Six Year “Cancerversary”

This post is basically an 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!

5 thoughts on “Six Year “Cancerversary”

  • October 30, 2018 at 7:35 pm
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    Thank you for your exact and
    descriptive how to and what is next. I have learned so much from your FB posts.

    Reply
  • November 27, 2018 at 2:31 pm
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    November microwave ablation ended up just treating one tumor on the left side, just under my heart. Very bad reaction to medicines put me in the hospital for three nights. December will be my next microwave ablation to “zap” the remaining 4 tumors in my right side.

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  • January 12, 2019 at 9:15 am
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    I just realized I never posted an update about my December microwave ablation. The anesthesia was changed from gas to IV medicine and when I woke up, I felt fine – no nausea or vomiting at all. I was able to go home the next morning. The down side is, I actually had six tumors instead of four total, one in the deep lobe of the liver which can’t be treated with microwave ablation because that would damage the nearby bile ducts, and one on the surface of my liver which will be very painful because the microwaves will also burn the membrane covering the liver which is full of nerve endings. The good news, the four tumors which were “zapped” were very small – they were too small to be seen on the CT Scan in fact. So the doctors used landmarks and measurements from my last MRI to determine where they are located. My next scans in February will determine what is going on – any reduction from my past immunotherapy – both systemic and localized (immunoembolization was done on this side of the liver) or anything new. Then we attack this cancer again! Meanwhile, my quality of life is back to “normal” – not January 2018 normal (as in working full-time) but my new normal which does include freelancing setting up websites for people and back to my job as a REALTOR on a part time basis. I don’t have any listings right now but I am working with buyers and recently won an award for my referrals in 2018! http://sueapito.com/bronze-premier-club/

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  • January 12, 2019 at 11:39 am
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    Finally getting around to reading your blog! Bravo! I appreciate all the info you provide as well as your writing style! Keep doing what you’re doing! And keep the realness about you! I think I appreciate that part of you most, Sue!

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    • January 16, 2019 at 10:13 am
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      Thank you so much!

      This blog is my outlet for saying the things I can’t always “vent” about in the Support Groups and more importantly the place where, along with my Facebook Page, help promote my fundraising activities. Losing my job last year was hard in every way, financially, emotionally, and spiritually. But 2018 didn’t just take things away from me it also gave me new friends and new opportunities too. #NED2*

      *NO EXPIRATION DATE

      Reply

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