Friday, February 27, 2009

More Waiting

Derek's follow-up with the surgeon went well yesterday. The incision is healing well & he had the staples removed. He's released for light duty at work - obviously no heavy lifting for another 5 weeks & he must mindful of fatigue.

Pathology results are in: he has embryonal carcinoma of the testis. This is the most common form of testicular cancer for his age group. Possible treatment options are: 1) follow-up testing & scans for a specified period of time - better known as "watch & wait method;" 2) removal of lymph nodes for further testing, which involves a complex surgery with a long recovery; 3) chemotherapy; and 4) any combination of the above.

Standard operating procedure when a positive result returns from pathology is to send the patient to oncology for a consult. When we asked the surgeon for his opinion about what method of treatment we might be taking, his answer was "my opinion is that you need to speak with the oncologist." Gee. Thanks for the reassurance. Don't get me wrong, I get it. In this sue-happy world that we live in, he's not willing to stick his neck out there when the oncologist needs to have a say. Still. Throw us a bone here! we got a second opinion from the head of urology at a large area hospital (a doctor who just happens to be a long-time friend of the family, as well). He spent a good thirty or forty-five minutes going over everything in detail, including diagnosis & treatment options. In his professional opinion based on the information at hand, he cannot see any reason why we will not be in the "watch and wait" treatment plan. While I felt confident, even yesterday, that this would be the answer we would receive, it was still nice hearing it from someone who knows a thing or two about testicular cancer & its treatments.

We have an appointment with the oncologist on Wednesday of next week. Regardless of outcome, we will be seeking a second opinion. That may seem odd. But as I've told several people, I would love to hear good news more than once.

Thank you for your continued prayers.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

In Case You're Wondering

We're still here. Just don't really have a lot to tell you. Derek is doing well. Just sore. But what else can you expect from a four-inch, stapled incision? We go back to the surgeon on Thursday to have the staples removed and (hopefully) get all of the remaining test results. Thank you for your calls, your cards, your thoughts, and your prayers! We'll keep you in the loop when we get any new news.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Many Thanks

First of all, thank you all so much for your thoughts and prayers today - and in the coming weeks. Today's surgery went very well. It took about an hour, just as the doctor said. Derek was not intubated so anesthesia was not as heavy & thus recovery time was shorter. We were home & settled in by 10 a.m. He's currently dozing/resting in the recliner & is tolerating food just fine. Pre-op scans & x-rays were normal, and the tumor was contained in the one testicle. Blood results did not show anything surprising - the tumor marker & WBC numbers were high. The doctor believes we'll have the remaining test results by next Thursday's post-op appointment. In the meantime, it's all about rest & healing.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Personal Prayer Request

I cannot think of a post in recent memory that's been as difficult to write as this one. It's not often easy in these instances to say just the right thing in just the right way. But for me ... to write this post is to acknowledge a reality that hadn't really hit me until the words were in black and white.

But you, dear friends & family, should know what's going on now. Now that the path is very clear. What I'm about to tell you is very serious and will likely require you to be sitting down. I've just found that scary news is often better-handled when one is sitting down - prepared for it to come. I will warn you: I am not going to spare the information. So if you're a sissy, be prepared for NO censoring.


Over the weekend, Derek was experiencing some discomfort in his groin. This led him to do a self-exam in which he discovered a suspicious lump in his testicle. He met with his primary care physician on Monday who referred him for an ultrasound. Tuesday's ultrasound showed a 1.2 cm solid mass on his right testicle. His primary care discussed the test results. In short, 95% of solid testicular masses are malignant. On the upside, the mass is small and probably in early stages of development. (It certainly wasn't there 18 mos. ago when he had his physical!) His primary care referred him to a urologist who is better-equipped to deal with the mass. We met with the urologist Thursday. He confirmed that most masses are malignant and that the testicle will definitely need to be removed for biopsy. We asked about second opinions and oncology consults, but the simple answer is: the first course of action for any specialist is to remove the testicle for pathological testing. So ... next week, Derek will have his right testicle removed. It will take anywhere from three days to two weeks to receive the results from pathology. From there, we'll know: a) whether it's cancer, b) what stage it is, c) what type it is, and d) whether further treatment will be required. They ran a whole battery of tests on Thursday - from bloodwork (looking for certain markers) to C/T scans to x-rays - and will run a few more on Monday in preparation for Tuesday's surgery. Aside from the surgery, all we can do now is wait.

