Thursday, October 6, 2011

News from MD Anderson

Mom's appointment with Dr. Javle and his P.A. Jackie was today at 10 a.m. Mom's tumor is the same size as it was in June, but the brightness has decreased from 13.1 to 6.2. Brightness in color on a PET Scan indicates metabolic activity. When the brightness decreases, it means that the cells have less metabolic activity (energy) and are probably dying. There is no metastates present anywhere. :) Obviously, this is fantastic news.

Mom's white count is high (31.2), but that could be a result of the Decadron (dexamethazone) she takes for swelling/fluid in her brain. She will be on it 2.5 weeks longer, then hopefully the glucose counts, insulin, and blood pressure medicine can be stopped and her WBCs will return to normal.

Dr. Javle recommends restarting Mom's chemo as soon as possible. She will resume the regimen she was on before (Tarceva pill (every day), Xoloda pills (every day for two weeks, then one week off), Gemzar (IV once a week for two weeks, then a week off)). He would like to keep a close eye on Mom's platelets, hopefully keeping her clotting/bleeding under control better.

In terms of other treatments, Mom is not a candidate for Proton Therapy. The proximity of her tumor to her stomach and esophagus, combined with the strength of the radiation used in Proton Therapy disqualifies her. If the chemo stops working, then Dr. Javle recommends Mom undergo Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy at MD Anderson for six weeks. It's a more typical type of radiation that can sometimes produce results. She is also still eligible for Radioembolization, though it is more invasive and, therefore, not a preferred method of treatment.

All in all, very good news. Dr. Javle is "very happy, since it's been seven months since diagnosis and the cancer is better."

Mom, Samantha, and I are in Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston now, awaiting our return flight to Indianapolis. Though filled with good news, trips to MD Anderson are almost always draining. We are tired and ready for our own beds! :)

Thank you for your prayers. The cab driver today commented that "lifting up prayers is the biggest, most important thing any person can do for another." You have no idea how much we appreciate them!

Written/Posted by Jenn

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