Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Day 21 - Doctor Appointments are Fun! 

 Awww, ain't we sweet? :P
Look, David's getting in on the gray action too!

These were in a couple of the different waiting rooms we visited today...haha

So basically our day went...wake up stupid early, drive, wait, MRI, wait, shuttle bus to other building, wait, doctor appointment, wait, nurse conference, eat, drive, almost fall asleep at wheel, buy Coke, drive, get home, kids, family, kites, dinner, you guys, and hopefully bed very soon...etc ;)

Now for the long story...:) I'll get into the details of how we ended up here, probably my next Flashback Post, but David's oncologist is at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NYC. Which means that whenever we need to meet with him, it's an all day affair! It's about a three hour drive from where we are in CT, plus however long the appointments (and waiting) lasts. David had an MRI at 7:30 AM, which meant we had to be there at 7:00...which in turn meant we had to leave the house by 4:00...KILLER! Of course, David conveniently forgot his wallet, which meant I had to drive...lol...I know he really did forget, but still...I was so tired! I was almost passing out on the way home! And then his doctor appointment was at 9:00 to determine how he was doing and see if he should continue with his current chemotherapy treatment. The only good thing about going in so early is that we were out of there before 11:00!

His current treatment plan is a chemo regimen called PCV...it's basically a cocktail of three different chemos (two oral and one infusion) that follows a very specific plan. Day 1 - CCNU (oral drug); Day 7 - Vincristine (infusion); Day 7-21 Procarbazine (oral); Day 28 - Vincristine (infusion); then 4 weeks of no chemo to give your body a chance to recover. Each cycle is a two month period. At the end of every cycle David gets an MRI and then we meet with his doctor to determine if he will do another round. The recommended protocol for PCV is 6 cycles, which is a year of treatment, but as his doctor mentioned again today, no one ever does that. The side effects are too much! So it usually is anywhere from 3-6...David just finished his third round. I was hoping for at least a break...he's getting progressively more significant side effects with each round. However, he is actually tolerating it extremely well and the doctor is scheduling round 4 and hoping to make it through 5 rounds. PCV used to be the standard treatment for brain cancer, but about ten years ago a new chemotherapy drug called Temodar came out that had almost the same effectiveness but significantly less side effects. David was on Temodar for a year in between his first and second surgeries...but his tumor didn't respond as much as the doctors had hoped. After he went through his second surgery and radiation his doctor wanted to try PCV. They are always surprised to hear that David is still working...his blood counts have remained pretty good...a little low at points, but never worrisome or even needing medication. He did take a couple days off this last cycle because he felt so ill...but still, his doctor is pleased with his health and wants him to continue.

David of course doesn't enjoy chemo...but if his doctor feels he is healthy enough and wants him to continue then David wants to keep going. His feeling is kick it while it's down. The MRI came back the same, no changes. After his second surgery, his neurosurgeon felt that he had gotten all the tumor out...other than stray cells that are impossible to get with surgery (refer to my Flashback Post #4 for details on David's particular brand of tumor). He also received radiation after he recovered from second surgery. Basically, the chemo he is going through right now is supposed to be a mop up after anything that may have been missed. The oncologist repeated again today that the scan is the same as it's been since the second surgery...no changes. He also reiterated that they really can't tell the difference on the scan between scar tissue, radiation damage, and brain tumor. Of course, David and I believe and pray that there is no more tumor...and we hope you do too! :) So the current treatment in the doctor's eyes is to delay the regrowth of tumor cells as long as possible. We have faith that with God all things are possible and that healing is complete and there will not be regrowth at all! AMEN!

I'm beat, so heading to bed...if I remember anything else about today, I'll mention it tomorrow. 

I'm also hoping to do another Flashback Post tomorrow...I gotta get y'all caught up! Getting there slowly but surely. Thank you to everyone who was thinking about us and praying for us today! We appreciate it and love you all! And thanks Rachel for watching the kiddos again!