Mar 27, 2018 Latest post:
Apr 15, 2018
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.
As many of you know, last year my dad was diagnosed with bladder cancer (Urothelial Carcinoma to be exact). After surgery and 9 rounds of immunotherapy, he was given the "all clear" by the early summer. He was feeling great and we had hoped that the worst was behind us. In December of this past year, he began having what he thought to be sciatic pain going down his left leg. He returned to his primary care doctor who treated this pain as sciatica and recommended he see a physical therapist.
By February, it was clear he was only getting worse and he returned to Dr. Harrison Rhee, who had treated him for the previous bladder cancer. Dr. Rhee ordered several test as well as a biopsy. To our heartbreak - the cancer has returned, only this time the same cancer that was in his bladder has taken over several lymph nodes to create a mass on the left side of his pelvis. We are still learning all the "lingo" that comes with this dreaded disease, but as we understand it, this is technically considered an aggressive, stage 4, metastatic lymphoma. The diagnosis Monday was not promising at all.
Thankfully, after our visit yesterday to Levine and meeting with Dr. Thomas Steffens - we have a ray of hope. There is a chemo/radiation combo that my dad will hopefully be able to take if he can get his kidney levels functioning a little better. Because of the dye used in his recent MRI and being a bit dehydrated, the last labs could very well be off on the kidney function. He will go Monday to see if he will be a candidate for this treatment. Please pray everything looks great and he can begin chemo and radiation ASAP. He will have his port installed on Tuesday and Wednesday will be an all day consult with the radiology doctor. He will receive a nuclear medical scan among other things, but needless to say - once this ball finally started rolling - it has rolled FAST!
Because my dad likes to keep things EXTRA interesting - his body decided to throw a blood clot into the mix. Doctors say this is because the lymph nodes are wrapped around several blood vessels and tissue. They do not seem to be as concerned about it as we are.( And yes, I did have a mini meltdown when they sent us home from the hospital WITH a blood clot that has caused his leg to swell up like a tick). They say when the chemo starts to shrink the mass, the clot should resolve itself. Until then, he is on blood thinners to keep it from getting any larger.
I know this is a lot of medical jargon and I am not 100 percent sure if I am explaining it all correctly. Many of the last several nights have been spent googling things like "Cisplatin and 5-FU side effects" - such an ugly thing to read about. BUT.. it gives us hope. Hope that there is a treatment out there that will work. Hope that we have found amazing doctors and the resources are better than ever to help people beat this awful thing called cancer.
On a personal note.. This word, "HOPE" has become a major theme for my dad and the rest of us. I have to share that we do have hope, because we know Who it is that is the source of ALL HOPE - and that is solely and totally The Lord Jesus Christ. My dad has asked for prayer and we echo this request. For a time, my brother and I didn't get a chance to be with him much. The last several years have been wonderful. We want more wonderful.
I read a quote by CS Lewis a few months ago that I jotted down on a sticky note and put on my bathroom mirror. In hindsight, I know why I saw it. It was for my dad
"Hardship often prepares an ordinary person for an extraordinary destiny."
This will be a hard fight. But when has John Rice ever backed down from a fight? Am I right?? We believe he will beat this. He believes he will beat this, and so we ask - that you pray for God to do something extraordinary. Please call and check on him if you like. He is in a good bit of pain, but he likes to hear from his friends and family. I would like to personally thank all of you who have called or checked in, especially my aunts, Barbara and Patti (who call every day) my uncle Gary, who is always there when anyone on the planet needs him, several of my dads friends from work who I am just getting a chance to know - and especially Janice Baker. I don't know where any of us would be without you.
OK - so that's all I got for now. I promise future posts will not be this long, but I had a lot of updating to do and I have dreaded having to admit that this wouldn't be a simple surgical procedure and my dad would be magically better. I will update with Monday's labs. Until then - thanks to all of you who are praying with us and rooting for him! It is more appreciated than you could ever know.