Holiday break and Treatment

It’s been a couple of weeks since I updated this thing so, I figured I’d let everyone know how treatment is going.  I started the trial drug combination a week ago, today.  When I first heard the word ‘trial’ I assumed that it was just another shot in the dark. The reality is that these drugs have a good chance of helping, even if just a small amount. This particular trial is actually a combination of two drugs that have shown to be successful but have never been paired together.  One drug is an immunotherapy that turns your immune system against the cancer and the other is an inhibitor that stops the cancer cells from multiplying.  We are going this route because Chemotherapy has shown to have little success and will tear my destroy my body to the point where I will not be eligible for trials later. We found what we believe to be my best option for a cure and went for it!

Monday began with a lot of blood work, EKGs, and questions about my health.  Soon after, they started me on the IV of the first drug which, went smoothly. It was painless and there were not any apparent side affects.  Soon after I took my first dose of the pills.  I am to take the pills twice a day, on the first and third week of the trial.  The IV is only once a month at the beginning of the twenty-eight (28) day cycle. After I completed the dosing process, we were released to go home! We drove back down to Colorado Springs and I felt great. I actually went into work to meet with the coaches and tried to get a workout in….that was a bad choice. All of the side affects the doctor had warned me about hit me all at once. Hot flashes, nausea, fatigue, and worst of all upset stomach.  Unable to finish my workout, I went home and laid down. I stayed in bed for about three days.  The side affects came on strong and became much worse than I figured they would be.  We tried everything but no matter what we did my stomach refused to settle and I couldn’t sleep without waking up covered in sweat.  Finally, on Friday morning we had a follow up appointment with my Oncologist where we informed him of the intense side affects. He was upset that we didn’t say something sooner. I had lost eight (8) lbs in four (4) days due to lack of appetite and restlessness. In hopes to get me feeling better, the doctor combined my dose with a steroid in order to limit the side affects. Once the steroid hit my system I felt almost 80% better.  The good news is… I have a week to recover and get back to feeling like myself again.  I will be returning to work and the gym for this week with hopes that I am able to continue doing so throughout the upcoming doses next week as well.

As far as how break went, it was amazing! I was able to get down to Newnan to see my younger brother’s family as well as all of those family members who drove in. Also, Brandon Veasey and Britt were able to coordinate a little surprise get together of a group of Newnan folks that I was so excited to see (picture below). I was even able to see some of my old High School football coaches which was awesome! It was a huge surprise and again, I am taken back by the amount of support that I have. We then drove up to Nashville for New Years with some of the Academy boys.
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Unfortunately, I do have to share some bad news. My hip pain has continued to grow and we found out why….the most recent MRI showed that the tumor in my hip has nearly doubled in size since October (to the size of 17cm by 12 cm).  While this tumor does not threaten my life, it rests on my sciatic nerve so it has and is going to continue to cause a lot of pain. At this time, we are waiting to hear from my Orthopedic Surgeon to see what he thinks the best option is. I am keeping faith that it will all work out.

Lastly, I have to share something that was sent to me since my last post that’s helped me and might give you a little comfort.  “Even when you can’t explain the WHY behind the WHAT you can trust the WHO.”

I love you all – no more complaining ‘Why Me’ and change it to ‘Try Me’

 

Holiday break and Treatment

Chondrosarcoma: Background and current status

It all started about a year and a half ago.  Of all things I can credit for helping me discover my health issue, I have to say it’s flag football. I was playing on our on-base team when made a hard cut and felt a deep sharp pain in my left hip joint. I didn’t think too much of it until I was still having issues a couple of weeks later. I had an X-ray done and it was then that the doctors realized my bone color was off and they immediately ordered an MRI. Eventually they discovered, at the time, what they thought was a cyst in the head of my femur. They believed that it was causing the bone to collapse. In November of 2014, I had surgery to drill into the joint and scrape/pack the cyst with bone graph.  The biopsy came back negative for cancer cells and I was told that I would make a full recovery.  I was obviously excited with the fact that I would be fine, so I went about life trying to heal.

Unfortunately, I never felt 100% and the pain slowly returned. By the time the summer came around, I was back to a limp and knew something wasn’t right. Once I returned to work in Aug, I went and saw my orthopedic surgeon and explained the pain that I had been experiencing. He ordered another MRI and the results were not good. The bone looked like it was dying. The doctors thought that it was something called avascular necrosis which is essentially bone death due to lack of blood flow. This meant that I needed to have my hip replaced before it broke. On September 5th, 2015, I had a full left hip replacement which, went extremely well…except one thing.  The doctors found that the head of my femur was as soft as a ‘stress ball’ and they became very concerned that it could be diseased bone.

3 weeks later, while home trying to recover from the surgery, I received a call from the orthopedic surgeon. I knew something wasn’t right as it was a saturday and I was getting a call from the doctor directly.  He stated, “You have been diagnosed with a rare bone cancer called Chondrosarcoma.” I was speechless, lost, angry, confused….I was caught completely off guard.

After a couple of days of wondering and doing my own research, we started the process of scans. I had CT scans, MRIs, and bone scans. The results also presented some bad news. The cancer had spread to my lungs. I had two (2) small masses in my right lung along with one (1) in my left lung, all of which needed to be removed. So, the second week of October, I had my first Video Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery on my right lung.  While it went well, it was not a fun recovery as the surgeon had to go in through my ribs. Both masses came back positive as Chondrosarcoma so 2 weeks later I had surgery on my left lung. Again, not a fun recovery but I am done with surgeries…at least for now.

I was considered mass free since the news of cancer a couple of months prior and I was finally starting to feel hopeful and healthy again. I had dropped nearly 30 lbs but was given the approval to workout and return to work which, I must say felt amazing.  My oncologist ordered another round of scans which were intended to be base-line scans.  This means that the new scans would show me without masses in my body and would be compared to any scans in the future. Again, more bad news came from the scans.

The scans showed 8 masses in my lungs and another in my left hip which had already grown to the size of a golfball.  I couldn’t believe it….I honestly thought there was no way things could get any worse but, somehow they were.  We were hoping that I would be eligible for a trial that has had some success in Chondrosarcoma but unfortunately, my cancer does not have the eligible mutation. Therefore,  I am left to explore other options.  I am planning on starting a promising trial at the beginning of January in Denver.

So, thats where I am right now….I have to thank a couple people real quick.  First, I have to thank both the Prep-School and Academy football staffs for their incredible support throughout all of this.  My family has been so amazing.  Whether it was flying out to help me after surgery or the countless calls and texts to check in on me. It means more than you know! My academy friends have been awesome as well.  The flights out to see me, planning guys trips, and even the quick face-time…it changes my day every time. Finally, my amazing girlfriend.  She will never truly know how much I appreciate her taking care of me through four (4) major surgeries, going to dozens of appointments, and keeping me motivated to get out of bed and fight everyday. I’ll never be able to explain to you how much it means to me, but I am forever thankful. I love you

I will be going to Newnan and Atlanta for Christmas and then headed to Nashville for New Year. Britt and I would love to see some of my old friends if anyone is around.

Thank you so much for the continued thoughts and prayers. Its because of you that I am able to stop complaining and asking ‘why me’ and start standing strong and saying ‘TRY ME’.

All The Best – Cars

 

Chondrosarcoma: Background and current status