Now the fun begins...
Met with the oncologist today. She had the results from the MRI, which seem to confirm metastatic disease in my pelvic area and perhaps on one of my ovaries. Which solidifies my staging at Stage 4. Which unfortunately means the path ahead is an attempt to prolong my survival, rather than cure the disease. She said that with chemo, mean survival is 24-30 months. Without chemo, maybe 6-12 months. So clearly, we're proceeding with the chemo. Which starts...tomorrow.
She said that 60-70% of patients show response to the chemo. The plan is to hammer away with FOLFOX + Avastin (one of the newer biologically targeted drugs) for two months and then do another CT scan to see if the tumors are larger, smaller, or the same. Then we reassess whether to continue with the same drugs or change course. If the metastatic disease shows enough response and is localized enough, perhaps someday they could attempt a surgical resection. That is really my greatest hope at this point. But first we have to go at things with the chemo because we really can't pinpoint all the places this disease has taken a foothold.
The chemo schedule is about the same, 3 days of infusion every two weeks. The only difference is that there is no defined endpoint, no six months...just as long as it works, or as long as the benefits are greater than the side effects.
What do I want? What are our prayers? I want the chemo and Avastin to work. I pray that they are effective in seeking out and destroying the disease in my body. I'm hopeful that I'm able to tolerate the drugs without significant side effects that would cause us to have to back off or discontinue treatment. And as much as anything, I want to be able to enjoy every day with my precious family and friends and not feel so sick that I can't cherish the gifts that I have in each day.
I'm sure you'll all understand if I can't muster the energy to take a stab at something lighthearted tonight. My heart really feels a little heavy today.