School Starts, MDA Calls, and The Cancer Grows

It’s been a very long, very hard week.  My school started with a BANG on Monday with an intense class that lasted from 7AM until 11:00PM and finished with homework due the next day at 7:00AM.  And so it continued all week long (while not quite so intense.)  Just that alone made Monday particularly grueling.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t the only thing going on in our little world.

Maggie was scheduled to get her next round of chemo on that same day.  This was going to be the first time I would not be by her side for the great chemo transformation and I felt horrible about it.  But since I was in class, Lori took time off work to accompany her to The Spa.  And I’m extremely appreciative.  But, turns out it was all for naught.  Once in the office, Dr. Loukas decided to postpone Maggie’s treatment until he saw the latest CEA results.  That all-important number was going to dictate his next move – continue with the same chemo or do something different.  Well, we got those results about 4PM on Monday and, to our great disappointment, her CEA is up again, this time to 4.8.  The tumors are growing again.

There’s also been some fun with MD Anderson.  They finally scheduled an appointment for Maggie to visit with Dr. Curly face-to-face so that we could hear directly from him what our surgical options are, if there are any.  Unfortunately, without consulting me, they scheduled the meeting while Maggie was in Greece.  And despite my very clearly stated email alerting them that Maggie was unavailable they apparently called Dr. Loukas that day complaining that we skipped the appointment.  Of course, Dr. Loukas found it difficult to believe that we’d skip an appointment like that so he called me to get the scoop.  So, after some discussion between Dr. Curly and Dr. Loukas, MD Anderson once again just scheduled an appointment without our consultation but this time the date works out better: September 10 – 12.  The actual face-to-face is on September 12 at 9AM but there are numerous preparatory scans and X-Rays to complete before their visit.  And, since I’m now in school, I will not be able to join her in Houston. I honestly don’t have the words to describe how difficult that is for me to accept.

Currently, Maggie is off chemo and has been since the day we went into the hospital before her trip (August 6.)  While she’s enjoying her chemo break we both are deeply disturbed with the implications.  Dr. Loukas wants her to remain chemo free until after the visit with Dr. Curly.  He believes there is a chance, although quite small, that Dr. Curly will want to perform some type of liver resection on Maggie to remove as many of the operable tumors as he can.  It is a very, very slim chance that he will see this as an option but there’s a chance.  If ever there’s been a time for some strong faith, this is it.

Regardless of the outcome from Maggie’s visit to MD Anderson, we will be switching to a new chemo recipe when she returns.  The new chemo is called Oxaliplatin and it’s some nasty stuff with a whole new set of associated unpleasantries.  Yup, we get to learn a whole new chemo dance.

But there is some bright, beautiful light shining out from those dark, scary clouds.  The MBA program I’ve been dreaming about has started and, as a result, I’ve met some wonderful people, both classmates and professors.  And Maggie *may* have a job starting this Tuesday!  Outstanding, truly outstanding!

When The Great Cancer Adventure started back in January Maggie and I vowed to continue with our normal lives.  While our decision seems to add an additional cost to situations already heavily burdened with challenge, it is a decision we are bringing to life daily… together.

10 thoughts on “School Starts, MDA Calls, and The Cancer Grows

  1. Always on our minds. We love you both lots. We have tons of prayers going through Collin College up here, so North Texas has you guys covered, as well Hot Springs, Arkansas!

  2. My love, prayers, and positive thoughts will be with you, Maggie, while you’re in Houston. I know that Jolie and Lisa will take good care of you. Yes, Chris, stick with your studies. I support you in your efforts to reach your goals and aspirations. All my love!!

  3. Since you cannot go to Houston with Maggie I want you to be sure you have my contact info. This is Paula, Alicia’s mom and if you need any help from me while Maggie is in Houston just call

    H- 713-465-8337
    C 512-971-4464
    W- 713-407-3076

  4. Welcome back, Maggie!

    Hope you enjoyed your vacation.
    I am sorry to see that you must now face the cancer facts again, but I will never stop praying for you. Don’t ever give up on hope, but do the best you can and fight back.

    Best of success for Chris’ education; for 16 hours a day(!!)?

    Grandma Gertrude Valente and I will pray for you and Chris, and God loves you!!

    Aunt Pat Valente
    Daly City, CA

  5. Hang in there guys. I am very hopeful for you both that surgery will become an option. The CEA direction is not great but 4.8 is a pretty low number all the same. By strange coincidence Karen’s undergoing scans at the moment and we are expecting results around the 12th also.

    Conversely, Karen’s been on Oxaliplatin all this time and just recently switched to CPT-11. Sounds like you guys are doing the reverse. Oxali’s nasty but it works and didn’t cause Karen’s hair to fall out much. Small consolation I know.

    You guys are doing an amazing job and I’m right there with you both,

    God bless,

  6. Extra prayers for you next week. I’ll be waiting and hoping for good news from your Houstion visit. Love you both.

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