"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase"

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

PET scan

Today is Mom's PET scan. We'll get the results January 4th.

What is a PET scan?

Positron emission tomography (PET) is a highly sensitive technology that uses a radioactive substance to show the chemical and functional changes within the body.

Chemical and functional changes cannot be seen by other imaging methods, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT).
A PET scan measures body functions such as blood flow, oxygen use and sugar metabolism to help doctors evaluate how well your child's organs and tissues are functioning.
Images obtained from a PET scan help doctors diagnose a problem, choose the best treatment and/or see how well a treatment is working.
PET scans can be particularly useful when they are digitally combined with the images generated from MRI or CT.
The radiopharmaceutical used is designed to go to the part of the body that is being tested.

A common type of radiopharmaceutical, fluorine-18 FDG (fluorodeoxyglucose), acts almost exactly like sugar.
The body uses sugar for fuel, so the radioactive sugar goes to the parts of the body that are very active, such as the brain, the heart and the muscles.
The PET scanner can "read" any chemical changes within those areas.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Thank You to Our Readers

We wanted to say a HUGE THANK YOU to all of our readers. Your love and support is so wonderful and does not go unnoticed! Mom loves getting your comments and she hopes that sharing her life story will help others. We appreciate you!

Much Love,
The Franke Family

Being Strong

Mom liked this picture one of her friends posted. She thought it was fitting and I think so to. We love you so much Mom and we are so proud of you!


Results from Mom's CT scan and the next steps... by Mom

The CT scan showed a change in the kidney as described below:
Since the prior study, left-sided hydronephrosis has developed. There is mild dilatation of the proximal ureter but there is no obstructing mass. The cause of the hydronephrosis is not evident on this exam.
This is a swelling of the kidney, could be caused from a slight kink in the tube going from the kidney to the bladder causing some backup, possibly from surgery. Or if there is a small tumor pushing on this causing an obstruction.

The second thing is the small nodule next to my navel that we have been watching, could be scar tissue from surgery. Explained in the report as follows:
There is a small enhancing mass lesion of subcutaneous tissues of the anterior abdominal just to the left of the umbilicus. This finding is worrisome for a metastatic deposit. On today’s study this measures 1.4 cm.

Everything else was unchanged or normal, thank goodness for that!
Also my scope and colonoscopy I had on Monday looked good. Whew!

Follow up plan:
Submit to insurance co. for a PET scan, this will determine if there are any hot spots (possible cancer) with these changes.
Possible stint for the kidney.
Possible biopsy of the nodule.
Dr. Willadsen says keep my chin up!
One step at a time!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Genetic Cancer Results (CDH1)

The results came back November 30th and a family meeting was scheduled to review the details and discuss our plan of action. Mom is positive for "Hereditary Diffused Gastric Cancer" or also known as CDH1. Her offspring have a 50% chance of inheriting this alteration.

This means she got gastric cancer because it was in her genes and passed down. To use a biblical illustration, our bodies are imperfect because we're decedents of once perfect humans who became imperfect. Therefore naturally we all suffer from all sorts of genetic problems, diseases, illnesses and infirmities. So these results are oddly comforting to us because inheriting something that is out of your control is much easier to accept than to wonder what you did wrong.

There is also something interesting to note on the test results which I will quote and attempt to explain.

"Positive, predicted to be deleterious: a heterozygous deletion of C at nucleotide 315 resulting in a frameshift mutation at codon 105 of the CDH1 gene"

The word "deleterious" means "harmful often in a subtle or unexpected way." So Mom is positive for the CDH1 gene but she also has a mutation of this gene.

"To our knowledge, this alteration has not been previously reported in the literature, nor has it been previously detected in our laboratory. This sample is heterozygous for this alternation, having an apparently "normal" or wild type copy of the gene along with the altered copy."

Of course there is much to read and study on these results, the methodology, interpretation etc.
I've attached a link from Stanford Medicine about the subject which you will find informative also. Maybe you'll see Mom on one of their studies someday! Until then, we shall keep you posted as always. Thank you for all of your love, support and prayers!