Saturday, June 16, 2012

Oncologist Meeting

Thanks everyone for your prayers this week.  Over the last couple months, the decision about any further treatment such as chemo looked like a hard decision, but I believed that when the time came, God would meet us there and make the decision easy.
Thursday we met with Dr Gomez, a local oncologist.  He has not had experience with Grade 3 Meningiomas like mine, since it is so rare.  The Mayo oncologist had recommended starting on Avastin.  Dr Gomez has experience with Avastin and has used it for treating glioblastomas, which are a more common type of brain tumor.  The main focus of our visit with him was trying to understand the severity of side effects relative to benefit from Avastin.  He said he expects very few if any side effects to putting me on Avastin.  There are a few potentially serious side effects but he doesn’t expect them in my case because other than the cancer I have no health issues.  He said I won’t be sick or really even notice any difference once I start it.  The way Avastin works is that it prevents the formation of new blood vessels, thereby slowing the tumor’s ability to grow.  We asked if he expects that it would have a significant effect on growth of the tumor.  He said with glioblastomas he notices a significant difference in how long patients who are on it live compared to those who do nothing.  The treatment regimen is every 2 weeks, about an hour long, and it is delivered by IV.  He would plan to continue giving it until scans show it is no longer being effective at slowing the tumor.  So in summary, he seemed convinced that it would extend my life and not cause me to have worse quality of life during that time.
We’ve decided to go ahead with the treatment.  The first one will be a week from Monday, the 25th.  Next Friday and the following Tuesday I’m scheduled for MRI’s in Morton, which will coincide with the start of Avastin so he can tell how it is working in the future.
The other thing helping make our decision is that my back pain has been getting worse, not better.  I took it pretty easy this week and still it did not subside.  It’s not unbearable, but just seems to be generally present.  A tightness and soreness in the center of my back is the best way to describe it.  Ibuprofen helps quite a bit, which I take once in a while.   In general I feel like I’m doing ok, but I’ll confess at times I’ve been more discouraged.  I haven’t had as much energy for tackling projects around the house, and that is discouraging to me.
Pray that I can keep up the good attitude I’ve had till now.  Pray that my back pain would be controllable.  We appreciate so much all of you that pray for us regularly.  As I said at the beginning, God gives us grace as we need it, so I know when I look to the future, there is no reason to worry or fear.  God will be there with us whatever we have to face.
One last encouraging note.  We went out for breakfast Friday morning in Morton.  When we went to pay, our meal had already been paid for.  There were two different people we saw there that we know, so I'm not sure who it was.  The waitress said "This happens all the time in Morton".  So to whomever it was - Thanks.  And by far this is not the only example of generosity that has been showed to us.  We appreciate it greatly.
Derek & Leann

1 comment:

  1. We think of you guys often !!! Our prayers continue to be with you. Sending your whole family a hug from ours!!!
    Ben, Steph, and girls