Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Update: February 15, 2012

I'm overdue to update you on last Friday's chemo session.  Plus, I met with my oncologist this morning and got some unexpected news.

First, chemo.  It went pretty much the same way the last couple of sessions have gone.  The chemo itself is fine.  Afterwards, though, I end up tired and lose my appetite.  I haven't eaten much since Friday.  Even my favourite things, like Saint Hubert chicken and cream of wheat, I could only eat a bite or two of them.  My cousin Sam mailed me some of my grandmother's best cookies, genetti.  Even the genetti I have to eat slowly to get them down.  It's a shame.  Still, considering how difficult chemo is for so many patients, I know I'm getting off easy.  I can't really complain.  And that is why my appointment with my oncologist was somewhat surprising.

His focus is on maximizing my quality of life while controlling my disease.  He wanted to get my liver metastases under control and then reduce my chemotherapy.  The last CT scan showed that the liver mets have shrunk significantly, but it appeared that the bone mets had grown.  My oncologist pointed out that it takes months for bone mets to heal, and for the healing to be visible on a scan.  His interpretation of the CT results is that the bone mets may have grown while my chemo was interrupted in November/December, but they are probably responding as well as the liver mets are -- we just can't see it yet.  He's now going to reduce the amount of Taxol I'm getting by 20% to improve my quality of life (that is reduce the extent of tiredness and lost appetite I'm experiencing).  On another note, he will be reducing the amount of steroids I'm getting with the Taxol, which should reduce my swelling.

In a couple of months, he'll repeat the CT scan and if the results are good, he expects to cut my Taxol to once every three weeks, rather than twice.  Eventually, if my results remain good, after another couple of months, he'll cut the Taxol entirely and stick with the Herceptin for "maintenance."

He also mentioned that the liver is the most important organ in my treatment, the one he was most concerned with controlling.  This makes me feel much better, given the dramatic results I had on the liver mets.  I had been worried about the bone mets, but his comments this morning made me less concerned.  I just have to be more patient with the bone mets.  The fact that my pain levels are greatly reduced is probably a more accurate reading on my bone health than the CT scan was.  That's good.

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