Tuesday, October 03, 2006

What the future holds

Met with another member of my oncololgy team today, a Dr. D. We finaly have enough data about my condition to make an informed decision as to what course of action to take.

The three options available are: Chemotherapy, gene therapy, and doing nothing at all. The later is not completely medically contraindicated, but the cancer isn't going to go away on its own, so sooner or later something will need to be done. Chemo is another option, but it's hard on the patients' system and has lots of unpleasant side-effects. In addition, clinical studies have shown that conventional chemotherapy is no more effective when started early in the course of the disease than it is when administered later.

So the doctors are recommending that we begin with a course of treatment using Rituxan, a new form of gene therapy that is targeted directly at the type of cells that make up the lymphatic tumors. The drug is administered through my Portacath in four seperate sessions, scheduled once a week for a month. The first treatment can take up to 6 hours, but the later ones usually run two or three hours. Following this treatment I would return monthly for a physical exam, then get another PET scan in 6 months to see what effect the drugs have had. Based on the results of the scan, we re-evaluate again between trying chemo, more Rituxan, or doing nothing for a while. Unfortunately, this disease can be put into remission, but its never actually cured. So this cycle, or some variation of it, may well continue for the rest of my life.

So it could be much worse. A few weeks ago this was our best-case scenario, so I'm telling myself that this is do-able. I just need to keep saying it over and over again.


Anonymous Jeff said...

We are rooting for you up here in Rockville. Here is to kicking that cancer's ass.

3:55 PM  

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