Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting. We are setting this up to keep everyone informed about James's battle with since we may not be able to return all the phone calls and emails.
For the past 9 months or so, James has been complaining that he was unable to chew his food and swallow it. At first, it was thought that because his saliva glands were removed back in 1986 (to combat lymphoma), his ability to swallow may have been related. Due his not being able to eat as he had in the past he has managed to lose somewhere in the neighborhood of 50-60 pounds. As you can imagine, being a former football player, this has been discouraging and depressing.
Although he has been working with a nutritionist to help get regain his weight, nothing seemed to be working. Finally, a few months ago, James ran into his former physician, Dr. William Hicks, MD, (retired) who noticed how unhealthy he looked and suggested James ask his current physician to have an MRI done.
The MRI revealed a large mass at the base of his skull on the right side. And so the journey began to determine if the mass has spread to other locations in the body. A biopsy and a PET scan were scheduled immediately and on July 17, we met with Dr. Prevedello and Dr. Carrau (neurosurgery and ENT respectively) and learned in addition to the tumor at the base of his skull, there is low grade soft tissue sarcoma found in the liver and stomach.
Soft tissue sarcoma is defined as "A rare type of cancer that grow in connective tissue like bones, nerves, muscles, tendons, cartilage and blood vessels of the arms and legs." Low grade is the phrase used to indicate that it is slow growing.
The next steps discussed on July 19th with Dr. Prevedello, Dr. Carrau and Dr. Tinoco focused on alternatives to surgery. But a biopsy of the liver will give us all a better idea of what we are dealing with here. Is this the same tumorous mass found at the base of the skull? What combination of drugs can be used that will produce the least amount of side effects and prevent the growth of the tumors? Could we possibly shrink the tumors then take surgical action to remove them?
A biopsy of the liver will be done July 25th and the first round of chemo is scheduled for Aug 2. We will provide more information as the journey continues.