Oy Vey!!

If it’s not one thing, it’s the other!!!  You will recall two weeks ago Dr. P was excited about my progress until I mentioned occasional episodes of mild double vision. This raised the remote possibility of cancer spreading to my brain.  Fortunately the MRI confirmed that there were no signs of cancer activity, or much of any other acvitity for that matter, going on in my brain.  

Well this morning we met to go over the results of the PET scan I had yesterday.  The hope was that it would show no signs of “hypermetobolic metastasis”, no signs of cancer activity.  The plan was that I then would go off full throttle chemo and go on to just a maintenance regimen.  Well the PET scan showed that the hypermetobolic metastasis in my liver are no longer evident!  Thank you red wine. It also showed that the metastasis in my lungs from the previous PET scan in May all demonstrated significant improvement.  

However (god how I hate “howevers”) there is a NEW hypermetobolic abnormality in my right lung. It was not there in May. It was first evident from my CT scan two weeks ago and has doubled in size over the last two weeks.  It is still not large, but the rate of growth is extremely rapid. It is so rapid that Dr. P doubts that it is cancer. He suspects that it is pneumonia, but it could be cancer. The PET scan cannot distinguish between these two different hypermetobolic  growths. If is pneumonia, it’s great that we caught it so early. If it’s not, Jimmy  will have new issues to contend with.  

So, Dr. P put me on antibiotics and delayed any chemo until November 30.  At that time I will resume my previous full throttle chemo for two more months. Then another PET scan. During the interim, the CEA blood marker will provide an indication of the level of cancer activity. Of course, if it is cancer growing at such a rapid clip, I’ll have pulmonary symptoms  before the PET scan.  Just as with the “brain cancer” scare, I assume this is pneumonia and it’s good to catch it before it becomes a problem to fight with my weakened immune system.  

Such is the life of someone diagnosed with Stage IV cancer with no current cure. You just never know. I could go into an extended period of remission or I could just go poof. The answer is to enjoy and savor the good times and not worry about what I cannot control. We have a plan in place to extend my life, while maintaining a good quality of life. We will continue to work that plan and make adjustments as we go along. As Bobby McFerrin would say “Dont Worry, Be Happy.”

In the meantime I continue to be busy with pet portraits, many for Christmas presents.  What better way to say “Merry Christmas” than with an original Jimmy! Here is my latest, not quite finished.

 

A much loved “puppy” from Colorado, I love her ears
 
 

Hooray!!

While I was diligently working on a commissioned portrait of Lola, a loving dog from Colorado, I was rudely interrupted by a telephone call.  My iPhone informed me that the intruder was none other than my oncolgist’s office.  Hmmm, perhaps I should answer this call.   The news delivered was that my MRI was clear, no cancer activity in my cranium!!!  Hip, hip, HOORAY!!!

Since I haven’t had any chemo in over two weeks and my brain is as sound as ever, the news enticed  me with the desire to kill off a few brains cells!  The Chamagne is chilling πŸ˜„.  Wednesday I’ll get the results of the PET scan.  I am prepared for more good news. 

  

Chemo Holiday!!!!

Today was scheduled to be my 13th chemo session, but it turned out to be a “chemo snow day” for Jimmy….no chemo!!!!!!! Yippie!

I did meet with Dr. P to go over the results of the CT scan I had on Monday. Although the report didn’t show any significant reduction of the in the size of the tumors πŸ™this time, it did indicate “internal cystic changes suggesting necrosis.” So the size of the tumors is stable, but it looks like they are dying. I very much like those words “they are dying”.  There are no signs of any of cancer naughtiness going on in any of my other internal organs, they are all “unremarkable.” My blood count, immune system, kidney and liver 🍷 function are all normal.  Unfortunately I am having a few more side effects as a result of treatment.  The most troublesome is caused by the drug 5-FU.  5-FU slows down cell division. Since cancer cells multiply much faster than normal cells, this slows down cancer.  But it also effects some normal cells, among them are skin.  One side effect of 5-FU is “hand and foot syndrome.” Your hands and feet suffer from tingling, burning, redness and cracking skin.  This has become a problem for me over the past six weeks. One of the treatments for this side effect is to reduce friction.  My left foot is in a brace and friction is a consequence that cannot be avoided when I walk.  Speaking of walking, since I use crutches, I essentially walk on my hands with constant friction on the crutch handles…ouch!  Dr. P suggested applying Eucerin lotion and DMSO.  I have been using both and things have improved, my left foot is fine and my hands are improving.

Dr. P is very pleased.  I am responding extremely well to the chemo treatment, especially considering I am not taking oxalaplatin.  Oxalaplatin is a very effective drug colon cancer but causes neuropathy, nerve damage to the hands and feet.  Because of the extensive nerve damage I suffered as a result of polio, we elected to pass on this drug. In light of this drug omission, my response to treatment is amazing. I am blessed.   Dr. P has scheduled a PET scan for next week to gather more detail and, if the results confirm his suspicions, he will reduce my treatment to a maintenance regimen of Avastin only. That means fewer side effects, no “hand and foot syndrome”, and no 46-hour pump infusions.  Hopefully I will have great news next week when I meet with Dr. P again.

BUT…..there could be a fly in the ointment.  The past few weeks I’ve had a couple instances of double vision.  These instances have been right before I go to sleep, after a couple of glasses of wine and 1 mg of alaprazolam.  I’ve had episodes of double vision for years, but that’s after consumption of a bottle or two of fine wineπŸ˜„.   I’m assuming my current regimen, combined with chemo fatigue, is the cause.  However there is a small (2%)  chance that my cancer has metastisized in my brain. So instead of chemo today I enjoyed 45 minutes nestled inside a horribly noisy narrow tube doing an MRI of my brain.  I consider this just due diligence.  I doubt there is anything going on in my brain, in fact Lee has been telling me that for years!

Enough of this cancer crap.  Let’s look  my latest silly paintings and a booth Lee & I shared this past weekend at a local arts and craft extravaganza.

 

The Quail Creek Fall Festival presents the anazing art of Lee and Jimmy Asbell!
 
 
Regina spiked her hair. curled her eye lashes, added a touch of eye shadow and lipstick for the TGIF party.
 
 
Ronald gets so happy when its time for a walk his eyes almost disappear.
 
 
Leroy is very popular with the lady kitties in the neighborhood. Could it be the shape of his nose?