Friday, October 23, 2009

What's Up With the Doc 80? - Land of Enchantment

I'm sitting at my sister's computer for this week's update, enjoying the New Mexico sunshine streaming in through the window. I've already had my first Lotaburger and tonight holds the promise of chile relleno enchiladas and El Modelo tamales. My mother beat me here yesterday, Chris and Sheri arrive this afternoon and Emma and her buddy tonight. My best childhood friend was here to greet me last night and will be over for gossip and giggles for a while this morning before she heads back home and my stepbrother, Bill, stopped by last evening. He was here for work and also heads home today. Tomorrow we all make fools of ourselves at the CSU/UNM volleyball game, the austensible excuse for this little gathering. More than anything, I am thrilled to be in my beloved New Mexico with friends and family with the largest challenge on the horizon being getting my frozen green chiles home with me on Monday.

After the post-chemo pain resolved last week I was more fatigued than usual until the middle of this week. I attribute that to the combination of chemo and my steroid dose reduction so I've decided not to reduce the dose further until the week after my next chemo. I will enjoy my prodigious appetite while able to enjoy the New Mexico cuisine and not worry about fatigue or nausea cramping my style. That's it for where things stand with current symptoms.

I read a news release this last week about an article published in the International Journal of Cancer about survival improvement in people with stage IV lung cancer and bone metastases who are treated with Zometa. It was a small study and the patients were put on the Zometa for bone pain. Turns out it didn’t help the pain, but overall median survival in the group treated with Zometa was over 19 months, while survival for the chemo only (carbo/taxol) was just over a year.

That’s a big difference! In fact, I will reach the Zometa group’s overall median survival on Sunday. My oncologist started me on the Zometa months ago when I started to develop new bone lesions. As you know, I’m on pain meds to control the pain, but we’ve continued the Zometa to try to prevent more new bone lesions and to delay time to fracture of any that I have. At least a part of me feels like the Zometa is playing a significant part in keeping me alive and keeping me active. I feel like I live a charmed life regarding my oncologist and his educated guesses about how to treat me.

That's it for now. I'll be back in Connecticut Monday afternoon and pick up with enjoying the New England autumn after this little break of enchantment.


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