I am in the middle of Cycle 5 of Gem/Tax, and we originally planned six cycles of Gem/Tax followed by another Scan Day. I think that puts Scan Day on November 5, 2009. Here's where the hints about the future come in, and they all depend on what we learn on Scan Day:
- If I get significant shrinkage again, and if I can tolerate more chemo, we will add on two more cycles of Gem/Tax (6 weeks) in an effort to just totally beat the cancer down and take advantage of how well Gem/Tax is working.
- If I get significant shrinkage but I can't tolerate more chemo because my bloodwork is bad or my attitude is bad, we do not add any any more chemo and instead go to monitoring on a two-month schedule. (What are the chances that my attitude will be bad?! Zip!)
- Instead of monitoring, there is a chance that I can join a clinical trial of some drug they are testing to slow the rate of the cancer starting to grow again. I did not get the drug name. I think Dr Reidel said it is a weekly pill drug with minimal side effects. I know for sure he said that they already have eleven patients in this trial. I said ABSOLUTELY YES I am interested. I want anything they can give me. We'll all just have to pray that I get the actual drug and not the fricking sugar pill!
- If I do not get significant shrinkage, then I think we go to monitoring or the clinical trial. I think that you have to show that at least some improvement occurred between the third-cycle Scan Day and the sixth-cycle Scan Day to get into the clinical trial.
I am unclear of what happens if I add on two more cycles of chemo -- can I do the clinical trial after that?
It is totally okay that I do not have all the details at this point. This was just a preliminary chat about what might happen. I like that because it gives me time to adjust my thinking.
My big questions for Dr Reidel today involve VACATION PLANS. Lou and I are desperate to go on vacation. We get that week between Christmas and New Year's off, and we have been looking at ten-day Southern Caribbean cruises on Princess.
I want to find out today what the chances are for my being able to fly and cruise and snorkle and shop and nap in a lounge chair on the Lido Deck with a good book in my lap... If I am in the clinical trial, can the shipboard doctor give me the weekly pill? Is it possible to delay the start of the clinical trial? Should we book a cruise now or wait till Scan Day? Will I need sunscreen 200 SPF?
We love cruises. We basically check in to a luxury hotel, unpack once, and wake up every morning in a fabulous new place. We have been on twelve cruises so far and hope to go on many more, God willing. Our first cruise was to Alaska in 1997, which was our five-year delayed honeymoon. If you are interested, you can see pictures from all our cruises on http://www.rossranch.com/.