Thursday, May 9, 2013

Touching Base

So, I haven't been the best blogger.  I have been busy living.  Pretend this is a map and there is an arrow pointing at this spot, next to the words "You Are Here."

At the end of April, I finished my 12th round of Abraxane.   Each round consisted of a 30 minute infusion given once a week for 3 weeks, then one week off.  I scheduled my chemo for Monday's at 4pm, so my Chemo Buddy (my mom) and I could watch Ellen while the chemo infused.  After an IV was started and labs drawn and blood counts checked, we waited for the chemo to be mixed and checked and infused.  It is important to laugh during chemo, to create a positive synergy.

Back in December, I had a small spot on my spine at L4.  We were hopeful that this chemo would kill these cancer cells.  On April 24th, I boarded a plan with my mother and Stick Amy (Amy was supposed to go with us, but made another committment in the meantime.  She went along in spirit.  And on a stick.)  We were headed to California to visit my younger sister, Ashley, who works as an Animal Cargiver at an Animal Sanctuary.

Some picture highlights of our trip:

California 2013

That week in Califorinia flew by with a trip to the ocean, an adventure looking for the locations used in the movie, "The Birds" and eating at some of Ashley's favorite vegan restaurants. The sanctuary had recently rescued 900 chickens, 4 roosters and 3 goats. My sister has 5 cats.  For seven days, we got to watch these animals come to life as they learned who they are.  For seven days, we sat in the sunshine, watching them, listening to their sweet sounds and feeling the peace of the foothills.   
 We returned on May 1st.  On May 2nd, I had a PET scan and CT.  Around noon that day, Dr. Laudi called to see if I was in any pain.  I told him "No."   He was reading the results of the scans and they showed that L4 was still active and larger than the previous scan in December.  He ordered an MRI to determine if the tumor was pushing into the spinal cord. It is not. 
Monday, we had an appt to discuss our plan.  My options were:
-Radiation or no Radiation.  Once a bone goes through a series of treatments- it cannot be irradiated again.  If I was in a lot of pain, then we would do it, but I am not, so Dr. Laudi thinks we should save that in case we need it later. 
-Chemo.  He recommended a chemo, that he thinks I will tolerate, given my history. 
-Clinical Trial.  There is a clinical trial that originated in Japan that looks promising.  If I agree to it, my name would go into a computer and randomly decide if I would be in: Arm A (getting "NKTR-102" , the phase 3 experimental drug) or Arm B (the chemo Dr. Laudi already suggested).
Plan: No radiation for now. Consent to the clinical trial and Mark has been reading and really hopes I get in the Arm A group.  Clinical trials require lab work and tests before a person starts.  I had 6 tubes of blood drawn and peed in a cup.  We will meet with the Research Nurse once the preparations and randomization process is complete. 
Please pray for wisdom during this process.  (Mark wants prayers for Arm A)

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