Archive for October, 2012

End of September through mid-October Update

Anna has completed the first stage in her battle against breast cancer. She has fought through three intensive chemo therapy treatments that have left her weak, nauseous, and eventually sick and feverish from her collapsed immune system.

Not suprisingly, during this cycle of treatment we have had our highs and lows. Especially this past week, Anna has been feeling really good, because she was given an extra week to recover from her chemo while the doctors analyzed her progress. In fact, last Friday, Anna was feeling so good that she opted to take Noah to the park for the day rather than send him to day care. This “mommy time” was definitely something that he needed, because he has on several occasions expressed his concern that he doesn’t think mommy is getting better and has wondered if she is going to die.

Of course, sickness as defined by a four year-old is something that puts you down for a day or two at most and then it’s gone, so he can’t understand why mommy’s been sick for three months and hasn’t gotten better.

We have also had our lows. About a week and a half ago, while Anna was punishing/exterminating a mosquito for daring to drink her blood, she managed to break the middle finger on her left hand. Depending on your point of view (human vs. mosquito) this news will come as either ironic or poetic. Here’s a picture of Anna in her claw like splint.

At the restaurant with Anna and her broken finger.

Yesterday was Anna’s big consultation day. She went to see her doctor to get the low-down regarding her progress in her breast cancer treatment cycle.

The report form Anna’s doctor was mostly positive. He was pleased with the success that the chemo had had on the metastasization in her lymph nodes. The spreading in the lymph system was fairly advanced, but it’s now been reduced to one main area. However, the doctor was somewhat disappointed with the chemo’s affect on the tumor itself. Anna only had a 1 cm reduction in its mass. It’s probably for this reason that Anna’s doctor is recommending a change in the toxic cocktail that will be administered to her on Thursday. (For a list of toxic cocktails or chemotherapy regimens used in treatment of different kinds of cancers see this link).

The regimen that Anna had been receiving included the following products: Adriamycin and Toxitel. The last is a Korean brand name of most likely a doxil/taxol based chemo product, but my inability to understand medical websites in Korean has thwarted my research. They are switching out the Toxitel, so her new treatment will consist of cyclophosphamide, Adriamycin and Fluorouracil (also known as 5FU). This new combination of drugs is most commonly referred to as CAF chemotherapy.

The doctor did raise one point of concern. He said that the PET scan revealed a spot on Anna’s lung. He said that the PET specialist believed that it wasn’t cancer, but was most likely scar tissue from an infection. Anna’s doctor, however, is fairly cautious and drew her attention to the spot because it will be something he will be watching in the coming months.

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012