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Cautiously Optimistic

Summer is nearly over, and once again we find ourselves in the waiting room of dad's oncologist's office, a now familiar place, nervously awaiting his latest CT scan results. The tinny strains of cheery pop music playing through cheap speakers, the vaguely honeycomb-like pattern of the furniture upholstery, the table with carefully arranged magazines featuring various members of the royal family; these details are now firmly imprinted in our memories. Though the heat of a hot, dry summer still lingers, we feel the chill of cold reality whisper through us; it's now time to face the music once again. And what a summer it's been! The highlight for Dad was being allowed to take a two week break from chemo, during which he was able to attend his daughter's engagement party and catch up with friends, relatives, and colleagues in Wellington, Palmerston North, and Whanganui. He also felt so much better off the chemo, which was a huge blessing.

Towards the end of his much needed break from chemo, Dad noticed that his pain level started to increase beyond what he would normally experience at the end of a chemo cycle, which made him somewhat nervous about what we would see on the CT scan. Hopefully, he told himself, this was just due to flare (inflammation) from the Keytruda. Interestingly, his pain quickly disappeared after taking his steroid medication with his latest round of chemo. Dad has noticed that this seems to happen with every cycle of chemo, with the effect lasting up to a week. Patterns like this are sure to send a scientist's brain into overdrive. Needless to say, we were very much relieved when, after welcoming us into his office, the oncologist quickly assured us that the lesions had not grown, but had in fact shrunk, even if only slightly. After some discussion of the different options going forward, we all agreed that Dad should continue with the current course of treatment for another four cycles, with a subsequent scan to advise the next steps to take. The reasoning for this was that Dad seems to be tolerating chemo very well, and winding down chemo too quickly could increase the risk of progression. Doc didn't think the Keytruda was doing very much, but we are definitely not ready to give up on it yet, and there are some signs that it may be making a difference.

Prayer requests:

  • that Dad will continue to tolerate the chemo

  • that the Keytruda will be effective. This is our best hope for long-term control/possible cure of the cancer, as chemo alone can only delay inevitable progression.

  • For strength, peace, and assurance for Mum and Dad (and all of us).

Once again, we cannot express how much your prayers, love, and support mean to us. We are blessed beyond belief to have you all in our lives!

With much love and gratitude,



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