On June 11th Mark, my brother Michael, my sister-in-law Vicki, and myself went to Vanderbilt Cancer Center in Nashville to visit with Dr. Eric Liu, a neuroendrocrine carcinoid specialist. He recently opened up a carcinoid center department and is consulting on many cases. I love my oncologist, Dr Freidland, because he is always open to specialists opinion. After some tests and meeting with Dr. Liu's assistant, Cynthia, and then Dr Liu we set out a game plan. Dr. Liu was wonderful and understands I've been through a ton of treatments and surgeries with my battle. In fact he was surprised when he saw me after my last few years that I was actually in great spirits. Whatever he meant by that? He feels my body is weak right now and the treatments need a break. So before we can do any new treatments, which Dr. Liu has some planned, I need to put weight on mainly and get my nutrient and strength up. I have to say this sounds so easy but it's so frustrating. I have lost some of my appetite but I'm eating. I am by nature a smaller person anyways so losing as much weight as I have is quite noticeable on my body. I'm forcing the food down and nothing. However I have not lost any weight in two weeks so that's a positive. This is just something that I have to think about all day everyday. Both of my doctors agree that my weight lost is caused by the activity of the cancer. It was explained to me that my body is fighting so hard that it's like running a half marathon everyday. Being an old runner they thought I might relate. So the calories are just burning so quickly. So I'm on two weight gain drugs and eating as much as I can.
We also decided together to immediately start radiation on my bone mets in my spine and hips. So after two days of being scanned and tattooed I started on Monday. The actual treatment is not too painful but unfortunately for me the laying on the hard table for 40 minutes while they line me up and zap those monsters out of there is horrible. After seeing the new scans when preparing for the radiation we were very surprised at how much the cancer was invading the spine and hips. So original two zaps for 5 straight days turned into eight zaps for undetermined amount. When we first talked radiation I was not thrilled, esp being told that this will only help the pain and not take the cancer away. Many time that may not happen with carcinoid because it so unpredictable. However, I would love to get a little relief from the pain so we can all get back to a normal summer. We made a return appointment to Vanderbilt for July 16th where we will reevaluate and make some important decisions. Hopefully, I will have put enough weight on to start a new chemo treatment. I am thinking that I should not be waiting much longer. So praying that we, the doctors and I, are all on the same page by then and I can start kicking some cancer butt. Ultimately the decision to start the stronger chemo is my choice. I know my body the best and I don't want the cancer to win because I'm waiting to start the fight. It kinda reminds me of training for a race. Sometimes you train so hard. You become strong and finish with no problem. Then sometimes your body goes through setbacks or injuries and you know you could be a little stronger but you run the race anyways. It'll be rough and your time may be poor but you run and finish. That may be my choice in a few weeks. Whatever I decide I know that God is running next to me so I will be OK.
Like I said I started this post awhile back and glad I'm finally done filling everyone in. I love writing about my experiences, good stories and happy endings. The topic today is so daunting for me to write about so I apologize for it taking too long. I also want to ask for everyone to pray for the family of a friend of mine, Mickey Eckert. She suddenly passed away on Monday. Mickey leaves behind her husband, three children and a new grand baby. After one of her daughters fought cancer as a child Mickey became a huge advocate for Cancer research and Make a Wish. She was also volunteered with several charities. She had a very strong relationship with the Lord so I know she is resting in complete peace. As kind as she was is as loved as she is so I ask for prays of strength for everyone that loves her.
Happy 4th. Enjoy you family because you never know when your called home.