It has been a hot and stressful week here at Hacienda Del Asbell. When I was in Tucson getting my CT scan, the outside thermometer in my car read 118. Tucson set a record for three consecutive days of 115 degrees or above, Tuesday thru Thursday. Even as I am writing this blog it is 110 here in cool Green Valley. Oh how I long for a day when the high temperature stops at 100!
A lot of cancer patients find getting scans very stressful. There is even a word for that: scanxiety. Fortunately I don’t suffer from scanxiety. But I don’t look forward to them either, especially when I have to drive two hours in that heat. With this most recent scan I assumed it would show tumor growth, so when I got the results on Friday, it was either going to be as expected or a happy surprise. Not a lot of stress there.
My greatest stress this week came Wednesday and Thursday concerning my cancer buddy and master of our house, Cotty, who is on kitty hospice with lymphoma. Cotty had an Adverse Medical Event. When he was diagnosed three months ago, he was put on medication that nurse Lee administers twice each day. The doctor told us that the medication could work or not, he could last a few days or a few months. Wednesday night and Thursday morning Cotty had massive bloody diarrhea and vomitting. Both Lee and I thought this was it and with heavy hearts we scheduled an appointment with the intention of putting him to sleep. Upon examination, the doctor felt that this could be an isolated incident. She gave him several injections with additional medications for nurse Lee to administer. The doctor said we should know in a couple of days. Although Cotty has shown some improvement he is very lethargic, with very little activity. It is obvious he does not feel well. I am very worried that I may soon lose my very best buddy. This comes just two months after losing our beautiful Miss Bubble.
Friday afternoon we met with Dr. M at the Cancer Center. Unfortunately, the results were not a surprise. I have steady disease progression. My cancer is not exploding, but it is growing. There were 24 new tiny tumors in my lungs that were too small to see on CT previously. He offered me the option to continue on the trial or withdraw. After a discussion we agreed that withdrawing was best. I came prepared for this news with the details on trials currently available in Arizona for his input. After looking them over, he felt that none of them were right for me. He said I should wait, as new trials pop up all the time. In the meantime he wants to biopsy the tumor to see how the oncolytic virus changed the tumor makeup with the purpose of identifying possible new targets. So that’s what we are doing. I am still officially on the trial until a blood draw on July 5. This is not what I hoped for when I started the trial, but at least I had the opportunity. The information I generated with this study will help PsiOxus in future studies and with future patients in treatment.
In about two weeks I will meet with my pulmonologist to deal with the agitating and irritating cough. But the consolation prize I received yesterday from Dr. M was a prescription for some steroids (taboo with an immunotherapy trial) that will soothe the irritation in my right lower lung that is causing the cough. It is a temporary solution, but I already am coughing less! 🎉🎉🎉
Despite my coughing I have been able to paint. Below is my painting of Panzer who loved to run at top speed with her ears and tongue flapping in the breeze. Panzer lived in Corvallis, Oregon which is Oregon State Beaver country. However, I have a reliable source who informed me she was an Oregon Duck fan. Ducks are much more fun to chase than beavers. Go Ducks!