Thursday, May 18, 2006

5.18.06, What ho, Horatio? [on the Restage]

I saw the doctor this morning--oh, wait you know this already--, to get a read on the radiography and labs, the Restaging we've mentioned before. Punch line first, good news. There are three points to share, most salient points anyway, and these describe the changes that have taken place over the past six weeks since I started chemotherapy. First, second, and third...

1. There has been a 20+ % reduction in the "cancer markers," this is the CA 19-9 number we discussed earlier, which corresponds with the amount of cancer in the body. The reduction, thus, indicates less cancer in my body.

2. Based on yesterday's CT scan, [drumroll please...] ... the main tumor in the pancreas has shrunk in size, in fact, and measurably. Length down to 5.9 cm from 6.7 cm; width basically the same as before. (NB: since the tumor is actually three-dimensional, the total size decrease might be seen as somewhat greater.) Additionally, one of the largest affected lymph nodes that was previously a concern has also shrunk, from 2.6 to 2.0 cm. Taken together, these numbers reinforce point #1 above, that there is overall 'less' cancer in the body. If we were doctors, we'd say "good news, but we're cautiously optimistic."

3. As for the liver metastases (the number of smallish tumors there), they are stable, and no new lesions have developed. This isn't as good as shrinkage but it's far better than enlargement.

So an overall interpretation, this is cautiously very good news, especially at this early stage (after only two chemo cycles--i.e., they restaged me "early" at only 6 weeks into chemo instead of 9 weeks in, which is usual). To see an actual size decrease on CT is doubly reassuring as often times the chemo will be working, but the size will remain the same. We got good news this time. Thanks to everyone who's been sending good vibes and various other forms of support.

There is infinitely more to say about further treatment, but for now, I'll continue with the GTX regimen I'm currently on; at least four more (3-week cycles) planned; and, they'll keep monitoring the vitals every week for four more cycles. Then, another restaging (CT, sitdown, etc.) to discuss the next steps at that point. For prognosis, let's just say it leans me toward the longer end of things--for now, though, the key is good news, moving in a solid direction, making headway. Enough of this blogging crap, I need to go relax and celebrate!


tinkerfaerie said...

Best of luck :)

Slarry said...

Mr. Jones-- you rock my world!!! Hor hay Hor Hay. : )
I think your many friends are celebrating, each in their own way, in all corners of the world. Who knew you had so many friends in all sorts of places, with big smiling faces?
I love you brother, and am so stinking happy for you. Love your Guts--
I want to send some $$$ so you can celebrate in style.
Praise to the Easter Bunny and GTX.
Love and Suizas-

dzd said...

YES. best news I've had all day.

tossing salads said...

fucking A!!!!!! just got the news, the swaner phone tree is not working today ;) im so happy that i think ill drink in celebration to you!!! brother, im so happy so overwhelmed. it must be the cheebus juice. i love you brother and my thougths are never far from you. love and vodka tonics!!!

david said...

Fuckin' A right!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hey did somebody already say that?

Let's say it again: Way! fuckin' A! Right!

This calls for some celebration, can you hear it? You can hear it!