[stanford_status] Today's appointment at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston

John R Larsen john at larsen-family.us
Wed Jul 26 19:12:05 EDT 2006

Hello Everyone,

The port hasn't been put in yet.  Instead Dr. Chaffee of Dartmouth Medical Center sent Stanford to Dr. 
Holcombe Grier of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute today for a second opinion consultation.  (Driving in 
Boston is simply crazy!)  Dr. Grier is a well known and respected pediatric oncologist with years of 
experience.  The 10:30 AM appointment stretched into an all day affair because of unexpected testing 
done in the afternoon.

There still isn't a diagnosis.  The pathologists are still running tests hoping to better identify it.  They have 
ruled out lymphoma and several rare forms of sarcoma tumors.  Today it was described to us as "small 
round blue cell", which apparently is a classification, but rather broad.  They want to narrow down the 
diagnosis and should have more information in the next couple of days.

Stanford had a very long session of ultrasounds done today at Boston Children's Hospital, which is just 
across the street from Dana Farber.  Dr. Grier wanted to verify that the spots showing up in Stanford's 
liver were tumors and not just liquidy infections.  The ultrasound verified that they are hard tumors and the 
doctor analyzing them thinks they have grown since the PET scan taken last week.  The ultrasound 
didn't show signs in any other area of his abdomen.  It also appears that all the fluid that had built up 
there after surgery is gone.  

Dr. Grier had us down to Dana Farber for multiple reasons, one of which was to meet us and to see first 
hand how Stanford is doing.  Right now Stan is doing very well.  There are no other signs of illness.  He is 
gaining strength and weight.  However, this could change quickly.  They will decide in the next couple of 
days whether or not there is benefit to going in for a biopsy on the tumors in the liver.  If they can gain 
more information that will help them narrow down the diagnosis, then they will schedule a biopsy for early 
next week.  If they determine that not much additional useful information can be obtained, then they will 
forego the biopsy and move into treatment.  They want to start treatment before Stanford gets ill.

All the doctors comment on how lucky it was that the first tumor was in a place that was detected so 
soon.  This gives Stanford the advantage of being healthy and strong going into all this.

The waiting and waiting for a diagnosis has been very hard and continues to try our patience.  I asked 
Stanford how he was feeling emotionally about all this.  He said that he should probably care more, but 
approaches it as if it were happening to someone else and he was just observing.  His attitude is good 
and he wants to get started so it can get finished and he can continue on with all the work he has to do 
in this life.

More to follow as it becomes available,


John R Larsen <john at larsen-family.us>

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