Answers and Responses…

One thing that I have heard over and over again is “But I don’t understand, I thought his MRI was great.”  I totally understand that confusion. The purpose of this blog post is to try to answer the questions that I’ve been getting this week in one place.  I figure if this many people have asked me, there are probably plenty that haven’t asked.

With glioblastoma’s, once they are diagnosed, the cancer has already infiltrated the brain.  Here are the sad statistics:
The 2 year survival rate is about 9%, 5 year: 3% and 10 years around 1.7%. The big problem with glioblastoma is the aggressiveness of the tumor, and the difficulty of drug penetrating the brain tissue.  Yes, Mike’s tumor was completely removed, praise God!  He will be rechecked every 8 weeks for regrowth.  These cancer cells are aggressive. The MRI doesn’t show cancer cells, it only shows tumors once they are formed.   I thank God all the time that Mike’s tumor was in a location that was able to be removed surgically, and that it was in the area of the brain that it was in.  The deficits that he experiences aren’t that bad.  He still has the blind right side, but that is bearable.

Let me repeat what I have said over and over…I HAVE HOPE.  These statistics mean absolutely nothing when you have faith in God the healer.  God uses all things for good.  ALL things!  I have found long term survivors, they are out there.  Mike can be one of them.  Because there are no tumors we can believe that he has been healed, but we have not felt a release to stop treatment.  We believe that he is walking the road he is supposed to walk.  Receiving treatment does not mean we believe any less in God’s ability to heal miraculously.  God works in different ways for different people.  Some people I believe are miraculously healed, and some are healed through doctors and medication.

Because of how aggressive this cancer is, even with the tumor removed, we are continuing to fight the cancer aggressively.  This treatment is taking its toll on Mike’s body and his bloodwork has been coming back low.  Specifically his platelets.  Platelets are what stop the bleeding when you get a cut.  The biggest concern is bleeding with low platelets.  Not only the danger of a simple cut, but random bleeding and bruising.  The normal range for platelets is 150-400.  About a month ago when Mike’s platelets were around 80 he had a very small cut on his finger that bled slow and steady for 6 hours.  His platelets were 19 yesterday, and 15 Friday.  They have to be above 100 to resume treatment. When they are below 20 a transfusion is necessary.  For now he is being checked every 48 hours because a platelet transfusion only lasts about 72 hours then those platelets are gone and it is up to Mike’s body to produce them, if they don’t he is given a transfusion to stay out of danger.

He was supposed to have Avastin and Chemo yesterday but because his body isn’t ready for it, treatment has been put on hold until his bloodwork comes back higher. We are anxious to resume treatment to fight the cancer, but at the same time, we understand that his body has to be up for the fight.  I’m trusting God’s timing.  He had a platelet transfusion on Friday, and another yesterday.  This means we go to the hospital, he gets an IV and the Red Cross sends a bag of Platelets over for him.  The first process was about 6 hours, but because he left his blood bank bracelet on it took about 3 hours this last time.

I pray for renewed strength for Mike.  As tough as he is, he is tired of the needles.  Anybody would be.  Because of the low platelets he has some bruising, but they have to continue to draw blood and give him IV’s when needed.  His fatigue isn’t as bad this week as it was before Thanksgiving.

I know that there are a lot of people that truly care and I just wanted to try to help people understand what he is going through and what he is facing.  I hope this doesn’t hinder anyone’s positive thinking, but there are so many people that just have no idea what is going on, and I wanted to explain it here instead of sending multiple messages explaining it.  I appreciate the questions that have been sent because it shows honest concern.  🙂

7 responses to “Answers and Responses…

  • Tony Martin

    Shauna, can blood be donated to help with the supply of platelets? If so, who do I need to contact to make that happen? I work in the “building” with Mike, and just wanted to know how or if I can help. Have a blessed day.

    • shaunablogsphotostuff

      Mike’s sister told me that with their Dad’s cancer battle this last year that they donated blood in his name through the Red Cross and that his Dad got “credit” for it and did not have to pay for blood during his treatment. She told me that blood can get expensive, and I honestly didn’t even think about it until she mentioned it and I haven’t had a chance to think about who I should call to find out. We didn’t think to ask specific insurance questions about the transfusion and then after the fact we figured we would just wait and see what bills arrive. When I look into this I will let you know. Thank you so much, it really means a lot.

      • Tony Martin

        Shauna, it’s been a while since I’ve last visited your blog, but I have seen Mike at work several times since then. I am inspired by his positive spirit, although I’m sure it’s a daily battle. My mother was a warrior as well, and I see that same fight in him. I’ll call the Red Cross and ask about donating for Mike, and post my findings as I learn more. Until then, take care and stay in the fight.

  • Jerry Santiago

    My wife is a cancer survivor. So yes, God is a Healer. And all things are possible for those that believe. We all thank God for the wonderful women in our lives. I’m sure Mike is just as grateful. My wife and I will continue to pray for Mike. No weapon formed against Mike will prosper, in the name of the Jesus the Healer. With God’s blessings, Jerry and Francine Santiago.

  • Jon Zayicek

    Keep up the good fight Mike. You are a trooper and you will get through this. The Zayicek family is sending the good vibes, thoughts and prayers to you and your family. If you guys need anything please do not hestitate to call me.

  • Robin

    Thanks for the update and i believe there is hope for Mike to be the longest survivor yet. I know God heals and he has given us the Dr’s and medication to make that happen…I Am so happy that his tumor was in the place it was and feel confident that the treatment will be stop all the other cancer cells. I am a 10 year cancer survivor, and know God is still doing miracles…
    Praying for you and Mike and family..Hope he is feeling much better real soon..
    Love Robin Eckwerth

  • Ryan Kelleher

    Hang in there Mike, times might be tough but it’s clear that you have a very loving family and your faith is strong. Working with you; one would never know how tired you must feel at times. Your internal strength in the face of such adversity is a inspiration to all. Siobhan and I wish you the very best and pray that you are allowed to successfully continue the necessary treatment as expediently as possible.

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