Moment of Truth

Live from Fox Chase Cancer Center.

Today we received results of yesterday’s CAT scan to follow up on Sherri’s progress after 3 chemo treatments. It’s pretty good news, folks.  To cut to the chase, the report summary says:


1. Decrease in size of multiple hepatic metastases.

2. Decrease in size or resolution of small pulmonary metastases.

3. Apparent increase in size of pancreatic head mass may be due to technical differences.

4. Decrease in size of portacaval lymph node consistent with treatment effect for metastatic disease.

The interpreting radiologist’s name is Dr. Milestone. Poetic, ain’t it?

Here is our understanding of what this means. The tumors on Sherri’s liver have decreased by about one third (and to my eye, the biggest one has dramatically reduced). The small tumors that were apparent on her lungs are all but undetectable – only a few can be found, and they are smaller than before. The pancreatic mass seems slightly larger, but the docs are skeptical of this appearance because the original CAT scan used a different technique that didn’t provide as accurate a measurement in this region. Also reduction in the liver normally follows reduction in the pancreas. Finally, the lymph node that was assumed to contain cancer cells due to inflammation is also shrinking. Nothing new is showing up in other organs.  For comparison, during the month prior to the first scan, one of the liver masses almost doubled in size.

Our oncology team is very pleased with this result, and one of them dubbed this an “amazing” result for only 3 treatments. Not really all that surprising given the blast of cosmic pancreas-kicking prayer vibes you’ve all been sending. Way to go people! Keep those amazing results coming!

So we”ll stay the course for now and continue to work toward a complete smack-down of this nuisance. Infusion number 4 is underway.



22 thoughts on “Moment of Truth

  1. I still get goosebumps every time I read or say or hear these words. HUGE cosmic vibes coming at’cha! Many tons of love, from the Crofts.

  2. When Sherri texted me this news this morning, I typed: PRAISE THE LORD!!! And hey, praise the praise! This is the start of better and better news to come. We love you Sherri!!

  3. Wonderful news and a positive direction for the treatment program. Thank you, God, for extending your healing hand.

  4. Yahoo! What wonderful news! How wonderful to actually be able to see the tumors shrinking. So pleased that the treatment is working. Obviously, cancer knows better than to mess with a Biologist! Sending ongoing love and good vibes to you and your family.

  5. So many prayers and thanks from sunny South Africa. We think of you both so often, and of your little ones. Great to hear good news, and may it continue. You guys have to be so brave, and we feel for you in all the emotions of your journey. Wish we were closer to be more “with you.” Tons of love, Peter and Lisa

  6. We’re sending you super duper vibes – what you’re doing is working! Way to go Sherri, keep it up! Our weekend together was amazing – you look great – your inner spirit and silent determination are so strong. We love you.

  7. Dear Sherri, “Coop” (though you’ve been Dave ever since I changed your diapers . . .), Zia and Anji,

    We’ve been shy (what – me shy?!) about posting a “public” comment rather than sending a private card, but we’d like to join this heavenly chorus of well-wishers and boosters and cheer GO SHERRI, GO! Your spirit is indomitable and your courage unfathomable. I looked up CAR T cell and BRCA 1/2, and understood maybe .05%, but it’s truly heartening how you’re cruising at the cutting edge of what science and medicine know AND you may be able to help others in the process. Wow, if that doesn’t fit your profile, Sherri! Thanks so much, “Coop,” for your awesome blog. Endless love to your family from Harald & Gretchen, the Bloomfield, CT Sandstroms.

  8. Just returned from Algonquin Park and when I read this post, my heart rejoiced shouting, Praise the Lord! The prayers and love continue to flow lavishly like rivers of pure water to the entire Cooper family. Love, Kaye, Jay and family

  9. Hi Sherri, Dave, Zia & Anji,
    My Mom gave me a heads-up about this most recent update and my Dad (Harald above) helped point me to the site since my bookmark was on my home computer. I’m so boosted by the news of the shrinkage coming on so readily, definitely a welcome thing. It’s interesting that I have hopes that the genes I put into the animal neurons using viruses for my research stay there and don’t get edited out by the DNA gatekeepers, cancer represents the opposite case when we of course all wish the offending chunk could be chewed up and discarded post haste. The world of stem cells attends to how cells adopt proper roles, while oncology sees the other side. The main thing is I’m so happy for you (Sherri) and everyone that some reversal has begun and that the medical team is so enthusiastic. It is a well-deserved avenue that I hope broadens to a freeway as your treatments proceed.
    I don’t know if it will help but the tingling and increased sensitivity reminds me of some lecture sessions I’ve given about the relationship between the faster skin sensory fibers that typically carry detailed touch and the slower fibers called C-fibers that normally carry pain and temperature. Interestingly, the faster fibers require more energy to function, and tend to cut off more quickly when denied blood supply, so we are left with the more primitive C-fibers that first cover wider areas and second are generally unmyelinated (not covered in a way that speeds up transmission) so they are slower to reach the central nervous system. Often times, when we have all our nervous systems intact, we benefit from what is known as sensory gating, where the faster touch can be used to actually block pain and sometimes more extreme temperature at earlier levels of processing (spinal cord or brain stem). This is actually why rubbing a recently bashed limb helps calm the pain. When the nutritive supply is compromised (such as when you sit on your foot for a while and it “goes to sleep”) that removes the fast fiber contribution and leaves only the C-fibers which really can’t represent sensation very well on their own. They also carry more pain and negative sensations, as well as more extreme temperature. There is evidence that the chemotherapy drug Oxaliplatin can be largely responsible for this as it can disrupt the function of the faster acting fibers (don’t know if that is on the menu). I hate to think of these aspects piling up and causing more difficulties since it seems so unfair for this process to make cold drinks scary; those are supposed to be refreshing. I’d avoid menthol and capsaicin (hot pepper stuff) too if these symptoms proceed, since they activate temperature sensors in the palette. Two more of the finer things in life. I’d also like to add to my wish-list, some refreshing things that cannot be rendered scary for Sherri.

  10. What a wonderful update to read this morning! Will continue to send prayers and best wishes to you.

  11. hi guys – I hope this week is finding you well, and Sherri, I am hoping you have been able to enjoy some “normal” days during your off-week! Thinking of you always ~ sharon

  12. What great news. It seems every inch of Sherri is fighting 24/7 and successfully. I will treasure the good news and keep my prayers coming.

  13. So great to read this positive news. Huge doses of positive vibes continue to be sent daily (often at dinner time) from all four of us to all four of you, and especially to Sherri. Continue to be strong and determined. Dave, thank you for your descriptive and often eloquent writing.
    Tom and family

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