Posts Tagged With: kidney cancer

Cancer Update August 2016

colonoscopy-s2-why-is-colonoscopy-doneHello faithful followers of this blog. I apologize that it has been a while since my last post.

I recently had a CT scan at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) in Phoenix. Again, I have been treating at CTCA for two and half years for stage 4 kidney cancer that has spread to both lungs.I am currently being treated with an immunotherapy drug called Opdivo.

The scan showed that the tumors in both lungs are fairly stable. There has been some growth but it is not significant enough for my oncology team to state that it is growing. That’s good news! Yet, the scan also showed that the mass that is where my right kidney used to be is growing. My team thought that it might be pressing against my colon and intestines. I had a colonoscopy last week. Fortunately for me the colonoscopy showed that the mass is not invading that area. On a side note, the procedure was very easy, but prepping for it was not. I had to drink this solution called Moviprep on two separate occasions. It tasted like a thousand lemon flavored sweet tarts in water. Needless to say I had to stay close to the bathroom after drinking this stuff.

The next step in this process of determing what to do about this mass will be a CT guided biopsy of the tissue. I am having this procedure this week. From my own observations of previous scans of this mass I am pretty sure it is cancer. It responded to treatment with the drug Votrient and was shrinking along with the other tumors.  So far some of the options to removed this tumor include possible surgery or radiation therapy. But, I will leave the final determination up to the experts and my wife and I will determine what treatment option will will take.

More updates soon.

 

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Cancer Update March 2017

photofrinI just had a CT scan a few weeks ago to check on the state of things in my lungs. The scan had some good news and some bad news. The good news is that the pneumonia I was dealing with has finally cleared up.  The bad news is that the tumors in both lungs are growing not shrinking after 2 months of treatment using Opdivo. Again, I am being treated for stage 4 kidney cancer that has metastasized to both lungs at Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Phoenix.

My pulmunoligist has recently begun treating one of my symptoms with something called Photo Dynamic Therapy. The drug used is called Photofrin. So, the upper part of my right lung in not only partially collapsed, but it is also blocked by the tumors. This new treatment is designed to open that part of the airway up by burning away the tumors using the drug Photofrin. 

I had the drug injected into my body on Monday.  On Wednesday I had a bronchoscopy procedure where a cool laser was placed into my airway and turned on to activate the drug internally. Basically, the tumors are now light sensitive and by using the laser it will destroy the tumors by burning them and flooding them with oxygen.  Oxygen is a natural enemy to cancer cells. I will have up to four more procedures in the next week or so to clean up the dead tissue from the soon to be dead cancer cells.

While this will help to improve my breathing and overall quality of life, it is limited to only clearing up this one particular symptom. The remaining cancer cells in my lungs will have to be dealt with in other ways by my oncologist. I am hopeful that I will be cancer free soon.

 

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Cancer Update June

Well I met with my oncologist at Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Dr. Walter Quan, and my latest CT scan shows that the kidney cancer tumors in my lungs is continuing to shrink.  They are now half of their original size when I began treatment over a year ago.  I thank the Father of my Lord Jesus Christ for his healing.  Thank you for your prayers and encouragement.

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Smiling With Cancer?

What image comes to mind when you think of someone battling cancer? 

For many it might be someone who looks sad, angry, or depressed.  I was reminded today of a different image of those battling cancer.  I was waiting for the shuttle at a local hotel to take me to the center.  What center you may ask?  Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) in Phoenix.  I have been receiving treatment for stage 4 kidney cancer that metastasized to my lungs for a year now.  As I sat in the hotel lobby I noticed a man sitting across from me with a patient ID band from the center.  I struck up a conversation with him about what type of cancer he is dealing with and what treatments he is receiving.  His face was smiling and he had a positive attitude in his tone.  He was waiting for the limousine to pick him up and take him to the airport.  He was heading home to Tennessee after his treatments this week.  When the shuttle finally arrived there were 4 other fellow cancer patients heading to the center with me.  Our driver, Ramon, smiled and greeted each of us with a hug before we piled into the white van with the CTCA logo on the side.  As we pulled out our conversation centered around a cancer patient who had a poor attitude that Ramon encountered the day before.  This person was described as rude, angry, and selfish.  We were all shocked to hear of such a patient being treated at CTCA. You see, in the past year of being at CTCA I haven’t encountered any patients like the one Ramon described.  Sure, we all have our down days dealing with this life threatening disease, but we have learned not to stay there long.  I have heard stories of other cancer treatment facilities where patients are in wheelchairs hooked up to an IV and sitting in the hallways looking sad.  But, that image doesn’t happen at CTCA.  The staff at CTCA is definitely warm and welcoming.  The philosophy here is to treat every patient with “mother care”.  In other words, treat each patient like they were your mother that you love.

