Thursday, July 31, 2014

Plan A

We met with my oncologist yesterday afternoon and now have a plan of action.  On Wed. Aug. 6th I'll be starting 18 weeks of chemo.  Carboplatin and Taxol, similar to 6 years ago since I was obviously responsive before.  The standard treatment is 6 cycles of 3 weeks each (18 weeks total), first week one dose chemo and two weeks off.  Last time for each cycle I did two doses during the first week, one dose in the second week then had the third week off.  This time 18 weeks, one dose each week, no weeks off...  It's an aggressive approach called dose-dense.

No surgery, but maybe radiation after the chemo.  There's still some confusion about this, and my doc is recommending we get a second opinion from a radiology specialist at UCSF.  

First stop, install a port in my chest.  This is where they'll insert IVs and do blood draws.  Much easier than 30+ needle jabs!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Dyslexic Radiologist

The PET scan on the 18th was uneventful- drink a jug of stuff similar to oobleck, followed by an I.V. dose of Lasix to stimulate my kidneys and radioactive sugar which came in a creepy looking metal tube, and then sit as still as possible for about 45 minutes.  After the scan however, I ended up taking a small side trip to the ER...  After getting up off the table, I felt a bit queasy.  I attributed this to not having eaten since the night before, and it was almost 5pm.  So I got a bite to eat, but as I sat on the bench outside of the hospital, I felt worse and worse and suddenly felt everything going dim.  A woman close by helped me put my head down and reminded me to breath deeply, and a nurse passing by called for help.  Unfortunately she called in an incorrect code and an entire emergency crew came running out.  About 15 people with machines, crash cart, gurney, etc...  I was starting to come out of it and was totally embarrassed.  I let them know I didn't need to go to the ER, but they strongly advised that I go get fully checked so off I went. 

Last Thursday I had an appointment with a radiation oncologist.  She went over the PET results and some of the treatment options.  The good news is that the recurrence seems to be only the 2 spots that we had seen in the CT and hasn't spread all over the abdomen or outside of it.  She also noted that the lymph node involved is on the right side, not the left like they had put in the CT report.  Doh. 

So now I'm waiting again until the appointment with my oncologist this Wednesday.  He'll have spoken with the radiation and chemotherapy teams and I'll get to see what's in store for me.  I'm feeling pretty impatient, but I'm semi-successfully trying to enjoy myself in the meantime.  

Monday, July 14, 2014

Anatomy lesson

Unfortunately I'm dusting off this old blog since it seems that after 6 years I am having a recurrence.  To sum it up, my ca125 went from single digits at the end of 2013 to a series of rising results starting in May.  35 to 41 to 49 to 75 during the following two months.  July 2nd I did a CT scan which showed 2 or 3 growths. After getting these results over the phone the next day, I spent the week in semi-panic mode.  I should know better and not try to investigate things like this on the internet!  

After my appt. Wed. the 9th with the oncologist I felt calmer.  The CT showed two growths, one in a lymph node, sort of a pencil shape, and the other between my liver and kidney, marble shaped.  These aren't in the same area of the abdomen as my initial occurrence, but in the retroperitoneal space.  I am still having trouble figuring out exactly where all of these various spaces are.  Up until now, I didn't know the abdomen was divided into multiple areas.

Because I tend to go to the catastrophic, I asked the oncologist for a frame of reference and he said that we caught it early and as far as they can tell, it's localized.  He was very optimistic that we could treat this successfully.  Treatments he brought up include surgery, IORT (radiation done during surgery), general radiation and chemotherapy.  Looks like the chemo is certain, the earlier part will be determined by further scanning.  I'll be having a PET scan this Friday which can show active cancer in greater detail.  If there are lots of smaller bits floating around they won't do surgery.  

Emotionally, I'm on the rollercoaster, ranging from denial to gravedigging and all the areas between.  I'll probably feel more stable once we have a more specific plan.