Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mom's Chemo - Round 2

For those of you who are reading this, my Mom is currently undergoing chemo for lung cancer that was found during a regular marker test for breast cancer. She's almost a 5 year survivor (next Spring). Mom is currently undergoing a rigorous regimen of chemo every 3 weeks. She's doing great.

Mom was symptom free during the diagnosis. It's just amazing that during the short period of time (6 months) between her breast cancer marker tests, that something could flare up. Cancer was shown in her PET scan on her liver and in her lungs. The lung tumors were relatively small and the liver tumor was 10 cm.

We all searched our souls for answers and decided to fight this tooth and nail. Some dear medical friends have told me honestly that there are a variety of lung cancer treatments and regimens available that can pound the hell out of the cancer. That's what Mom has chosen to do.

We have this "window" because of the regular marker testing that our oncologist chooses to do. Marker testing is a very touchy subject in the cancer world. Many oncologists choose not to do marker testing because, as they put it, "it doesn't change the outcome." But doesn't it?

Isn't everything that that any cancer patient does about changing the outcome? Rolling the dice? Or maybe buying time for a cure?

Our Doc is a great guy with tremendous vision. He feels so positive about her treatment and his goal is to put this thing in remission. He wants to extend her life. He's contacted his colleagues at Hopkins for advice and is aiming to get her an experimental drug for treatment. He's gone way past simply being her physician. He's taken strides to improve the quality of her life.

Back to markers...according to our Doc, many who feel markers are generally worthless aren't the physicians who work in the "trenches" every day. These docs don't know the patients, families, and see these people weekly during treatment. I got into it during my Hopkins visit over the marker issue. It just makes no sense to not at least try to improve the length and quality of someone's life - especially if the cancer has been caught early.

Mom still has a full head of hair, although she says her scalp is itchy. I find that amazing. She's 3 weeks out of her first treatment. She looks great and is still hanging out to that beautiful tan she got when she was in the Bahamas. Her dear friend, Pat, went to chemo with her today. Dad needs a break - not that he's getting much of one battling Best Buy to replace an lemon 46-inch TV that's under warranty.

I know many of her friends are reading this blog and I'm trying to post when I have information on Mom too. She's just chilling at home - she's so tired but last night, she had a good night's sleep. Any diagnosis of cancer just weighs down the mind in unbelievable ways. Every day, she seems to be dealing with it all better. She doesn't want to talk to anyone much. That could be because of her anxiety meds, but she looks good and she's feeling good too. Big Marine Corps party this weekend with Dad in Virginia. They'll be gone for a few days but both of them are so excited about the shindig, they're ready to pop!!!

OK, my analysis-of-Mom "hat" is off for the day. I'll keep everyone posted on how she's doing. I must say, I truly never thought Mom would be doing chemo every 3rd Wednesday and I'd be doing chemo every 3rd Thursday.

One day apart.

We're living in the twilight zone.

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