Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My Treatment Option - Theraspheres

  • Met with Dr. Malmais today - an Interventional Radiologist at Loyola - to discuss the recommended treatment of Theraspheres.

    Kelly, the Nurse Practitioner went over all the procedural aspects, which I did research on-line, so nothing new or surprising there. It is a fairly "complicated" procedure in terms of prep, determining if I am eligible for the procedure per certain tests, blood work, etc.

    What I took from the meeting with Dr. Malmais:

    Because I responded well to chemotherapy, I am a good candidate for Theraspheres.
    This treatment is also used for people who did NOT respond to chemo.

    Expectations: 4% of patients have a "Complete Response" - tumors eradicated
    60% of patients have a "Partial Response" - some tumor shrinkage/eradication
    The balance have No response/or stabilization

    In order for me to be "cured" - all tumors gone - surgery is the goal. At this time, I am not a surgery candidate, and I may never be. My tumors are on both lobes of liver, some are too close to a hepatic artery, which makes it too dangerous for surgery/tumor removal. There is a high recourrance of liver tumors...hearing this reality upset me deeply.

    It's a slippery emotional slope for me to want Honest Answers, percentages, and anything to do with "survival" and prognosis. I did get very upset at one point and left the room to get myself together.

    How do I strike the emotional and psychological balance of Reality, practicality, possibility and being "prepared" and not kill the "positive attitude" everyone tells me I must maintain in order to "beat this"?

    I am very pissed off about the "multiple options" I was told I had. I tried to get the Doctor to give me an idea of what my multiple options are. (Surgeon and Oncologist have uttered this statement to me several times when I ask about the "what-ifs")

    If this treatment does not produce X result, them what?
    "chirp, chirp, chirp"

    If A, then B. If X then Y. That's what I was looking for but I have not received. I know there are no absolutes, I know we must see how I respond. But don't tell me that not one of the Doctors think about or have a Plan B.

    So I guess my Multiple Options (said with dripping pissed-off sarcasm) are: Do the Theraspheres or Don't Do the Theraspheres.

    As of today I plan on doing them of course. I will try those options that give me a chance.
    I have my meeting with Dr. Benson at Northwestern next week and will try and nail him on my "Multiple Options" mystery. On the one hand, I hope he recommends the Theraspheres treatment as well, so I am not faced with confusing, disparate treatments. I am kind of expecting that it will be the same, but will be interesting to hear my 1st Second Opinion.

    Lest this sounds like the ultimate downer of a post, I was at the Uptowon Shop getting a hostess gift yesterday and the girls asked me how I was doing with chemo etc...A woman shopping overheard and told me her Sister had colon cnacer and did Therasphere treatment 6 years ago and is doing very well. From my on-line reading, this is a promising treatment...

    My prayer for the next part of my treatment journey: Please Oh Please Let me be the miracle, let me be the 4% Complete Response.




  1. Wow. I have never heard of Theraspheres. I am going to have to do some research on it. Good luck with that,Peggy!

  2. Hoping you are part of the 4% too ...

  3. Peg,

    I did some reading about theraspheres a few months ago and I think I may have written you about it too. Hang onto the 4% tight, if others responded in that way then why not you? In our hearts you're one in a million!

    I don't know how you find the strength to sit with health professionals and have conversations such as you describe, anyone would struggle on their best day. But you have to remember that nobody knows everything about healing and everyone is different. We hear all the time about the fact that attitude, heart and spirit are the most important ingredients in the healing process. Well if indeed that is true and I believe it is then you have it all my friend! So never lose it, give yourself permission to fall apart, feel the sorrow and the fear but then let it all go in exchange for what you know to be true and that is our bodies were designed to heal. Our minds are powerful and they have a powerful effect on our bodies just as it does on all other aspects our life. I struggle with writing this to you because I am sitting in a very different place. I am not facing anything even comparable but…I guess I am saying to you what I hope someone would say to me. I would want my friends to remind me to stay strong. You’re running a marathon my beautiful friend and you have a ways to go yet but we’re going to be there, along the sidelines, with prayer, love, and friendship and hopefully a word now and then which will cheer you on to the finish line.

    I am thankful today for the good news you’re going to hear, just stay strong my darling, because you are the only who can keep taking the next step and the one after that to get you to the end. I can see you breaking through the finish line tape, a smile on your face and a trophy held above your head, can you? Please…if you ever need anything, someone to hold your hand, sit and watch a movie with or if you just want a friend to talk to, I’m here.

    Hugs, kisses and prayers from Wisconsin,

  4. Peggers, I can completely understand what you're saying and I would be pissed too. Don't tell me one thing and then its something all together different. Asses! Take that anger Peg and use it to fight like hell! As you say in your title "Screw Cancer-I'm Peggy Luckey Damnit!" Show them that you will be one of the 4% and then you can say "Screw Cancer and Screw You People Too"! :):):)

    Love ya girl!


  5. Hey Peg,
    I echo the words in everyone's posts. It's ok to be scared; it's ok to fall apart. But never forgot that you are in God's care and your prayer warriors, as you call us, are praying for you every day! Have courage! Have faith! I pray you find peace. I'm here for you, as well, my dear!