Feet & Hand Issues

Maggie’s doing fine.  The feet pain is bothering her constantly and her hands are getting numb.  Unfortunately, it’s not getting better, as we had hoped, which also means we’ll probably skip the oxaliplatin again.  The next Spa visit is Friday the 18th.

Mary did a great job of summarizing the last doctor’s visit in the comments section of my last post.  I’ll re-cap.  Because of the increasing peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage) caused by the current chemo regimen, Dr. Loukas has stopped giving Maggie oxaliplatin.  It’s an experiment to see if we can halt or reverse the pain she’s feeling in her feet and hands.  Thus, she didn’t get it last time and we expect she won’t get it next week either.

The plan moving forward is to take Maggie off chemo slowly, all except the Avastin (which has few side effects, especially the ones that make her feel bad.*)  After she’s off all the rough stuff, we’re going to take a wait-and-see approach.  We are hoping that the tumors will stay growth-free for a long time.  Dr. Loukas says there’s just no way to predict the outcome.  They could remain growth-free for a year or could begin growing immediately.

The longer we go without growth, the better chance of success we’ll have switching back to the original chemo, Xelox / CPT-11.  That would be the best outcome.  If they start growing soon I’m not sure what the plan will be.

Dr. Loukas was very positive in her visit.  He said that a year ago he didn’t think she’d still be with us.  Both because of how grave the situation was and the basic Law of Averages.  But the Law of Averages didn’t bode well when it clashed with the Spirit of Maggie.  So now, he says, all bets are off.  She’s doing fantastic and is way off the end of the bell curve.

He said that about 90% of the tumors have been killed off.  Unfortunately, there’s still a lot left.  To help with perspective, if Bill Gates gave away 90% of his money, he’d still have $5.8 billion dollars.  As school winds down I’ll post copies of her latest CT scan for more side-by-side comparisons.

As to the future, Dr. Loukas has no clue as to what to expect.  But here are two reasonably likely scenarios:

1. The disease will remain in check or maintainable moving forward.  Either we will continue to ping-pong between chemo drugs to keep it in check or some new drugs will come out that will help us maintain her health, moving the disease to be more of a chronic issue than a… well… other issue.
2. Sometime, in the future, we simply crash.  Dr. Loukas said that sometimes the body just gives out and quits.  It’s impossible to predict but it happens.  They don’t know why but it happens.

But as for now, she’s happy, doing all her lawyer-in’ and just being Maggie.  And I sure am glad that she’s still around!

9 thoughts on “Feet & Hand Issues

  1. Make um eat their words, Maggie. Can’t keep a good girl down. Let’s have a great 2008. See you soon. Love and prayers always.

  2. Beating the odds! Isn’t that pretty much a way of life for you, Maggie? No reason to stop now!

    My part of North Texas is still praying for you daily, and my Maggie bracelet won’t come off until the miracle happens.

    Just look how much closer you’ve moved to that miracle since January 2007!

    Love, good thoughts, and many prayers!

  3. The recovery from peripheral neuropathy from oxaliplatin is a slow, slow process (6 months to a year). Over time, Maggie should have less discomfort and decreased numbness. If there is pain, you guys should ask Dr. Loukas about Lyrica. it helps with nerve pain, but unfortunately not with numbness.

    That was great news from Dr. Loukas at the last visit. Maggie is proof that attitude plays a huge part in dealing with and fighting cancer.

  4. That’s my girl! You’ve got the spirit and the drive to succeed in whatever you do. Hang in there! If the pain bothers you, please take something to give you comfort.

    Much Love,

  5. Another med for neuropathy that has less side effects and less cost but is a little less effective is gabapentin (neurontin). You could ask about that too


  6. Maggie, I keep up w/ you on line and Deena. Saw her the other night at dinner and she said you were having lunch. I think of you often and show my clients your pictures w/ you beautiful smile and attitude. You give them hope. They feel if you can do it and live in the present , they can too! You’ll never know how many people you have helped just being you!!!!!! The quality of life depends on the quality of your thought’s. “HI” to Chris and your Mom. Tell her to come see me.Stay safe and sane!!!!!

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