After a long interruption, last Weds I finally got to join Maggie at The Spa for a visit with Dr. Loukas. He reported what we instinctively know – she’s doing great. He was very pleased that she hadn’t experienced any debilitating side-effects common with the new chemo regimen and was happy about her blood counts. Taking it all into account, Maggie is doing fantastic.
Today was her chemo treatment at The Spa. Lori and I both accompanied her and it went fine. She’s been sleeping most of the day since. Right now Mary is here cooking super while Maggie and Lori watch TV.
We found out today that her CEA is up again. It was steady since September at 3.7 but since then it’s crept up to 6.2 today. That’s not the direction we’d prefer. Granted, it is not a conclusive test or a dependable marker of cancerous activity but it is something to watch.
We learned one thing during our visit with Dr. Loukas on Wednesday. Maggie has been suffering pretty bad but brief jaw pain every time she eats. It comes on quickly but fades as she continues to chew. Jaw pain is a common side effect of the FOLFOX treatment, specifically, oxaliplatin. Apparently, it’s caused by glandular contractions. When she starts eating her salivary glands contract to produce saliva. Those initial contractions, for some reason, are painful.
We now think we understand another of Maggie’s odd side-effects. When she tears up during a sad moment on TV she gets an immediate and painful headache. Dr. Loukas told us that the tear ducts are glands similar to salivary glands. While he’s never had another patient report such an effect, he isn’t surprised at the pain.