Thursday, September 18, 2008
A Mixed Bag This Time
Hi, All -
I went down to St. Louis yesterday with my brother, Dave, for my 6-weekly checkup. I got the results of last week's CT scan as well.
It was a bit of a mixed bag. The bad news is that there was some growth in the largest tumor in my lung. It has grown a millimeter from the last CT scan in July.
My first thought was "Well, a millimeter isn't anything!" and I wondered if they measured it accurately. Of course, they said it was an accurate measurement as it was done by their computer. I still have to wonder; If they placed the cursor in the wrong spot, it could be off a millimeter, but who am I to argue?
The good news is that I am still in the clinical trial. When I signed up for it more than a year ago, I was told any growth or new tumors would cause me to be removed from the study. I've now found out that they're not quite that harsh about it. Even though I've had some growth, the tumor itself is still much smaller than it was when I started on the Sutent study and that's what's important. There are no new tumors and the other tumors are unchanged.
I was taken off the drug a week early in the last cycle because the side effects were so bad. I was worried that they'd have to take me off the drug because of that, or at least lower the dose. Fortunately, my Hand-Foot Syndrome was only at Stage 3, rather than the Stage 4 they thought at first, so I'm able to continue taking the Sutent at the same level, rather than reducing the dose which is also very good news.
So, all in all, I have to say that the good news outweighs the bad news (Yea!)
I head down to St. Louis again on October 29, which also happens to be my birthday. (Is there a better way to celebrate turning 48 than by traveling 500 miles to visit an oncologist? I can't think of any, either! ) No CT scans are scheduled until December, which is even better news. (Not that I don't enjoy getting pumped full of dye and locked in a giant donut.)
There are some interesting developments in treating Hand-Foot Syndrome, which is my most annoying side effect. There's a new drug called Xyfid that is waiting for FDA approval. There is a clinical trial using nicotine patches to help treat HF Syndrome in breast cancer patients. Some people suggest using DMSO to treat it, but I'm a little leery of that. There's also a lot of chatter on the internet among cancer patients about a concoction of henna, hot water, and lemon. I have to admit that last one sounds odd but harmless and I might try it. (My St. Louis oncologist didn't think it would work, but he said he didn't think it would hurt, either, so why not? And, really, whose feet wouldn't look better with some lovely dye on them?)
Thanks for all your continuing prayers and support. Hope you're all doing well.