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,


TaDa said...

Wow karen... hmmm sounds like you made some sound decisions... I will pray for you and your family... Having been delt chemo myself - I know what you are up against...



Anonymous said...

Hi Francis & Karen, JUst to assure you I am with you in spirit and in prayer.I think it is not insignificant that today is Granny Shanahan's anniversary and also Padraig's. I am praying to them both in a special way for you. I thank God for your faith and courage. Love & hugs to Sydney & Ethan. Brigid

kp said...

Hey Love,
You are a constant in my heart and prayers. You are a strong, kick-ass woman. Thank you for being you.

PS I'm getting my hair chopped in your honor tomorrow--off to Beautiful Lengths.

Teresa Loughnane said...

Mirjana is not the only one who is amazing Karen. Once again you have found your fighting spirit and are gearing up to do battle. I am immensely proud to call you my sister-in-law and I will continue to pray for both you and Mirjana. Love Teresa xx

Don MacLeod said...

Hey Karen

It’s just an all around rainy day.

Hold Fast...
& the same goes for sweet Mirjana.
Don MacLeod

Anonymous said...

Oh my dearest Karen,

As I started reading your message my eyes welled up with tears, and my heart aches with the news, but you are so young and so beautiful, inside and out, I know that you will be ok.

There is not a day that I do not think or pray about you, you are always in my heart.

I hope and pray to God that you will beat this and leave all of this behind you.

The way that I love my beautiful little sister and pray that she is ok that is how I feel about you. May God watch over both of you and everyone dealing with cancer.

Then I read what you wrote about me and it proved to me what a beautiful loving person you are.

My family is devestated Karen, my heart aches for my parents, like they have not been through enough with my little sister, now me.

I had my first chemo today, I am on a clinical trial, of course I am scared. I have seen so much with my little sister that thee wounds are still fresh. The same time she was going to get her cat scan results was the day that I got diagnosed.

Today my tumor was 11.9 cm and still growing, I can not even close my arms , but we will see what God has in store for me.

I love you and want to thank you for praying for me, as we all know every prayer helps.

I hope and pray to God that you will have a fast and speedy healing and getting rid of that ugly monster once and for all.

All my love and prayers, and I can hardly see from my tears.

Love always,

Karen and Rob said...

As we have been since you were a teenager, we are proud of you and proud of the approach you have taken to whatever life throws at you. You know you have our prayers and love, and we will add Mirjana, trusting in the power of prayer.

Lena said...

Dear Karen,

Too bad about chemo.. and I can only image how difficult it must be to explain what is going on to Sydney and Ethan... If there is ANYTHING we can do please let us know. And in the meantime we will keep praying for you and sending positive thoughts in your direction.


Victor and Lena

K.M. Camiolo said...

thinking of you...hoping you can have some more Targzay therapy in the midst of this stuff...
Hoping the cpt-11 isn't too awful, some of our friends (bt) are on that and tolerate it pretty well...but ugh.

You are always in my heart. And I will pray for you as you begin difficult conversations...having had other variations on those over the last 5 years...sigh. I know.

wishing you peace in each moment, and a blessed Easter.

kristin & the cams crew

Anonymous said...


I don't know what happened my comment has been deleted.

Thank you for thinking of me. I h ope and pray to God that you will be are young, so I know that you will be ok.

Please let me know if you have spoken to Adam, I am worried about him, I sent him an email and he has not responded to me yet.

Please please let me know if you have spoken with him.

Love always,