Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Around noon today, Mom's rash reappeared. It is concentrated on her upper chest and back, though the itchiest part is in her hairline on her neck. Since she hadn't had any of my pie, she knew it was probably not that.

Dr. Dy is out of the office all week, so Mom called Dr. Houston.  He said that it looked like a drug reaction, and called Crossroads Cancer Center while we were there. Dr. Floyd (who is not Mom's oncologist, but is rumored to be a really great doctor) talked to Dr. Houston. After hearing what medications Mom is taking and where the rash is, Dr. Floyd is fairly certain she is having an allergic reaction to Tarceva.

You may remember from previous posts, that Tarceva is sort-of the 'golden-child' of cholangiocarcinoma chemotherapy drugs. Initially used to treat some lung cancers, it was found to be extremely effective at treating pancreatic cancer and cholangiocarcinoma more recently. We have said, "As long as she's taking Tarceva, the other chemo meds are just bonuses," as it works really well at inhibiting a cancer cell's ability to multiply.

Dr. Houston sent Mom to the hospital to get a blood test, urinalysis, and chest X-ray, just to be sure the rash isn't the result of an infection. He gave her strict orders to stop taking Tarceva and gave her an antibiotic and steroids to ensure the reaction subsides quickly and hopefully doesn't reappear. Aside from the itching, she feels well (just a little tired).

Dr. Houston mentioned that there is one way around Mom being allergic to Tarceva. It involves a hospital stay, but, over the course of a day or more, Tarceva could be administered to her in tiny doses that gradually increase. Though she would always be allergic to Tarceva, her body could learn to tolerate the drug.

Always the optimist, I continue to hope and pray that it isn't any of the chemo drugs. We were all (especially Mom) beginning to get used to , and really like, this feeling of stability and calmness. I guess that will teach us!! :)

We have so many things to be thankful for this year, especially God's grace and Mom's strength. On behalf of Mom, Pat, and the girls and I, from the bottom of our hearts, I would like to thank you for your prayers during the past ten months. There is truly no better gift you can give to Mom.

Have a wonderful New Year! :)

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