Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Post-Chemo Update

by Michael

Some quick facts for folks:

  • Kate went to PMH yesterday with her brother Andy. They met with Dr. Warr, her oncologist, in the morning, then Kate had 4+ hours of chemotherapy in the afternoon. 
  • The doctor has scheduled Kate for 18 weeks of chemo (same as last winter), but it's a different type and different schedule. 
  • The chemo is still 6 cycles of 3 weeks each, but instead of all of the meds at once Kate gets two in-takes. One yesterday, one next Tuesday. Yesterday's was the big one; next week's will be smaller. 
  • The cancer in the liver is metastasized breast cancer, not liver cancer, and I understand that it is incorrect to say there are 2 tumors. There are cancer cells likely throughout the liver and two places where they are showing up most. As a result, surgery is not considered an option. However, this is the same cancer Kate had last year, and it responded well to chemotherapy then, so doctor expects it to do the same now. After a couple of cycles of chemo, he expects to see shrinkage. There are also a number of other chemo drug combinations they can use, so they have lots of ammunition to use against this thing. 
  • The bottom line, we have every reason to believe in the success of the treatment. It will be a while, though, before we have concrete results. 
  • Some of you know that Kate has been having pain in her back, so there is concern that the c may have gone to her bones. Dr. Warr was reassuring about that yesterday. The tests they will be doing in the coming weeks will check all of that out. Also, the chemo now in her will fight the c wherever it may be. 
  • The bone pain is likely result of all of the muscle stretching and readjustment that Kate's body has needed to do after the stress of surgery and radiation, adjusting to the loss of muscle tissue, etc. She has been seeing a physiotherapist, who has been most helpful. 
  • Side effects of the new chemo? Tiredness and nausea are the primary ones to be expected. And, yes, she's likely to lose her hair again. 
  • This chemo affects the red blood cells, so we need to be cautious for anemia. (Last year, it was the white blood cells that were more affected, and so risk of infection was higher then, and lower now.) 
Kate is in good fighting spirits and we are very aware and grateful for all of the connections and support people have shown in the past couple of days. This is a rapidly evolving situation and we are focusing on the basics.

Which includes, in a few minutes, going to watch Naomi run a cross-country race. The doctor's advice was to keep life as normal as possible. Amen.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you Michael for all the info. Really appreciate you sharing the details. Sending lots of Love to you all and counting sleeps! V x

Anonymous said...

Yes, Michael, thank you very much for giving us this information. You are all so much in my thoughts.

Gabrielle

JEAN said...

Thanks from me also, Michael.This sounds a more reassuring, as I hope it is for you too. As Kate asked, I am praying big time for you and your family. With lots of love.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Michael and Kate for being so open about something that most people a reluctant to talk about. It helps people understand not only what you are going through but the types of challenges that all people with cancer must have to go through. My thoughts are with you.

Sharon said...

Thanks Michael and kate for letting us all in close, channelling all the light and healing that there can be in this new round of treatment love Sharon & Joanne