18 January 2006

It's Official

I talked to Dr. E7070 yesterday. GH's platelets are lower than ever, around 50,000. The study requires a minimum of 100,000. If GH's platelets were still in the 80K range, we probably could have successfully petitioned for an exemption. But 50K is too low. Clearly we need to figure out the underlying cause of the low platelets. Clinical trial aside, none of the other obvious treatment options are open to us with a platelet count of 50K. And not getting treatment is not an option that I'm willing to consider right now. Not getting treatment means death. That's really all there is to it.

We do have two possibilities to discuss with GH's regular oncologist:

1. Removal of GH's spleen. His spleen is enlarged. This is probably due to pressure from his primary tumor on a vein leading to the spleen. From what's been explained to me, an enlarged spleen is a spleen that is trapping platelets and holding them inside. If you take the spleen out, voilĂ ! Nowhere for platelets to congregate, they circulate around, and your platelet count shoots up. The surgery is fairly easy (laparoscopic), and you can live without your spleen. The problem is that your spleen is a fairly important part of your immune system, and cancer patients are already by nature immunosuppressed. So maybe not a great option, but the benefits could outweigh the risks.

2. A radiation procedure called CyberKnife. I'm not sure it's appropriate for people whose cancers have spread, but if it is, it could be worth exploring. I'm a member of a pancreatic cancer listserv and I know of at least one member of that group who has been treated with CyberKnife to good results. So fingers crossed on that option. On the surface, that seems much better than a spleenectomy.

Meanwhile, life goes on. I have a paper due for my class tomorrow. My parents get here Saturday. We have done nothing, I repeat: NOTHING, to get ready for the twins. Oh, well, they can sleep in a sock drawer! What do they care?!

Fuck you, Cancer.

1 comment:

LeggyP said...

I'm sorry- those are some tough choices to make (spleen or no spleen). I hope this CyberKnife is a viable option.

I'm impressed that you are in school on top of all this. I'm curious whether it helps get your mind off things or is just another stress. My dad died suddenly the week before I started grad school and everyone wondered if I'd leave school. I stayed because what the hell was I going to do with my life. I didn't have the best first semester, but I survived, and it proved to be a good distraction.