Update

Hello, everyone.  This is Nurse Jolie filling in for Chris for this update.  I will try and just stick to the facts. 

Last we had heard, we were waiting on the re-test of Maggie’s GGT, a liver function test.  While I don’t have the exact numbers, apparently the number was cut in half – it was still elevated over “normal”, but was much better than it had been in Houston.  This information was shared with MD Anderson, and the docs there also wanted a CEA (tumor marker) level drawn.  This is used as a marker for amount of disease and response to treatment.  Maggie’s CEA prior to this most recent clinical trial was 12.1 and is now 31.4.  She has just started this new medication, but one would hope that the CEA would at the least stay stable.

Bottom line, Maggie is no longer on this clinical trial.   Being MD Anderson, they want her to go to Houston to meet with a doctor and discuss other options rather than tell her what those options might be by phone.  Being Maggie, she argued that if there is an option that was promising, then she would travel to Houston to pursue this.  This is still not finalized.

As far as options now, MD Anderson may have additional trials.  Chris has also contacted CTRC in San Antonio to see what options might be available.  They are also submitting Maggie’s records to Mary Crowley Cancer Research Center in Dallas.  These options would likely all be Phase I trials like this most recent one she was on.  For a description of the different phases, check out http://www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials/learning/what-is-a-clinical-trial.

Another major issue in all of this is Maggie’s pain.  The pain to her right side from the liver is continuing.  She also has a new pain to her upper right neck above where she previously received radiation.  She says that she feels like something may be pressing against her esophagus as she feels some discomfort when she swallows.  She also has some visible swelling (though no pain) to her left neck above her clavicle.  She is requiring frequent boluses from her pain pump and still not completely getting the pain controlled.  She has taken a few of her remaining steroids and this has offered her some relief. 

To investigate this new neck pain and to get a picture of what is going on in her body right now, she has a CAT scan of the neck, chest, abdomen, and pelvis tomorrow (1/29/09) here in Austin.  As previously mentioned, Dr. Loukas dicussed the possibility of more radiation for the painful areas – which could include her neck and liver.  The issue with this is that any radiation would likely delay the time before she could start a clinical trial.  However, if she doesn’t get the radiation these areas of cancer will continue to grow and cause her more pain.  She may be able to start a new clinical trial soon, but the study drug would need to have some pretty immediate effects on the cancer to help with her pain. 

I would imagine by tomorrow or Friday, she will have appointments set up in Houston and/or San Antonio to pursue a new trial.  Unless, of course, Dr. Loukas feels she needs radiation based on what he sees on her CAT scans.  This radiation would not be curative, it is palliative, only meant to stop the growth of the cancer in areas where she having increasing pain. 

Through all of this, Maggie remains amazing.  She is such a fighter and her spirit is so strong.  She really appreciates everyone’s support and she needs it now more than ever. 

Ok, I believe that sums up the events of the last few days.  A lot has happened, so sorry for the long post.

15 thoughts on “Update

  1. Maggs and Chris,
    Sending you lots and lots of prayers from across the globe. You both are amazing people and know you are in my thoughts every day.

    Lisa

  2. Maggie and Chris,
    Sending you good thoughts and prayers. We are thinking of you.

    Esposito Family (Karen Bradford’s Aunt)

  3. If anyone has questions about anything in the the post or about anything I didn’t address, feel free to shoot me an email at joliesanchez@gmail.com. Maggie and Chris are busy with the CT scan today and figuring out her schedule. Thanks!

  4. Maggie I wish you pain free, with all Chris’s comforts and that you are never far from a reason to smile.

    Hold Fast, be yourself and know your family is in my families prayers.
    Don MacLeod

  5. Nurse Jolie,
    Thanks for the update and for taking a bit of work off of Chris and Maggie. Your writing on this subject, I suspect, would never run long for this audience. 🙂

  6. Yes, thanks Nurse Jolie, not just for the update, but for all the other ways you have been so helpful to Chris and Maggie. It’s hard for us, Chris’ family, to be so far away and want to help. But we are so thankful to you and all of Chris and Maggie’s friends and her family who are there and so willing to offer the help they need, when they need it. And to all the others who, like us, cannot be there but offer continued prayers and encouragement, we thank you. And to Chris and Maggie: Love, prayers and big bear hugs. Meme & Big Daddy

  7. Thank you nurse Jolie for your update. Please continue to keep us posted. Although they don’t know me, I read their posts daily. I am all too familiar with this process. I pray for them to have peace and some sense of comfort. Know that many really do care.

  8. For those wishing to send anything to Maggie and Chris the address is 5501-A Balcones Drive; Box 136; Austin, TX 78731.

    If you wish to make a deposit directly to their new account you can mail a check to National Bank by Mail; KY1-0900; Chase; P.O. Box 36520; Louisville, KY 40233-6520. On the check, in the memo space to the lower left, you MUST remember to write “Chris Weaver, #810368241.

  9. I’m so sorry the clinical trial in Houston didn’t work out, but I’m praying another door will open for you very soon!

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