Sunday, June 8, 2008

Round 2!

We are about to enter the ring once more for Round 2 in this fight against a rather formidable opponent.

The extensive tests performed last Thursday included comprehensive lab studies, whole body bone scan, MRI of the brain, and a CT scan of the neck, chest, abdomen and pelvis. The good news is that the remarkable improvement noted on the last scans six weeks ago was largely maintained – there were no new lesions in the lung, liver, spleen, spine or long bones. Also very encouraging is the fact that the labs were essentially normal with no elevation of markers of tumor activity. I have gained weight, have no significant neurological symptoms, and have progressively improved in strength and stamina.

The bad news is that 3 new brain metastases have appeared since the last scan and a group of enlarged lymph nodes at the base of the liver have increased in size by about a third. The size and number of nodules in the liver is unchanged and there remain two very small nodules in the lung which are also stable. Findings all along the spine and long bones are consistent with healing of innumerable metastases there.

The new brain lesions present a particular challenge since Interleukin-2 therapy can cause them to swell which could lead to serious elevation of intracranial pressure. Fortunately, my neurosurgeon, Dr Jason Sheehan, promptly arranged for me to undergo gamma knife surgery tomorrow, Monday, June 9. I tolerated this procedure quite well last February and have confidence that the Lord will take us through this second regimen successfully.

Assuming a good outcome from the gamma knife procedure, we will then return to Norfolk on Tuesday and come back to Charlottesville next Sunday for readmission on Monday, June 16 to commence a second round of high-dose Interleukin-2 therapy.

Both Linda and I are optimistic and ever grateful for each new day, thankful to God for His mercy and grace, and to you for your many expressions of encouragement and support. As I enter Round 2, I am much stronger than I was for Round 1, and trust that, buoyed by your faithful prayers, we will have much to rejoice over in another few weeks.


ADDENDUM (June 9, 2008):
Correction -- make that eight (8) tiny new brain metastases (picked up on a repeat high-resolution MRI), all of which were treated with gamma knife surgery today. I appear to have tolerated the procedure well with only a mild residual headache. I have been released and had my "chauffeur" drive me home to Norfolk today. We are fully engaged in this fight and appreciate having you in our corner.


  1. Keep up the good fight!

  2. The prayers continue . . .

  3. Ok, so into the ring of prayer we go. Love, Chuck and Paula

  4. The Lion of Juda is with you Dr Dan and he will continue until your healing and strenght appear whole heartily. Ernest and Myself have been in prayer for your healing. We believe without a doubt this will come! There has been many miracles in my Life & Ernest. The prayers for your recovery stretch from here to the Florida to Louisianna! Thanks for being such a good "Dr. Luke" to me. Praise be to Our God, Judy and Ernest Respass

  5. Our prayers are with you too. You're an amazingly strong person and we are confident that you will keep up the fight.

    Marge & Steve Schechner

  6. We are absolutely in your corner, fighting with prayer and caring!
    Richard and Lisa

  7. I have been trying often toleave a comment but I don't see it published so I do notknow if you have gotten my spring is eternal poem or other goodies intended to keep up your spirits. Let's see if you get this from "anonymous".

    Prayers and wishes for restoration to health. Lots of love from a grateful patient. D. Helfgott 6-16-08