Terrell will go for second dose of Carboplatin on Thursday (9/02/04). This is his third round of chemo since being diagnosed with malignant thymoma in 1996. First round: 6/96 6 doses, at 3 week intervals, of Cisplatin. Second round: 4/01 2 doses of Carboplatin, followed by 4 doses
of Cisplatin, Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide, Adriamycin (dodoxorubicin, also called Doxil) combination, every three weks Third round: 8/12/04 Just carboplatin, hopefully for only 3 doses, at 3 week intervals.
There has been slight new tumor growth only in 2 lymph nodes…doctors are hoping that these three doses of the less-toxic carbo will re-shrink, or at least halt the new growth. If not, guess we will be looking at the “cocktail” again, unless we opt for a trial of some of the other less debilitating drugs. I pray that we can hold off on having that again for a long time.
Please, please pray for Terrell. He is in MCG pulmonary ICU with extensive blood clots in both lungs, with a massive one lodged in the wall of the pulmonary artery. He will be getting a femoral arterial filter first thing in the morning to prevent any other clots lodging with the big one, and completely cutting off his oxygen supply. (The clots are coming from one they found in the left knee.) The doctors say no hope if that happens, but are reasonably sure that he will be okay through the night, since he has been on heparin since about noon today. Since he has all the cancer, they do not recommend giving clotbusting drugs, as they often cause extensive tumor bleeding, which is also very life-threatening. He has been on heparin since he was carried to the local hospital around noon today with respiratory failure. Took them about 2 hours to stabilize him before we could move him to MCG. Our best treatment option at this point is Coumadin..not sure what the oncologists will say about continued chemo. He is in good spirits, and says this is just another test God is putting us through.
Thank you so much for all your prayers and support. Just to know that people I have never met face-to-face are pouring out their love to us is so upliftiing.
Terrell is much improved and has earned the name “miracle man” among all his doctors and urses. Many of them have commented on the fact that his survival is against all odds, considering the huge amount of clots that are in both lungs, not to mention the massive one sitting right at the junction where the pulmonary artery separates into each lung. Only a very narrow passage allowed enough blood to get through to keep him alive.
He is out of ICU and on the hematology floor. Yesterday, his oxygen was successfully removed, as well as all IV therapy. He has been switched from heparin to Lovenox and Coumadin, but hopefully can come home with just the Coumadin…..the Lovenox is administered by needle only, and we just don’t want to deal with that if a pill is considered almost as effective.
He was allowed up to the bathroom yesterday, and wouldn’t you know it..pretty soon he sneaked out and took a stroll down the hall. The nurse immediately did a blood/oxygen sat test, and it was normal for his age. Hopefully this means that the clots are already beginning to be re-absorbed, and that the main artery is becoming less obstsructed.
We are beginning to seriously discuss just what effect all this will have on our daily existence. It will be a while before we know how much of an impact this will have on his lung capacity, but have been told that there will definitely be some function loss. However, he will be encouraged to do anything that his breathing compromise will allow. Of course, the doctors say he still isn’t “out of the woods” with this attack, but we feel like we can at least see the open field ahead now.
He will be continuing his chemo therapy on schedule, barring any further incidents of this nature. After this experience, I suspect we may classify chemo as just a mosquito bite!!
We are home, Terrell is gaining ground every day. Had to get him out of the hospital..he was beginning to chase all the pretty nurses..LOL!
Seriously, he is much better, and after a week or so, can resume whatever normal activities that he can tolerate, breath-wise. He will need to avoid all kinds of smoke, dust, and strong fumes of any kind. These things will impose limitations of their own, so I don’t think he will get too frisky anytime soon.
We will be continuing the chemo on Nov.18, as scheduled.
UPDATE ON TERRELL — 01/02/05
Terrell is well into his second treatment using single-agent Taxol. He tolerated the first one reasonably well. The worst effect was severe muscle and joint aches, starting the 3rd day and lasting for about 3 days. Due to the fact that he cannot take analgesics containing either natural or synthetic morphine, the pain meds are doing a poor job of keeping him easy. He has also had more fatigue, but of shorter duration, than with other chemos that he experienced. The greatest blessing of Taxol for him has been the absence of nausea. He is currently scheduled for one more Taxol, then another PET/CT. I am not sure if he will be given anything else, unless the tumors have become active again.
His attitude and outlook are still very positive, which is half the battle. We now have his Coumadin regulated, and do not anticipate any more clotting problems. Barring more chemo, he is planning to have a good year in 2005…less work, more play, LOL!!
Will update again in February, after the next scan.
6/7/05—Short update on Terrell
Since the first of March, Terrell has been in the thymic cancer clinical trial that is being conducted by Dr. Loehrer in Indianapolis. He was eligible for this trial because he had been failed by all the other chemos that he had been taking since August, 2004. As of today, he has had 5 rounds of the agent Alimta. He had CT scans after the 2nd and 4th rounds..both showed that his tumors are now stable. We are so thankful for the opportunity to participate in this trial, and have established a wonderful relationship with both Dr. L., and our research nurse, Anne Foster. They are always upbeat, caring, and very supportive.
There is no way to predict the long-term effect that this treatment will have on Terrell’s malignant thymoma, but it has at least given us a reason to have more hope. Most important of all, after this trial, chances should be much better that Alimta will be approved for general use for thymic cancer patients.
Anyone who would like information about our experiences with Alimta may contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Look for more info when Terrell has his 3-month follow up scans, probably sometime in September.