A local celebrity, little Jimmy Asbell, was the subject of an editorial in the paper this morning!Hopefully this article will have a similar result to the last newspaper article about little Jimmy, which was published in the San Diego Tribune in 1951. I received riches beyond my comprehension! Which at that time it was in the form of a new tricycle, toy cars, my own little chair and some clothes! I’m hoping for some first growth Bordeaux this time.
This editorial was the result of my effort to have my book reviewed in the paper. After reading the book and interviewing me, the editor asked me if I write a regular column for the paper. He feels I have a worthwhile message for his readers. I think that is my gift this time and I am excited about it!
This morning as we were about to leave for our 9:00 am meeting with Dr. P, Lee opened the front door and there it was. A sign of good fortune from the DUCK. Some would say this was just a duck cookie cutter delivered by our rabid Duck fan neighbor who just returned from the holy land, aka, Eugene. Yes, that is true, but The DUCK works in mysterious ways.
Silly me, this was not the first sign The DUCK has given me in the past week. Last week I had a preliminary meeting with a cancer support group, Living With Hope, regarding a presentation and book signing I will give them this fall. Look what I saw on the table…a flock of ducks!! The group’s coordinator, Jan, is a graduate of Ohio State and a rabid Buckeye fan, but the power of The DUCK is strong. How could I have overlooked this obvious sign of good fortune?
Despite these positive omens, my aniexty was elevated as we headed to see Dr. P. You may recall that after the first two months on my current chemo drug, Lonsurf, my tumors were growing in both the lungs and liver. However there was a faint sign, a sudden drop in my neutrophils, that could indicate the chemo may be starting to work. So it was decided to give it one more month. In reviewing the CT scan today, it appears that my overall tumor growth has somewhat stabilized. There was some growth measured, but within the margin of error. Unlike a PET scan, the CT scan doesn’t show the activity or the energy of the tumor. So the tumors could still be alive and well even though they aren’t growing quite as fast. Unfortunately the blood work showed my CEA cancer marker went up, indicating something is rotten in Denmark. Still it appears Lonsurf is working somewhat, at least in slowing the tumor growth. A mixed bag of news. But to us any news that is not crappy is good news. So a bottle of bubbly is currently chilling for tonight’s celebration!
Dr. P feels the largest tumor in my liver may be the cause of my elevated cancer marker. During my initial six months of 5-FU chemo, all of the tumors diminished to almost nothing except for this one liver tumor. Of course, they all eventually came back. So the new plan is to stay on Lonsurf, but also see an Interventional Radiologist (IR). Interventional radiologists perform specialized targeted treatments and will have this slimy liver tumor in their sights. They have different weapons at their disposal including embolization (burn baby, burn), chemo embolization (targeted poison), radio embolization (beads of radioactive isotope are placed in the blood vessels that feed the tumor.) Dr. P is referring us to an IR specialist, so we will know more after we meet with her. She might also be able to zap the larger lung tumors if the insurance company approves of this experimental treatment. Even if we are celebrating just a bit, it is tempered with the knowledge that there’s still no cure and these high-tech treatments just help buy time. I may or may not be a good candidate for them. Still, it’s a step in the right direction for a change.
But enough of this cancer crap! Here my most recent pet portraits. I love my critters!
There was a slight delay in starting my third round of Lonsurf, thank you insurance company. But only a two-day delay, so no biggie. The plan was to give me three shots of Zarxio to boost my white blood cell neutrophils, a shot each morning for three consecutive days. But after just one shot my neutrophils jumped from a low of 0.3 to a normal 4.8. In other words from Grade IV “OMG, lets get the hospital ready” neutropenia to no neutropenia. They gave me a second shot, just for the chuckles, and I began my third round of Lonsurf.
After a week of chemo, my neutrophil level dropped to 1.4 which is Grade II neutropenia. I am guessing that after another week of chemo they will drop to Grade III or IV. Hopefully that will correlate to evidence of tumor reduction. Unfortunately my CEA cancer marker has shown no indication of reduced tumor activity and has been basically the same for the past two months. In two weeks I will have a CT scan and consultation with Dr. P. We are hoping that now that I have been experiencing neutropenia, the Lonsurf has done some work in shrinking the tumors.
Other than the medical stuff, things are going grand at Casa de Asbell. Pot lucks, Happy Hour get togethers, dinner with friends, monsoon watching and artsy fartsy painting stuff are keeping us enjoyably busy. We barely have time to fit in those doctor appointments.
We had a nice visit from my old friends from Portland, Otto and Marie Papasadero. Marie, I’m not implying that you are old, but Otto…..well. You can never have too many Italians around, so we invited our favorite local Italian family (the Giannasi’s) to join us for an Italian feast. And a feast it was complete with Giannasi “old world” lasagna, a Brunello, a Barbaresco and a Super Tuscan. I was told I was speaking fluent Italian by the end of the evening.
Last night we picked up Lee’s mom, Marian, from the airport for a nice visit. Hopefully we will have some nice monsoon action with lightning and thunder for her enjoyment!
Below are my latest pet portraits for you perusal.