Monday, April 22, 2013

A Failed Attempt

Valerie Here. I am at SCCA with my mom, on her computer, while she is getting her next round of chemo. No changes to her chemo treatments yet.On Friday the 19th she went in for a lung biopsy to confirm if the growing/multiplying tumors in her lungs were in fact cancer. The rest of her organs have been stable with the current chemo. The procedure was 2 hours long. Her back was numbed in the area they would be putting the needle in. She laid on her stomach and was told to breathe in and out the same amount of breath as they pushed the needle deeper. She was not sedated for this, the local anesthetic did not take away all of the pain. When the needle hit her ribs it hurt her. They had to maneuver around the ribs. When the needle was pushed though the layer that surrounds the lung, that also hurt her. They had just gotten the needle through the lung and were very close to getting the targeted tumor when the lung leaked air and began to collapse. As the lung collapsed the tumor moved farther away from the needle until the needle was no longer poking the lung. It was too risky to poke it again with the air escaping, so they pulled the needle out of her and stopped the biopsy. They did an X-ray to see how much it was shrinking. She was hooked up to oxygen for the following six hours of rest at the hospital. They monitored her to make sure she was getting better not worse. They would not let her eat until two hours before leaving in case they needed to do a chest tube to drain fluids, or anything else in an emergency to fix her lung. She turned out to be ok and was not admitted! We were glad to be home friday night. She was to get lots of rest for a couple days and not go up/down stairs or lift anything heavy. It hurt her to breathe, especially if she sat up. Her back was also sore from the needle.For those of you who don't know this, my mom rarely sleeps more than 4 hours a night (I know, how in the world is she surviving!?). The night of the lung biopsy she slept for 10.5 hours! She felt so good and well rested the next morning. I had to make sure she didn't push herself since she was still healing. Its so frustrating for her to be held back, physically. I don't blame her. I am so grateful for her energy and the times she feels "normal." I hope that continues to be a big part of her life and the moments of pain and sick feelings are kept to a minimum.As for the biopsy, we are thinking there will not be a second try. Which we are completely ok with. Her doctor is going to decide for the next round, if the chemo will change or not. Most likely it will.I have been so impressed with my Mom throughout all of this, but she gains giant boosts of confidence when she hears from all of you in a variety of ways. You are what keeps her fighting strong. Thanks for expressing your love and support. Keep it coming!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Good News and News

The good news is...Valerie followed me back to Seattle for what started out as a two week visit and has now turned into three! She came out to help with putting the house back together from the water damage. The new floor is in, and GORGEOUS! We all love it! Downstairs is all painted. The bathroom is nearly complete. It feels like a new house downstairs. Thanks to friends who came to help us in such stressful times. We appreciate the support and feel very loved!

Now for the news. After the last four rounds of chemo my numbers have dropped to 345. Today was my CT scan and we went over the results with my oncologist. The CT scan showed that the tumors in my liver and thyroid are stable...not growing, but the tumors in my lungs are growing and multiplying. He wants to be 100% sure that the new growth is cancer so I will be going in for a biopsy in the next couple of days. If it is not cancer, we will continue the treatment I am on now, folfox. If it is cancer, the chemo regimen will change, to folfiri. I qualify for a clinical trial. It will be an addition to the folfiri. Some of the side effects with the new chemo will be nausea, anorexia, acne rash and no more neuropathy (cold sensitivity and tingling in hands/feet).

It was expected that I would stop responding to the folfox at some point and would be switched to another chemo. There are four chemo regimens. All that I have done up to this point has been the first. If we switch, it will begin the second. There is a 50/50 chance that the clinical trial could be a better treatment. We have the choice to participate. I feel it is worth a shot.