OUR JOURNAL: Lessons, Love, & Fighting This Bastard Called Lung Cancer! Session 3&4-Immuno/CT Comparison (February 13-March 6)



Note: All underlined words are links to the sites I am currently discussing.

Team Fist Bump (#teamfistbump) is on a mission: These journals are being published, then shared by many in an effort to reach others needing help in understanding the obstacles suddenly thrust upon them by the diagnosis of cancer. Join our team today by sharing this journal, saying a prayer for Kathy, or giving her an electronic hug or Fist Bump along with an inspirational message in the comments. To read Our Journal’s Previous issues just click the issue you would like to see:

Week 1 (Diagnosis)Week 2 (Biopsy)Week 3 (PET Scan)Week 4 (The Oncologist) , Week 5 (Bone Biopsy), Week 6 (Acceptance of Learning The Stage), Week 7 (Immunotherapy)Week 8 (Team Fist Bump is Intensifying)Week 9 (The New Norm)Session 2-Immunotherapy

My courageous, beautiful wife making her way into Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center for her 3rd Session of Immunotherapy

Tuesday, February 13 – Session 3 of Immunotherapy.

We wake up in the Hyatt House, White Plains in good spirit. I am still upset over being foolish enough to fall victim to a scammer the day before. We start the day off by calling the police so they can file an official police report for bank reimbursement purposes. The officer is friendly and says he will go down to speak to the manager.

As predicted the breakfast is delicious and nutritious. We really enjoy sharing this meal in such beautiful surroundings. We joke around and talk about the day to come. We are excited about presenting Dr. McFarland and nurse Lauren with Official Team Fist Bump t-shirts this morning.

We get the truck loaded and start our 1.5 minute drive to Memorial Sloan Kettering. We do the regular check in, Kathy is called back for Lab work, and at 12:40 PM Kathy’s name is called for our escort to the exam room Dr. McFarland will see us in.

T-Shirt For Dr
Kathy caught unaware as we wait for the doctor to enter the exam room. Notice the two Team Fist Bump t-shirts spread out and waiting to be presented to our heroes!

Dr. McFarland enters and is genuinely appreciative of being presented a Team Fist Bump Tee! Kathy officially indoctrinates him by offering her fist, which he enthusiastically bumps with his own. He is now officially a Team Fist Bumper! Nurse Lauren is busy so we have to give her her shirt later.

Getting down to business, Kathy explains that her cough is now completely gone. After listing to her breathing he can find nothing bad to tell us.

Our next visit to see him will be the biggy. It will include a CAT scan the day before or morning of our next visit. Then he will be able to tell us if the cancer has stopped, slowed down, shrunk, or continued to grow unimpeded by immunotherapy.


We finish up with him and head over to the treat suites waiting area. Kathy is called in and assigned Treatment Suite #17. We settle in by getting her Pandora radio going and set it to the Tim McGraw Channel. The nurses come in and get the drip going. As always, they double check to insure no mistakes with dosage or drug are made. The second nurse hears the music and comments that she gets down with country too. This part is starting to be a relaxing time for us. Thirty minutes later the procedure is complete. We pack up and head for the truck and our drive home.

We stop at the half way point for our sandwich at Starbucks and enjoy each others company. The drive home is pleasant. It is nice that somethings are becoming normal and we know what to expect. Kathy is a veteran now. One tough cookie!!

Wednesday, February 14 – Kathy goes to work at her usual time. I am starting to fall into the nonworking husbands sleeping habits. I had always awaken between 3-4:30 AM when working. Now I find myself sleeping until 7 or 7:30.

The reason this perturbed me today is because it’s Valentines Day and I wanted to give her the chocolate covered strawberries I had stashed in my man-cave. I move them to the fridge for her to find later.

The strawberries don’t have long to wait. By 9:00 AM Kathy is feeling drained by the treatment. She comes home and stretches out on the love seat to nap throughout the day. She does manage to devour two of the strawberries, while insisting that I take one. She doesn’t have to work all that hard at persuading me. 🙂

Around 3:00 Kathy insist I go to join my old writer’s group that I haven’t taken part in since Kathy’s diagnosis. I figure it will give Kathy a chance to relax in peace in quiet so I go.

Once there, I discuss me and Kathy’s idea to turn these journals into a book. I have no desire to continue The Adventures of Nick and Billy at present. The idea is received with enthusiasm by the person I talked to. I think I will start on it soon!

