As you may know, this morning was my appointment with the oncologist.
The good news is that the chemo I’ve been doing has been holding my cancer at bay. That means the tumors have not multiplied or attempted to take over new territory in any other organs or areas of my body. They still exist in my liver and my abdomen. In general, they have not grown significantly in size, although some have grown a bit. (Per the oncologist, this could very well be because of variances in the CT scans and not any significant change in the tumors themselves.) They definitely did not shrink.
It also means that, in general, my blood work was OK. There was an increase in one of my markers – CA 19.9 – which had dipped down below the key level of 37 but bounced back up to 42. Per the oncologist, when taken together with the earlier reading of 50-something back in the fall, she sees a generally stable level of CA 19.9.
What does all this mean and what are next steps?
- I will be going back on chemo, but thankfully not until the end of April. Chemo will be, once again, four rounds every other week, taking me to the end of June.
- I get to enjoy Passover with the family.
- I am planning to get to NY (as much for mental health as for work purposes) immediately after Passover for about one week, before restarting chemo on Wednesday, April 30th.
- I will schedule an appointment with Dr. Avi Nisan, chairman of the surgery department at Hadassah Ein Karem. (If his name sounds familiar, he’s the original surgeon I was to have HIPEC with two summers ago.) He will evaluate my case and determine whether or not I am a surgical candidate and, if so, should we consider another HIPEC in addition to cytoreduction.
- On May 7th, my case will be reviewed by the oncologist and surgeons to determine the surgical course of action, if any. The oncologist will also, in the interim, look again at the original tumor taken out by the lovely and talented Ronit Grinbaum to see what other medical options are available to me.
- On June 5th I will reconvene with the oncologist to review new blood work and to discuss what was determined regarding surgery and what she thinks of other medical courses of action.
In summary, the meeting wasn’t a bad as it could have been, but it wasn’t as positive as I’d have liked it. It seems as though I’m likely looking at more surgery (this summer or fall?), as the oncologist said she’d be quite surprised if the surgeons didn’t want to operate, especially given my relative youth, health and shocking good looks. (OK, she didn’t say that last part, but I’m pretty sure she was thinking it…)
Anyway, that’s where we’re at. So, for now, I’m going to focus on enjoying the continued chemo vacation and the upcoming Passover holiday.