Thursday, July 31, 2008

CT Scan Results - Good News!!!

Karen's doing GREAT and so am I. After an emotional week we finally met with Moriarty this afternoon to review the latest CT Scans (taken this past Monday).

The news is good. Karen's tumors are smaller than they were in April and much smaller than they were in January. The largest tumor is currently 5.5 cm diameter, down from 10cms in Jan 2008.

These tumors were all ablated back in November 2007 and so we are seeing a lot of "calcification" as a result of that procedure. Calcification is exactly what it sounds like, the tumors build up deposits of calcium as a result of being necrotic (dead).

The radiologists' report revealed that the tumors do not "enhance" under contrast. My layman's understanding of this is that the stuff you drink when you're having a CT scan is absorbed by the tumors. This stuff shows up under the scan, making the tumors have higher contrast with surrounding tissue. Karen's didn't do that, therefore they didn't absorb the contrast fluid and hence this is another indication that they might be dead.

How dead they are we don't know. Moriarty said you'll never know they're fully dead but that's ok.

Lastly the scan showed that there is no NEW growth anywhere else. I'd call that a result.

The next step is to get these scans in the hands of our surgeon at LIJ. We burned some CDs and overnighted them this afternoon.

Moriarty and Ravikumar will review and confer this week and we'll have another consultation a week from tomorrow.

The last bit of good news is that Karen's new regime is for Erbitux only. No more CPT-11. Moriarty feels that this is what's having the most effect. The key is to figure out how to keep things where they are and keep improving K's situation. What a great job he and the team have done so far.

It's a lot to absorb, we're both mentally drained. Still taking it a day at a time and for today things couldn't have gone any better.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Scans and Waiting

Karen threw up this morning after the CT scan but other than that the scan was uneventful. It's probably a bad idea but she took home a CD with the images which we've poured over this evening.

It's hard to know what we're looking at so best not to draw too many conclusions.

We meet with Moriarty on Thursday assuming the radiologist writes up his report by then. The challenge is to keep distracted until then.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Highs and Lows of Summer

Hello everyone. Sorry for the lack of updates. The last month and a half have been as the title suggests busy, great and stinky. I guess I will start with the practicals. I had my 8th chemo of 2008 a week or so ago on the 11th of July. I will have a ct scan done on the 28th and we will meet Dr. Moriarty on the 31st to review everything. Dr. Moriarty told me that he is hoping after this next scan that we can reassess everything and hopefully have a new plan on the books. He is implying that hopefully there will be a break from chemo but of course we won't know that until we see what the scans find. I don't really know about the Erbitux. As nasty as the acne/rash/mustache stuff is, I really think it is having a significant impact on the tumors and if I have to stay on that, that's fine. It doesn't affect me the way chemo (which is the cpt-11) does.That's where things have been rough.

The last 3 chemo sessions or so, most significantly the last one, my body has had an increasingly difficult time recovering. This also impacts my mental state of course and I found myself really battling last week staying positive and not feeling agitated, extremely tense, and a bit down. So I am really hoping for a bit of a chemo break. Even if its for a month or two. I just want to regroup.

However the chemo/erbitux combo, along with the ablation I had in November has had a great effect on my tumors and I am very, very happy, blessed and grateful for the way things are going. Things are continuing to move forward and progressing in a positive way and my medical team (almost family at this point) continue to completely stay on the ball, and battle along with me. I have the chemo nurses taking the absolute best care of me and the times I do get upset during chemo, though I try to be discreet and not cry etc. they know me by now and always stop what they are doing and sit and talk to me.

Last friday during erbitux and hydration that I desperately needed, one of the nurses named Chris, out of nowhere asked me if I was hungry, went all the way down to the cafeteria and got me chicken soup and crackers....what!? I am sure she didn't get it for free and I am still stunned that she did this. I have been going there long enough to know that that doesn't happen as a common practice. I am very, very blessed.

Also on the even happier side when I do feel good I feel great. I have been having the summer of my dreams with my kids and husband during my time I feel great and I am just loving it. We have been having adventures at the beach and going to indoor play places, and just having fun in the sun in their kiddie pool in the back. It's really what life is made of, and you don't need to have cancer to figure that out.
My kids are so fun and amazing and innocent. We were on our way to the beach and I said "guess what guys, I packed bologna sandwiches for lunch!" They gasped in happiness and Ethan said "wow that's my favorite!" and Syd said "I just loooooove bologna!" I mean they were so happy about their sandwiches! I thought that was great. I think our next adventure will be to a water park, with a hotel stay, so that should be very fun.

Also happiest of happiness my very best friend of the last 20 years of my life, Nicole, just had her second beautiful daughter Sadie. Congratulations guys we are so happy for you and I am already in love, love, love.

Thank you so much everyone for your support that comes in all ways and forms and is always, always appreciated, and means the world to us. We will continue to keep you posted and pray for you all too.

With Much Love,