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More Good News from Houston

Kathy and I are hanging out at Houston Hobby airport waiting for our flight home. We’ve been here since Monday for a routine visit three months after my final round of PRRT. I had several follow-up tests and exams at Excel Diagnostics including a MUGA scan, renogram, bone scan, MRI, CT, and octreoscans. I also had the gamut of lab work last week. All of the results are good. The imaging shows continued tumor death in my liver and other areas. Some areas of tumors in my lymph nodes and diaphragm are stable. There is no evidence of disease in my bones. My kidney function is normal, and there is no sign of toxicity in my kidneys from the PRRT.

A couple of the most dramatic findings are that the overall tumor bulk in my liver is down to about 25%. A few years ago as much as 40% of my liver was involved with cancerous lesions. The doctor showed us the MRI of my liver and the difference from then to now is amazing. Also great is the fact that my neuroendocrine tumor markers are all the lowest they’ve ever been. These include cga, neurokinin a, serotonin and 5HIAA. That last indicator is the one that surprised us the most because it’s what helped to diagnose me with carcinoid back in 2005. At that time my 5-HIAA level was 87. The highest that indicator has been in the last six months was 55. My test last week showed it at only 15.

The hope now is that this therapy will continue to work over the next several months to further reduce tumors, and that I can enjoy up to five years (or maybe more?) of tumor free progression. I will continue to have follow-up scans and tests on a regular basis. We still have to work out the details but I should be able to have the majority of that work done at Cedars-Sinai in LA rather that having to return to Houston.

We’re so thankful AGAIN to our wonderful friends Mary and Russ who opened their home to us this week. We feel like part of the family and really enjoy our visits with them. While we won’t miss the humidity here, we will miss the people and the great care. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to receive this therapy.

Great News

Kathy and I just returned home from a quick 2-day trip to Southern California. I had some scans and tests at Cedars-Sinai yesterday and today, then we met with my oncologist, Dr. Wolin, late this morning. The purpose of the trip was to follow-up after completion of PRRT in Houston. The great news is that Dr. Wolin said he was very pleased with the results! The imaging showed that many of the tumors in my liver and lymph nodes have shrunk. Other tumors have remained stable, and there are no signs of new tumor development. These are very good results and prove that the PRRT was effective.

I’m so happy that this journey we first decided to undertake last May has paid dividends. It feels great to be at a stable place with my health for the time being. I’m slowing regaining my strength and energy and feel much better than I did just a few weeks ago. I return to Houston in early May for a quick follow-up visit, then back to see Dr. Wolin again in late May. The hope is that continued monitoring will indicate things are status quo for some time to come. I’ll keep having my monthly injections to help with symptom control, though a little more good news is that the dosage will be reduced so I only need one giant, uncomfortable injection monthly instead of two.

Thanks for checking in and following along. I’ll post more as there’s news to report. Take care.

Resting at Home

Not much to report, but I’m so glad to be back home and finished with PRRT. Unfortunately I feel worse this time than the previous trips. I think that after four rounds my body is just screaming, “enough already!” I’m tired and queasy and just a pleasure to be around. Thank God for Kathy and her TLC.

I head to LA in four weeks for a 2-day follow-up at Cedars-Sinai with my oncologist. Then the first week of May I’ll be returning to Houston for a couple days of follow-up scans and evaluation. As long as everything remains stable, or hopefully even shrinks a little, we’re in good shape.

I know I’ll feel much better in a week or two. I had my monthly injection of Sandostatin LAR yesterday, the first since October, which will help with my symptoms. I’m so looking forward to regaining some strength and stamina. I will keep posting with more news from the doctors as it becomes available.

2012

Sorry it’s been a while since my last post, but everything is okay. I’m gearing up for my fourth and final PRRT treatment in a few days. I’ll be flying out early Tuesday morning and have an MRI that afternoon in Houston. My therapy will be Wednesday morning. With three of these already behind me, I know full well what to expect and I’m not looking forward to the discomfort. However, if I continue to get good results then the short term pain is very worth it. I’ll be flying back home on Saturday the 28th.

I will post more while I’m there to keep everyone updated. My primary focus this weekend is the NFC Championship tomorrow – Go Niners!!

Home Again

I’ve told Kathy that we’re not leaving home again for a two week stretch unless it’s for a vacation in the Mediterranean or the Virgin Islands. It’s just too long to be away for this medical nonsense. Fortunately my fourth and final treatment next month is only a four day trip.

Kathy and I were thrilled and surprised when we got back home late Saturday. The kids had decorated the outside of our house with Christmas lights and baked lots of delicious Christmas goodies that were arranged on the counter. Kathy cried. I ate fudge.

I’m feeling much better than I did after the first two rounds of therapy, although I still have almost no energy and generally feel beaten up. My appetite and queasiness both come and go. I’ll be heading back into the office for a few hours Wednesday through Friday this week. Then I have the luxury of being off until January 3rd, which will afford me lots of downtime to recuperate. Our families are being great to us by celebrating the holidays on New Year’s weekend instead of this weekend so that I can enjoy them more.

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Healthy & Happy New Year!!

Ready to Head Home

I had my final post-scan today, and we got our hotel room swept with the geiger counter. Everything is a go for us to return home tomorrow. Kathy and I are both anxious to get on that plane and get back to Gilroy.

The therapy on Wednesday went pretty well. I had the expected pain, flushing and overall discomfort with the amino acid drip. The radiation infusion went off without a hitch. It only took three sticks to get two IVs started, which is a great batting average with my arms.

Yesterday I felt better than I did immediately following my first two treatments. Today, not so much. I’m feeling queasy, tired, weak, and dealing with lots of flushing. The supposition is that all of this is brought on by the cancer cells getting fried and thereby releasing more of the hormones and other junk that make me feel lousy. I know I will start to feel better in a couple weeks, but for now this is miserable.

I’m three quarters of the way done with PRRT. There’s no question that all of this is more tolerable knowing that it’s having a positive impact. As I’ve stated before, however, I really look forward to getting that last treatment behind me late next month so I can really begin to recover without getting knocked back down.

I’ll be sure to post again sometime next week when I’m feeling a little better. Take care.