Emily underwent her 2nd round of chemotherapy on Monday (8/13). The night before her treatment, Emily was overwhelmed with excitement and like a kid on Christmas Eve – she woke up every hour to see if it was morning. With a mindset that chemotherapy is her ‘cancer killing ally,’ Emily sees no reason but to anticipate these treatments. Her mental strength continues to amaze me.
Prior to the chemo injection, we were able to sit down with our oncologists. Emily had numerous questions on whether she could increase treatment dosages, reduce cycle times, and basically put her body through Dante’s inferno in the hopes of obliterating the tumor. The doctors admired her spirit, but informed Emily that her own kidneys and liver would not.
In fact, it already appears Emily’s liver is showing signs of inflammation due to the chemotherapy. Although a concern, it was decided to continue with the same dosage of chemotherapy due to Emily’s positive reactions from the first treatment. The doctors were pleased with the sound of her lungs (no wheezing and now audible –yet faint– breathing from the right lung), decreased back pain, and overall strength/vigor. She will have a blood test at the end of next week to monitor her liver levels. Emily read online that in some cases liver levels can rise due to the decay of tumors. Always the optimist, she has decided that this is obviously the reason in her case and has taken to drinking an absurd amount of water to aid with the body’s tumor filtering process. Watching her take down a Smart Water like a frat boy doing a keg stand has tickled me senselessly.
Additionally, the doctors informed us that Emily tested Veristrat ‘good’ which means that Emily has a 50% chance of positive response to the targeted treatment drug Tarceva. Although this is not the best option for Emily right now, it adds another weapon to our arsenal (Chemo, Surgery, Radiation, Mice Testing, Genetic Testing, and EmBen Spirit).
We set up a CT scan for the end of the month. This test will scan Emily’s body and provide 3-D images of her innards (that is the scientific term). This test will determine the success of the current chemotherapy and whether to continue with the existing drugs or amend the current blend. Emily has already circled the day on the calendar. If I was a betting man, and I am, I would put anything on her.
As for the actual chemo treatment, it went well. We once again were able to watch a movie during the infusion. Somehow the three hours managed to go by quickly. And a credit to City of Hope, we once again left smiling and happy. Emily is now feeling decent, but a little tired and out of it. She takes 2–3 naps a day after sleeping 11-12 hours a night. We are staying up on the nausea by taking medication regularly. And, amazingly, she continues to eat like a starving pig out of a trough. Thanks to a concerted effort to bombard her with food, she has added 8 pounds since diagnosis and is beginning to re-think this whole ‘gain weight for chemo’ thing…as she takes down another chicken drumstick. Also, thanks to friends who have sent eating tips and cancer diet books, she now shovels in broccoli and downs pints of grapefruit juice daily.
Once again, the support has been amazing – from the Bennetts’ daily email thoughts to the Taylors’ cleaning/cooking, from the gift certificates to the food deliveries, from the Western Asset (Emily’s employer) co-worker fundraising to Garland’s (Miles’ employer) attendance at a Cancer fundraising event in Emily’s honor, from the incredible amounts of ‘Get Well’ cards to the text messages and Facebook posts, from the Ginny cleanings to the San Diego Getaway trip. The list goes on and on. I cannot state enough how thankful we both are to everyone. We hope to repay all of you with equal love and kindness.
Live in the moment. Love to all.
Miles and Emily