Colon Cancer Sucks Ass

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Clearing Up Misconceptions

I'm here. I'm doing okay. I didn't feel up to posting and then I was out of town and then I didn't feel up to it again and then I just got overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information that I should have posted already. Anyway, here's a quick overview of what has happened.

In May, right after we decided to stop treatments, I had a CT scan. The results of the scan showed a shadow on my liver and some slight soft tissue thickening in a spot in my abdomen. Neither area was fully consistent with a reoccurance, so Dr. W ordered a PET/CT scan to check for metabolic activity. There was a substantial amount of difficulty getting the paperwork through to get the scan. The day before the scan, I had an appointment with Dr. W and he said we should go ahead and schedule chemo for the following week. At that point, he also had an oncology fellow perform a bone marrow biopsy on me due to the ongoing problem of the low platelets. Bone marrow biopsies are not fun - ouch!

The next day I had the PET scan, but there was a problem with the IV and instead of injecting the radioactive isotope and the contrast into my bloodstream, it went into my arm which swelled up. It also meant that the scan was worthless. We had to schedule another one for that Friday with an extra appointment with the oncology clinic to have them insert the IV.

On Thursday, I went in for more blood tests. I briefly spoke with Dr. W on the phone and he let me know that the bone marrow biopsy results were good and the low platelet problem was not coming from there. I also had tested strongly positive for the platelet antibody. He said he felt comfortable diagnosing me with ITP - Immune (Ideopathic) Thrombocytopenia Purpura. In other words, my own immune system is attacking my platelets. He prescribed a high dose of prednisone to try to raise the platelet count.

The following Monday, I went in expecting the PET results and chemo treatment. Well, the PET results were not in yet and my platelets were still low. So Dr. W postponed my treatment until Wednesday and ordered two treatments of IVIg (intravenous immunoglobulin) which meant that I had to sit in the clinic for hours on Monday... and Tuesday... and Wednesday. Wednesday Dr. W came in and gave me the results of the scan. My liver is clear. The shadow did not show up at all. There is metabolic activity in the spot in my abdomen and a couple of lymph nodes. So I started treatment that day.

I am on FOLFIRI (5FU, Leucovorin, Irinotecan) with Avastin every two weeks. My second treatment was delayed because the day after the first treatment finished, I left to visit my family, my college friends and attend the wedding of my LA friends Sarah and John. The day after I returned - actually a few hours after I returned, but that's another story - I had my second treatment.

My third treatment is scheduled for this Tuesday. Good times...

10 Comments:

  • At 10:43 AM, Blogger Kristen said…

    I'm going to see Hairspray today on your recommendation...can't wait to hear about La vie en rose! Hope this week's treatment goes smoothly--

    love,
    Kristen

     
  • At 12:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thanks for the update! I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

     
  • At 11:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am soooooooooo glad you are ok. I knew that you would be, but that does not stop me from thinking about you. Thank God the liver is clear!!!!Yeah!!!!!!

    ((Christine))you are always in my prayers...always.

    Good luck to you with everything. may God watch over you.

    Mirjana

     
  • At 1:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hello,

    Your low platlet count could be boosted by taking AHCC pills which are thru a company called American Bioscience under the name IMMPOWER. As well, other companies sell it as well. It is some genetically altered mushroom extract from Japan which clinical studies show does boost levels of certain WBC. Id check it out unless you are already using it- it cant hurt.

     
  • At 12:45 PM, Anonymous Wayne said…

    Hi. I accidently clicked on "Flag this blog" and I apologize since you have no objectionable content. Sorry if I caused a problem. I can't see how to undo it. Let me know if there is anything to do.

    Wayne parsons
    Honolulu

     
  • At 5:42 PM, Blogger Francis Shanahan said…

    Christine, so glad to read you are OK. I have been checking frequently and curious for an update. I knew you were ok but I need that CCSA fix. What's the deal with your abdomen? Metabolic activity, is that a recurrence? If not then I guess you're on preventative chemo? Sorry, you've got to spell it out for me. Anyway, God bless you and hang in there.

    -fs

     
  • At 11:36 AM, Blogger KL said…

    Christine,

    I'm so glad to hear that you are doing OK! Hopefully, things will go smoother from here on out. On the bright side, it certainly seems like every day is an adventure for you... that's for sure.

     
  • At 6:20 PM, Blogger Christine said…

    I just want to leave a quick comment regarding the AHCC supplement. From the information I found on the American BioSciences, Inc website, it does seem like a promising supplement to enhance the immune system. In my situation, I don't think it would be a good idea though. My platelets are being attacked by my own immune system so enhancing it could be counterproductive. Up until last week, my white blood cells (WBC) were in good shape. Thank you for the suggestion though! I'm always interested in learning about all available treatments/options.

    Christine

     
  • At 9:06 PM, Blogger amy said…

    I just wanted to say hello and let you know I'm thinking of you. You don't know me, but I'm 29, and was diagnosed with rectal cancer when I was 27 (HNPCC). I went through chemo/radiation and surgery and am currently doing well. I found your blog through google, and am glad I have the opportunity to follow your story. You seem extremely strong and I wish you all the luck in the world. I hope your treatments go well, and please know there are lots of good thoughts in the world headed your way.
    ~amy

     
  • At 9:22 AM, Anonymous strongone said…

    Hi guys. I'm a 30 year old female who was diagnosed with colon cancer stage 3c last october when I was 29 (no family history). I went through surgery, chemo, but could not finish it because of the abcesses i developed as a result of avastin. I wish you all good luck in fighting and beating this disease.

     

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