On Tuesday afternoon we meet with my oncologist, Dr. Sekhon. The expected was confirmed; I am in recurrence. My CA 125 marker crept up another 3 points, to 37. The PET scan showed only one tumor, near my pancreas. You know you're in a bad way when that sounds like good news, but it did. One tumor is better than last time when I was husbanding a small flock of them. The Avastin infusions likely deserve credit for limiting the cell's ability to form tumors. Glad that $16,000 drug was doing something! Dr. S wanted more imaging, so Wednesday morning I was in the MRI tube. By Wednesday afternoon my PA called with those results. It looks like I am a candidate for surgery and radiation, which is atypical for recurrent OC patients. I am pleased to have treatment choices; it helps disperse the burden on my body. I know surgery is hard, I am guessing radiation is hard, but they are hard in different ways than chemo. I am hoping for surgery because data suggests a second debulking offers 18 months longer progression-free survival. Another new strategy I'm pushing for is heated intraperitoneal chemo. I have read it's very toxic and a tough go, but it improves disease-free progression. I am all in -- we are fighting back! [...]
Michelle Kendall - Journal
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Today is my 3rd rebirthday. While it is important to acknowledge this milestone, I am not feeling very celebratory. The inevitable has been relentlessly creeping closer. My CA marker was up to 34, putting me at the threshold of recurrence. I have a PET scan scheduled for March 15th. If the scan shows only two or three tumors I could have surgery. This is unlikely, as recurrent OC tends to spread diffusely throughout the abdomen. I will have a needle or laparoscopic biopsy of tumor tissue for genetic testing. After surgery in Oxford, my complete genome was sequenced, but because tumor cells grow quickly they have mutation change. We need fresh samples to find mutations which could make the tumors susceptible to immunotherapy. Most likely my next offensive will be chemo starting in early April. After 6 months of chemo the hope will be for another 10-month remission. [...]
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