Bubo the cat, who lives with vineyard owners and wine connoisseurs in the Oregon wine country, often enjoys viewing my portrait of her in her Halloween costume. Yes, she was actually wearing a glitter mask for the festivities! Kitties need to party too!
Dr. Richard Pazdur, the oncology chief for the Food and Drug Administration for the past 16 years, had been denounced by many cancer patient advocates as a slow obstructionist bureaucrat. His view changed after he watched his wife endure three years of ineffectual treatment for her ovarian cancer with conventional drugs. Tumors continued to grow and side effects were awful. Her last hope was an experimental compound that was not yet approved by the federal regulators. Since that unfortunate episode there has been a profound change at the FDA in speeding up the approval process. Recently Vice-Presdent Biden experienced the loss of his son to brain cancer. Last night President Obama announced a new initiative led by Vice-President Joe Biden to break down barriers to collaboration among cancer researchers and to increase public and private resources in the fight against cancer.
Technology in the war against cancer is moving, hopefully the change in attitude at the FDA, combined with Joe Biden’s new focus will unleash the power of our medical technology. I am presently being treated with a drug “cocktail” (5-FU) that has been around for 40 years. Although I have had a very positive initial reaction, the historical evidence is that the cancer cells will adapt to 5-FU and render my treatment ineffective leading to the loss of my life. The clock is ticking for me and thousands of other Stage IV patients. These recent changes will hopefully speed up the process for immutherapy for colon cancer which has shown the potential to be very effective.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of my 15th treatment. Unfortunately I had not informed my doctor that I changed insurance companies beginning this month and it took 90 minutes to get approval for my treatment from the new company. I subsequently was told it normally takes a 7-10 days to get approval. Kudos to Lupita at AZ Oncolgy for their efforts in getting approval in 90 minutes. The treatment itself went fine. The numbers from by blood work all looks good, within normal range, except for my CEA cancer marker. The CEA went from 3.1 to 3.6, normal is 3.5 or less. I’m not concerned as fluctuations occur . On the 25th, after my PET scan, I’ll have a better view of the latest on the devious actions of my cancer cells. I am assuming they are shriveling up and dying.
With all the year-end activities, I got behind a bit on my painting. I was able to complete Miley, this little cutie below, and should soon be done with a painting of a Schnoodle, not the cookie, but a Schnauzer-Poodle mix. My first designer dog!! We are looking forward next week to a visit from Lee’s mom, Marian, and her partner “farmer” John. They hail from a small farm in snowy and cold upstate New York. We’ll all enjoy some sunshine with their visit!
Miley is the puppy dog of a friend’s grand daughter. My assumption is that the grand daughter and puppy are equally spoiled, as it should be!