December 2004

In early December a CT scan was scheduled and the results showed a very small tumor – 2 cm – in her lung. We were terrified. However, the doctor comforted us and said we did not know yet if the tumor was cancerous. Diana needed another test. Next a biopsy was scheduled. On December 15, we received the news that the tumor discovered in Diana’s left lung was cancerous. Diana and I were both devastated when we received the news in the doctor’s office.


However, our pulmonary doctor told us the tumor was very small – 2 cm – and located in the very bottom of her lung. He told us it was the smallest tumor he had ever detected. He also went on to say, that he had not thought that Diana had cancer from her symptoms and he was surprised at the outcome. Our doctor said the tumor was in a great location and could easily be removed by surgery. However, a new test needed to be completed – a PET Scan – before proceeding with any surgery procedures. I had gone to the doctor’s office with Diana that day and drove her home. After sharing much sadness with each other in our house, I returned to Diana’s office to notify the employees of the news. Not an easy task since I did not have answers to most of their questions.At this time in our lives, Cancer was a six letter word that happened to others. Diana and I were in shock but highly optimistic based upon the doctor’s preliminary diagnosis.

A PET Scan was scheduled for December 23 at 10:00 AM, again in a Plano hospital. A PET Scan is a test – similar to a CT Scan – a radioactive fluid is injected into the test recipient. The fluid is attracted to any cancer cells and will be seen by the radiologist doctor reading the scans. Diana’s PET Scan was done at Plano Hospital. This was a different hospital from where her CT-Scan had been done. As we drove to the hospital that morning, we passed by a Dunkin Donut Coffee Shop. Diana was from Massachusetts – where Dunkin Donuts was originally founded and grew up on Dunkin Donuts and loved them. Since you cannot eat prior to the PET Scan, I told Diana that we would stop at Dunkin Donuts on the way home and celebrate the test results.

We were both nervous as we waited for Diana to be called for her PET-Scan at the hospital. Finally, Diana’s name was called and in she went. The test takes approximately an hour – but let me tell you it is a long hour. Finally Diana came out. The lady technician conducting the PET Scan let us know that since the Christmas holidays were approaching, the radiologist doctor who would read and interpret the PET scan results would provide us with the results after lunch if we wanted to wait. We went and had a sandwich in the hospital cafeteria and came back to the PET Scan area around 2 PM.

The radiologist doctor took us to his area and showed us the results on his computer system. What he showed and explained left the two of us in a state of shock. Diana’s cancer was determined to be Stage IV. Diana’s lung tumor had metastasized and cancer was detected in her right shoulder, spine, right hip and right femur. We both left the hospital in a state of absolute shock. Neither of us said a word to the other on the twenty minute drive home. Needless to say, we did not stop at the Dunkin Donut Coffee Shop. Once home, we told Diana’s mother who lived with us the diagnosis and broke down into tears.


Christmas 2004

Needless to say, but Christmas 2004 was not a joyful time. Diana’s younger brother David and his wife Pam, who reside in Wichita, KS came to visit for Christmas week. Twenty-five years ago, David was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease and bone cancer. After six months of chemotherapy and radiation treatments in Wichita, David made an appointment at the Mayo Clinic. After his visit to Mayo Clinic, he was told that the Mayo Clinic could offer him no additional treatment.


Upon his return home, David and his wife did some research and came upon a “vegetarian cleansing diet’ cure for cancer. David used the diet religiously and continues to do so today.Seven years ago, David was diagnosed with prostate cancer for which he had surgery. David is an engineer for a large aircraft manufacturer in Wichita, KS. David obviously knew much about cancer and i used his resource to educate myself.

Much time was spent educating myself on the real meaning of Stage IV Lung Cancer using the internet. An appointment was scheduled during Christmas week with a local Frisco TX Oncologist.

On December 28, armed with all of Diana’s test reports, we anxiously drove to the oncologist’s office for our appointment. The Oncologist looked at all of Diana’s test results and without hesitation informed us that Diana had three to four months to live and we had some tough decisions to make.

Since I was schooled as am engineer (electrical), I think like an engineer and attacked this problem the same as any other problem I have faced in my career. I had to understand, how it happened, why it happened and explore all of the options to fix the problem. We spent over an hour with the Oncologist,- asked many questions – however, nothing changed the Oncologist’s opinion of his prior diagnosis. He said that it would be Diana’s choice of whether to undergo chemo treatments. Since there were bad side effects with chemo, maybe Diana did not want to go through those treatments.

We finally left the oncologist’s office – both of us in total shock. We knew prior to this appointment that a Stage IV diagnosis was not good – but the reality of how bad the diagnosis was had not sunk in and been accepted by us. We did not want to believe what we had just heard. Surely, he was mistaken. Something could be done. I was determined to get a second opinion and find a solution.

At this time, Diana still had her cough and was wheezing, but she looked great physically. Surely, there was something we could do. I went home and started to research lung cancer on the internet. I found out about MD Anderson Cancer Hospital, located in Houston, TX which is approximately 275 miles fro Frisco. MD Anderson has been rated as one of the best cancer treatment centers in the world. We decided to get a second opinion there.

I got on the telephone and pleaded for an appointment as soon as possible. Through research and friends, we requested a certain doctor at MD Anderson only to find out that he was out of the country until February. Thus we settled on one of his colleagues and an appointment was set for the first week in January. It was tough waiting for the appointment date. We both wanted to see the new doctor as soon as possible. Surely, he would have a better remedy for Diana’s cancer.

At this time, looking at Diana you wouldn’t know she was so sick. She still had her cough but looked great physically. She also had no physical limitations at this time – but she did have lots of mental stress in her mind as I did too.

I went to Diana’s office and informed the employees of the Stage IV diagnosis and that Diana and I would be going to MD Anderson in Houston for their opinion. In the meantime, I needed their support to keep the business running smoothly since Diana and I would be out of the office quite a lot of the time.

I was spending the best part of my day researching lung cancer and clinical trials on the internet. The more I found and learned about lung cancer, the worse it seemed to get. I was getting scared. I really wasn’t prepared to handle this kind of problem. I would go to sleep and hope that I would wake up and find that it had just been a dream. Surely, Diana was not as sick as we were told.