hello. leah has once again asked me to update this here site. the last entry was at the beginning of her 11 day stay at the hospital. during her stay she received TPN treatments daily. a week in and we were told of the last test result we'd been waiting for (the cytology from her previous paracentesis-testing the fluid they drained out of her two weeks earlier). it tested positive for active cancer cells.
so on friday the 19th of october, they began leah's next round of chemo. this is a new drug, the 7th different one they have tried. whereas the first two go rounds of chemo were in groups of three (different drugs), this time is only one. it is called GEMCITABINE and is used to treat breast, ovarian, non-small cell lung, and pancreatic cancers. she is set up to have this drug administered once weekly for 3 weeks, then a week off. for three months. we are told that they are giving her a moderate dose that should have minimal side effects, but unfortunately, leah's body doesn't listen to the doctors. so far she has had two doses of the new chemo and both times it has left her extremely miserable and in bed for days. by the 5th or 6th day she seems to be past the worst of it, then they hit her again. thus, groundhog day continues. misery, pain and vomiting. repeat.
next week, b4 the chemo, they are doing labs (blood work) to see if the last 2 treatments have slowed down the cancer-they do this with the CA-19-9 test. we need to at least see a slow down or leveling off of this number. ideally it is dropping, but we are trying to not be unrealistic in our expectations.
leah is home now, though it has been a rough week. chemo monday. paracentesis tuesday (they drained out 4.5 liters, mostly, we think, a result of the TPN liquid diet), and yesterday she went in for more hydration. tomorrow she is scheduled for more TPN (an 8-9 hour process). hopefully, any day now we will see some positive results from the chemo (mainly that her digestive system will wake up and let her eat and not vomit). if/when this happens, she can discontinue the TPN and begin to get strong again. we feel that the stronger she can be, the less the chemo will knock her down, and the sooner her body can start fighting back. that is the ultimate goal.
leah has not given up, though she's been kicked to the edge way to many times. she says this is the last chance for chemo.
on a lighter note, this past saturday was our anniversary (12 yrs married, 16 together, to the day). we spent the day/night at home (better than the hospital). leah had a bowl of noodles for dinner and it stayed down (organic mac/cheese)-the first meal to do so in many weeks. and as of the last couple of days, she can drink some water and it will NOT come back up immediately (though it does later on), so she can hold down most of her meds. so there is that.
right now, as the days are broken down into long, slow moving hours, we grasp onto the small signs that things are coming around, day after day after day. groundhog day indeed. this afternoon ken/shirley went back to their home to do winter things and sleep in their own bed. they will be back for the next chemo on tues, ELECTION DAY. leah has told me that if i have to, i will carry her into the small town hall where we vote so she can cast her vote. so we ask all of you, if able/willing, please VOTE tuesday. we feel that it is an important and under- appreciated privilege.
lastly, as always, leah and i thank you all for your support during this seemingly never-ending ordeal. it humbles us.
if it can be done, leah will do it.
keep on loving those you love. rob