Last Monday, Lori had her third chemo infusion. She has begun to fall into a bit of a routine as far as her reaction to the drugs. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, she is still very lively due to the steroids. On Thursday and Friday, she tends to sleep much more. On the weekends, she does very well with pain medications, and life seems pretty much normal. Now that her third infusion is done, that wraps up the first cycle. She’ll likely go through two more cycles of three infusions each.
In between each cycle, she has a Monday off from treatment, so there are two weeks between the end of one cycle and the beginning of the next. I think that her side effects have been nominal. She is stiff and a bit achy, and lately her hair has been thinning some and falling out just a little bit more than usual when she brushes it. A couple weeks ago, we hatched a plan to create a wig from her own hair. In order to make it work, she has to cut it prior to the chemo effecting it too much. So, she’s getting it cut short this Sunday. Unfortunately, her hair isn’t quite long enough to make the full wig, so the wig company will use other human hair that matches her color to fill it out. Well, Claire is also excited about the prospect of cutting her hair, so we are going to have both girls get haircuts on the same day, and we’ll send in both sets of hair to make the wig. Claire doesn’t know what’s going on, but it’s kind of neat for us to do this. Their hair is the exact same color.
This week, I’m in NC taking care of business in my squadron. I’ve flown a couple times, and I’ve had meetings with all of the people who are helping us work things out in IN. I’ll return to Lafayette 19 Apr, just in time for Easter with the fam. Lori is spending the week in Springfield, IL with the kids and here parents who live there. On the 16th, she has an appointment in Indy to have a port installed under the skin in her chest. It will be used for future infusions so they won’t have to use her veins with the IV anymore. The veins tend to “burn up” from the chemo, so the port makes things more comfortable. The following Monday, we have an appointment with Dr. S. followed by the beginning of the second cycle of chemo.
I’ve received some very good advice from many of you, and I appreciate it all. One of our friends directed me to a company called Foundation One. They do genomic mapping for cancer patients to determine where genetic abnormalities exist. This helps the oncologist identify more specifically what kind of characteristics the cancer has, and in the best case scenarios, they can pair FDA approved drugs with the patient to fight the cancer more effectively and with less toxins. There are only three such clinics in the U.S. Foundation One is in Boston, Paradigm is at the University of Michigan, and there is a third but the name escapes me right now. The technology is relatively new (earliest was about 10 years ago), but Mayo Clinic claims it’s the future of cancer treatment. One day, cancer will no longer be labeled “breast”, “lung”, “colon” etc. It will be F3R1T referring to the genetic code causing the bad cells to multiply. These clinics are working to revolutionize the way cancer is treated. I called Dr. S. to ask him about this possibility for Lori, and I was wondering what he felt about this trend. Turns out, there is going to be a fourth clinic opening to expand the possibilities of genomic mapping, and Dr. S. is leading the team at IU. They are opening the labs in two weeks. I knew he was into the research business and that he believed in the genome effort, but I didn’t know he was THIS into it! I love it. For now, Lori is going to continue traditional chemo. It is the proven method for fighting cancer cells. The genome mapping/medicine pairing can be very effective, but it’s a risk to jump right into it without trying chemo first. It isn’t as reliable yet, and it may only make things worse if we skip the chemo option. We also shouldn’t have the genome tests run yet, because cancers can “drift” overtime. The basic makeup of each person’s cancer actually changes over time, and the tests need to be run followed by immediate pairing with the appropriate drugs. Running the tests now would do nothing for us since we are continuing with chemo regardless.
Before Lori received this diagnosis, I had always felt that doctors would never find a cure for cancer. It was like we (as people) were fighting a hopeless fight. After having researched so much over the past month, I’m now convinced cancer can be cured. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some forms of cancer cured sometime in the next couple of decades. The body seems to want to heal itself, but it doesn’t know how to fight the various cancer cells. If we can teach it how to fight them (or find a medicine that can do it for us), we’ll be on our way. And we still believe that God can heal Lori if it’s His will to do so. We are praying for that.