We had a good appointment yesterday at Sloan. Dr. Pfister is a pretty straightforward guy, and agreed to work with Tom, as well as our doctors here at the shore. There are a few different paths available; chemotherapy, clinical trials, and immunotherapy. It will be a matter of trial and error and finding out what sticks. We are going to start with the basic treatment which is chemotherapy, and thankfully he is able to do that at Ocean Medical under the care of his oncologist, Dr Mencel. (Dr Mencel is a sweetheart and literally HUGS us when we leave.)
For those of you who don’t know, Ocean Medical has gone through an amazing transformation over the years and we are extremely happy there. The oncology unit is just beautiful, and every single staff member - from parking attendants to doctors - has been so warm and caring, which is so important during a time like this. It's also such a blessing to be able to drive 10 minutes down the road, and not have to travel all the way to Philadelphia or New York on a daily basis.
We are also thankful that clinical trials are available at Sloan Kettering's Middletown office here at the shore if Tom needs to go that route down the road.
Dr Pfister also mentioned that he recently attended a Head and Neck cancer conference in Philadelphia and that there are some new things evolving and coming down the pipeline. He said he’ll know more in about six months. So we are hopeful.
We are not looking at this through rose colored glasses; this cancer is systemic and there is no cure. However, we are lucky; this is 2018. Cancer treatments have evolved. We have been reminded that cancer is being looked at like a chronic disease these days; oftentimes it can be treated on an ongoing basis.
Positive thoughts are what we are holding onto, and we sure would appreciate your prayers and good vibes going forward. Right now we are trying to get Tom back to normal after a few weeks of symptoms and side effects, and once we do, look out. He’s come back from this before and he’ll do it again. And he'll be even stronger this time around. He’s Tom Stark! Good luck keeping him down for long!
I can’t thank you all enough for your help with rides for the kids, meals, visits, good wishes, prayers, etc. It is so important to us right now to keep life as normal as possible for Keelin and Ian. You have all been enabling us to do that, so thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We love you guys. ❤️