On the 11th of July we met with Dr. Urba. Since Mark looked so good he saw no reason for a PET scan even though it’s been a year since the last one. He did have blood drawn, as usual. Several days later Mark saw the lab results and e-mailed Dr. Urba as the LD total count was bit high. Normal is 100 to 210 and it was 275. The only other time that has happened was when the tumor was growing in the adrenal gland. Dr. Urba agreed that it was high but also indicated that this test is not a very accurate or definitive test for metastatic melanoma. He ordered another blood draw for one month later and indicated that if it was still evaluated we would proceed with a PET scan. On August 11th Mark had another blood draw and the count was still elevated and a bit higher than before at 298. Dr. Urba ordered a PET scan which was done last Friday, the 19th.
This morning Dr. Urba called to tell us that the PET scan was not totally clear – a tumor is growing once again in the same adrenal gland. He is a bit baffled as to why that is the only place, but that is GOOD! The adrenal gland can be removed and studied to determine what may be different. He has already called one of the best surgeons in the US that deals with this type of cancer surgery and Dr. Vern agreed that removing the adrenal gland would be best. Dr. Vern is in Tampa, Florida but he recommended a surgeon in Portland whom he personally trained and considers excellent. Dr. Urba has contacted Dr. Diego Muilenburg. His office will contact us to schedule an appointment to discuss the next steps and whether the surgery can be laparoscopic or incision. For now Mark will stop using the current medications as he has started having nausea. He might as well get a rest from the side effects. We will keep you posted as we learn more. We are SO grateful that we are not immediately facing the more invasive treatments! All is well!!