A Day In The Life......

Friday, April 28, 2006

Clinical Trials Update

Well, one of the Baylor Clinical Trials is a no go due to the fact they don't take our insurance. The other Baylor Doctor that one of our friends helped instrument, has agreed to see Karl for a consultation. They have several different vaccine trials and hopefully Karl will qualify for one or several. Many trials will not take melanoma patients once the disease is progressed to the brain but because Karl's brain metases were superficial and small he's an exception.

Scans are done and we should be at Dr. Wyzinski's next week for the results..pray that there isn't any more surprises.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Chemo Under Way.. Hope For Clinical Trials

Neurosurgeon and Oncologist concur that the two new spots on Karl's brain are too small to operate on and radiation should take care of things. Karl started chemotherapy on Monday. He will have three days this being his last, two week of supporting fluids. He also is doing shots at home of interferon 3x a week. So far the chemo hasn't kicked him yet, he actually had a craving for Arby's last night and I had to run out and get him a second dinner. He's not very tired but a little drained from it. The Nausea was the worst, the nurses got him some emend which works miracles for him.
The interferon he sleeps through most of the side effects- high fever and aches- which also can be managed with aspirin and Aleve. His hair is officially gone due to radiation which is great, no more shaving the head twice a week. His wounds are closing, we only have one tunnel left instead of three.
On the clinical trials, Karl is trying to get in to get blood testing/genetic testing for two. So far we haven't been able to talk to either doctors in charge of the trails but the Oncology center is helping out. One clinical trial is for a melanoma vaccine. The other is for a specialized vaccine based on Karl's melanoma in his body. Hopefully we can get into one or the other because they are here in Dallas- no travel. If we don't we will start looking at NIH in MD.

Friday, April 21, 2006


Neurosurgeon has cleared Karl to drive when needed. Since he hasn't had a seizure and his brain isn't swollen anymore, he's ok to drive. YEAH! I think Karl is overjoyed also as he hates taking the Cancer Bus and misses driving his SAAB. I know I will miss driving the SAAB ;-)

Neurosurgeon detected two .04 mm spots on the top of his brain...he says they were probably there before and just too small to detect. They are on the top (literally of his brain), not in the non operable depths of the brain and easily operable. So we don't know what the future holds.. more brain surgery or if they are going to take a "wait and see if they grow" attitude and give hime more spot radiation. Neuro and Onco are going to talk about it and we will probably know more next week.

This doesn't hold well for the scans next week, we are anticipating that the battle goes on!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Wounds healing..more lumps

The wound doctor was impressed with Karl's healing ability, his wounds are on the way to recovery. Another two weeks of dressing changes and we will go back for a follow up visit.
Karl's insurance cleared him for scans and it looks like some will be this week and next week. The MRI machine is broken- a cleaning person went into the room with a floor buffer which stuck immeadiately to the machine. This week they had to take out the magnets, get the floor buffer off the machine, and re calibrate so things are backed up. So Karl is going to another location tomorrow to get his MRI done, hopefully we will get a clean bill so he can start driving again. The rest of the scans will be this week and early next week.
On a side note we found some more sub skin, size of a pea melanoma spots. One on his left thigh, one on his lower left rib area and one on his left arm at a spot we took out last November. So I am thinking he will have more surgery for those soon. We don't want then to get bigger and cause more surgical complications. Let's all pray his scans don't show anything new happening.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Melanoma Walk

Friends, Coworkers and Family:

This year, I have decided to make a very special commitment. Not to one special someone but this commitment will be meaningful for so many people beyond myself. On May 13th, I, Celine and Anika will be walking in The Schlip Miles for Melanoma Walk. This walk will be much more than “just a walk” – it will be raising money to support Melanoma Cancer Research and Awareness.
For those in Dallas, if you want to support us and walk with us, let Celine know or you can let me
do the walking... all you need to do is visit www.TheSchlip.com and make an online donation. Or, make a check payable to: JASMCF and mail to me.

You may know someone who has been affected by Melanoma Cancer and I would be proud to walk in their honor, as well. Melanoma is the fastest growing cancer in the United States and worldwide. There is no effective medical therapy for metastatic Melanoma. And, there have been no significant advances in treatment in over 30 years. I’m taking on this challenge to do something big that will help raise awareness and help in finding a cure.


Wound Issues

Well, wound specialist Dr. Scott said Karl's wound never really healed - just the skin over it. Thank you inteferon! So we are on wound care for another week-fun for me, as he has tunnels (sking on top closed but nasty mess inside between skin and muscle) and I have to stick a sterile long q-tip with medication on it in the tunnels thus causing him pain two times a day whoo!
Good news, no chemo for now until it all heals so he will be enjoying a wonderful easter brunch at the Marriott to gain the 3lbs he's lost. He's also half way done with the brain radiation and hopefully will have a brain MRI next week so we can get Dr. Tompkins, his Neurologist, to clear him to drive.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Wound Issues

Wednesday night, Karl's wound on his arm lost some staples and was gaping open to his muscle! he has some tunneling- meaning it closed up on the skin level but not healed inside enough causing bacteria to get caught and potential infection. We had this similar problem last year with his leg wound but the leg wound was a lot worse and landed him in the hospital for 3 weeks. We called the surgeon, say him yesterday and Karl is going to a wound specialist next tuesday. The surgeon doesn't see the wound healing properly due to his medications and treatment. Oncologist might want to stop all treatment until his arm wounds heal, we will know more later today.

We also found out that Karl is going for blood matching to hopefully get into the vaccine clinical trial at Baylor Med here in Dallas. They will only take those with the "right blood" meaning general population. Let's all pray Karl matches one of the more popular groups!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Chemo postponed

Chemo will start next week. Karl's blood counts are low and he needs to get them up before they hit him with the chemotherapy. The DTIC will be three days then 1.5 weeks of supporting fluids and two weeks off. Then we repeat indefinitely-not sure how many months, it could be 8 or 4. Karl was relieved so he can go out and have a "last favorite meal" before his tastebuds go south for a while and nothing tastes good to him. Still very light headed from the radiation and feeling a little more up than earlier this week.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Chemo starts today

Well, Karl was surprised to find out he starts chemotherapy today. DTIC 2 weeks 5 days a week and then 2 weeks off to "heal". I think Karl would like a week off before starting, it's kind of a grieving time for him over the loss of appetite and taste, which he needs before starting (or a good meal out of his favorite food). He's been really dizzy and light headed this past weekend and he mentioned something to the nurses, they said it's from the radiation and his brain is swelling a little from it- he's on steriods to control the swelling and they make him look like a chipmunk.

Here's a link for details on the DTIC http://www.chemocare.com/bio/dtic.asp
He's been on this before, the first year he was diagnosed with Cancer so we know what to expect. I think he's also starting the interferon in shot form at home for the rest of the year.

Monday, April 03, 2006

No stitches out yet

Well, Karl went to the surgeon today and the stitches on his arm and back will be in for another nine days. They are still closing up and draining. Karl is frustrated because they are getting uncomfortable and he was ready to have them out. He will be on two antibiotics to help speed the process and take away some of the soreness, the wounds were starting to look like they were turning out bad. He's been really down since last week. He's not been feeling himself, low energy and just out of sorts. I can tell because his right eye droops when he's not feeling well or is stressed. Karl spent the entire weekend sleeping and in the house when he wanted to be out and doing things which made him even more upset. Hopefully Anika and I can find something to cheer him up this week! Last week of interferon and we think he might get a week off before he starts chemo. I am just HAPPY that March is over and we are not doing ANY more surgeries at least for another month or two! Hurrah! Radiation on his arm won't start until he gets the staples out.