Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Here we go... Last post, I think we were waiting to see what Joe's options were going to be as to treatment, as he's pretty much run through all but two. There is a fairly new treatment... uses microscopic radioactive beads implanted in the liver to fry the tumors... and one last old chemo... We were on pins and needles for a few days, waiting to see if Joe was going to be a candidate for the radiation... AND HE IS!!!

We went Monday for part 1 of the procedure... a vein study. They went up through his artery in his groin and injected some dye and a tad bit of radiation to map out his veins... Some of them have to be blocked with coils to keep the beads from traveling to other organs (such as the lungs), which could cause issues. They placed 5 coils.

Next Wednesday, the 30th of March, we go back down and they do the actual radiation procedure... Approximately 6 MILLION little beads, smaller than a cell, will be put into Joe's liver. These beads carry 40 times more radiation than they could give externally... and they are geared to attack JUST the cancer tumors, so the healthy parts of his liver will be unharmed for the most part. Wednesday night, I'll be back on the other side of the bed... said the chance of me having any problems from it are slim to none, but they just recommend that I not sleep on the side that they've treated.

Just to keep the chances of overtaxing his liver down, they'll do the right side first... it's the larger lobe, and where he has more tumors concentrated. After those are settled in, we'll go back in 2-3 weeks and get the left side treated.

That PET scan was pretty cool! They'd never done one of those on him before. And we've never been shown any of the scans... Generally the radiologist reads them and just calls the oncologist, but since Dr. Smith IS a radiologist, he took us through them on the computer. So neat how they can see everything... bottom to top, top to bottom, left and right, right and left... He showed us Joe's liver all the way through.

They've always talked about his tumor load... and innumerable tumors, which doesn't sound good at all, but we were actually pleased to find that Joe's tumor load is at about 30%... That means that 70% of his liver is tumor free! The oncologist was amazed that Joe's liver function is so good, all things considered, but then he may not actually KNOW what Joe's tumor load is either... he doesn't really deal in that.

I guess the only real downside is that the radiologist wants Joe to do some chemo too, along with the radiation... And it being the old chemo, chances are, it could cause Joe some grief with nausea... He's never had issues with nausea before, but that's been because all of the treatments have been newer ones, with less adverse side effects. God willing, Joe will do his usual and just groove right along! He's going back on the Xeloda again too, which is what makes such a mess of his hands and feet... they were JUST getting back to normal! Ugh! He's still got his "Never say Die" attitude tho! Complete confidence that the Lord is going to heal him. He faded a bit here a few weeks back... was wearing out... The hope for this new treatment has bolstered him up again.

I will admit to still having a bit of fear... The good thing with the radiation and chemo vs just the chemo... the cancer cells can't mutate against the radiation. With the one-two punch, God willing, the cancer won't stand a chance. I'll have his back, whatever happens... and I know y'all have our backs as well...

Before I sign off here, I just wanted to add that I'm still saying prayers for Julie's sister... and for Terri's family who've been facing cancer as well... I hope and pray that all come through things with flying colors!

Okay... got a baby blanket to finish up... Have I told you that we're expecting another new grandbaby? We suspected, but found out for sure just after Christmas... Another girl... Due May 8th... This will be our 5th in 7 years... All girls except for Peanut... he still gets to be my favoritest boy in the world ever! I have a sweet spot for him... can you tell? LOL!

Hugs and lots of smiles!!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Well, no treatment today... We sat visiting with the PA long enough for Joe's CEA to come back. Over 1000. They scheduled a PET scan and a CTs for next Tuesday. My heart is kind of in my throat right now. I know there are still options, but Joe's wearing out. Me too. I know God's on top of things. I KNOW He's got this covered. One way or the other. Just pray we have what it takes to let this thing run it's course.

Things have been busy...

so I've not updated for a bit... Getting ready to head out to treatment here shortly, so thought I'd bring anybody curious up to date.

After a wonderful Christmas, we got the bomb dropped the next week about Joe's #'s going back up. yay. A CT later, the decision was made to switch his treatments... again... So... we're on #4. Vectibix. He had one cycle... 2 treatments... and they ran another CEA. From nearly 400 to over 700! WTHECK??? Apparently, that's what the doc is thinking too. The CT and the CEA usually correspond with each other... The CT looked really good, despite a couple of BB sized new growths. More was shrinking/dying off than was new. Doc said he wasn't worried about the BB's... he just doesn't understand the CEA being so high. This is the highest it's been since we started in October of '08 when the CEA went from over 3500 down to 315 with just a couple of treatments with the Folfox treatment.

Our last visit we actually SAW the doc, not the PA... He said we were going to give it another cycle... 2 more treatments... then run the CEA, AGAIN! Well, today is #2 of the 2nd cycle. Next visit, they'll do the CEA and see where the #'s are. IF they're going up still yet, he's going to order a PET and CTs to see what is happening inside. Depending on what those show... we may be on to option #5. Radiation.

There is a treatment that was actually developed for treating liver cancer... but what I read was that it actually shows better results in treating colon cancer that has matastisized into the liver. They shoot the liver up with millions of microscopic beads of radiation (not the clinical term, but you get the gist). The beads work their way into the blood vessels that supply the tumors and knock them out... kill 'em... wipe 'em off the face of the earth... hopefully... They do this... I think Joe said, every 3 months and check it?

If that does the trick in shrinking and killing off more of the tumors, then they will likely go back with a bit more chemo to irradicate any stray cancer cells possibly floating around in the blood stream.

That's the plan for the cancer part of our lives... I'll come back later to update on the good parts of life... I have to run get ready right now, or we'll be risking a ticket on our way to the Cancer Center... See ya' later!