Today, we met with Dr Carey again, and she recommended Lori for a small amount of radiation to the primary tumor. She is concerned that the tumor will begin to cause surface problems if it isn’t reduced in size quickly. For reference, the tumor measured 7cm x 5cm last time they checked, and today it was 12cm x 9cm. The nice thing about UNC’s method of care is that there is an entire team of specialists all required to be present every time Lori sees her oncologist. So, the pain specialists and the radiation/oncology Drs were on-hand and ready to assist.
It was supposed to be another day of Doxil…quick and easy. The plan was for this to be her last visit to UNC with follow-on care resumed in IN with Dr. S, but as is so often the case, things rapidly changed.
We had to make a quick decision today about how we would proceed. We could try a new chemo and delay radiation, but the delay would be lengthy due to the time it would take for us to move to OH, get in with Dr. S for an appt, meet with a radiologist, then set an appt for the actual treatment. Dr. Carey called Dr. S to check on his expected timeline to make that happen, and he said it would take weeks. The second option was to stay in NC longer and finish out the radiation (which could begin immediately), then start a new chemo (Iribulin) then carry out our move to OH and resume treatment with Dr S. We chose the latter. The radiation treatment is done ten times for approx 15 minutes each visit. She’ll drive to UNC every day minus weekends and holidays and should finish on/a 2 Jan. Radiation’s purpose is to zap the tumor to a smaller and more manageable size so she doesn’t experience any surface-layer pain or infections.
So, we’ve changed out X-Mas plans a bit. I’ll still drive up to IL on Sunday with the kids, but Lori will stay in NC until 24 Dec. On that day, she’ll finish her fifth radiation appt then hop on a plane from RDU to STL. She’ll join us at her parent’s house for X-Mas then we’ll drive together to my parent’s house in IN 26 Dec. On 27 Dec, she’ll fly home from Indy and resume radiation on the 28th. I’ll also return to NC, but I’m leaving the kids with my parents until we finish up the move to OH 3 Jan. This is a bit of a crazy time with the houses closing, x-mas, traveling, and now new treatment. We feel ok about the way forward though, and we’ve found that having life prioritized helps make these decisions easy. Prior to today’s appointment, we had prepared ourselves for news that we would need a new therapy which may inhibit our holiday plans. Fortunately, we were able to react, and I think we salvaged most of it. Treatment gets first priority followed very closely by family plans. House stuff/work stuff/financial what-nots are a distant third. All those things that used to consume us (like the “stress” of selling/buying houses) are now of little concern. So there’s your silver lining.
We’ve received a huge amount of help lately from friends, neighbors, co-workers, and complete strangers! A family that we just met this past weekend brought us dinner tonight, and it was awesome! On top of that, I watched eight Army wives pack our entire house in like two hours, and I’m certain Henry Ford couldn’t have run a more efficient operation! Thanks everyone!