There’s a lot going on in Ruth’s Wonder-full world of cancer lately. I’ll try to report it as succinctly as possible. This post is for reporting purposes only. Reflections may come later.
Biopsy: My onc suggested to me that I submit my tumor for large-scale genetic testing. A place called Foundation Medicine has invented a new test that analyzes tumors for more than 200 genes / mutations. The tumor will be tested for mutations for which it has already been tested (in case someone goofed) for which there is targeted treatment, and also for mutations for which there is currently no treatment. By knowing what your mutations are, you are more likely to be involved in and benefit from clinical trials. They had run out of my original tumor tissue, and so last Wednesday, I had a needle biopsy (which I gotta say, is the easiest procedure I’ve had yet). Realistically, it will take about a month to get the results.
Compression screws: The first part of July, I fell (I’ll spare you the details) and, although I didn’t realize it at the time, I cracked my left femoral neck bone. The bone was already weakened from an old tumor which had left the bone soft/hollow and ready for injury. In order to keep the crack from becoming a fracture for which I’d have to have a hip replacement, the doctor is going to insert three compression screws from the outside of my femur through the femoral neck and into the femoral head, holding all of the pieces together. Surgery is tomorrow and then at least two weeks off of work. I have a couple of knitting projects in the hopper to keep me from going completely bananas.
Treatment changes: As I’ve mentioned before, my cancer had started to grow – slowly – but grow. With two scans – both lung and bone showing growth, it is now time to change my chemotherapy mix. My onc originally gave me two options – one more toxic than the other. I opted for the lesser toxin combined with an agent that I used in my original, non-maintenance chemo (carboplatin + gemzar). I’ve also asked to stay on the Avastin to keep brain mets away and there will be a new skeletal agent as well. I’m a little concerned because instead of treatment once every three weeks, I will receive treatment once a week for two weeks and one week off. It sounds like a good recipe for one sick puppy to me.
At this point, I’m not sure if they’ll be waiting to get the genetic testing results back before this new chemo or not. There’s also some new experimental immunology-type treatment that’s in the hopper with my onc. I think she’s applied to receive some or be a part of a study or something. If that comes through, I could be eligible and that would be a different course of treatment. Again, I’m not sure what the timing is on that either.
Until I do, I am striving for