We have Melinda news! When her chemo ended over a month ago now, all we knew were generalities... There was talk of radiation, but nothing beyond her PET scans scheduled for the New Year (3 January). We saw her oncologist Dr. Garland a week later and got good news - radiologist report says: "near-complete metabolic response of the primary tumor and para-tracheal nodes and complete metabolic response of the pancreatic lesion"! With that, Dr. Garland handed us off to the radiation oncologist Dr. Yi, and in the last 10 days she's had a brain MRI (completely normal), and she also had a chest CT to layout a coordinate grid, complete with tattoos to position her upcoming radiation. The CT, while not as sensitive to cancerous tumors as a PET scan, showed no signs of cancer, said Dr. Yi... The photo at left shows the patient today with some flowers she recently received.
She has enjoyed the last 5 weeks off from treatments, just diagnostic scans, but that is about to end as the radiation treatments start in 8 days on the 29th. It sounds pretty aggressive - 2 treatments a day (early morning and late afternoon) at UMC (about a half hour each) for 5 days a week for 3+ weeks, then full-brain radiation for a couple weeks after that to zap any microscopic cancer cells that may reside there, since the chemo she's received doesn't pass the blood/brain barrier. There is also talk of one more cycle of chemo after all the time off she has enjoyed. That will likely happen just before or concurrent to the start of her radiation. Hopefully, around the time of her birthday (15 March), ALL treatments will be finished and she'll have something to really celebrate!
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Credit where credit is due...
All photos are by Dean and Melinda Ketelsen - even the really cool astrophotography ones. Granted, some pics have come from the Internet...such as pictures of actors, or of Miss Tohono O'odham, etc. However, the astronomy pics, as well as the bird pics are all original - compliments of Dean, and sometimes Melinda too! Layout, editing, and continual tweaking (I think they call that "desk top publishing"), well, that would be the work of "I know I can make this better" Melinda!