Chemotherapy, clinical trial drugs, radiation, experimental chemotherapy, now what? The course of treatment for WineGuy’s cancer is seemingly endless.
Before the brentuximab therapy, WG’s PET scans showed active tumors in the abdomen and groin again. Clearly, this DLBCL is aggressive and will insidiously grow back wherever there’s a healthy cell. If I haven’t said it before, I hate cancer. Or as Chicago Mom aptly put it, “Cancer f***ing blows.” She’s right.
When brentuximab failed, our oncologist conferred with the doctors at Mass General, and the team came up with yet another cocktail for salvage chemotherapy. As of today, WG’s 57th birthday, he has successfully completed two full rounds of gemcitibine (Gemzar) + carboplatin + rituxin + dexamethasone (Decadron). This cocktail killed WG’s tastebuds and appetite, caused serious digestive distress and fatigue and pain. WG’s blood counts were so low that he had to be transfused twice in one week between the two recent rounds of chemo. The only positive thing to come out of this regimen was that the dexamethasone drastically improved his appetite and energy. On those days, I took him to eat whatever and wherever he wanted.
This week, the doctors are repeating bloodwork and PET scans. We are praying that the PET scans show a complete remission so that we can go on to Mass General for the stem-cell transplant. If the PET scans are not clean, I don’t know what will happen. From looking at WG’s physical appearance — haggard, gaunt, down 115 lbs. — it sure doesn’t look like he can tolerate another round of chemo. Frankly, now, I’m worried.
Whether you pray to G-d, Jesus, Allah, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, would you mind including WineGuy in your prayers? With the other drama going on around here (another story for a another post), we sure could use a universal infusion of some positive energy.