In July, Peter and I had wonderful and amazing trip through Germany and Amsterdam. Wonderful traipsing around Berlin; visiting his familial
home in Zeuthen; a Rhine river trip seeing 40 castles in 60 kilometers of gorgeous countryside; visiting ancient villages; eating great meals with new
and old friends, it was a fabulous time. On the flight back from Amsterdam, Peter fell suddenly ill.
After several trips to the internist and three Emergency Room trips in August, he was finally admitted into Swedish Hospital on the
evening of August 23rd. Initially all the tests were looking fine, head CT scan, X-rays, labs were given the “all clear” but they kept him in the hospital
while they tried to figure things out. One doctor, Dr. Mark Smith, after Peter lied about having a cough, decided to run a CAT scan on his chest and reported
finding cancer on Peter's right bronchial tube. Dr. Smith ordered a bronchoscopy for pathology. The bronchoscopy was like a colonoscopy but from the other
end. Peter called it a rotor rooter test. Peter came out from the procedure with stacked double vision and laryngitis. When
Peter woke up, he smiled at me and said “Ooh how nice! There are two of you.” I thought it must have been the general anesthetic causing the double vision but
neither symptom has yet gone away.
Sadly, the pathology report stated cancer, Adenocarcinoma. Adenocarcinoma makes up about 40% of lung cancers and commonly associated with
smokers or former smokers. Adenocarcinoma is a type of cancer that starts in the glands that line an organ, in Peter’s case, the right bronchial tube.
Surgery options are not possible given the location. An MRI was then performed which showed that numerous small brain tumors have already
metastasized from the original site.
Radiation started immediately and he only has 2 more of the original 14 to go. They radiate him for about five minutes a day. Within the last couple days has resulted in Peter’s lovely, curly hair falling out. The radiation is
also finally catching up and causing great fatigue. The radiologist indicates that the radiation treatment symptoms will dissipate within six weeks.
The good part of the pathology report was that it was ascertained that there were two cancer genetic mutations. Why that is good is that there are drugs (biologicals)
that can be more effective than the chemo-therapy. Peter found he had the 1 in 7 chance for the mutation. That will involve a pill called Afatinib which the insurance company has already approved
and mailed. .
Neither of us has the strength to repeat all of this information numerous times .Caringbridge is the preferred communication. He will check the website when he feels up to reading for short periods of time.
Try crossing your eyes and looking at your computer or phone screen for a few minutes and you will start to get the idea of how tiring it would be. Peter's chronic bad laryngitis makes it very difficult
to speak on the phone. Messages will be read to Peter if he cannot read them himself. If he has the energy to respond he can always choose to call, text or email a response as his strength and choice allows.
If not, then you just need to have a sympathetic understanding that he is very, very ill.
Since Peter was sent home from Swedish, there have been a steady stream of wonderful visitors but this does require coordinating schedules with
not only visitors but myriad other appointments not limited but including: doctor appointments, RN, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, nutritionists,
lab appointments and so forth. Peter also goes to bed by 930.
IMPORTANT: if you are planning on a visit you must cancel if you are sick in any way! This includes minor colds, cough, sore throats, slight
fever etc. These are all enough to impact on Peter’s impaired immune system so have the courtesy to cancel and please reschedule when you are well.
This whole diagnosis was out of the blue Peter had his annual physical in May and everything was fine. .
The most common question asked is “How can this be?” How can it be indeed when two months ago we were having a blast travelling through Germany, eating great meals, drinking German beer and wine,
walking miles, sightseeing… Do not know and at a total loss to understand.
Please use Caringbridge to reach out and communicate with Peter. Send well wishes, topics of interest, baseball stats, Dawg talk etc to Peter. He appreciates it even if he doesn't respond with each