Saturday, September 12, 2009

oncological whack-a-mole

As you all know Rebecca's has been feeling pretty good for the last few months. She had a bad 6 months at the end of last year and the beginning of this but after she started on chemo she got massive relief from her symptoms and got a lot of her energy back. She went in for a CT scan this week. As we expected the tumor in the lungs has significantly receded, hence the relief in symptoms. What comes as a complete surprise is that meanwhile the cancer in her liver has progressed significantly. Apparently one only needs about 20% of one’s liver to function and Rebecca’s is only compromised by 10%-15% so she’s in no immediate danger from liver related side-effects. The progression is considerable though; going from one visible lesion to (we counted) 20. When the liver is effected with one large mass it is possible to apply a local treatment directly on the tumor. With the tumor spread out as it is the only treatment option is systemic. (Even the doc made a fried liver joke at this point).

The doc has made it very clear that we should stop the current treatment and go on to another that will address the progression in the liver. He has given us a choice of 3 different chemo options to chose from; strawberry, vanilla or chocolate… oh no that was at the store after. I can’t remember right now what the choices are but as I research them and commit all the pros and cons to memory I will share them with you here. Doctor made it very clear that even if there is no net increase in tumor mass this is a concerning result. The cancer in the liver is now the ‘primary concern’ so all those good healing thoughts that we have all been beaming at Rebecca’s lungs so effectively; now need to be directed at her Liver.

We are both a little freaked out but are trying to remember to just stay on the moment and enjoy the time we have right now.

We will keep you posted.



Bridget Wynne said...

Andy, thank you for sharing the painful news with us. I bet it was hard to write that email, and we so want to know what is happening and how you all are. It's terrible that you and Rebecca just got "whacked" with another aspect of her cancer to assimilate the info and upset about, research, and plan and handle treatment for. I am definitely sending my healing thoughts and prayers to you, focusing on Rebecca's liver and on you both finding as many of the moments you are trying for, of enjoying the now.

On a different note, it was great to see Merav up in front last night at Shabbat services helping lead the V'ahavtah. What a mature and self-confident girl!

As Rebecca says so beautifully and truly: love love love

eekim said...

Andy and Rebecca, your courage and attitude are inspiring. Thinking good thoughts for you and your kids.

Denise Wolf said...

Call me crazy, but I feel optimistic! It's *great* that Rebecca's lungs cleared so much from the chemo. And I know of lots of women who've walked around with liver mets for 4,5,7 years and more with pretty much no symptoms. I just know you'll find a drug combo that brings this under control.

Let me know what chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry translate to and I'll help you do the research on what flavor to choose next. I'll even help with toppings. For instance, I think that whatever chemo you guys pick, Rebecca should go back on a hormone blocker too (assuming she's not on one now). It is pretty suspicious that the liver mets took off after she started chemo and stopped hormone blockers. My guess is that the lung mets are hormone resistant but chemosensitive, and the liver mets might be the opposite. So being on both might be the way to go.

Anyways, you have all my love, and my research efforts if you want them.


Rachel said...

Aw, crap. It really is like whack-a-mole, isn't it?

I am redirecting healing thoughts to Rebecca's liver. And sending a few extra to her lungs.

Hang in there, you guys.

Lots and lots of love,


Jonathan Simon said...

I'm cheered a bit by Denise's post. I recall being very frustrated during my father's lung cancer that the doctors showed no interest in the location of his mets. His were in the small intestine, a very rare mets site for lung cancer and they took no interest. My medical training stopped with Aristotle, but there has got to be more significance to the way mets behave than those doctors (circa 2000 but at MD Anderson) seemed to indicate. I thought of their approach, which consisted purely of lining up the chemo courses as the equivalent of fighting in Afghanistan with only air power and no knowledge at the ground level.

G'ma G 'n G'pa M said...

Here in London, we are 'whacked' by this news too and are focusing our healing thoughts appropriately. We are also heartened by the 'Comments' on this page, not just for what they say but also for the love and care that they show in abundance. Thank you all. With love and best wishes for 'L'Shana Tova' - a sweet New Year. May all our healing wishes, especially for Rebecca, Andy, Ze'ev and Ravi, help in the coming months.

Merrie said...

Big hugs coming your way. love, love love, Merrie