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Jeffrey's story

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Today is April 18, 2011. Once again I am writing during Holy Week because God is good. My husband remains cancer free. I haven't been on this forum in 2 years but Jeffrey ran into someone at a cancer benefit concert who was interested in his story. He asked me to send the gentleman this post so here I am, glad to continue to share his miracle. Bless all of you in your journey as you are a strength to everyone who struggles with you now and in the coming years as many more are counted among the long term survivors of "The Beast".

Today is April 2, 2009 and as I prepare for Holy Week I have been thinking about all of the events of 4 years ago. Today my husband remains cancer free and is a working, loving productive individual. As you travel through your own personal hell with this I want you to understand that there are people who survive stage 4 NSCLC and my Jeffrey is one of them. On Friday he is having surgery for a hernia which got very large because none of us wanted to deal with hospitals again! We are grateful for the support of this forum. It was and is an enormous help. There was a time when we lived on these boards. I never thought we'd see "normal" again but here we are.

Jeffrey's story

Around Christmas time in December 2004 I began wondering what the hell was wrong with my husband. He was distant, ornery, and just generally awful. I repeatedly drilled him as to what was going on and he just kept saying that he didn't feel well. He went to our family doctorwho gave him Biaxin for an upper respiratory infection. He just kept getting worse and I started to suspect drug abuse because he works on South Beach and ...well, you know how it goes. Anyway, he got to the point where he was losing words for simple things. He would point and say "go get that,that,that...thing". I knew something awful was going on. Then on January 12, 2005 I brought home subs for dinner and he asked what it was and I told him it was an Italian Classic and then he said, "No, what is it..what am I suppose to do with it?" He didn't even know it was a sandwich! The next day I had my friends from the fire dept come and take him to the ER. Everyone thought he had had a stroke and was blaming me for not getting him in earlier. I kept trying to tell them there was no "event" just a progression of wierd behavior. They did a CT Scan and found the first tumors (8) in his brain. I was struck dumb. I didn't even cry In fact I don't remember what I did except just sit there. He was admitted and during the next week there were MRIs and a liver biopsy and more scans. Ultimately his diagnosis was Stage 4 nsclc with mets to the brain and liver. The doctor gave him 1-3 months. He went on decadron for the swelling from the brain tumors and that helped him become much less "clouded" in his thinking. At least we were able to face this together with our children John 12 and Megan 10. I got our affairs in order, had him make a living will, got durable power of attorney and then I went on the internet to learn as much as I could about this new fact of our lives. I found out about Gamma Knife for the brain tumors but the first two radiologists refused to perform it on patients with more than 4 tumors. Then I found Dr. Aziak Wolf. We took Jeff's scans to him and he said "I can do that". The Gamma Knife surgery was performed on Feb 1 and 2, 2005. All 8 mets were done in two sessions. He was totally clear in his mind, felt great and returned to work. He also began chemo treatments which worked well on the primary lung tumor but not as well on the liver tumor. He then was switched to Tarceva. That was 2 months ago He will have a scan tomorrow to see if he needs to go back to chemo. In the meantime, he got 5 new tumors in the brain which we had Gamma Knifed out this morning. We are now prepping for cyberknife of the liver tumor but we need to get new scans before we absolutely go ahead with it. :? This is not a journey I would wish on my worst enemy but with the support of my friends,family, and church family we are not making it alone. Jeffrey is still working and still feeling great. We keep reminding ourselves that every day is one more than all of his many doctors (except Dr. Wolf) gave him and thank God that He had other plans.

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