Wednesday, January 28, 2015

New Year Return

My husband posted the following message on Facebook and emailed this notice to family and friends.  He and I have written a number of times on GuyDads about my previous battle with cancer.

There are some new developments in Ed's ongoing health saga.  In December, we were told some of the cancer nodules in his lungs were once again growing after not being seen for 4 months.  Still being relatively small (in the 1.5-2 cm. range), his oncologist advised that he start a new chemotherapy routine, this one being an ongoing, "maintenance" variety for the purpose of thwarting any further growth or movement (but not necessarily 'killing' the cancer already there).  His lingering neuropathy/numbness in his hands and feet from the first six-month regimen did not allow even a short return to that earlier, more powerful, drug combination.

This 'maintenance' chemo (Panitumumab or Vectibix) does not alter “theoretically” his day-to-day life that much:  no diet restrictions, no lowering of white blood cell count and thus no compromise of his immune system, etc.  Since he will be on this once-every-two-week pattern for as long as it works and as long as he can tolerate it, the good news is that he can take occasional 'breaks' so that we can still go on vacations (like our upcoming trip to Cuba in Feb. and hoped-for New York theatre trip & Mediterranean cruise later in the year).

My red and pox-mark head
and shoulders
Unfortunately, after two treatments, the side effects have been much worse than the doctor had thought they might be.  The worst and so-far unresolved effect has been a chicken-pox-like rash that has covered (literally) his face, neck, and torso.  This has been somewhat devastating for Ed, as you can imagine, since his appearance has been greatly altered, literally over night.  (This came on top of 30+ hours of bad intestinal issues from the first treatment.)

For the next month, he will go off the chemo, use some prescribed 'remedies' for the rash, and hopefully allow his body to go back to 'normal.'  In late February, he will begin a 50% dosage of the same, maintenance chemo drug.  If that goes well, the dosage will be increased gradually over the coming months.  Since our oncologist is seeing this as a long-term, continuous treatment, she is not that concerned in backing off a bit and then easing into the full dosage more slowly.

So the journey continues. In the meantime and as always, Ed continues to work, to walk two miles to work (even with his numb and tingling feet), and to attend with me live productions several nights a week (we have seen a dozen stage/symphony productions since the first of the year).

Things could be much worse at this point, and we have friends who have recently had much worse happen to them and/or their loved ones. To every one who faces health challenges, may our collective good wishes, support, and prayers help raise their spirits and keep them strong.

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