Please pray for us over the next couple of weeks as we await the results & what steps may lie ahead.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Love Notes

So here's what would happen if Derek & Skeet wrote love notes to their leading ladies. Except they would probably do it on purpose just for S-n-Gs. ... Nah. They'd just laugh about the accidental subliminal message & claim they were brilliant enough to do it on purpose.

Pearls Before Swine

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Weekend Roundup

Alrighty. So I did survive the Great Big Bad Cold of 2009, thanks for asking. I went to work Thursday & Friday - needed to get some reports done & just couldn't stand to think about what my desk would look like after being out a whole week. Plus, I was going stir crazy at home. In the end, I can't say it was the smartest decision as I was by no means even close to 100% on Thurs. In fact, I got a lot of "gee, you don't look so good." To which I replied, "you should have seen me on Monday." I mean, what else do you say?

I actually didn't really feel "on the mend" until yesterday. It was like I was finally out from under the cloud. My singing voice is certainly not back yet. It sounded pretty weak & pathetic this morning. I also still have a little cough & drainage. But I'm blaming that on my allergies, which are certainly on full tilt once again & definitely a contributing factor to the Big Bad Cold of 2009. People, I cannot think of a time in recent memory when I've been that sick/felt that bad, so let this be a lesson to all of you - get your rest & get your flu shot.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

I'll Survive

Thanks for asking. If I wasn't sick before I went to the doctor's office, I certainly will be now .... after sitting in the waiting room for more than 30 min. listening to the cacophony of coughing - mine included - and sniffing, wheezing, and sneezing. Fabulous! Prognosis: I will survive. What most likely started as a combination of cold & allergies has turned into an upper respiratory infection & mild sinus infection. Sounds like fun, yes? Not really. Unless your idea of fun is a dry cough, scratchy throat, and general feeling of run-over-by-a-truck. But. Fear not. I am now armed with z-pac (to which, get this, I may be allergic...nice), mucus thinner, and a crapload of cough drops. Oh yeah. And acidophilus. B/c you can never be too careful with the internal flora & fauna, right? *wink* One more day at home (low-grade temp & all) and I should be good to go.

I'm Sick

It sucks. Been home from work the last two days. Going to the dr today. Sniff-sniff, cough-cough. That about sums up the last three days.

Sunday, February 01, 2009


So let's see. The wintry weather gave way to milder weather (temps in the 60s). Had a good voice lesson on Thursday. We started pulling music for a May recital & fall program for a professional group my voice teacher would like me to join. I've decided to challenge myself with an entire section of French music. For those of you who know me & know my current repertoire, you know that I've been avoiding performing my French arias about like I would avoid the plague. But I decided that I'm never going to be comfortable with it and a performance is a challenge to strive to perfect it rather than sweep it under the rug and ignore it. After all, a lot of the really wonderful coloratura roles are in French. 

Went to the opera with a girlfriend last night. I was really looking forward to the performance. Roberto Devereux is rarely performed, so to see it live was a real treat. The singers were terrific. I was only mildly intrigued by the story. In fact, I found it slow-moving and ... well, boring. *honk-shoo* I actually fought very hard to stay awake in the last act. Shhhh - don't tell! *wink*

I worked on fighting off that cold that Derek has tried to share with me. Finally succumbed. Woke up yesterday with a scratchy throat that just wouldn't go away. This morning, I'm officially voiceless. *sigh* That kinda impedes the progress in the singing department. I'm hoping lots of rest will be the answer. I really need not miss another voice lesson. And I know my paid church gig needs me on Wednesday. Here's hoping for a quick recovery.