Thursday, March 19, 2009

He is my Warrior, and I his Army

• Thursday, March 19, 2009 3:52 PM, CDT
I wish I had more positive news to report. Today was Michael's MRI update. The nurse practitioner, Mady, went over the new scans with us after she and Dr. Peak did their review of today's MRI. What they found was that there was new tumor growth higher up in the frontal lobe. She says the area around the initial tumor resection appears to be stable, yet it has clearly spread into the area behind Michael's right eye. What this means regarding his treatment is that he needs a new form of chemotherapy. After making several phone calls to UCSF, Stanford and UCLA, Mady found that there are currently no open trials that she would recommend for Mike. There are two at UCLA that may open in the next few weeks, both of which she highly recommends. As it is uncertain when they will open, she felt that we needed a plan of action as of today. The recommendation by her, and Dr. Peak, is an IV drug called Carboplatin. This form of chemotherapy would be repeated every 4 weeks. Michael is scheduled for this infusion on April 3rd. It is our hope that one of the trials open up in the next two weeks, and that Michael be found eligible. They would need to be able to begin his treatment very soon after.
As a reminder, how these treatments go, once the tumor recurs, you move on to the next available chemotherapy. By finding a promising trial medication, you are able to save the other chemotherapy drugs as a back up plan. It's always a matter of trying to combat the tumor once it becomes resistant to the current treatment. In order to be eligible for a trial you must have completed the most recent cycle of your current chemotherapy. So in this way, it is often a matter of timing.
We have a lot of faith in both Mady and Dr. Peak. Both of them previously worked at UCLA, and both have contacts at UCLA which can help streamline the process. Meantime, I will continue to make contact with the other teaching hospitals, such as UCSF, to make sure they are aware of Michael's treatment needs.
Again, I wish to be thankful for where we are today. Michael has remained seizure free since mid January. He has tolerated well the many medications he is on, and he has not suffered any significant neurological deficits. Michael has survived this horrible disease for 16 months. He is my warrior, and I his army. Actually, we are all in this together. Thank you for loving Michael, and please, remind him how many of you are there behind him!
With so much gratitude.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Chance Meetings

• Saturday, March 7, 2009 4:31 PM, CST
Another quiet weekend at home. Both Mike and Arianne have suffered most of the week from this terrible cold that keeps getting passed from person to person. Fortunately I have avoided getting trapped in it's lair. As the family's designated driver, I can't afford to get sick.
Yesterday was Mike's Avastin infusion at Kaiser. If you have never visited a chemotherapy infusion center, there are many reclining chairs, one after another, where patients are set up to receive their infusions. Sometimes patients are there on their own, but often next to them are their significant others. Funny how we often just smile at the person next to us, but rarely strike up a conversation. Yesterday was different. Across from us was another married couple around our age. All four of us were initially interacting with the friendly nurse, and eventually the wife ask me where we were from. As it turned out this couple use to live in our same neighborhood in San Francisco, and were also raising teenage children. They both had such a great sense of humor, which made our appointment very enjoyable. It's funny how these little chance interactions can be so nourishing to the psyche. While the husband didn't have the same type of cancer as Mike, as a couple they are still going through very similar circumstances.
Take care everyone, and be open to these chance meetings.
Love. Dan