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Great Expectations

Seven years ago when I was first diagnosed with carcinoid by an endocrinologist I was scared and didn’t know what to expect. The ensuing weeks of scans, biopsies, lab work and visits with an oncologist left me even more frightened, and saw my expectations run the gamut from “maybe this thing can be surgically removed and I’ll be cured” to “this thing is incurable and I’ll be lucky to survive five years.”

This past week Kathy and I spent two days in LA at Cedars-Sinai where I had follow-up imaging and lab work. It’s been about six months since my last round of PRRT in Houston. I was expecting results that just showed my disease is stable with no new growth. Instead Dr. Wolin and the radiologist were ecstatic to discover from the MRI that all of my tumors were still shrinking. That’s right: six months later and the PRRT is still shrinking all of the tumors in my liver, lung, diaphragm and lymph nodes. This is the best news we could have hoped for!

Now I expect to still be around for awhile, and keep up the fight against carcinoid!

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.

Done With Final Treatment

Today was my fourth and final PRRT treatment and I’m so happy to have that behind me. It was typically uncomfortable, caused a good deal of flushing, and took the usual multiple sticks to get the IVs going. Regardless of the pain, the people at Excel were as wonderful as ever.

One of the doctors spoke with me to let me know that yesterday’s MRI showed the results we wanted: stable disease and no new tumor growth. That good news of course makes everything worthwhile.

I sat through therapy with another patient from California who also sees Dr. Wolin. It was somewhat amusing because we were both passing the time reading the Steve Jobs book. When I told her I was from Gilroy she said, “Oh yeah, I go to the Outlets.” It was also entertaining today to watch the Texas sized thunder and lightning. As I’ve stated many a time, I will never miss the weather in this place.

I have the usual follow-up scans tomorrow and Friday, then fly home Saturday. I come back in three months for another round of follow-up tests. Right now though I’m very tired so I’ll hit the hay and write more soon.

Stable Disease

We visited Dr. Wolin today after an MRI, CT and blood-work yesterday. He reported that the scans showed stable disease, with no growth in the tumors in my liver or elsewhere. The largest of my many liver tumors is about 4.5 cm across. Dr. Wolin is still convinced that PRRT is the best thing for me, and wants to see me again in L.A. after my first two treatments, probably late October.