Tuesday, January 31, 2012

ERCP Update - 1/31/12

I knew my oncologist would not be satisfied that my ERCP was scheduled for February 7. When the gastroenterologist's office called yesterday to tell me that they had rescheduled me for February 15, I knew my oncologist would hit the fan. She really expected the procedure to be done and over with when I walked into her office this morning. She was ready to start my chemotherapy again. By the time I saw her, after my vitals and blood work had been done, my ERCP had been moved to tomorrow. I love my oncologist.

Today I only had an Aranesp injection for the anemia and no chemotherapy because, of course, the bilirubin is still increasing. We have a definite plan, pending the results of the ERCP. If there is blockage that can be fixed and the liver numbers start going back down by next week, we'll continue with the clinical trial. If there is no blockage, then we know that my liver issues are either treatment related (in which case, I'm off the trial) or the tumors have completely consumed the liver and are hendering liver function (in which case, again, I'm off the trial). My next treatment will be Eribulin, a chemotherapy treatment that has been approved for metastatic breast cancer for about a year. I'll have to do some research on the drug over the next few days.

Knowledge is power in my mind. After my appointments with my oncologist, I am on the Internet gathering as much information about my condition as I possibly can. I want to know what's going on with my body. I'll never be as knowledgeable as my oncologist, but I think that I can have a reasonably, intelligent conversation with her if we were to sit and discuss MBC. But because I have such a personal interest in the disease, I tend to forget that others around me don't have that type of information. Every now and then, I'm thrown off-guard by a question that I would think is rhetorical, and the person asking it thinks that it's perfectly legitimate.

Upon telling my supervisor that I may be out of the office for a couple of days because of the ERCP, she simply asked, "why don't you have a liver transplant?" I wasn't upset by the question. I was just stunned that she thought my problem could be so seemingly easily fixed. I told her that people are on the organ transplant list for years, some dying before their turn comes up. And even if I made it to the top of list, a Stage IV cancer patient is not a good candidate for an organ transplant. They would put in a good liver, only to have my body reinfiltrate it with cancer cells. If you have an organ for transplant, you want the person who receives it to have a relatively good chance of living afterwards. I understand that. If I wasn't so engrossed in the world of the MBC patient, maybe I would have asked the same question.

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