Nov 28, 2020 Latest post:
Jan 13, 2021
This is Mary, Iris's daughter writing here to begin. On October 14th, 2020, yes, it would be THE year of 2020- Iris had a routine CT to investigate various mild, but annoying GI symptoms. Unfortunately, this led to a diagnosis of gallbladder cancer with metastases to the liver and surrounding lymph nodes. She has been stoic as usual, and we are so grateful that the Kansas University Cancer Care Center was able to get her in within 2 days to start the process. But what a process it's been. Because of the tumor, her bile duct became blocked and this delays chemotherapy, so had a successful stent placed.
Ever the scientist, even into retirement, we investigated the role of phototherapy to clear the jaundice as fast as possible. Turns out, there are some studies looking at filtered light (aka light through a window). We figured this was better than her breaking into the infant bili-light beds at Research Hospital where she used to work as a Med-tech. And she won gold medal there, brought that bilirubin level down from 9 to 1.7 in just a week! Apparently, they've never seen this quick of a reduction, but perhaps they have not worked with a college biology teacher of this caliber before!
She started chemotherapy 11/25/20 with a combination of cisplatin and gemcitabine in a study with a 50/50 chance of receiving a checkpoint inhibitor. However, her tissue biopsy is en-route for genetic testing to see if she can receive an already available option if that matches. The chemotherapy is necessary for the rapidly dividing cells, which is needed now. Then, the targeted immunotherapy really takes care of the specific weaknesses that the cancer cells exhibit.
Iris has felt so buoyed and loved by everyones loving wishes, prayers and help in so many ways! She is now a self-proclaimed Platinum Bionic Woman and is fighting this with every ounce of her sheer grit and determination, which means those cells have no chance! - heart -