Thursday, February 15 – Kathy is able to work all day.

We visit Kathy’s mom’s house where her brother cooks a spectacular prime rib (Anyone wanting the recipe just ask by clicking here!). I can’t wait to cook this for Kathy and myself some time down the road!

Friday, February 16 – Kathy goes to work all day. She is feeling good.

Saturday-Monday, February 17 – 19 – We enjoy a long weekend because Kathy is off on Monday for President’s Day. We spend 80% of this time marathoning the series Blacklist on Netflix. We are definitely getting hooked!

Tuesday, February 20 – Kathy returns to work (Blahh) and is able to work all day (Yayyy). We have come up with an idea to help others cover cancer related expenses by attending their fundraisers where we will autograph books and donate all profits to the individual or organization holding the event! We are stoked!!

I contact Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center first and am awaiting a reply to my email.

Next, I contact the American Cancer Society. What a great conversation I have with them. They are forwarding my information to their office in my region. She thinks Kathy and I might be helpful in several fundraisers they put on annually. Crossing fingers for this!

Wednesday, February 21 – Kathy goes to work and works all day!

I contact Cancer Care, concerning Team Fist Bump assisting them with fundraisers. They are concerned that our idea will add an unwanted “carnival-like atmosphere” to their events. I send them an email proposal stating Team Fist Bump isn’t your average manufacture wanting to ply their wares. The Founder of this group has Stage 4 Lung Cancer – a person your organization states they are out to help. We shall see if we can get on board!

Thursday, February 22 – Kathy goes to work and works all day!

Friday, February 23 – Kathy goes to work and works all day!

Saturday/Sunday, February 24/25 – We hang out together and marathon Blacklist on Netflix.

Monday-Friday, February 26-March 2 – Kathy goes to work and works all day/everyday!

Monday – Kathy and I visit Meyer Tool Inc., where I work and hand out a bunch of Team Fist Bump member t-shirts. I give Kathy the t-shirt and tell her the name of the person she will be presenting it too. She hands it over with a big hug. What a great day with lots of tears. Kathy loves everyone she meets. Such a beautiful group of people. Thank you!

Three members of Team Fist Bump from Meyer Tool Inc. There are another 20 or so that I was unable to post in this picture. We love you guys and gals!

Throughout the week I continue searching for individuals and organizations that Team Fist Bump might be able to assist in their fundraising endeavors.

Saturday, March 3 – We video the drawing of our Team Fist Bump appreciation gift! Congratulations Rhonda of Dothan, AL!!

Resource/Info link mentioned in video for those newly diagnosed with cancer: Diagnosed With Cancer, What Now? Team Fist Bump Shares Their Experience.

Our Son-in-Law, Wolfie, brings the grand babies over to visit. A bad northeaster came through and their home was hit bad, which included their home loosing power.

Sunday, March 4 – Wolfie returns with the babies. He has tripped and burned his arm and hand on the wood burning stove in his home. He’s keeping an eye on it before going to the clinic. He’s a paramedic so I suppose he’ll know when it needs medical attention at a level greater than what he can manage.

We have a good day of visiting!

Monday, March 5 – Kathy goes to work. She will be getting off at noon. Today we head for Memorial Sloan Kettering for a CT scan. This CT will be used to compare with a CT taken a few days before Kathy’s first treatment session with immunotherapy. We are hoping that the tumors have stopped growing.

I pull into Walmart and as I am putting on my walking boot for my broken foot, my phone rings. It is Tina, with the American Cancer Society. She has read Team Fist Bump’s proposal and thinks we can be a fantastic part of the Relay For Life Event coming up in June! When I get home I tell Kathy, who has just returned home from work. She is very excited!

More details of this event can be found by clicking here. If you are interested in representing Team Fist Bump at this event, or any other, please “Follow” this blog so you can be contacted as new events are added! Also, for those members that plan to represent Team Fist Bump at an event, and have not yet received a t-shirt, just let me know and I’ll order you one (or more) at cost, which I can present to you at the event. These shirts will be offered at cost, between $7.50 – $10.50, depending on how many join up to take part. Also, please give me the sizes you require. Available in Men’s, Lady’s, and Youth sizes.