But for myself and others, it isn’t the staff that keeps us smiling, but it is encouraging each other.  Once a person here begins to see that they are not alone and that there is hope for being rid of this disease, they can’t help but walk around here smiling.  I can recall my Dad coming with me one time to visit CTCA.  He said that this place looked more like a hotel than a hospital.  Now you may be someone who is battling cancer.  If you are, know that you are not alone in your fight.  Take the time to reach out to fellow patients and even your care team and get to know them.  Take each day, one day at a time and choose to be positive for that day and smile often throughout the day.  It will make a huge difference for you and hopefully others as well.  Receiving a diagnosis of cancer is definitely carries with it emotions like fear, anger, and depression, but those aren’t the only emotions to be experienced.  There is joy in meeting new friends who are battling it as well.  There is happiness is seeing friends return for treatment at the same time as you.  There is hope as you share and listen to the experiences of other on the journey over cancer.  There is also laughter as you spend time with others away from the place where you are receiving treatment.  Yes, one can smile in the midst of battling cancer.  In this fight, a positive attitude goes a long way towards a cure.

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Cancer Treatment Update 1/9/15

Greetings.cf-logo

I met with my oncologist Dr. Walter Quan Jr. and the rest of my care team here at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) yesterday.  I am still undergoing treatment for stage 4 kidney cancer that spread to my lungs.  My blood work came back showing good results.  My kidney function and liver function are still good.  I am now going to be increasing the dosage of Votrient to 800mg per day instead of 400mg.    This drug is a targeted therapy drug that is taken orally to attempt to slow down or even stop the kidney cancer from growing.  This drug can decrease both liver and kidney function in some patients.  It appears, however, that I am not one of them.  I have noticed that I am slightly more fatigued since starting this medication, and I hope that my fatigue doesn’t get any worse.  I am also scheduled to meet with my radiation oncologist, Dr. Chong on the 19th of this month.  He will be checking to see if the large dose of radiation I received in December had any effect on the tumor mass in my right lung.

The past two days I have been feeling rather down.  I have been in this battle with kidney cancer for two years now.  I have been dealing with this stage 4 diagnosis for a year now.  I am thrilled that I can say I am a 2 year cancer survivor, but the battle can get tiring.  I am on my third different treatment option for this cancer.  The first two required me to have infusion of a targeted therapy for several hours through my PowerPort.  Each of these two types of therapy had side effects that were not pleasant.  This new oral medication also has side effects, but now I am taking treatment every day, rather than a couple of times every 3 weeks.  I appreciate all of the prayers that many of you have been bringing to the Lord.  It is my faith in Christ alone that has kept me going this past year.  Yet, like today, I have days where I wish that I was completely cured of this evil disease of cancer.  I must remember my slogan for this year each day.  That is, “I live to fight another day.”

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Starting the New Year

challenges-ahead-900-x-500-900x407Today is a sort of special day for me.  It is my spiritual birthday.  Yes, 33 years ago on this date I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.  So, this is a great start for this new year for me.  I can still remember that day so many years ago.  I had seen a Billy Graham film just a few days before and heard the Good News about Jesus Christ.  My Nana had given me a little piece of paper with the “sinners prayer” on it the previous day.  I was on a small sand dune at Asilomar Beach in Pacific Grove, CA when I prayed that prayer and believed on Jesus as the only way of salvation.  The Lord Jesus has been faithful to me through all these years, even though I have had many seasons of not being very faithful to Him.  At the end of last year I began to finally grasp that the love of Christ is not dependent on my actions.  He loves me no matter what I do or what I face.  I know this because He knew every wrong I would ever commit and still chose me before the foundation of the world.  The Bible says, Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.  God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.”  Ephesians 1:4-5 NLT

This new year has also already brought me challenges.  I am still battling this stage 4 kidney cancer in my lungs.  I was also served with papers for a petition for divorce today.  But I will continue to look to Christ to see me through all of the trials that will come my way this year.  Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV

At the opening of this post I said that 33 years ago I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior.  In this past year He has begun to reveal more of Himself to me.  He is Christ my healer.  He is Christ the lover of my soul.  He is Christ, the everlasting One.  The Apostle Paul told the Church in Galatia,  “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles…” (Gal 1:15-16)  I am looking forward to Him revealing more of Himself to me, as He did to Paul, in this new year.    

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A Year in Review

Year-in-ReviewThis year is almost over.  I don’t know about you, but this year has gone by pretty quickly.  I have noticed that as I get older, the years seem to go by faster.  I began this past year with the news that I would need to be treated for stage 4 kidney cancer that had metastasized to my lungs.  Originally I was diagnosed with this at Palo Alto Medial Foundation in California.  My wife and I were planning on getting treatment there.  After some delays in obtaining the medication they were going to use to fight the cancer my wife looked into getting treatment for me at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) in Phoenix.  I thought we couldn’t afford it, but after finding out they would pay for our flight, we decided to go there for a second opinion.  I am sure glad she called them, because after meeting with the team from CTCA we decided to go for treatment in Phoenix.

