Valentine's Day this year was a rough one for the Bonds. If we haven't had the chance to tell you personally yet, Nathan has been diagnosed with colo-rectal cancer. Being diagnosed with any form of cancer at any stage is always scary but we have been given a lot of hope by the doctors and will be focusing on that as we move forward on this path of healing.
Here's what we've learned so far. During the colonoscopy, Dr. Jason Bratcher observed a large tumor in the rectum. Coincidentally, Dr. Joseph Martz, the Chief of Colo-rectal Surgery at Beth Israel Hospital happened to be completing his morning rounds and Dr. Bratcher asked Dr. Martz to look at his findings while the procedure was in progress. Dr. Martz concurred with Dr. Bratcher's diagnosis that they had found a probable rectal adenocarcinoma.
Since then we have gotten the pathology reports from the biopsies taken during the colonoscopy and have confirmed that it is a malignant tumor. Nathan has also taken a chest CT and the results show that the cancer has not spread to any other organs.
From the cat scan of the abdomen that was taken the week prior, the colonoscopy and the ultrasound, the doctors suspect a stage 3 cancer. The MRI on Sunday, the 20th, will confirm whether or not there is any local lymph node involvement. It still will not give us exact staging but it will determine the final recommendation for treatment.
We have been working with Dr. Martz and his colleagues at Beth Israel. Yesterday we met with Dr. Kenneth Hu, the radiation oncologist. He explained the course of treatment they were considering for Nathan's case. Originally, Dr. Martz had told us to expect 5 weeks of chemo & radiation concurrently, then 5-6 weeks of rest and finally surgical removal of the tumor and lymph nodes. However, yesterday, Dr. Hu tacked on a round of chemo after the surgery. We were certainly disappointed to hear that because it obviously extends the time frame before we are done with treatment. However, nothing is set in stone yet.
While the team at Beth Israel has been wonderful thus far we want to be on the safe side are seeking a second opinion at Memorial Sloan-Kettering next week. Dr. Marty Weiser of the colo-rectal team at Sloan was highly recommended to us by four separate individuals so we look forward to hearing his thoughts and also evaluating the facilities.
We realize that our first priority is finding the best surgeon. It has to be someone who specializes in rectal cancer because there are so many considerations when operating on that part of the body. However, we also want to consider the facilities because the radiation treatment requires attendance every day for 5 weeks. If it all possible, we want an environment that, if not cheerful, is not downright depressing.
Since this diagnosis, everyone has jumped on board with love, prayers and action. So many of you have offered yourselves, your time and your talents to help us get through this challenging time. We thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.
We will give regular updates on this blog. We considered creating a separate "cancer blog" but thought that would be far too depressing. Besides, we are looking at this as one part of our lives, not the sole focus of our lives. Sadie is still learning and growing everyday and we want to continue to document the highlights of her development and any other news related to any of our family members.
Again, we thank you all for your love and support.