirmed the remains of the original tumor. Suspect lymph node in the groin was clean on biopsy. So, 41 doses of IMRT radiation were begun on January 3rd 2017 and continued through February. 

Unfortunately, though we hit the remaining tumor with a powerful dose, the radiation was ineffective. Continued monitoring of the tumor through 2017 showed it was holding its own or growing, if anything. We were faced with another decision to be aggressive or not. We decided to go after the remaining tumor with another surgery on Nov 1, 2017. This time the surgery would take my rectum and leave me with a colostomy in my left belly. But, post operative margins were CLEAN and PASs have been undetectable since. Praise God.

We still fight on in the case the cancer returns as expected. Please stay tuned.

Through it all, God has been faithful. We cherish your thoughts, prayers and well wishes! We will continue to be faithful to update here as long necessary.

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