This week I had 5 doctor visits and an MRI. My surgeons, pleased (and amazed) with my progress, discussed plans for the future. While sticking with the "standard of care" (the octreotide injections every 4 weeks), we know it will not prevent the metastatic tumors in my liver from coming back. Since they are slow-growing, though, and since I do not have symptoms of carcinoid syndrome right now, there is not a rush to try the more aggressive targeted therapies yet. Good news: one of the primary blood markers for tumor activity has been dropping since surgery and is now in the normal range. In addition, I've regained most of my weight since February. I'm walking 2-4 miles a day and eating healthy food. This should help my immune system fight the tumors. On Friday I had an MRI to try to get a better glimpse at how many tumors remain.
City of Hope continues to be a world leader in cancer research. A friend from Sunday School contracted another kind of cancer and is getting good treatment there. Another friend showed me an article from CBS Los Angelesthat sounds too good to be true: a discovery at City of Hope that might not only cure cancer, but obesity as well! (Obesity is not my problem.) Another report from The Independent described another miracle cure being considered. In addition, a Phase III trial at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center is testing the efficacy of Lutetium-177 radioisotope therapy on neuroendocrine tumors like mine; this treatment has been shown effective in Europe. Often hopeful treatments that work on mice turn out to have serious side effects when tried on humans, but one of my surgeons said we know much more now than we did 10-20 years ago and fewer mistakes are being made. The question for me is whether one of these targeted therapies will become available in time for me. Only my primary care Physician (the Lord Jesus Christ) knows for sure.
Scary thought: one of my surgeons said that on the day of surgery I was probably as little as a day away from complete bowel obstruction from the primary tumor pressing on my small intestine. The Lord brought me to the right doctors at the right time; otherwise I could have died in February. Praise God; I am so thankful to be given this extension of time, and need your prayers that I will use it wisely.