LOW BLOW!

Below is a photo taken a couple of days ago of  Steven Adams, a seven-foot tall ex-rugby player turned NBA center, kissing the court after he was just kicked in the gonads.


I know how Mr. Adams feels.  After a declining CEA cancer marker two weeks ago brought calls for celebration, today Lee and I met with Dr. P to go over yesterday’s PET/CT scan. Apparently my lung tumors have been having a party. They are fat and happy and continuing to grow. We also discovered that the high temperature that inspired another trip to the ER about 10 days ago, with an ongoing low grade fever, is most likely caused by those same frisky lung tumors. So after just four sessions of the second line chemo drugs, we say bye bye and thanks for nothing. Fortunately, my liver is still behaving itself with no significant changes. What a nice liver I have. I’ll treat it to something very tasty to process this evening.

So no chemo for me today, as Dr. P needs to get approval from the insurance company before proceeding to the third line of chemo treatment. The next drug is TAS-102 (Lonsurf).  It was just approved by the FDA for colon cancer last year, but only for those not responding to the other array of drugs. So it’s still all sparkly, new, and VERY expensive.  Dr. P told us that the FDA approval of TAS-102 was unusually fast. Interestingly, since  the guy in charge of these approvals lost his wife to ovarian cancer a year ago, there has been a much speedier process at the FDA. Maybe he has a better understanding of how life and death and time work.  Also, President Obama and VP Biden have been pushing agencies and drug companies to cooperate to move the ball forward faster. For Stage IV cancer patients, time is not our friend.  I’m glad to see some progress and cooperation to speed things along.

Lee has decided to rename this drug the Tasmanian Devil as it whirls around my lungs and liver chewing up tumors!

There is a big plus with the TAS-102 regimen, NO infusions.  That means I won’t be spending the better part of a day in the chemo suite every other week.  All Jimmy has to do is take a pill Monday thru Friday for two weeks, then nothing for the next two weeeks!  Maybe I can catch up on my paintings.  Of course there are the usual array of side effects with TAS-102.  The big one is a hard hit on the immune system, transfusions are not uncommon with TAS-102.  So it’s lining up to be the battle of the Giants.  My super “Go Ducks” immune system vs. the TAS-102 collateral damage assault.

For those who are wondering what comes next if the Tasmanian devil drug is ineffective, the situation is as follows: I will either participate in a clinical trial or go on hospice. There is no viable fourth line treatment for me.  Yup, that’s the low blow I was talking about. There is no sugar-coating the fact the clock is ticking, but as usual, we take it one day at a time around here and enjoy life as much as we can.

I have been catching up a bit on my paintings, but still lots to do.

 

 

Low Blow!

Below is a photo taken a couple of days ago of  Steven Adams, a seven-foot tall ex-rugby player turned NBA center, kissing the court after he was just kicked in the gonads.


I know how Mr. Adams feels.  After a declining CEA cancer marker two weeks ago brought calls for celebration, today Lee and I met with Dr. P to go over yesterday’s PET/CT scan. Apparently my lung tumors have been having a party. They are fat and happy and continuing to grow. We also discovered that the high temperature that inspired another trip to the ER about 10 days ago, with an ongoing low grade fever, is most likely caused by those same frisky lung tumors. So after just four sessions of the second line chemo drugs, we say bye bye and thanks for nothing. Fortunately, my liver is still behaving itself with no significant changes. What a nice liver I have. I’ll treat it to something very tasty to process this evening.

So no chemo for me today, as Dr. P needs to get approval from the insurance company before proceeding to the third line of chemo treatment. The next drug is TAS-102 (Lonsurf).  It was just approved by the FDA for colon cancer last year, but only for those not responding to the other array of drugs. So it’s still all sparkly, new, and VERY expensive.  Dr. P told us that the FDA approval of TAS-102 was unusually fast. Interestingly, since  the guy in charge of these approvals lost his wife to ovarian cancer a year ago, there has been a much speedier process at the FDA. Maybe he has a better understanding of how life and death and time work.  Also, President Obama and VP Biden have been pushing agencies and drug companies to cooperate to move the ball forward faster. For Stage IV cancer patients, time is not our friend.  I’m glad to see some progress and cooperation to speed things along.

