Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Pathology Results

Mom here: Well, we met with the surgeon today and Nick finally got the gauze taken out of his nose - much, much better. However, the pathology report indicates findings of "viable activity" in the tissue removed from Nick last week. The surgeon went on to say Nick will resume at least 2 more rounds of chemo in about 3 weeks. "Any questions?" he asks us. Upon asking him what this means in layman's terms, he responded by saying there are still active cancer cells in the original tumor site. "I realize this, but what does this mean?" The answer is one I think we'll be hearing alot - "I don't know". The tests can determine the tumor to have completely dead tissue, completely active tissue or somewhere in between. Nick is somewhere in between. There is no indication of how many of the cells are cancerous, but obviously not too many as it wasn't picked up on his scans.

Usually, with rhabdo cancer, the surgeon will completely remove all the tumor and area surrounding the tumor. In Nick's case, he was not aggressive in order to preserve Nick's facial bone and muscle structure. There is a fine line he works with in trying to get as much cancerous tissue as possible without compromising Nick and hoping the next 2 chemo treatments finish off the remaining "viable" cells. Nick has been very responsive to the chemo so far so we remain cautiously optimistic. At the end of the next 2 rounds, he'll have scans done again to see if anything has changed. If the remaining cells are resistant to chemo, Nick will be facing some serious, aggressive surgery. If he continues to be responsive, he will have scans every 3 months for the next 2 years. Remission doesn't mean "cured"; it means "I don't know".

We're going to put a positive spin on "I don't know" and he is going to go ahead and enroll at the Univ of Utah for winter semester. There are some terrific cancer scholarships available to Nick, too. I don't know why he can't still go to college...

Enlisting in the Army National Guard and battling cancer isn't enough to worry me with so he has decided to get a motorcycle. He takes off to California tomorrow to spend some time with his Aunt Chris, Uncle Stan and his cousin Stuart where a new bike awaits him. I don't know why he can't go have some fun... He will have a fabulous time!

Eternal gratitude to everyone for their love! I don't know how we would have made it this far without you!



Chris Ulvin said...

Dear Lori, Nick, Todd, Carly, Kelsey, and Lee
There is a lot "I don't know". The most important thing I do know can't be found by scans or human inventions. My soul (another thing that can't be located by an MRI or surgery) knows that there is a loving God, a savior Jesus, a mentor Holy Spirt - one God - three dimensions. I know the bible is the word of God and I look to it daily for guidance and hope. The bible instructs me to pray. I will continue to pray for complete healing for Nick and our cousin Amy. I am inspired by your positive spin on the unknowns - I'm glad Nick will continue to fight, learn, and play. I'm thankful he has doctors to help with the fight, college friends to help with the learning and family to help with the play. I'm eternally grateful we all have the promise of God to take care of the unknowns. May God guide our feet into the path of peace. Love always, aunt Chris.

Chris Ulvin said...

Happy Sunday Nick
Enjoy a day of rest - to get you ready for hockey games and bull riding. I'm smiling while picturing God resting after all the work He has done this past week in the creation of Mr. Nicholas William Raitt. I will continue to pray for you daily. May God cover all your "I don't knows" with His grace and love. Amen.
Love, aunt Chris