So in this past year of getting cancer treatment at CTCA, I have had a total of 7 bronchoscopy procedures, 2 stints placed in my right bronchi, and 3 different treatment options.  I have been on Interleukin-2, Torisel, and now Votrient.  I have also recently received a large dose of radiation directed at the main tumor site in my right lung.  I have also had a procedure to put in a Power Port to have all my blood tests and therapies taken from.  One of my bronchoscopy procedures did not go very well.  In July, I ended up in ICU on a ventilator after my right lung collapsed after the stint in my lung was crushed by the tumor mass.  I almost didn’t make it.  But the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ got me through that whole ordeal and I am still living to fight another day.  As of today I am a 2 year kidney cancer survivor, and a 1 year survivor of having stage 4 kidney cancer.

This year has also been a year of many changes.  Today is my 3rd wedding anniversary.  Yet, this cancer diagnosis, among other things, has probably cost me my marriage.  My wife and I separated just a few months ago.  I have since then relocated to Goodyear, AZ where I can be closer to CTCA for treatment.  Probably the greatest change has been recently for me.  All of these things have caused me to grow closer in my relationship to Jesus Christ.  I have finally accepted the fact the He loves me and has called me to Himself before the foundation of the world.  “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.”  Ephesians 1: 4-5 NLT.  It does not matter what I do, His love and acceptance for me is unchanging.  He has been so faithful to me, in spite of my often unfaithfulness to Him.  He has opened doors for me to smoothly transition in my move to Arizona.  He has brought new friends in my life who are fellow cancer patients.  He has also continued to provide for me and bring healing in my life from this cancer.

There is so much more I could write in review of this year, but I wanted to keep in brief.  The Lord has allowed this cancer to exist in my body.  I don’t thank Him for my diagnosis with cancer or being separated from my wife, but I thank Him for seeing me through all of the trials of this past year.  I know that He will be glorified in all of this in some way.  My prayer is that He will continue to live His life through me and in me.  If the Christian life is going to be lived in me, He is going to have to do it.  This past year I have learned that it is impossible for me to live the Christian life.  I will mess up more than I will succeed in living a godly life.  But, when I surrender to Christ, He lives His life through me because He is my indwelling Lord.  I agree with the Apostle Paul who said, “My old self has been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”  Galatians 2:20 NLT

I pray all of you will have a joyous new year in 2015.

 

Categories: Bible, Cancer, Health, Personal | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Every Breath I Take

lifecoaches_breatheI am so grateful now for every breath I am allowed to take. With some very aggressive tumor masses in my right lung, breathing these past few weeks has not been easy. But, I can see some progress from the previous two bronchoscopies done last week. Today, I was able to walk from my home to Cancer Treatment Centers of America with very little breathing discomfort. While I may walk slower these days, at least I can still keep walking. I am still living and breathing to fight another day over this cancer. Thank You Lord Jesus for your continued healing over this stage 4 kidney cancer in my lungs.

This upcoming week my oncology team is planning on giving me a single blast of radiation to the problem area in hopes of slowing down or shrinking the tumor mass in my right lung.

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Cancer Update 12-10-14

Greetings.
So i had my second bronchoscopy in the last 5 days yesterday,   This takes the total number of bronchoscopies to 7 over the past year.  I am still undergoing treatment for stage 4 kidney cancer in my lungs at Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Phoenix.   This last bronchoscopy involved using a laser to push back the tumors in my right lung enough to install a stint.   The procedure was very successful.   My breathing and oxygen saturation have greatly improved.
My right middle and lower lung is still good.  However,  the upper lobe of my right lung is still not receiving air due to being blocked by tumors.  Now my oncologist,  Dr. Walter Quan Jr. will be working on a new treatment plan to kill the remaining tumors.
This last procedure has bought more time for me to “Live to fight another day.”  I don’t fight this battle alone, the Lord Jesus Christ is with me and so are so many of you.

Categories: Cancer, Health, Personal, Theology | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Cancer Update 12-8-14

Hello my faithful blog followers.
Tomorrow afternoon my cancer journey/ battle takes me to bronchoscopy round 7.  Dr. Turner my pulmonary doctor will use a laser to cut away the nasty tumor in my right lung bronchial tube.  Then he will attempt to place a stint to keep my airway open.  I had some breathing issues today along with coughing.  My care team was all over it here at Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Phoenix.  
I feel so much better as I write this. 
So with any procedure there are risks, but I’m trusting Christ my Lord to see me through and be my great physician.
Thank you for your support and prayers.

Categories: Cancer, Health, Personal, Theology | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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