The next chemo I am going to try is called pazopanib. It's pronounced pa-ZOP-a-nib. Try saying that 5 times fast.
It's for kidney cancer, but it has shown itself useful against other cancers, including leiomyosarcoma.
This drug inhibits angiogenesis, which is the physiological process where new blood vessels grow from existing blood vessels (according to wikipedia). I guess the the idea is to starve the tumors by not letting them form blood vessels.
By Monday, I am supposed to hear back from the specialty pharamacy whether I really can get this drug. We are waiting for final approval from BCBS. I'm pretty hopeful.
Yesterday was tough. It was actually tougher than it needed to be because of the resident. (There is often a resident doctor who is on rotation in the department, and he or she comes in first and asks a lot of questions, and then comes back and observes while Dr R does his thing.)
So this one asked the usual questions, and then she told me that the scan results looked good: there was only a small amount of growth in the pancreas, but the rest of the tumors were basically the same. I was surprised that she was telling me this, because no other resident or nurse had ever given me news about my results before Dr R. But I was also thrilled. I thought, "This news is so good, he didn't want me sitting in here worrying while he was busy elsewhere, so he asked her to give me a update." She left, and I hugged Lou.
But then Dr R came in and said that all the tumors grew, and that the one in the pancreas grew by a centimeter, which is about a 25% increase, and that we needed to consider chemo again.
Crash. All happiness gone.
I didn't bother saying anything to Dr R about what the resident had said because I had more important things to deal with, like, what kind of chemo we would try. Training her is not my responsibility. But I sure hope that she was paying attention, and that she is more careful in the future.
So we ended up talking about 4 different options, and my mind was awhirl with trying to decide which one I wanted to do. How do I know what would be best?
Dr R left the room to make some inquiries, and I said a quick prayer asking that God please make it clear which option was the right one, because I had no idea how to proceed. Then Dr R came back and said that pazopanib was his recommendation, based on the hospital pharamacy telling him I would probably get it for $60 per month (versus $5000 per month). Prayer answered.
Lou and I both took the afternoon off. Neither one of us would have been any good at work. We took the monster for a long walk and then hung out at the clubhouse, on the back porch, having beer (Lou) and soda (me) and appetizers (both of us) and enjoying the late afternoon sun.
Oh, and the monster loves little ice cubes.
The waitress very sweetly brought the monster a bowl of water, and the monster drank some but then dumped out the rest and tried to eat the styrofoam bowl. Nice.