Monday, May 25, 2009

May Update #2

It's Monday and today is release day from NIH/NCI, I have been here since last Wednesday. I underwent the "PHP" surgery on Thursday morning, then spent roughly 28 hours in ICU before being moved back to a regular room. The PHP surgery is for the phase 3 trial. An experimental chemo drug is put right to the organ. As you can imagine the phase 1 and 2 trials were lots of trial and error to see if the drug worked. The unique thing about this trial is the delivery system for the chemo. It is called the Delcath system. I had 2 catheters placed in my groin and 1 catheter on each side of my neck. Specialized Radiologists map the blood veins going to and from the liver, the insert platinum coils in the ones not needed. The catheters are in place to deliver the drug directly to the liver and then be brought back out of the body and the blood is filtered then placed back through the neck catheter, the blood is filtered for 5-10 minutes depending on clotting ability. As most know chemo drugs destroy cells, both good and bad, so this system has shown promise because it is only going to the diseased area. Always a chance some can get out into the blood stream.
As for my recovery, I have done pretty good. I was pretty drugged up and never have liked weaning off of anesthesia. The scariest moment might have been in ICU, they remove both catheters from the groin and one from the neck and apply pressure for 15 minutes to get blood to clot, ii was doing fine then about 30 minutes later my groin started shooting blood out. A moment of concern for sure but pressure applied again and it held. The next 10-14 days are the most critical as the platelet counts in all previous trial patients have fallen drastically, we will be watching this. I come back in 5 weeks to see if this treatment has done anything good. All the nurses and Doctors at NIH/NCI are great, as have been my docs at St. John's. other than that it is 1 day at a time. Thank you all for your prayers and support. Life is a journey, it is what you do along the way the matters!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

May Health Update

As of this update I am at NIH/NCI in Bethesda, MD for the second time in 4 days, literally flying home to repack, do some chores and hang with the kids. My regular scheduled visit for testing has taken place. The liver cancer tumors are still advancing. The tumor in my brain has not advanced and the signs of hemorrhage have stopped to a point doctors feel good about. I am back for the second time to receive the PHP surgery as part of the phase 3 clinical trial I am in. So I have to have all the tests again and then right into surgery (4-6 hour ordeal) then recovery. This surgery is actually the only treatment showing progress for metastasized liver cancer, so I am hopeful given this disease has such a poor life expectancy.