Sunday, March 28, 2010

Our Plan B

Okay so here's the thing. We got the results back from the MRI, and the part of the tumor that was treated with the cryoablation procedure (frozen) appears to be mostly on the dead side. That's great. However the part that wasn't treated due to its proximity to a major portal vein in my liver, is of course, still viable/alive.

Back in November and up until this point we (Dr. Moriarty, Chamberlain, Schwartz and Fran and I) hoped that this portion could be effectively treated with the cyberknife, which would stave off any chemo treatment a bit longer. And the cyberknife is pretty non-invasive.

After reviewing the MRI Dr. Moriarty strongly feels that chemo would be a better treatment option as opposed to the cyberknife. In a nutshell this means I will be going back on chemo (which will be cpt-11) in about 2 weeks along with Erbitux.
I will do the chemo/erbitux regimen every 2 weeks for four to six months.

After talking at length with Dr. Moriarty Fran and I are in full agreement. Basically the cyberknife may treat the remaining tumor a bit, but we have a stronger and better chance with chemo. We know that my tumors in the past have been very sensitive to chemo - it worked. Dr. Moriarty did stress to me that he isn't saying I must go on chemo right now. We could wait a few months and "see what happens" but I don't want to be on the bad end of that. I don't want to wait and see that the viable tumor left is growing. And I know that Dr. Moriarty feels the same.

Now I always knew when this tumor reappeared in oct/nov chemo was again in my future. But I was hoping that with possibly doing the cyberknife it would push things to sept. and if the cyberknife was effective maybe just Erbitux (which just gives me a horrible rash but doesn't make me sick - or bald for that matter) and no cpt. But both Fran and I feel this is what we need to do and trust Dr. Moriarty to the utmost. He has brought me very far and with great care.

Chemo is horrible there is no denying that but seeing how you being on chemo effects the ones you love is far worse. The last time I had to be on any chemo regimen was 1 year and 9 months ago. The last time I was on Erbitux was 1 year 2 months ago. My children were a lot younger then, and we were able to keep the explanation of what mommy was going through in very simple terms. Not that they weren't effected then. However when I was diagnosed and began treatment they were 16 months and barely 3. Now they are almost 4.5 and 6. Quite a big difference. So now Fran and I are going to have to have a different discussion with them. We will be meeting with the oncology counselor at Overlook Oncology to try and help us formulate the initial conversation with them. I would much rather tell them about the birds and the bees.

So that is our plan for now. I was pretty upset last week when I found out. But I am dealing fine with it right now. I admit, I am trying to block out what I know will be happening when you are on chemo. I am just going to enjoy these next few weeks, enjoy my full head of hair, and my face without some serious acne action. To be honest at the root of it all I am very glad that I continue to have treatment that works, that I have options. I know I have said that before, but it is the stark truth. I am looking forward to seeing the death of this tumor, and continue to have faith and hope that maybe this will be the last time. But if not I am really fine with that, as long as I can be.

Lastly I just want to mention a very special person, with whom I have never spoken to, and I have never met. But she always posts on my blog. Her name is Mirjana. Her sister is a stage 4 colon cancer survivor. Mirjana has informed me through leaving a comment on my blog that she has breast cancer.
Mirjana, I am praying for you fervently. I have never been in touch, only because I don't know how to contact you. My heart was broken to hear this news from you and I hope you are holding up okay and have some more information to help you with your diagnosis.

Please everyone keep her in her prayers. She is very compassionate, and generous to post on my blog, always encouraging me and supporting me without ever hearing back from me. She is amazing.

With Much Love,

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Floatin' Along

I have been encouraged by some of my peeps to update my blog so I shall. There really isn't much to report just yet so thus, I haven't reported.

But as things stand now we are ct scanning, mri-ing, and watching my cea numbers looking for the outcome of the cryoablation. Essentially it takes a good 3 months until you can see somewhat of a definitive result from the procedure. Does the tumor appear necrotic or "dead" on the scans? Is my blood work looking good? How am I feeling in general? These things help determine the outcome of the cryoablation procedure.

As it happens tomorrow March 18th I will be having another mri. During the mri they will inject the "stuff" or contrast. If my tumor picks it up well (essentially if it is alive then the tumor soaks up the stuff and is very distinct on the scan) then the tumor is still viable (alive), if it does not, it does not "soak up the stuff," and is difficult to detect on the films and then it is more reasonable to believe it is dead.

We are doing this to still try and make sure that it makes sense to do the cyberknife now. You can't treat the same area twice with the cyberknife, so if we decide to go ahead, not being assured if the tumor is necrotic or not, we could be, and would be, wasting a tool in our arsenal, so to speak. So we are all trying to make sure there is something there to "zap" and in a nutshell that takes time.

In the meantime, I have been feeling totally fine. I am working out 2-3 days a week and just trying to enjoy this time of quiet. The kids are doing great and loving school and life as they should and we are enjoying them.

Thanks guys for all your support as always. It is never taken for granted. I have been praying for all who pray for me, I have been doing the rosary during lent and including you all in my prayers.

I really want to also take this time to let everyone know that March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month. Please, if you are 50 and over get a colonoscopy. It can save your life. If you are under 50 and feel signs and symptoms, such as rectal bleeding, dark tar-like stools, bloating, constipation etc. fight to get a colonoscopy done. Especially if there is a family history. Cancer as we all know is no joke but colon cancer is preventable, treatable, BEATABLE!!!

Enjoy your family and friends and don't sweat the small stuff. You won't remember what it was in a week, what you were fretting over. Life can be hard, and very unfair, but it can also be great, beautiful and should be lived and enjoyed!

With much love,