NOTE: this was written June 14th and then updated at the end as of today, July 7th).
Lemon Day, Black Wednesday…. they all apply. Today Jun 14th was the day Lyn had a procedure where they scoped her stomach and informed us that she has Cancer. Not what we were hoping for but it is what it is…
How did we get here?? On Vacation, she was having trouble keeping food down and had been losing weight. We stopped at a walk in clinic and they treated it with a prescription as an acid reflux type issue. When we got home, she had an appointment with our Dr and he sent her for a CT Scan. It showed nothing so he scheduled an upper GI. Results here showed what they called an abnormality at the top of the stomach. He had her in for a consult and set her up with a Gastric Specialist. They ordered a test with a scope where they go in an look inside. That is what the did today and showed a large Mass in her stomach (he indicated he was quite sure it was cancer) and he took many biopsy samples and sent out with a rush order. (It came back the next day as a definite for cancer).
Her cancer is diagnosed as signet ring cell cancer. This in itself is not a good cancer (though none are) as it is aggressive and usually well advanced when detected.
She has a Chest CT scheduled for Tuesday the 20th and based on results will set the next plan of testing. There has been no category of stage yet and the doctors have selected an Oncology specialist whom we are waiting to hear from for an appointment. We are both anxious to get all the preliminaries out of the way, properly stage this and get going on a treatment plan.
Lyn is doing well at the moment… and ready to FIGHT!
UPDATE – As of today, 7/6/2017… Lots of changes…
Lyn developed pneumonia (showed up in chest CT mentioned above) and we had to delay things (Ultrasound) which was frustrating along with difficulty in getting questions answered timely.
- Primary care – after a few issues (not directly with her Dr) we have switched her Primary Care Dr. to a Ham Radio Friend (Dr. Ken) who is a member of MDVIP… they provide on the spot custom focused care. We have a cell number and can call the Dr direct at any time with questions. Yes, there is a fee… but if you have ever needed answers and quick turnaround, then this is the way to go.
- Pneumonia – Called Dr Ken to get on MDVIP and solve pneumonia issue along with expedite Ultrasound. He had us in the next morning at 8:30, had already seen the scans, prescribed medication and contracted gastric Dr to expedite test after cleared.
- Oncology group has been changed. We were concerned with lack of meetings there and Dr Ken asked if we minded if he could get us in with a different Oncology Dr/Group. We agreed and he got us in with Summit Cancer Care, considered by many to be the best in the area and access to all the cutting edge technology. Dr. Mark interned at Emory University Med Center in Atlanta and they have a premier Cancer Hospital. (more later) Dr Mark is also in our Ham Group and I never knew he was an Oncology Dr. Part of his Bio:
“Mark A. Taylor brings extensive research experience to Summit Cancer Care as a result of ongoing involvement in research trials with the National Cancer Institute. His participation underscores Taylor’s commitment to providing the latest treatment options to cancer patients in Southeast Georgia. He has played an integral role in bringing new clinical trials to the St. Joseph’s/Candler System.”
- Surgeon: This type of cancer is rare and aggressive, Signet ring cell carcinoma. (Leave it to us to find the tough ones!) It is typically treated by Surgery. Our son Scott, through his contacts and via a couple Dr’s passed on Dr. Sarmiento’s name to us. He is Chair of Surgery at Emory University School of Medicine (remember where Dr Mark Interned). We looked him up and were impressed and mentioned him to Dr. Ken last Wed. On Friday he had conducted a hone interview with Dr. Sarmiento and an hour later we were being called for an appointment yesterday in Atlanta for a special scan in the cancer center and then a meeting with the Dr. This is the same doctor who performed the surgery on President Jimmy Carter’s liver cancer at this facility. We are so grateful he took our case. Side note, he knew Dr. Mark (Oncologist) and called him before we even left the office (he had Marks phone number in his cell!!
Ok, that is team and I think it is the best that could possibly be done in the southeast USA. That includes our son who has been supportive and instrumental in getting us info, answers, and reviews. (His sources recommended Sarmiento and confirmed Dr Ken and Dr Mark as 2 of the Best in the Savannah Area. The interrelationships between the team I believe will be a benefit from the standpoint of communication and working together. Special Kudos to Dr. Ken (our Quarterback) as he has been able to make things happen!
Dr Sarmiento reviewed the scans from yesterday and indicated in this type of cancer, the preferred treatment is a series of several rounds of Chemo. He pointed out that studies have shown better success rate this way as opposed to surgery 1st followed by Chemo. He feels that is the preferred treatment here as it will kill random cancer cells up front and also possibly shrink the tumor to give him a better margin during surgery. He agrees with the ultra sound, glad that we are doing it as it will provide more detail but does not change the treatment plan. Once Chemo is complete, we will return to Atlanta for another scan and to look at and hopefully schedule the surgery.
Going forward, the Ultra Sound testing is scheduled for tomorrow and then next Wed we meet with Dr. Mark to discuss the treatment plan directly.
While none of this is good, we are both optimistic and happy that we have a plan going forward. We are pleased with the Team and ready, there help and guidance to win this thing!!!