05.26.06

MRI results

Posted in From Al & Libbie, Updates at 2:34 pm by Libbie

One and all,

We just heard from our doctor at Penn, and the news is somewhat better than we had expected. After the CT scan report weassumed that the whole ~4 cm swelling in Al’s brain was probably melanoma. As it turns out, a lot of the swelling is just that–swelling. There is melanoma there, as we expected there was, but it is only one small nodule–12x14x16 mm.

Given that, the best course of treatment seems to be radiation rather than surgery, which is a bit of a relief. We will arrange for something called Gammaknife radiation, whichuses scan-guided imagery to focus the rays only on the cancer nodule. The consultation with the neurosurgeon to talk about setting up that procedure will be next Tuesday. (I’ll have to say that our doctor atPenn sure knows how to make things happen. Within a short time of hanging up with her we had a call from the neurosurgeon’s office with an appointment already scheduled!) We’ll let you know more details as we find them out on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, they’ll use steroids to try to reduce the swelling, and that should make Al feel better (he’s been feeling pretty crummy the past few days–general headache and body pain all over).

We’ll also schedule another CT scan of the body to see what’s happening with the melanoma there. Officially the appearance of the melanoma in the brain marks the end of the PFS (progression free survival) period and therefore the end of Al’s participation in the clinical trial, although it might still be possible to get the targeted therapy and chemo apart from the trial if that seems indicated. All of that remains up in the air.

Thank you for praying; this is better news than we thought we would hear. The Lord is keeping us, and we are grateful. When I have time I’ll write more about how we’re all doing. (The short version of that is that our souls are doing very well. But I’ll fill out that picture when I have a chance.)

Thankful for your company on the journey,

Libbie

13 Comments »

  1. Paul & Abby said,

    May 26, 2006 at 3:15 pm

    Al & Libbie,
    Just read your update on the MRI. Glad to hear that they found it while it’s still small and that you got such quick attention with the neurosurgeon. We praise God for even tiny glimmers of “good” news. We’ll be keeping you in prayer. Give everyone a hug for us. Love you!
    (Paul says, “Go Sox!”) 🙂

  2. Craig Higgins said,

    May 26, 2006 at 4:39 pm

    Al & Libbie,

    This is an answer to our prayers–and, of course, we will continue to pray. I’m so sorry, Al, not to get to see you–or hear your charge–at commencement, but I had to drive back to New York Wednesday night. I’m sure the charge was recorded.

    The Groves family is a regular feature of prayer here at Trinity Church. And one of our families now helping plant a church about an hour north of here just told me that their core group is praying as well.

    All blessings,

    Craig

  3. laurie hartman said,

    May 27, 2006 at 8:37 am

    Just found your site…. and will take some time to digest it….
    The objective story is quick – yet the spiritual saga is rich and engaging.

    Glad that the mass was not all tumor – yet sad that it marks the end of that term – “progression free survival”….Sounds like pilot lingo – “turbulence” is merely “altitude fluctuation.”

    We are settled in for the summer. David is enjoying his internship with Ingersoll Rand – he gets to use power tools!! Marian graduated – and maintained her poise as her mortarboard kept slipping during her speech. (She finished bareheaded.) Lisa has returned from their class trip to DC and is looking forward to helping with VBS. She has some unique “pied piper” genes.

    Much love and prayers to you! – Laurie, et. al.

  4. David & Awilda Rowe said,

    May 27, 2006 at 10:41 am

    Al & Libbie,

    We are so happy that they found the nodule and have responded so quickly with a viable plan. I almost wish the doctors would permit friends and family members to pay a fee (a good way to alleviate medical bills!) and allow us to place our hands on (what I imagine to be the trigger of) the gammaknife (ray-gun sounding) device so that we could participate in blowing away that nodule thingamabob.

    We are trusting in the Lord’s steady hand to do such things, and if his Word is any indication (Heb. 4:12) then he know just where to aim that thing.

    Wish I had been at graduation. We are all praying up here!

    Blessings-
    David, Awilda and the kids

  5. Moses & Eunice said,

    May 27, 2006 at 7:40 pm

    Dear Prof Groves & Libbie,
    This is a marvelous result! We’re so glad to hear that it is better than you guys expected. We hope things will be getting better. We’ll continue to pray for miracles. Above all, may our Lord continue to sustain your faith in His Almighty hands.

