End of Treatment

Today was an appointment that no one with cancer really wants to have. The appointment where you are ending treatment but not in the fun you are in remission way but in the nothing is working and we have nothing left to try way. Mom’s CA125 is well above 10,000 which means the chemo she was on did not work. She isn’t eligible for any clinical trials because of her resistance to certain classes of chemo drugs, her PARP resistance and the location of the cancer. Also we got the results back and she isn’t a candidate for immunotherapy.

He told us that once she became platinum resistant there really wasn’t anything they could do to extend her number of days. And by giving her treatment that isn’t working they were just taking away her good days if she’s stuck on the couch due to side effects. He told her to plan some vacations and to live her life.

We then went up to get her port flushed and our favorite chemo nurse was there. She gave mom her very first treatment and incidentally also gave her her last treatment. It was emotional to say the least. She gave us hugs and we were able to thank her. Over the past 3 and a half years she listened to our stories, answered our questions and laughed at our jokes. She was our chemo angel and I will forever be grateful for her.

The next step will be for us to meet with a palliative care team and they will help guide us through these next steps. Our hearts are broken but we are determined to make the most of our time together just as we have over the past 3 and a half years.

As always thank you to every one of you. Your prayers and kind words have meant more than you can know.

We Are In The Endgame Now

This is probably the most bizarre blog post I’ve written but the fact that I can tie mom’s cancer to a Marvel movie, well ya it’s just bizarre. But hear me out.  Also, this post contains spoilers from Avengers: Endgame.

I was thinking about it on my drive to work, how this whole thing makes me feel and how I could describe it in a visual way.  When she started chemo back in 2016 it always felt like I was in quicksand the day she would start.  I would feel this weight pulling me down and it happened like clockwork with every new cycle.

Today I was thinking about her CA125 number and how it felt like I was standing in a room and the walls were just one by one collapsing. As I went to hold up one wall another would fall. And then I thought “NO! It’s like the final battle in Avengers: Endgame”. If you haven’t seen the movie this post may mean very little to you. And if you have…it still may mean very little to you.  But it makes sense in my mind with how I feel, and this is how.

So Thanos, he plays the role of all the cancer that has been there since reoccurrence began that we’ve been trying to defeat all along.  Previous chemotherapy drugs are the Avengers that survived the snap and have been trying to take Thanos down without any previous success.  They’ve beaten him up a bit but he’s still standing.

So here we are in the final battle.  All the Avengers knocked out minus Cap (aka Captain America but I feel comfortable enough with my Marvel love to refer to him as Cap) and he’s just standing there bloody and broken ready to take on Thanos. Then all of Thanos’ little minions come flying in out of nowhere and that is how 9,387 feels.  Like you’ve put in all this fighting and given it your all and out of nowhere cancer is like, Hey if these current lymph nodes weren’t enough to deal with I’m going to throw in some more lymph nodes or tumors to deal with. Plus, I’ve already defeated the rest of the chemotherapy drugs that were made to destroy me.

And that is where the similarities end because in Avengers: Endgame a bunch of Avengers pop through portals via Doctor Strange and Wong and it’s this epic battle. RIP Tony.

The problem with our situation is that we don’t have reinforcements and backup. The cancer proved to be stronger than them. We have one drug to take down an army of cancer. The question is, will it be strong enough to get the job done?

🤯🤷🏻‍♀️

Mom’s CA125 is now at 9,387. On September 26 it was at 4,298.

On June 24, 2016, the day she was diagnosed she was at 8,374. It’s sucky news for sure. But the silver lining is she isn’t in the same condition she was when she was diagnosed. She’s still functioning and not doubled over in pain and that feels like a pretty big miracle.

Today she started her new chemotherapy and now we just wait and see if it does anything. The effectiveness of this drug is between 15-20%. So while I would love to be optimistic my brain won’t allow me to set myself up for the heartbreak of another failed drug. So I’m just going to live in the moment and appreciate that mom is here and still her crazy self.

Thank you all for your love and support and riding along with us on this crazy cancer coaster 💜

Hanging in There

Nothing to see here just a girl sitting in a public cafeteria crying while watching a sad show. And then the text comes through that Mom gets her B12 shot tomorrow. It’s to combat side effects. She will be set to start chemo the week of November 4th. And now I’m crying not because of the show but because of real life.

The past 3+ years have been a time of memories and miracles but it’s also been a time of worry and heartache. We are blessed to be going back to Disney in 10 days. But the things that come after that, well it feels scary. With a new drug comes new side effects. And then there is the whole what happens when this thing doesn’t work?

I’m doing my best to enjoy the moments but the thoughts still creep in. And I will wake up certain mornings at 2am just sick to my stomach because the idea of another drug not working is too much to handle.

So I just let myself feel all the feelings because that’s all I can do. So sometimes I will laugh and sometimes I will burst into tears and that’s ok.

CA125 Update

I’m just going to cut to the chase. Doxil is not working. Mom’s CA125 is now 4,298 from 2,530 last month. Her doctor is taking her off this chemotherapy treatment because it’s not doing anything and the cancer has continued to grow while she was on it.

We are incredibly limited with the types of treatment mom can be on due to the fact that she is platinum resistant, PARP resistant and the location of her cancer. We will meet with her oncologist Monday but as of now the plan is to start Alimta which is a chemotherapy drug used primarily in lung cancer patients but has been shown to work a bit in a small number of ovarian cancer patients.

Here’s the thing. I’ve been trying to close out this blog for about 30 minutes and I don’t know what to say. So I’ll just finish with this.

Mom, I am so incredibly proud to be your daughter and I love you 💜

Results

Mom’s CA125 is now 2,530 from 2,140 in July. The scan showed that the cancer in her lymph nodes has grown.

So the Doxil is not working but we are giving it one last chance. Today mom will receive Doxil. In about 4 weeks she will get another CA125 blood draw and if it reaches 3,000 we are kicking it to the curb.

Next up would be a drug used to treat lung cancer. So to say we are desperate is an understatement. But hey, it’s worth a try!

It’s not the best news but it’s not the worst.

As always thank you for lifting us up in your prayers and kind words. 💜

Waiting…

The waiting is the hardest part….there’s a song in there somewhere. Mom had her CT scan this morning and now we wait and wonder. Wonder if the scan will be posted before Monday morning. Wonder if the nurse will call in the next 3 days to give us the news before she meets with her oncologist on Monday morning. And the worst wondering of all…wonder if the cancer has grown and/or spread. We should be used to it by now after 3 years but truthfully at this stage of the “game” it just gets harder.

As always thank you from the bottom of our hearts for praying for us and sending us so much love. 💜