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Jun 12, 2018
Hi Folks. 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.
In the fall of 2016, Tom experienced some prostate and bladder issues, which were accompanied by a general reduction in energy and appetite. He had several procedures at a local hospital, which appeared to correct the prostate and bladder problems, but some of the symptoms continued to periodically reappear. In December of 2017, they performed a CT which showed a large mass near Tom's left kidney. In January they conducted several biopsies which confirmed the presence of stage 4 bladder cancer with lymph system, kidney and liver involvement.
Tom & Patty sought a 2nd opinion from the head of Urological Oncology at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, and were subsequently referred to the Chief of Urological Oncology at the University of Washington Medical Center here in Seattle. This medical center and the Fred Hutchinson Medical center are part of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA), team which is treating Tom.
Tom began the first of 3 chemo cycles in February, and these were completed on April 3rd. Tom's chemo regiment includes the drugs Cisplatin and Gemcitabine, and is the strongest approach available. The chemo treatments are rough and have impacted Tom in a variety of ways. He has lost his hair, has developed 4 blood clots in his right arm, lost 24 lbs, suffers from Peripheral Neuropathy, changes in hearing and a substantial loss of energy.
A CT scan was performed On April 9th, to see if the drugs had impacted the growth of the cancer. The results showed the spots on his liver did not change, and there was no growth in the bladder tumor, which they viewed as a positive, because he has an aggressive form of cancer. The lymph nodes were reduced in size from 1.2 to 0.7 CM, which is very encouraging. The CT also disclosed that Tom has developed pneumonia in both lungs, so they have begun to treat that problem with drugs.
The decision was made to begin a second round of chemo starting April 24th, with a slightly different mix of drugs and continue these treatments for 6 more weeks. They will then run another set of CT's, to see if Tom is a candidate for immunotherapy, which they believe he will be.
Patty, their children, and many family and friends have created a strong team to help Tom manage this challenge. We are sending this to a large number of family and friends. Please send this information to other family and friends who may not know about his illness, or this update. Respond if you wish because is it meant to be a conversation. Thanks to all who sent cards, called to offer support and have kept us and continue to keep us in their daily thoughts and prayers. We will post/send updates when there is new information to share.