Good news is more fun to report than bad!
So here is my good news: the new treatment is making progress.
Or in more detail: I’m now on a combination of irinotecan and 5FU, a combination my oncologist put me on because of the failure of the previous treatment, manifested in the sudden emergence and growth of a new tumor between November 2016 and January 2017. The scan last Wednesday found that that new tumor has grown smaller; so has another tumor that was also pretty big; and none of the tumors I have is reported as growing.
So the plan is: more of the same. My oncologist says that often, with this particular combination of drugs, they gradually lower the dosage – I think because of the side effects, which aren’t terrible but are more substantial than I usually experienced with my previous treatments. But right now, she said, she’d like to keep hitting the cancer as hard as possible, by keeping to the full dose, which sounded good to us. (It seemed a little less good as I felt nausea coming on during the treatment later that morning, but it’s still the right choice.)
And best of all: the oncologist anticipates, based on her past clinical experience, that since this combination has proved effective now, it will likely keep the tumors from growing for a substantial time down the road, even when it is no longer causing them to contract. That means that this is really what we’ve considered the most realistic hope all along: not for complete elimination of the tumors, but to get the most we can out of one treatment, then switch to another, and then to another, all the while taking advantage of everything being learned from the research that’s going on right now. And so far, so good.
Your continued best wishes, prayers, visualizations and any other forms of good will, regardless of theoretical foundation, are much appreciated!