A Day Later

At Friday's visit, my oncologist showed me that the spots in my lungs had tripled in size since November and told me he wants me to stop the Tamoxifen and Zoladex and get ready to start Herceptin. He went on to assure me that he'd found a clinical trial I could participate in where half the patients are given Herceptin alone and the other half Herceptin plus Taxotere. I asked if the eight doses of Docetaxel I had last year didn't disqualify me and one of the extra oncologists he'd asked to sit in on our consultation chirped in that it did while he shuffled through my file and disappointingly agreed. He was quick to recover and emphasize that I could and should start Herceptin as soon as possible anyway and continue weekly infusions for as long as it continues to shrink and control the lung mets without damaging my heart. He explained how it works and mentioned that although he wants me to start Herceptin alone, I may need another chemo drug called Navelbine or other chemo options combined with it in the future and that there are all sorts of chemo options yet to sample when any one stops working. Another drug called Tykerb or Lapatinib is also about to be approved in the U.S. (this month) and will have some further trials for which I might qualify.

I'll get another heart ultrasound, an EKG, an x-ray and some bloodwork before next Friday's consultation and possible begin Herceptin that day or the next Tuesday, depending on the results. The first infusion apparently causes the biggest reaction, almost an allergic reaction, with most patients experiencing chills and hot flashes alternately but the subsequent treatments apparently do not. The biggest reaction will be to the family finances though and I'm checking all the available public resources to see if we'll qualify for a little (hopefully a lot of) help. Cyberfriends in various support groups have offered much assistance with information and suggestions.

I took advantage of my location and enjoyed an inexpensive sushi lunch near the fish market. The cute sushi chef seemed curious that I didn't fit the pattern of the foreign tourists that he sees in groups every day so he asked if I was a regular visitor to Tsukiji and I admitted that I was visiting the Cancer Center regularly. He asked if I liked OOTORO, the expensive belly portion of the tuna. When I said yes, he made a nice serving of it as a special treat for me. Nice guy.

I sampled goods on my way back from the market to the subway station and got a few bargains on vegetables, stewed walnuts and shrimp (S's beer snack) and yummy sushi eggs for today's Doll Festival salad sushi. The beer snack vendor even threw in a small bag of sweet black beans which I'd sampled and decided were good, but not good enough to buy the huge bag on display. If I'd seen the smaller bag, I'd probably have asked the price and purchased it, so I was glad for the freebie.

Today was the local Daruma Ichi, a festival with about 250 stalls selling all sorts of foods and trinkets in addition to daruma dolls near a big temple. J asked me to make her a lunch to take because the food stalls aren't all that cheap and she wanted to go with her friends. I made a fried noodle lunch for M too as her friends stopped by to see if she could play today and the weather was so nice that I didn't think she'd want to come home and waste an hour for lunch. Then I got the weekend grocery shopping done and took N and L on the bus to the festival. We met J and her friend who had finished exploring the temple and were desperately looking for the key to the friend's bicycle with no success. I lent her my phone and she managed to explain to her grandmother at home where the spare was and ask her to have her brother bring it to her by bus on his way to the festival.

Resolving that situation left us free to do our own wandering through the stalls of brightly painted daruma dolls of all sizes and the commotion of vendors hawking their wares. Of course it was a perfect situation to lose a kid or two, so I gave N & L instructions on where to meet if they got tired of wandering through the throngs. L soon went on his merry way and the instructions proved useful. We walked the mile and a half home enjoying the plum blossoms in gardens along the way instead of attempting to get on the crowded buses.

N helped me make our fishmarket egg and salmon sushi salad dinner to celebrate the Hina Matsuri doll's day which was today. She and L also filled and pressed 40 pumpkin gyoza together for me to fry. Now, happily full, we have to clean up a bit to make room to go to bed.


Gideon said...

Sorry for the bad news on the clinical trial. We are keeping you in our prayers.

Anonymous said...

I'll be praying for you Kathy. If your doctor wants you to take any suppliments to build up your immunity, my son(doctor in the Navy) got us started on Mannatech Ambrotose which is very expensive but we haven't had a lasting cold or any sickness since starting in in Dec. He also put his father-in-law on it who had inoperateable prostrate cancer and now the cancer has come down to a size that they can use radiation. He was also taking harmone therapy so don't know if the Mannatech was the reason or the harmone? I'm not pushing it as it is quite expensive but my son said when there is no medical cure it is good to try these other herbal treatments. I'm praying this new medical treatment can work for you. viki in chiba

Anonymous said...

I am very sorry to hear that the latest developments aren't more positive. As you say, there are still quite a few options so I hope that good news is just around the corner. You will remain in my prayers and I hope you will not hesitate for a moment to let all your friends out here know how we can best support you. Kirstine.