September 22, 2010

People have said it’s time for another post in this particular category. They want to know the facts and figures on Tad’s state of health. I know that what they long to hear is that the cancer is gone and this past seven months was all a bad dream. We certainly wish for that! The truth is that cancer still exists in Tad’s body, but we don’t let ourselves dwell on that fact. We see the his CEA count (tumor marker, in his blood) and liver enzyme figures and CT scan images as important factors in our decisions, not as immutable facts. The truth is that cancer cells are dying in his body every day!

Since my last status report around six weeks ago, Tad has had a couple of blood transfusions and iron IVs to build his red blood and thereby cure his anemia, and he feels better than ever in that regard. Shortness of breath is very rare now. He has lost some weight, mainly because the chemo treatments make him feel ill a few days a month, plus he had an outpatient surgery (not cancer related) a few weeks back  and the pain meds during recovery were hard on his digestive system. Still, his weight is holding steady in the 170-175 range (I think he would say his ideal weight is 185-190). His appetite is strong and he has gone back to teaching 10 hours a week, mostly adult ESL with an adult guitar class thrown in for good measure. If you met him on the street, your first comment would be, “You’re looking well!”

We get out to enjoy the environs on a regular basis, even had a nice week-long trip down to see his folks in late August. Life goes on and gives us pleasure every day. We feel lucky to have each other and so many great friends who pray for us, wish us well, offer financial support, even clean the house on occasion. How great is that?

The current plan is for Tad to continue every-other-week treatments with Folfiri plus Erbutux (use Google if you want the details on those drugs), plus he has begun very high-dose Vitamin C intravenously at the integrative oncology clinic in Sebastopol, which will happen weekly for a couple of months. See my post called “Linus Pauling Was Right” for more on that front.

Thanks for your love and support and be of good cheer. Tad is doing great!

August 5, 2010

Tad started a new chemotherapy cocktail on Monday, August 2. It’s FOLFIRI plus Erbitux – stronger brew to zap away the cancer in his liver. This was the first of 12 prescribed treatments, and it’s an open question whether he will take them all. As with all chemotherapy, the stats aren’t all that impressive, and we keep searching for something in the alternative world that could do a better job in his specific case. He experienced nausea and malaise for the first couple days, but is better as I write this on August 5.

Tad is not in pain of any kind, thank goodness. His biggest complaint is frequent bouts of low energy. Could be due to the cancer, but our hunch is that it’s his ongoing anemia – he has been running on low hemoglobin for many months now, and the doc says he cannot justify transfusions if the level is above 10 grams per deciliter of blood. Since the normal range for men is 14-18 and since Tad (a big man) has been in the 10-11 range for most of the last few months, it makes sense that he would experience symptoms of anemia. We are getting on board with a new oncologist, since the old one is retiring, and she is taking this concern seriously. On her orders, Tad received a transfusion of two units on August 3 (his HGB level the day before was 10.2) and she will monitor carefully and advocate for more as needed. This is a very good turn of events, as the previous doc seemed to consider the issue unimportant.

Of course, Tad will keep taking all the pills and potions that helped him weather the chemo so well the first time ’round, as well as imbibing the finest quality foods and beverages imaginable while avoiding the no-no’s like high-fat foods and alcohol. This includes foods and supplements that build the blood.

We are enjoying life to the fullest and continue to claim and proclaim Tad’s complete healing… Please keep holding that positive vision of clouds dissolving in a vast sunlit sky!