Tuesday, January 27, 2015

1.27.15 - A New Race to Run...

Hi Friends & Family!

We want to introduce to you our new blog we have created to help keep you updated on John's health.  As many of you know, John loves to run and so we will be comparing his fight against cancer to a new kind of race God has called him to run.  Therefore, the verse he will be claiming throughout this "Race" is Hebrews 12:1-2, "And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith."

To bring you all up to speed on what has happened over the course of the last week...  Last week John was hospitalized for a few days and as a result a CT scan revealed that he had multiple lesions in the liver and left adrenal gland along with multiple lymph nodes effected.  Today, 1/27, they met with Dr. Viswanathan, Oncologist in Mansfield, to find out the result of the liver biopsy that had been taken last week along with the brain scan taken earlier this morning.

Dr. Viswanathan confirmed that John has Metastatic Malignant Melanoma.  Traditionally chemo and radiation aren't effective for Melanoma so that really limits treatment options.  And surgery is not an option.  While there is no cure for this type of cancer, the Dr.'s recommendation is to control the melanoma with a Therapy called IL-2.  The treatment they are referring John to is at the James Cancer Center.  It's only recommended for a small percentage of melanoma patients who are ideal candidates for this therapy, so we are THANKFUL he is doing well enough to even be referred for this as a possible treatment.  After seeing this specialist, we will continue to pray that God makes it clear whether or not this is the path for John to head.

A little about IL-2 Therapy: This treatment is known to be extremely intense and toxic.  It involves being hospitalized for 5-7 days straight and then being sent home for 2-3 weeks, then back again to the hospital for 5-7 days and then home for another 2-3 weeks.  Ideally, if his body can handle this treatment, they would do this cycle for up to 6 months.  IL-2 is an immunotherapy rather than chemotherapy, response is not immediate; it takes time for the immune system to "kick in."  The side effects can be hard on patients because the immune system is tricked into thinking that the patient has a severe, life-threatening infection.  The consequence of tricking the body in this way is that it fires off the immune system in powerful ways to then fight the cancer.

1. The Dr. commented on how John's liver is still functioning well at this point.
2. John's brain scan came back clear with no cancer showing.
3. John is doing well enough to be referred for the IL-2 therapy as a potential option.
4. Those of you who know John will think this is funny - He won't lose his hair!

Lastly, we have felt showered with your love over this past week with phone calls, emails, texts, meals, cards, etc.  THANK YOU so very much!  We want you to know that we have received them and appreciate them all.  We are overwhelmed at this point and still in a bit of shock with the news.  Please know we may not be able to respond back to everyone, however we do appreciate your prayers, encouragement and love!

We plan to continue to use this blog to direct people to for accurate information along the way.  Please note that at the top right of this page you can sign your email up to received updates automatically to your email inbox whenever we post updated info so you don't miss out on any of the updates.  Also, please be sure to continue to visit our blog at jgurneyfamily.blogspot.com to see our most updated Prayer Requests on the right hand side of the page.  Thanks!

With Much Love,

The Gooney Gurneys