October 2018 ~ update to my original About Me page and a Six Year “Cancerversary“ update on my ocular oncology journey!
My first goal after being released from the hospital back in January, was to attend my daughters April wedding on the beach in Oregon, even if I had to use a wheelchair or a walker! I made it! And I actually only needed the wheelchair in the airports, and didn’t even need the cane during the wedding festivities!
My follow up scans showed that the immunotherapy really did not have much of an effect on the tumors in my liver. At this point the decision was made to start Interventional Oncology treatments.
My doctor, Dr. Kim, was recently featured in the Fall-winter 2018 issue of Centerpoint Magazine from Yale New Haven Hospital.
My first treatment was in June, a microwave ablation of the largest “index” tumor. I ended up not handling being intubated and put under that well, and had to be admitted to Smilow Cancer Hospital until I stopped throwing up and they were able to manage my pain. Follow up scans basically show a hole in my liver where the tumor had been, and most importantly, no evidence of cancer cells in that area at all.
But I still have 4-5 other small tumors. So the decision was made to try another procedure, immunoembolization. This process introduces a different kind of immunotherapy drug directly into the liver. Since things are basically only growing slowly or relatively stable, I decided to postpone treatment and in September I celebrated 35 years of marriage to amazing husband, Paul. We spent a week visiting New Mexico and Colorado. Colorado was made even more special by getting to spend time with our oldest and dearest friends, too!
At the beginning of October I underwent a somewhat abbreviated immunoembolization procedure to the right lobe of my liver. It turns out I do not have arterial blood flow directly to any of the tumors so the embolization part was skipped and I was just treated with the immunotherapy drug. Again, I did not tolerate the procedure that well and ended up admitted overnight for observation and recovery. But after that, I was tired for two weeks but not in any pain.
November 1st will be the six year anniversary of the routine eye exam which started me down this journey. That day I will have a second microwave ablation treatment. Dr. Kim will treat the one tumor in the left lobe of my liver which is somewhat close to my heart. Right before the treatment they’ll scan me again to see the status of the right lobe of my liver. If the immunoembolization has not resulted in tumors shrinking or being eliminated, then he’ll treat the 4 tumors there as well.
I’m grateful my liver is still not impacted at all, through all of this with the exception of when I was in the hospital in January, my blood work has been normal. The CT Scans of my lungs do not indicate any disease process; the nodules noticed earlier are stable and the lymph nodes decreased in size, so there are no continued concerns there right now.
I can’t say I take everything a day at a time but I do try the best I can to live for today, but still plan for tomorrow!