It has been pretty quiet here on the blog... There are a couple of reasons - my computer was down and it wasn't just the screen connector as it has been the last few times, but it actually needed a new screen! $100 for a screen and the same for installation and verification and it is good to go again.
Also, it was a transition time in Melinda's cancer treatment. News comes in slowly, typically every 2 months when another PET scan is taken to measure how the last 2 cycles of chemo have worked. If tumors are smaller and less numerous, we continue what we've been doing. More tumors and bigger, and it is on to something else to try. Mostly lately is has been the latter and we feared that one of these times our oncologist would run out of things to turn to and we'd be facing a dead-end alley as far as options. So it was with some trepidation that we finally saw her yesterday after Melinda's latest PET scan last week.
The result is what we didn't want to hear - the oral chemo she has taken the last 2 months appeared to do nothing for her small-cell cancer. Personally, I wasn't optimistic as it had been developed for brain cancers, but we've done nothing but do what the doctor suggests... The tumors are bigger and brighter. Her back pain that has been the most debilitating is evidently NOT currently the result of her fall from September of 2013, but from near-doubling of an invading lesion near her vertebrae. The image at left is a comparison of the PET from a year ago, and the two most recent scans. At the lower curve of her spine is the whitish-orange of what we're up against...
But while the cancer is worse, at least Dr. Garland reached into her bag and pulled out a plan! We're going back to IV infusions, this time of the drug Taxol, used for the treatments of solid tumors. The descriptions of side effects are scary, but then so are the list of what might happen for most chemo drugs. She has fought through all side effects like a trooper, and is ready to start tomorrow!
But first, another wrinkle! The conglomerate tumor near her spine has been deemed close enough to the surface to try to hit with radiation. So tomorrow they do a "test run" to map out everything, and they'll be ready in about a week for 10 straight days of radiation. Then the plan is to take a week off, then start the Taxol on a once-per-week schedule for 3 weeks, then a week off. Two cycles of Taxol and another PET scan come late September or so. A long time to wait for news of progress, but hey - we're just thankful there is a plan! Dr Garland is also optimistic that the FDA will approve some of the new immunotherapy drugs for trials on small-cell cancer, so another thing to cross-fingers for. Some of the results applied to some cancers have been sounding miraculous, so perhaps something to look forward to!