Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Digging Deep: Disappointing Scan Results

The results of my CT scan of my chest and abdomen showed a slight increase in the size of my tumors on my liver. Disappointing, YES! The good news is that there is no cancer on my other organs. The other good news...this is only the first form of chemo that we have tried. Like I told my kids yesterday, if every form of chemo worked on every person, there would be a cure for cancer by now. Besides, the way I see it, because I have a particularly aggressive form of cancer, the chemo may have worked very well and dramatically slowed down its progression, an indicator that can never be measured.

All that being said, I start a new chemotherapy regimen on Monday. After much discussion, we opted for two drugs that Dr. Sweet said he has seen work well together, Ixempra and Xeloda. One will be infused every three weeks; the other being pill form and I take it every day for two weeks. I have great faith that regimen will be the ticket!!!

Dr. Sweet also treated me to a handicapped parking status, as chemo is causing shortness of breath like I have never experienced. It is so frustrating to be out of breath before I even enter my destination! Walking any distance is difficult...though I will continue to try. Somehow, I think it is good for me.

We also talked in great length about switching from Kaiser to the UCSD Health System. The move would be very costly, but my gut instinct is leaning towards the change. Another mitigating factor is that our Kaiser doctors/clinicians feel like family to us, and I am not just referring to Oncology. I love my kids' pediatrician; my neurologist is fantastic; my plastic surgery team is the cream of the crop; my general surgeon is very talented and more like a friend; and, Steve and my primary care physician is thorough, caring and was Steve's dad's physician, as well (many of you know of his dad's heart problems....so family history is really important). Distance would also be a factor. Kaiser is right around the corner from my house; Moores Cancer Center is a 30-minute drive. Considering I am at an appointment at least twice a week, combined with the fact that I am getting more and more tired and driving less and less myself, distance is definitely something to consider.

Having spent my career in the health care industry, I have learned that nothing can replace state-of-the-art care. While chemo is the only answer for me right now, over time, who knows? And, though Dr. Sweet is very versed on up and coming research, I believe Moores Cancer Center doctors are bound to have access to the latest and greatest treatments prior to Kaiser.

All this considered, it would be very difficult to leave Kaiser, still. Steve and I will weigh all of the pro's and the con's and make this decision very soon. Although, it may seem like I am leaning towards the UCSD system in this post, I digress as there are many other factors to consider that I cannot amply describe here.

Now, what I have decided is that I must turn my focus to doing every thing in my power to promote the health of my liver. My diet is bound to get stricter.....and I will do what ever else I can, too. Blood tests show that my liver function is stable, not perfect but not declining. Keeping it that way is critical to my ability to continue metabolize chemotherapy drugs.

So, yesterday, I was pretty upset. Today, I still am. I am talked out, which I why I wanted to post this morning. However, in order to do so, I really had to dig deep to put the disappointment of yesterday into perspective. What I kept coming back to is that if I worry too much about tomorrow, I miss the special moments of today. I have today. Today is a gift. And my tomorrows....they will keep coming...as much as any of us can know of our tomorrows.

The bottom line is that nothing has changed. I am still here. And I am grateful. And I am blessed.


  1. Marsi, I am constantly amazed at your ability to find perspective. You are truly an inspiration. I am thankful that you are so willing to share your journey with us. We will continue praying for you, your family and the medical team surrounding you.