…and it shows. Apparently Google Chrome is sponsoring use of the Internet on Delta flights during the month of December. Anyone who knows me knows: (a) I’m something of a computer geek (I’ve been affectionately referred to as part of the ‘Nerd Herd’) and (b) I’m incredibly cheap frugal. Who am I to turn up an opportunity for free Internet access (while flying, no less).
MaryBeth and I are on our way to Phoenix / Scottsdale to get an 2nd opinion about treatment options. Which brings me to the news we received yesterday. Unfortunately, the small ‘haze’ from 2 months ago turns to have been the beginning formation of a new tumor. I have a 3cm tumor at the base of the mesenteric artery near where I had had positive margins. Dr. Kauh told me that given its proximity to the remnants of the old tumor, he would refer to the new tumor as a locally recurrent tumor. What that boils down to is that there does not seem to be evidence at this time of metastasis, which is good. The tumor is slow growing (whether that is due to the chemo I’m taking or something else, is not clear) which is also good. So for what it is, this is generally good news (in the same way it would be good news for an amputee to have his leg amputated below the knee rather than above the knee).
The chemo I am on currently (Xeloda) is an oral version of a relatively old chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer. We are traveling to Scottsdale to meet with colleagues of Dr. Von Hoff whose team seems to be on the cutting edge of pancreatic cancer treatment. (This is along the line of going to where the expert is — I went to Hopkins to have the best surgeon perform my Whipple, now I’m going to the best researcher/practitioner to get treatment options.) Thus, they may suggest a new chemo (or combination of drugs) that may be more effective for treating this recurrence. There is also the possibility that there is a clinical trial that I may be able to participate in, as well.
There is also the possibility that I may be able to get some more radiation to treat the tumor. Way back when, I was told that my abdomen had been exposed to the maximum level of radiation it could stand, but Dr. Kauh thinks there might be some specialized techniques to pinpoint the radiation to treat the tumor. I have an appointment with Dr. Landry, my radiation oncologist to double check next week. I’ll keep you informed of that development.
Healthwise, the abdominal and back pain continues to present itself…it’s slowly creeping back in. As a result, I have an appointment with the pain management doctor to look into having another nerve block. Until then, I am managing the pain largely unaided (though, I do resort to a Lortab/Vicodin from time to time). Still, the biggest issue (besides the abdominal/back pain) continues to be the side effect of the Xeloda of drying out my hands and feet. I started the new course of Xeloda on Monday and already my feet and hands are feeling the effects. I’m using Udderly Smooth to keep my hands and feet moisturized and that seems to be working thus far.
Overall, I’m in generally good spirits today. It’s nice that MB and I are getting some time alone (we have a wonderful woman, who has worked/babysat for us for over 9 years, watching our kids while we’re away). On the upside, we are sort of getting a vacation with the added bonus that we can write off our expenses on our taxes.
Until next time,