My journey with Cancer: Part 3

Today was a pivotal day so to speak in my treatment. Yesterday I had an MRI to determine how effective my treatment plan, which I discussed in part 2, has been. Before I talk about the results I want to touch on how I dealt with the anxiety from waiting for results. My last 3 scans all showed progression from my cancer which has a 40% survival rate, so I knew if the trend continued it could be very bad news.

I mainly spent the week trying to keep my mind off everything. I spent the week trying new recipes, cooking is a hobby of mine and something I can do even when I’m having a bad day with my legs. Since the weather has turned nice here (give that a few days and it will change I’m sure), I have been getting out and walking more. This helps with the fluid buildup and my sanity (being stuck inside for months at a time will cause anyone to develop cabin fever).

There is one in every group

Back to the medical stuff. Today I was scheduled for lab work and my port accessed at 8 a.m., meeting with my medical oncologist at 8:40, and a 30 minute infusion of Gemzar at 9:30. While waiting for my oncologist I received a call from the nurse at the interventional radiologist office saying he would squeeze me in to discuss the results of the MRI and the Y90.

The MRI has a shown a very positive response to the Y90 and chemo. The spot was slightly larger than a half dollar on the CT in December. Today, most of the spot looked dead, a spot roughly the size of a penny still appeared to be active. Dr. Schafer, my medical oncologist, was happy with the progress and wants to continue treatment as scheduled. Afterward, she sent me to speak with Dr. Meek, my interventional radiologist, to determine if he wanted to do another Y90.

Dr. Meek was also very happy with the results, but said it typically takes three to four months to see complete results. So he scheduled a follow up for 2 months and we will determine then if another procedure is needed. Afterward I had my normal 30 minute infusion of Gemzar and was sent on my way. We are still dealing with the side effects of both chemo drugs and the immune system booster. My weight increased again, swelling in my knees and ankles is still painful, massive fluid retention, hair loss has been slow but noticeable, and mild to severe joint pain.

The final bit of information today was the results of my next gen sequencing. The found gene mutations in genes ATM, NF1, MLL2, and TP53. Based on this they determined we have targeted therapies for the mutations of ATM and NF1. While this doesn’t help much, some cells may have one mutation and not the others, it can be used should other treatments start to fail (we are on our third line treatment now). So it appears we have plenty of options going forward, now is time to be patient and stay the course.