Doctors are pretty easy to read too. When Dr. Krajewski came into the room he said, “Well let’s start with the labs”, implying that good news would be first. But he did get around to the results of the scans and they revealed what I had expected. The regimen of chemotherapy that I have been on for nearly a year was no longer working. The primary tumor on the liver was nearly double in size since the last scan in November. And there was some other evidence of “worsening metastases” in that region and around the abdomen.
The thing about chemo when you are employing palliative therapy is that you keep trying new drugs until they no longer work. Dr. K had a list of the stuff that was know to be effective on my kind of cancer and he had crossed off all the drugs that I had burned through over the 3 years. There were still a few left and he was recommending an old drug, Paclitaxel, along with a new (approved just last year) companion drug called Ramucirumab. Because of the newness and some the side effects of the latter, he recommended that I get a second opinion from the University of Michigan Hospital who would have more experience with patients on this drug.
So we are going to start next week with Paclitaxel and if the geniuses at U of M think it is right for me, we’ll add the Ramucirumab in about 3 weeks.
I’ve really liked that previous regimen because the side effects were so tolerable. There is no telling which of the side effects will come into play with the new drugs but it looks like losing my hair is a common one. I can live with that. I just hope it does not affect the taste of food. I would be sad to lose that again.