As I type this, Ryan is receiving his first treatment of Week 7. He has started his more targeted therapy, which means lower doses of radiation. Lower doses + less general radiation will hopefully = less fatigue. We're looking forward to that. Along with that good news, we are going to be able to see the Tigers play the Cubs a couple of times this week, and we are extremely excited to make memories as a family at historic Wrigley Field!
So without further ado, here are Ryan's Week 7 appointments, in Central time:
Monday: 2:15 pm
Tuesday: 8:40 am
Wednesday: 8:40 am
Thursday: 8:40 am
Friday: 7:30 am
So the rest of this post is going to be a bit of a mixed bag. I'm having a very up and down day emotionally because of a lot of news that has hit me like a ton of bricks in the last 24 hours, yet I'm trying to remain thankful for all of the positives.
Number 1, please pray for me (Kendra) as I adjust to the idea that my horse (Riata) is likely going to have to be put down. We are having a vet come and check her out, but she appears to have some sort of neurological disorder that is worsening. She is obviously in pain and at times can hardly walk or move, and my husband and a couple of horse people that we are close to and trust very much all think that there is little that can be done for her. I am heartbroken. In the midst of everything else swirling around me, I am just simply distraught that my beautiful girl is likely not treatable.
Number 2, we had an appointment today that was informative and full of positive news, and yet delivered a couple of crushing blows to me and my spirit. We met with our primary oncologist to determine the "next steps" after radiation. Let me temper my sadness with the outstanding news that Ryan is doing amazingly well and our oncologist is extremely hopeful and optimistic that radiation has done its job. Bloodwork = spectacular. Pain = gone. We are blessed.
The part that I'm having a hissy fit about is that Ryan is likely going to be going on some pretty intensive chemotherapy starting only two weeks after the end of radiation (so likely sometime around July 9). For those of you familiar with chemotherapy, this is the FOLFOX combination (Folinic acid, 5FU, and Oxaliplatin). Ryan has not been on any of these drugs before, but he has experienced Oxaliplatin's cousins - Cisplatin and Carboplatin. I am not in any way, shape, or form excited about him going on these drugs, but I do know that it is necessary. Anyway, so it appears that he will be receiving these drugs in combination with Erbitux, another drug that I'm not familiar with. I do know that he had to be tested for his response to Erbitux, and it appears that he is a candidate for it. Our doctor also mentioned that in the future, Ryan is a candidate for using Tarceva - another type of drug that is more of a "maintenance drug" - not a cure, but something that could potentially buy him years of life. Is the word "years" not the most beautiful word you've ever heard?
So why am I upset? Because my dream was to have Ryan take a month or so off of treatment. Just a month of normalcy, that's all I really wanted. I wanted a quiet July, complete with maybe a small family getaway, lots of bonding time, and Ryan feeling awesome. It appears that I will not be getting that dream, but I am absolutely, 100% thankful that our doctor is pushing for him to do this - I know that it's what is for the best. I am so grateful for Ryan's response to radiation and that he's doing excellently. I am also grateful that he is the world's biggest fighter and that he's raring to go for another chemotherapy combination. I think that if it were me facing FOLFOX, I would be stomping my feet and in total refusal, but he is completely positive and happy to go through hell again for the sake of staying around with us.
On that note, we should hopefully be finding out sometime late July/early August what the results are of the radiation treatment. Ryan is going to be having a big round of scans sometime around then to find out what is going on. As I said, our doctor is reasonably hopeful that the cancer is gone for now, or at least very, very small. If there is still only a tiny bit left, a chemoembolization or radiation spheres may be on the horizon. We will not know until then what the next step is. Our oncologist was quite adamant, however, that even the most positive of results (a PET negative) would still mean an additional 3-6 months of chemotherapy in order to ensure that the cancer was completely eradicated.
So all in all, this has been a day of many ups and downs. Overall, I count myself very blessed that this week I am with my son AND my husband, and that he is feeling well. That is a "win", indeed.