Now, Something Different

I had a CT Scan and a blood test today. I’ve been getting chemo for the past 6 months and we’ve been holding this tumor at bay. Only at bay though. Over the past 6 weeks my CA19-9 numbers have been flat and too high. If the cure was coming those numbers would have kept dropping, so this is not getting me to the cure. I’m starting to get more neuropathy too (numbness and tingling on the outsides of my hands and feet), which a side effect of the chemo that is getting worse.

We reviewed the 4 options; stop chemo and see what happens, keep going with the same chemo program, try a new chemo drug, or get radiation therapy along with a constant drip of a different kind of chemo for 5 weeks, administered 5 days/week. I’m getting scheduled to talk with a radiology oncologist sometime soon. I also skipped today’s scheduled chemo. Gemabraxine has done what it could. Now, something different.

5 weeks x 5 days a week is 25 zaps of electromagnetic radiation and fluorouracil (5-FU), the “Fol” that was in the “folfury” cocktail I took before the Whipple procedure as part of my drug trial. We might try the “Virginia Mason” version of this treatment and throw in some interferon too, in the hopes of sparking an immune response. To be decided later.

Here’s a reference for the basics of radiation therapy for pancreatic cancer – https://www.pancan.org/facing-pancreatic-cancer/treatment/treatment-types/radiation-therapy/. We are thinking of conventional therapy and NOT internal radiation therapy, intensity-modulated radiation therapy, or stereotactic body radiation therapy.

I gotta get another extended leave of absence set up now. Not sure of dates or any other details yet, but as I understand it, I will not be much good for consistent work throughout that time.

I am staying aggressive with this. I am tired of this cancer and want to move on. This is the only way to do it. If you do thoughts and prayers, this would be a good time to resume them.