We depart at 2 PM, stop at our usual McDonalds for a couple of breakfast sandwiches, then arrive at the Hyatt House by 3:30 PM. Kathy is just as excited by our room as always. We have a little time to kill before departing at 4:45 so we unpack and chill.

We arrive at Memorial Sloan Kettering around 5:00 and are soon led to the radiology waiting room where Kathy is given a raspberry flavored drink to prep for the CT with contrast. After she finishes this she is taken back to receive an IV injection of something else needed for the CT. At 6:00 she is taken back for the scan.

Afterwards, we head back to the hotel where we just make it in time to enjoy the free dinner provided for guest. Once in the room Kathy pulls out a blanket that she covers us with on the sofa where we sit quietly watching TV until 9:30 when we go to bed. We have a lot on our minds this evening…praying that we receive happy news tomorrow.

A busy day lies ahead!

Tuesday, March 6 – The BIG day! To find out if these past 3 sessions of immunotherapy have been working for Kathy.

I wake up around 5:30 to start catching up on this blog. Kathy and I realize that this is an important one for Team Fist Bump, and don’t want you to wait long for the results.

Kathy soon joins me in the living area of the suite. She watches news while I type away. At 8:00 we head down for a fantastic breakfast spread set out for guest. Nervous conversation takes place over our eggs, sausage, fruit, and oatmeal. We are ready!

Me taking a break from writing this blog long enough for Kathy to take a picture:) We had about an hour before we had to leave for Memorial Sloan Kettering.

At 12:10 we arrive at Memorial Sloan. Kathy goes in for Lab work and I guard our seats in the waiting area. She has no problem with a fast heart rate so she rejoins me quickly.

Kathy and I sitting in the waiting room. Anxious to learn the results of using the drug Keytruda.

At 1:50 we are led into the examination room where Dr. McFarland, Kathy’s oncologist will meet us and share the comparison results using the CT scan she took last night.

Kathy with her Oncologist, Dr. McFarland. He had walked in sporting his Team Fist Bump member t-shirt.

Dr. McFarland walks in wearing his Team Fist Bump member t-shirt which gets Kathy extremely excited. She jumps up and gives him a hug. This guy is definitely Team Fist Bump material!

He takes his usual place at the desk, I take my usual seat by the door, and Kathy sits on the high-dollar examination chair. Kathy says, “Well doctor, what’s the results.”

This is the moment we had been waiting for. Scared to hear what he might say. Hoping to hear that the growth has stopped completely. A slight grin gives it away and much of our worries melt away.

“Well Kathy,” he says. “There is significant shrinkage in all of your tumors. One of them was resolved, meaning it is no longer visible on the CT scan.”

Kathy starts bawling and says, “Doctor. give me a hug.” I sit there giving Kathy thumbs up and yayyyy’s. The room is lighter than I’ve ever felt it! The doctor goes on to explain the tumor sizes, which I have added below for you to view:

Comparison Image

The doctor goes on to say that perhaps in the future (6 months or so), he will set Kathy up with a radiation oncologist to zap out the smaller tumors of the lymph nodes. He also says that Kathy will receive another CT scan after 3 more sessions of immunotherapy to hopefully see continued shrinkage of the tumors. At this time she will also receive another PET scan to confirm that the cancer has not spread further. So now we have another big date to count down for:) Always a BIG day ahead!

The doctor tells Kathy she will be getting Zometa, along with the Pembrolizumab at today’s treatment session. Kathy says, “Let’s do this!” Nothing can dampen the mood in this room right now! Dr. McFarland discusses setting Kathy up with a pain management doctor on our next visit in 3 weeks. Kathy’s sciatic nerve is acting up.

The doctor walks out, and as we are getting our secret weapons to behave (War Bear has been acting up a lot today. He’s constantly trying to get out of the back pack he shares with Love Pillow), the doctor comes back into the room and says to Kathy, “I almost forgot the fist bump.” He sticks his fist out and Kathy seals the deal!

We head over to the treatment suite and after a short wait we are led to Room #17. This time is spent sharing with family the great news we had just received. The 45 minutes here go quickly. Kathy is unhooked, and we head out to the truck for our drive home. We even by-pass the Starbucks we usually stop at. We have pizza at home and I’m itching to work on this blog so I can publish it tomorrow!

We get home, walk inside, and give each other a gigantic hug. Team Fist Bump prayers have worked! Thank you all!!!


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