I met with my Oncologist today and he laid out the next phase in the battle. We need to finish what we started so, it is chemo. time again. He has decided that the regiment I was previously on had maxed out the benefits for me. That Oxalplatin regiment does most of its damage right away and then it tends to get less effective. So today was introduction day to some new drugs. All of the drugs have their own personalities and all attack cancer in a different way-also they all have their own yucky side-effects.
The first Dr. Duane mentioned was Camptosar or Irinotecan. This drug has been around since 1994. Irinotecan inhibits DNA replication and transcription, i.e. the cancer can’t replicate and grow itself. The side effects for this drug: severe diarrhea(this hits immediately like during the infusion itself), hair loss, and it really hits your immune system hard-so your white blood cells crash and it makes it harder for you to fight off illnesses.
The second one he told me about was Avastin. Avastin has been around since 2004. This drung inhibits tumor growth as it blocks the formation of new red blood vessels. The side effects of this one are: hair loss, bloody noses, poor blood clotting and high blood pressure. Again this causes you to be more susceptible to illnesses.
The third drug he told me about is Erbitux. Erbitux was introduced by a company called ImClone systems. This is the drug and the company that Martha Stewart got caught up in and eventually was jailed due to insider trading. When it was first introduced Marth had lots of shares and was ready to cash in. But when she found out the FDA wasn’t going to aprove it she quickly tried to dump her shares which looked extremely conspicous and eventually led to her being jailed. Erbitux was later approved in and has been available since 2004. This drug really only works on certain types of colon cancer patients. They are doing a test on my type of cancer right now, so I may not even be eligible for this drug. They think they will have my test results on Friday. The side effects of this drug are: hair loss, skin rashes/lesions/acne on the back, chest and face. This drug makes your skin very sensitive to sunlight.
Each of these drug regiments would be similar to the one I had before. I will go in on a Wed., do bloodwork, receive the treatment, then go home with a take home bottle that will continue to give me the chemo drug FU5 for 46 more hours. Then I go back in on Friday an get my pump disconnected. The regiment would be every two weeks.
At this point I thought it was decision time for he and I to choose which chemo (and side effects) would be the one for me. My doctor made it easy and decided that I will go on all 3 of these at the same time! I jokingly questioned what would become of me-no hair, skin rashes on my face/back and chest, constant diarrhea and bleeding from my nose. Doesn’t that paint a pretty picture? My doctor sad that I was in great health(minus this whole cancer thing) and spirits and felt that it was a good time to be aggressive. The plan is for me to have 3-4 chemo sessions and then do the next scan. He said that we may do as many as 6 sessions before we attempt surgery again. Ultimately he wants the surgery to be easier for Dr. Sielaff, thereby making it easier on me. One other important note…the doctor said that the current chemo drugs don’t cure Colon Cancer-it only reduces it or stunts its growth. It can shrink it down to almost nothing but never completely irradicates it.
So there you have it my chemo vacation is about to end along with my outward appearance of looking “normal” through the first part of this battle. I start the new regiment next Wed.-the 25th. Karen and I need to start working on the boys to prepare them for Daddy with no hair. I will definitely need some type of cap for that April 5k Get Your Rear in Gear.
Speaking of the 5K, you can bring strollers for kids whether walking or running. If you are running with a stroller, they just ask you to stay near the rear.… Rear-get it? Just a little colon cancer humor for you(with that type of humor Kent Bahr is proudly saying, “That’s my boy”).
Thanks for listening, thinking and praying about me and my family!
Phillipians 1:6 (I’ll let you look it up and interpret its relevance)