Not an easy appointment yesterday
The scan showed the disease is continuing to advance.
The hardest thing to hear was that the radiation didn’t have much of an effect on the lesions in Abi’s digestive track. In fact, the cancer in the area that seems to be causing so many problems with nausea, weight loss and pain seems to have grown despite a month of radiation treatment.
And Dr. McGaughey all but ruled out surgical intervention.
So where does this leave us? Abi will get another round of immunotherapy tomorrow, and do one more round of her current chemotherapy. The particular chemo regimen has two different drugs and she’s never been able to take the second because of its effect on the radiation therapy she was going through. So there is reason to believe that this round might actually produce different results than we’ve had up to now. We’re hopeful.
In two weeks, we’ll go back to see Dr. McGaughey, and he’ll reevaluate the size of the tumors in her neck. If they haven’t improved, then we’ll proceed to the next course of treatment.
What might that look like? Here are some options:
Trials. Dr. McGaughey is investigating which trials might be happening at NCI in DC that Abi might qualify for. Also, we’ll be heading to Boston for a fourth (?) opinion on the way ahead (VOA, The James, MSK, and now BU), and to see if they have any trials. The date of that visit is still pending.
Our old chemo regimen. As you might recall, the original regimen, the one that Abi was on for over a year(!) didn’t cure the disease, but it did stymie it’s growth. We could, conceivably go back to that treatment.
A new chemo regimen. Dr. McGaughey suggested there was different drug (Taxol) that has had some success with neuroendocrine cancer patients.
But the simple truth is that there’s no obvious choice at this point. Truly, the only obvious option was the original chemo, and to some extent, the regimen that Abi is currently on. It’s tough to feel like our options are getting squeezed.
We’d love to know there are lots of really effective and reliable arrows left in the quiver. But that’s just not so. There are arrows, but we just don’t know how effective they’ll be. Not many people have tried them.
And that’s where we are.
But here is what Abi’s not doing. She’s not giving in.
In fact, she’s more determined than ever to collect as many memories as she possibly can. Here’s what she and John have loaded onto their calendars for the coming weeks.
Visits from Ohio (x2), New Jersey, and Boston family, including introductions to her newest cousins - one of whom is named for her.
A trip to Ohio to visit college friends.
Howl-O-Scream at Bush Gardens
Hamilton with John for his birthday
And still trying to work in the first ever Two Flounders kite-flying extravaganza.
And probably a lot more that I don’t even know about.
So as you pray or send your positive thoughts out there, let them be for the chemo to have a big effect prior to the next visit, for relief from the pain and nausea (this is a continuing battle), and for our girl to have energy to collect all the memories she can, and to share them freely with those she loves.