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!