Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Changing directions

This week was tentatively scheduled for a chemo session, however it was loosely based on what the CA125 count was going to be from her bloodwork counts. A couple of weeks ago her CA125 count was down to 360, however in a week's time it jumped back up to over 400.

She didn't feel well at all last week, and finally decided to go to the Emergency Room on Saturday to see if anything major was wrong. All said and done after tests and Xrays, she had a bladder/urinary tract infection. The doctor gave her a prescription of Levaquin (SP?) ((an antibiotic)) to get rid of it.

Today at her appointment, Dr. Porubcin reviewed all of the bloodwork over the last couple of weeks, and said that he wasn't seeing the results he wanted with the Topetecan. Since the CA125 number jumped up so much during the break week, he felt that she should try some other courses of treatment and stop the Topetecan.

So she has a new plan. They didn't give her a Topetecan treatment today. She will start treatment with 40 mg of Doxil next week (Tuesday), and then she will have three weeks off, and then will get another Doxil treatment on March 1. The treatment will take about two hours.

The nurses did some blood work today and will check the CA125 count again. They also did an echo cardiogram to check her heart muscle. Apparently one of the Doxil side effects has to do with the heart muscle tissue, and if the tissue is weak in any way then she won't be able to take the treatment. Other side effects have to do with losing her hair (again), and keeping her skin out of the sun as much as possible. I'm going to read up a little tonight after my meeting - seems like Doxil side effects are more intense than the Topetecan. THE GOOD NEWS IS that Dr. Porubcin said that Doxil doesn't have a reputation for causing blood clots (Yay) so if that's the silver lining I'll take it. Nothing is worse than blood clots.

When mom had her Xray done on Saturday, it showed no signs of blood clots in her lungs, so I'm hoping they are all gone.

Another bit of humor in the situation: when we were in the waiting room before mom went in to get the echo-cardiogram, we were watching tv and a commercial pops up with a big warning sign: IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW HAS TAKEN LEVAQUIN AND HAS TENDON PROBLEMS, CALL THIS NUMBER IMMEDIATELY AND SPEAK TO ONE OF OUR ATTORNEYS... etc. Of all the things to come up on the television while we were in the waiting room, it had to be about the antibiotic she's taking for her urinary tract infection. At least we both had a good chuckle.

Friday, January 21, 2011

No trip to Iowa City

Mom ended up canceling the trip to Iowa City - the cold and the impending snow accumulation turned her off so she rescheduled for later in February. It was a follow up to the follow up post surgery appointment so it wasn't crucial that she go.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Iowa City visit this week

Mom has a week off of chemo but still has to make a visit to see the Iowa City doctors this week. It's a routine visit and am sure it will go pretty quickly. 

She has some blood work scheduled for this Wednesday. Dr. Porubcin wants to check her CA125 count, and if it hasn't gone down enough then she will have to do another three-week round of chemo starting next week. She tentatively has chemo scheduled for the 25th, but Dr. Porubcin will make the call. I think that she will probably have to do another round, if not two. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Week 3

The chemo weeks are flying by. Scotty took mom to her treatment on Tuesday as I have a bad cold and coughing all over the place. The chemo room was pretty light that day, as I guess some people cancelled because of the snow.

Mom had a bad week last week after chemo treatment, but the one this week is going better. She felt pretty good today.

Next week she will have a break, and then depending on what her next CA125 count is, she may have to go for another three weeks. Dr. Porubcin felt that it wasn't down enough the last time... and it is going slower than he thought. But, the point is that the number is going down, so as long as it is going in that direction, all is good.

Monday, January 3, 2011

CA125 count drops down to 400

Good news: mom's CA125 count is down to the 400 level. It is not down as much as we wanted, but I'll take it. I really don't know what else could gauge the effectiveness of the chemo at killing the cancer if we didn't have that number.


There was a law passed last month: Johanna's Law. Actually it was the renewal of an old law… a reaffirmation/reauthorization for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop and implement campaigns to raise awareness and educate women and medical professionals about the signs and symptoms of gynecologic cancers. http://bit.ly/dLvnFG


While that is all nice and good, I think that money going toward that cause could be better used for prevention and screening of Ovarian Cancer. Because with Ovarian Cancer – once you start getting the symptoms (and really pay attention to the symptoms) it's too late. There's no "pre-emptive" screening for Ovarian Cancer. You can't walk in to your doctors office and ask for a count without having symptoms to back it up. That is the catch 22.


Before mom started getting sick, we didn't run across any ovarian cancer awareness campaigns of any sort. And supposedly there was $16 million dollars from the Johanna Law going toward getting the message out.


Mom wasn't in the risk category because we have no family history of the cancer. But if Johanna's Law is supposed to do its job, we should be hearing more about gynecological cancers in the most conspicuous places…maybe a coffee shop or at the grocery store. Church?


I read an article the other day about Ovarian Cancer prevention and screening study done by Duke University. http://bit.ly/hHKU9Y One of the doctors stated that more work needs to be done to find better approaches to screening methods. They are exploring models to determine better preventative methods and screening methods before things get out of hand. They even talk about the high-risk group – which is obvious, but the end all is a screening method for the rest of women. At this point I consider any woman who doesn't have a history of cancer in the family to be at high risk for Ovarian Cancer.


To be continued.