Monday, June 25, 2012

Lots going on

Things definitely bogged down there for a bit while going through the liver biopsy itself, waiting for the pathology report, getting an appointment at MSKCC, waiting for further review of the biopsy slides by MSKCC, and then prescription of an MRI and octreotide scan.  Each of those scans were prescribed by both Dr. Janjigian (I’ll be using “Dr. J” from now on because it’s cool and quicker to type) and Dr. Richards so it’s good to know that everyone is on the same page.

MSKCC pathologists wound up agreeing with the original biopsy report (major woohoo since that means I won’t have to be harpooned for another liver biopsy!) and that enabled Dr. J and Dr. Richards to discuss the specific chemo protocol that we’ll be using.  Minimally the new protocol will be composed of VP-16 and a platinum-based drug.  Given that I’ve had cisplatin, oxaliplatin, and carboplatin I’m not sure which one we’ll use.

The MRI is tomorrow afternoon and is of my spine.  This will provide us with imaging that is a follow-up to things that were mentioned on the 5/16 PET/CT scan as well as to discomfort that I’ve had for the past several weeks.  The octreotide scan actually takes place in parts over 3 days (I’m sure that I’ll have some good stories from this one).  This scan will take place in late July and will not impact our ability to start chemo in early July.

I sent my big email blast for LiveSTRONG a couple of weeks back and as is always the case I was blown away by the numerous emails and donations that I received in response.  I really did get emotional about it all.  The support that is expressed by everyone not to mention the generous financial support for LAF is incredibly humbling.  My personal fundraising is over $4,500 and Mintz’s Mentschen is pushing for a top 5 team finish with $13,600 to-date.  The same plea still applies as we’re continuing to get new team members for walking/running/riding.  To either join our team or to donate you can utilize my personal fundraising page by clicking here.  Thanks!!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

And the verdict is?

Today was our appointment at Memorial Sloan-Kettering and the verdict is?  
Unfortunately it was a hung jury.

While the pathology results from the liver biopsy were “good” with regard to bringing information that offers new and different treatment options they were also bad.  They were bad in the sense that they are so different pathologically from the biopsy that was taken from my esophagus in 2008.

Therefore, Dr. Janjigian at MSKCC wants to review the biopsy slides from 2008 and if the MSKCC pathologists are still in need of more information I could possibly have to go for yet another liver biopsy.  The kicker with this biopsy is that it won’t be done with a fine needle (as if that big honking needle was “fine”) this time it will be done with a CORE needle.  I am so excited at the prospect of this you can't imagine.

I also mentioned that I’ve been having some back pain in recent weeks and that has earned me an MRI of my spine.  No biggie on that one but it’s just another thing between me and getting back into treatment (chemo).  Depending on the results of the MRI I could actually wind up receiving radiation treatment for the first time.

All of this new stuff!  Ain’t it exciting!?!?

So stay tuned because the next week or so may bring some new twists and turns.

Before I go I have to thank everyone for their response to my LiveSTRONG fundraising and recruitment plea.  It looks like we’re picking up some new walkers for our Mintz’s Mentschen team and my personal fundraising total has reached $3,365.  Our team total of $10,365 has us in 6th place out of all teams registered for the Philly LiveSTRONG event.  You can donate and/or join us via my fundraising page by clicking here.  Thanks!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The results are in

Well the good part about the liver biopsy is that it turned my 3-day holiday weekend into a 4-day weekend.  Woo-hoo!!  I knew enough about the procedure to be nervous as it approached but I figured that I’m pretty good with handling pain so all would probably be OK.

The doctor that did the biopsy was great.  His name was Dr. Burgos.  As opposed to other interventional radiologists that I’ve had for port insertion/removal Dr. Burgos was very social and upbeat.  He told me what to expect and kept me well informed as he was doing things.  YES, I was wide awake and undraped.  i.e. I was able to see everything as he was doing it!  That was both good and bad because I was able to know what was coming but darn those needles were BIG!  About the only part that really hurt was right at the beginning when he inserted the needle through my rib cage and then into the liver.  The best part came at the end when he told me that I had “scored one for the team”.  I asked him what he meant and he told me that whenever he sees that his patient is a relatively young man he gets worried because men can’t take pain like a woman.  He told me that I did as well as a woman.  Now there’s a compliment for you.  LOL.  I’ll take it.

I got the biopsy results last evening when Dr. Richards called.  While I’m HER2 negative I never heard him so excited before.  The biopsy provided a lot of detail about the liver metastasis and Dr. Richards is excited because this information opens the door to a different set of drugs.  And with some that are very new.  With this turn of events he suggested that we go to MSKCC for a consultation and I’m working to make that happen as quickly as possible.  I called Saint Peter’s pathology to get the biopsy slides and I already have the CD from the last PET/CT.  Hopefully I get a date from MSKCC tomorrow.  The MSKCC doctor I had seen 3 times over these years has left the hospital and I’ve been assigned to a new doctor.  Here’s a link to her profile page at MSKCC.