Today is round 12 of chemo-#5 for this regiment. We met with Dr. Duane before starting treatment. Karen and my Dad went with. This was about the most prepared I was for a visit with him, and had a list of about 15 questions written down. I will try to summarize all of our conversation. First we started with viewing the scan and what the results were. We carefully broke it down and it did look exactly like it did Jan. 26th. I was thinking I had 6 tumors but we slowly viewed this scan and there is actually 9 tumors. 2 of the tumors are big, but one of those we know from a biopsy is actually benign, or non-cancerous. So we are dealing with 8 tumors in varying sizes. As Dr. Duane explained, a scan can only pick up tumors/lesions that are around 7-8 mm in size. There could actually be some very, very small one’s that the scan doesn’t pick up. But again it appears there is no sign of advancement or spread from my neck through my pelvis.
Next we moved on to all my questions. First I asked Dr. Duane if his/our goal is to still move toward a surgery/procedure, which he says it is. Again chemotherapy on its own is not known to completly rid the body of colon cancer. Dr. Duane feels that the best plan at this point is to stay on the current chemicals for 4 more sessions(3 more after today). He said this regiment could be working but hasn’t completely broke the tumors down yet. The walls of the tumors could still be there but their insides could be dying. The hope is that the chemicals gets rid of some of the tumors or lesions so a surgery could be more successful. We then talked about radiation. Radiation is not a great option for liver patients as the liver gets beat up worse than the tumors themselves do. They can do some radiation but usually they only reserve this for patients with a 3-4 tumors that can’t have surgery. One option that Dr. Sielaff does is something called radio abalation. He usually does this at the same time he does surgery. Basically he pulls the liver out of your body, inserts needles in the tumors and then microwaves them. Again the risk involved with this, especially with someone with 8 tumors, is does too much of the liver get damaged. Again we talked about surgery and the challenges with that. If Dr. sielaff did decide to do some sort of surgery and radio abalation, the challenge is keeping the liver alive through the major procedure. Another challenge-after the big procedure and through 8 weeks of healing afterwards, there could be very small cancer cells that didn’t get taken care of and could grow back. Then you may have had a very tough/difficult procedure and are almost back to square one.
Lastly we discussed the “what if’s”. What if this chemo doesn’t work and Sielaff doesn’t think he can do a procedure or surgery. There are 3 ways we can go. 1. We stay on the same chemicals and just hold the cancer at bay as long as possible. What usually happens over time is that the cancer morphs into a stronger cancer that becomes immune to the chemo. 2. We can switch back to an old regiment I was on that had good results. That regiment caused a lot of nerve damage and that could get worse. Right now I can’t feel the tips of my fingers, most of the sole’s of my feet and my toes. Also Dr. Duane felt originally that we had gone as far as we could with that regiment and that the cancer was becoming somehwat immune. 3. Last we move on to a Clinical trial. Clinical trials are just that. You could have good results or bad results, meaning the cancer actually grows instead of reversing or being held at bay.
Well now you know everything I know. The plan is to do 4 more rounds and then do a PET scan and an MRI in late June and go from there. One other small change moving forward is to move my chemo to a Thurs-Sat. plan vs. Wed. -Fri.
Thank you for all the prayers and well wishes. We are doing o.k. and so thankful for all the support you provide us-it is very uplifting.
Chris, Karen, Brenden and Jaxson
p.s. I really do plan to get some more pictures up from last sunday.