Thursday, June 23, 2011

"Remarkable Progress"

We met with Dr. Javle and his P.A., Jackie, this morning around 9:30. Mom's cancer is stable. The main tumor and satellite tumor in her liver are about the same size as at the last PET Scan in April. The edges of the tumor are less dense then in April, which could indicate a willingness of the tumor to start shrinking.
On the April PET Scan, one lymph node was FDG-avid (it lit up/was hot) indicating a strong possibilitiy that it was cancerous. On the new scan, no lymph nodes were hot. She still has some large lymph nodes, but that could be inflammation.
No cancer lighting up anywhere except in the liver mass!! Aside from the tumor, they are no longer concerned with her lymph nodes, lung nodules, or anything else!
Mom's labs look great. Her hemoglobin was 8.2 when we left Springfield six days ago. Today it is 11.1! Her bilirubin is normal. Her cancer marker is up a little, but still pretty stable. Her alkaline phosphatase is normal now!
Dr. Javle is "quite happy" with the scan. She will start back on the chemo and Tarceva next week. She will start a different antibiotic today, so hopefully the rash will be more under control from here on out. She will receive the chemo in a peripheral IV, using the initial orders Dr. Javle gave (which were to dispense the drugs very slowly). He doesn't think Mom will have problems.
She will have periodic CT Scans to be sure no more blood clots are forming. She will also stay on the Lovenox for the entire time she's on chemo.  She may drop down to one injection of Lovenox, instead of two, after three more months. Coumadin's failure rate is too high to risk using it. Mom is at a high risk of clotting, but using the Lovenox, hopefully, things will remain stable.
If she encounters problems with the chemo, then Dr. Javle would like to do Proton Therapy. Proton Therapy is a type of radiation. It's a much higher dose than external radiation and doesn't affect much of the normal liver cells. There aren't many side effects; some fatique & some liver injury.
She will return to Houston in three months for another PET Scan. Dr. Javle expects some change by that time. Obviously, we're still hoping for 30% or more shrinkage, and then the tumor may be removed.

For only having four chemo treatments, Dr. Javle says she's had "remarkable progress".

I'm not sure we could have asked for better news. We're overjoyed and incredibly thankful. Mom's been on a rollercoaster of bad/good news the past five weeks. Hopefully, this will give her and us some stability for awhile.

Please continue praying that the chemo shrinks the tumor, and the cancer remains stable. Mom and Pat will be flying home early tomorrow morning. Her chemo will resume Wednesday. I will be visiting some friends in Dallas and then heading back home.

Thank you for your prayers and thoughts. Obviously, they're getting through. God is good!

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