Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

First I want to say the birthday celebration for Dad on November 19th was great - good food and good company.  Both sisters (Echo and Monica) made the trip to celebrate with Monica and her family staying in Houston through Thanksgiving.  This was the first Thanksgiving Pam and I hosted in our house.  With lots of helping hands in the kitchen it turned out perfect.  There is much to be Thankful for.....

As mentioned in the last update, we were to receive news from MD Anderson regarding dad's progress with the clinical trial he is participating in.  After numerous CT scans the physicians concluded that a new therapy would be best for dad.  The scans showed some new (albeit small) tumors in the lungs and 23% growth by the largest tumor in the lungs.  The scans also showed stability and what appears to be an improvement in the throat.  Unfortunately, the new tumors and growth of the largest tumor is something we cannot have and thus the recommendation to stop the trial and try again.  There is another clinical trial beginning late January and the physician team believes this is a good one for dad to join.  In the mean time, there is a PO (by mouth) Chemotherapy drug which has shown to be effective in some cases.  Dad has agreed (and has already started) to try this drug to bridge the gap between the two trials.  This drug is taken twice a day on an empty stomach and is well known among the Anaplastic Thyroid "community".  One of the nice things about not participating in a trial is you are not required to have as many appointments and blood draws.  This allows a little flexibility for dad to do things.....like travel!  At the end of this week both mom and dad will take a much deserved trip to Tucson.  If there is anywhere in the world dad would like to be most, it's probably Arizona!  I know they will have a great time tending to their house, visiting friends and family, and reacquainting themselves with the mountains and cacti (not too much of that here in Pearland, TX).

So what's next?  Dad will have repeat tests and scans after starting this new drug.  If this proves to be an effective treatment (pray, pray, pray!) then continue the course.  If not, we have the other trial to hopefully join.  Unfortunately you are not always guaranteed the trial will be available to you.  The trial could be postponed due to unanticipated side-effects or even stopped by the FDA if they feel warranted.  Even if the trial is open, you have to pass a screening and meet their requirements to participate.  So, there is a lot more to come soon!  Keep up the prayers and support for Superman Steve.  His strength and energy is at a level that is still hard for us to keep up with - an amazing feat if you think about what he has been through the last 182 days..........

We have more Superman Steve bands if anyone needs more.  Thanks!


  1. thank you Ryan for the update...so glad you were all together for his birthday and Thanksgiving..how wonderful
    I know they'll be soo glad to get back to Arizona..and all it is to them..
    give them huggs for us and you're all always in our prayers...especially Superman Steve
    many huggs n love
    Stef n family NC

  2. Ryan, thank you for the update. I know it was disappointing for everyone that the tumors continued to grow in Steve's lungs. We hope and pray the oral chemo drug works and that Steve will be able to join the new trial in January. Meanwhile a trip to Tuscon might be just what the doctor should have ordered to lift his spirits. I hope he and Cindy have a great respite there. We hold you all in our prayers.
    Kathy McClellan

  3. Ryan,
    Perhaps you could pass this link on to your Dad. You might enjoy it, too. The featured article "Stealing Christmas" has a surprise ending. It tells the story of his Grandpa Ryan's manger, etc. He was your great-grandfather -- a great guy. Bill Hansen (both) is in the pic, too. http://jonesfamilymatters.blogspot.com