Diagnosis and Plan

Over the last week and a half, the “fancy doctors” (a.k.a. specialists) at Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center have produced a diagnosis and a plan for Sam’s shoulder problem. Granted, it was surprising–and not in a fun way–to have a diagnosis and a plan come from a cancer center.  But it’s a relief to have some answers and a plan of action.


The diagnosis:

Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare cancer that mostly affects children and young adults.  Ewing’s is a pretty aggressive cancer.  But, given that, there are several lucky things about Sam’s particular situation.  It seems that the cancer has not spread anywhere else, for example, and its one site (the clavicle) is a bone that is relatively easy to remove.  Ewing’s responds well to chemotherapy. Today’s treatments eradicate the cancer in about 80% of cases.


The plan:

(1) Start chemotherapy, hopefully Tuesday May 10.  Get chemotherapy every 2 weeks, in alternating 2-day & 5-day regimens.

(2) After 8 -12 weeks of chemo (4-6 rounds), have surgery to remove the collarbone and anything else the tumor might have touched.

(3) Continue with more chemotherapy, for a total of 14 rounds.  At some point, depending on how things go, chemotherapy treatments will start to be spaced every 3 weeks instead of every 2 weeks.


Depending on the spacing of the chemotherapy, the total treatment plan will last somewhere between 6 months and 1 year.  During this time Sam, unfortunately, will not be able to play professional rugby.