Lee has decided to rename this drug the Tasmanian Devil as it whirls around my lungs and liver chewing up tumors!

The Tasmanian devil drug TAS-102
There is a big plus with the TAS-102 regimen, NO infusions.  That means I won’t be spending the better part of a day in the chemo suite every other week.  All Jimmy has to do is take a pill Monday thru Friday for two weeks, then nothing for the next two weeeks!  Maybe I can catch up on my paintings.  Of course there are the usual array of side effects with TAS-102.  The big one is a hard hit on the immune system, transfusions are not uncommon with TAS-102.  So it’s lining up to be the battle of the Giants.  My super “Go Ducks” immune system vs. the TAS-102 collateral damage assault.

For those who are wondering what comes next if the Tasmanian devil drug is ineffective, the situation is as follows: I will either participate in a clinical trial or go on hospice. There is no viable fourth line treatment for me.  Yup, that’s the low blow I was talking about. There is no sugar-coating the fact the clock is ticking, but as usual, we take it one day at a time around here and enjoy life as much as we can.

I have been catching up a bit on my paintings, but still lots to do.

Here i am trying to explain my goof ball paintings to the local art club, they smile or laugh…my goal

A happy recipient of an Original Jimmy! This makes me happy 😄

“Shadow” my latest pet portrait. his owner referred to Shadow the the world’s first super wonderful dog.
Apologies to anyone who may have received this post twice. WordPress is being cranky.

Up and Down and All Around

Fighting cancer is like riding a roller coaster. You have your ups and downs, you have moments of fear and you have instances of exuberance. In my cancer world, the latest moment of  exuberance came with my latest CEA cancer marker number, now down to 3.5!  After rising for two months in a row it’s back down to almost normal (3.4).  This indicates that it is likely my new chemo cocktail is working. We will have a confirming scan in a couple of weeks. In the meantime this was a call for celebration!

Lee selected this 10 year old Pinot Noir from our cellar to celebrate. it was amazingly youthful, with rich mouth filling flavors.

But then there are the downs.  As Lee reported in her last post, I visited the ER due to a rather persistent (8 hour) nose bleed.  I don’t think Lee reported the “high” point of that episode, the cocaine they gave me 😆 to stop the bleeding. The doctor laughed when I asked for a prescription. The “downer”didn’t come untill yesterday when I had the followup appointment with the ENT doctor.  He took one look at the inside of my nose and proclaimed “You have a major problem.” The mucous lining of my nose was almost gone.  If it goes, then my septum would perforate which would dry out the cartilage in my nose and cause it to collapse.  The rest of my life would be filled with pain, disfigurement and nose bleeds.  Oh how wonderful!   

One of the side effects of my chemo cocktail is mucositis. This is inflammation of the mucosa, the rapidly growing moist tissues of the GI tract including your mouth, nose, stomach and guts. The most common variety of mucositis happens in the form of mouth sores and bloody noses.  In my case it increased the sensitivity in my mouth (but no sores), caused nose bleeds and, oh, destroyed my nasal lining. The good news is that the lining can rejuvenate. Of course that requires I cease to use those chemo drugs that caused this, as well has do some topical treatments to my nasal passages. Today, I dropped two of the three chemo drugs I was taking. So we shall see how the tumor control goes with a less substantial amount of poison. The good news is that I jettisoned the drug that requires the 46-hour infusion via a pump that is attached to me for those stinking 46 hours. Yippie!

Regardless of the ups, downs and all arounds of cancer treatment; life, love and fun continues at the Asbell household. My artwork is featured as “Artist of the Month” at Quail Creek and Lee and I enjoyed the 101st anniversary of the Sonoita Horse Races coinciding with the Kentucky Derby.  

Here I am in front of the display of my color infused critter paintings. The elephant painting above my head is one of Lee’s works.

Kentuckey Derby hattery at the Sonoita Horse Races

Racing action in Sonita, that’s my pick at the rear.

my horse looks good standing still

Trackside selfie

Cinco de Mayo Ouch

Thursday afternoon at the Green Valley Hospital Emergency Dep’t. No, it’s not life-threatening, yes it is a bit of a bloody mess. Jim has an epic nosebleed. It’s a common side effect of the chemo cocktail he takes. 

It may take a while to see a doctor. Nachos and margaritas will have to wait.