Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Every Good Story Has Lots of Twists and Turns, Right?

So today is my husband's and my anniversary. Two years! Yay! Wanna know how I know this? Cause my husband wished me a happy anniversary this morning. I forgot. Doh. Seriously though, I didn't totally forget about it. I'd been talking about it just this weekend and even talked about dinner plans just last night. 

The problem is...my mind. It's been on so many other things lately. Dark things like cancer and dying. Deep things like God and Faith. Stuff that could be near or could be way far down the line. But, I need to do better. None of it should supercede the present. None of it should occupy so much of my brain, that I wake up thinking about death and dying instead of living and loving...right now today...in the present moment. Yup...I need to do better.

Sooo....anyway...things are changing again on the cancer rollercoaster. I honestly think that this latest change is a really good thing. In all honesty, I can't help thinking that things that developed this week were meant to happen. It's even a bit freaky. To me. Maybe not to anyone else. I will do my best to explain.

OK...so my last treatment of any kind was on July 6th. That's a little over 6 weeks of my body being unhindered by any kind of anti-cancer medicines. Who even knows what kind of party those cancer cells have been having inside my belly. Based on the pain (new pain and old pain and increased pain) I have been having and the chills and the fevers and the cold sweats and the lethargy...I'd say those cancer cells in my belly have been living it up these past 6 weeks.

By doing the liver embolization, which I described in my last blog, we would be focusing solely on my liver tumor and allowing the rest of the cancer in my abdomen and pelvis to fend for itself for AT LEAST another 6 weeks, if not more. I have always had a little concern about this, but historically the stuff in my belly has been slow-growing (when under treatment). And, unfortunately, because of the toll a liver embolization would have on my body, we wouldn't be able to do the embolization and systemic chemotherapy at the same time. (I don't want to be one of those cancer patients who dies from chemotherapy and not from cancer. Ha.)

If you recall from a while back, there was a second study I was interested in when I was first starting out at NIH. That study sounded super promising to us because it included a drug (disatanib) that was on my "list" of "drugs that may benefit me" on my targeted molecular study. It also includes another drug (Avastin {bevacizumab}) that I have never tried but has been pretty successful in many types of cancer and seems to help other chemo drugs work better than they would alone. BUT...I never really deep down wanted to do this study because I would have to have THREE more liver biopsies. And after the 2 I already had...uh uh...I just was VERY reluctant to go there.

Here's the new twist: In the shower, over the weekend, I discovered a lump on my neck, left side, right above the clavicle. I told my doctor about it and he told me that was a concern and to stop in and see him on Monday (I was going to be there anyway, begging for more pain killers). So, this thing on my neck, is more cancer. A new tumor. It is located on a sentinel lymph node known as "Virchow's node" and it is uber common for metastasis to occur in this node in patients who have abdominal cancer. The fact that it is there now (and a smaller version of it has been there for awhile as we look back on previous scans) doesn't really mean anything new about my cancer (yes, it's growing...but like I said...I've been off treatment and that's what cancer does). 

BUT, there is one new thing it does bring to the table. This node is a pretty good size (bigger than a marble, but smaller than a golf ball) and is palpable to the touch. Which means that it is the perfect place to take biopsies! Nearly painless easy peasy biopsies! 

Surgery is off and chemo is on. And I feel really good about this decision. We will once again be treating the whole body and not just the liver. Let's just hope that the liver responds a little more positively to these drugs than it has in the past. 

As always, I am so grateful for all your prayers and support and love. It really keeps me going through the rough patches...and I've been having a lot of those lately. So thank you for being there for me.

Love to you all, Vashni

1 comment:

  1. Lots and lots and lots of love, Vashni. xoxo

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