I had my X-ray and saw Dr. Antonucci today. The result is that I have a good news/bad news situation, which should be no surprise given my track record. The tumor is exactly the same as it was a month ago. It’s good that the tumor hasn’t gotten larger; it’s bad that it hasn’t gotten smaller.
Dr. Antonucci said that basically what we’re doing at this point is holding the cancer at bay, keeping it from becoming more aggressive. Going forward we’re going to try spacing the treatments four weeks apart instead of three to see if that helps with side effects on my hands and feet. My feet, especially, are sore and cracking and peeling from a chemical reaction with the chemo. Assuming I can handle it, we’ll stay with a regimen of an infusion, followed by two weeks of chemo pills and a two-week break for at least the rest of the summer. Then we’ll likely do a PET scan to get a clearer picture of how the cancer is responding to treatment, particularly the cancer in my lymph nodes which can’t be captured by X-rays and CT scans.
When Dr. Antonucci and I discussed the possibility of other treatment options, he said that my best option for now is to stay the course. The cancer is very small, isn’t causing any symptoms, and my CEA counts (cancer markers in my blood) continue to be very good. I also am tolerating the chemo quite well. If the cancer should become aggressive and cause problems, he suggested that I visit the Sarah Cannon Research Institute in Nashville because they are doing a lot of very advanced clinical trials. Right now, I wouldn’t be a candidate because my cancer is so small – again, another good news/bad news situation.
Today was the last time I’ll see Dr. Antonucci, and it was sad saying goodbye. I’m sure, however, I’ll be in good hands with my new doctor – Dr. Gharavi – and the wonderful nurses and staff at Tennessee Cancer Specialists.
Finally, I saw my acupuncturist today. Knowing how much she helps with side effects makes it easier to stomach the notion of prolonged chemotherapy. She even thinks she may be able to help my feet by pulling out some of the heat. When she was treating them today, I had a sudden and very clear response. It felt like my entire body had been placed in a cooler. I have no idea how it works, but I find it fascinating. That’s not to say that my feet are now ready for a marathon or even normal shoes, but I am hopeful that they’ll improve.
“We who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.” Hebrews 6:18-19 NLT
My anchor still holds,