  6. mary conway said,

    May 27, 2006 at 7:59 pm

    dear al and libbie, thank God for slightly better news than might’ve been. will be with you guys in spirit on tues during procedure, and am praying specifically in the meantime for decent pain relief for al- chemical or spiritual means, who cares- just relief from that particular prison. love you guys- mary conway

  7. Paul said,

    May 27, 2006 at 10:51 pm

    Dear Al,

    This is good news. I will be praying that the steroids aleviate the swelling and bring added relief, and that the directed radiation will eliminate the minisule nodule.

    Be strong in faith and remember your own words to your student’s, our words this side of the cross are not of despair but of hope.

    Despiter many set backs in life, my father, who is fighting cancer himself has consistently told me that you have far more ahgead of you than behind you. Of course this is only truue for the believer. The apostle Paul tells us as much, “Forget what lies behind, but press on to the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”. His call to you is to bring him glory, for eternity! He is obviously using you even in this time of distress. Only a powerful, loving and gracuious God could accomplish that feat. His hand is on you and he is using you now for his glory.

    I have learned that the cruddy days are days to remind me of my need to depend on him to reveal his glory in me.

    You have my prayers,
    Paul

  8. Paul said,

    May 27, 2006 at 10:54 pm

    Dear Al,

    This is good news. I will be praying that the steroids alleviate the swelling and bring added relief, and that the directed radiation will eliminate the minisule nodule.

    Be strong in faith and remember your own words to your student’s, our words this side of the cross are not of despair but of hope.

    Despite many set backs in life, my father, who is fighting cancer himself, has consistently told me that you have far more ahead of you than behind you. Of course, this is only true for the believer, at least on the positive side of the ledger. The apostle Paul tells us as much, “Forgetting what lies behind, but press on to the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”. His call to you is to bring him glory, for eternity! He is obviously using you even in this time of distress. Only a powerful, loving and gracious God could accomplish that feat. His hand is on you and he is using you, even now ,for his glory.

    I have learned that the cruddy days are days to remind me of my need to depend on him to reveal his glory in me.

    You have my prayers,
    Paul

  9. barbara finlay said,

    May 29, 2006 at 3:42 pm

    Dear Al and Libbie

    Praise God that the tumour is so small, I’m praying that God’s hand will be in the treatment and that He will work out all the treatment perfectly. Just want you to know of our continued love, concern and prayer for you both, we uplift you daily before God’s throne and the desire of our hearts is that God will heal and restore Al, we are praying for his healing touch.

    love,
    Barbara

  10. fred said,

    May 29, 2006 at 3:48 pm

    Dear Al & Libbie,

    To know for certain what is wrong, and to know that it is less than you [we] thought is a great relief and encouragement.

    May the Lord’s strength continue to be yours.

    You are all in my prayers.

    fred

  11. fred said,

    May 29, 2006 at 3:53 pm

    Hey, Al.

    Just for practice, you can read Loreena McKennitt’s website in Hebrew!

    And the new album is still on its way …

    fred

  12. Mark A. Stone said,

    May 30, 2006 at 7:23 am

    I am grateful to God that the swelling in the brain is mostly that — swelling. the progression of the disease is difficult enough without having to contend with headaches and the diminishment of mental faculties. I will be praying that the surgery is 100% effective and that this particular battle will be won for your sake.

  13. John Van Tao Szto said,

    May 30, 2006 at 4:55 pm

    Al/.Libbie…I mediated on these verse over and over again. for two years, while I was healing from my ‘lung disease:’

    ‘Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!’
    How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!
    ‘Who has know the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?’
    ‘Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?’ For rom him and
    through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.’

    Romans 11:33-36.

    Al/Libbie…..’Fight the good fight of the faith.’ HANG IN THERE!!

    ‘So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that whn you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, ‘He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.’ But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.’

    ‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenver you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perservance. Perservance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when He asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does…Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.

    Al/Libbie….Perserve. and receive pure joy from the LORD! I struggled with what the doctor’s called an incurable disease. BUT, He healed me! He can heal you too! We at the Queens Christian Reformed Church are praying for you!

    Humbly,

    John Van Tao Szto, Westminster ’76

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