Superfluous Matter

Kim was admitted to the hospital today so that she can begin her first round of DHAP (dexamethasone, cytarabine, cisplatin). The spinal involvement isn't totally under control yet, but after three rounds of methotrexate the doctor wanted to get back to treating the cancer in the rest of her body for a while. They will do a second round of DHAP in three weeks and then some more scans to reassess the progress of the treatment.

DHAP is more likely to cause side-effects than any chemo Kim has had so far. However she's had almost no side-effects from any of the others and we're hopeful that trend will continue.

Last weekend we had a bit of fun and went to see the final Harry Potter movie. In order to avoid crowds and busy theatres we went to the "Varsity VIP" theatre near Bay and Bloor. The VIP theatre only seats about 40 people and the chairs are extra-comfy with lots of leg room and nice side tables for holding drinks and snacks. They also have food/drink service right to your seat! Of course it's more expensive but it was definitely worth it to make sure Kim was able to enjoy the movie.

Finally, some fun little stats. This is my 500th blog post and I've been blogging since January of 2003 (over 8.5 years). I've written just over 105,000 words which seems like a lot, but is really just the length of an average-sized novel (Stephen King's colossal yarn, "The Stand" is something like 450,000 words). If you add in my travel journals you get an extra 70,000 words (which is a lot more than I expected).


Last week Kim had another MRI and lumbar puncture to assess the progress of the current treatment protocol (high dose methotrexate). The MRI showed a significant reduction in the size of the tumours in Kim's spine, but the reduction is not yet "good enough" so Kim is back in the hospital now getting a third round of the treatment. The lumbar puncture also showed a bit of lymphoma in the CSF (despite the last test being clear), so the cancer is definitely still around.

Additionally, the MRI was another full nervous system MRI and it showed a small tumour (3mm) on the occipital lobe of Kim's brain. The original full nervous system MRI showed an indeterminate shadow in that spot so I didn't mention it before. The presence of a brain tumour does not change the treatment, and in fact they may be able to zap that one with radiation too when we get to that stage.

That's about all the news I have at the moment on the cancer stuff. Otherwise we've been keeping busy. Kim went to her cousin's birthday the other week and also got a chance to visit with some former co-workers. I competed in Warrior Dash (awesome!) last weekend in Barrie with a bunch of friends and I also went to Jeff's birthday party. This weekend is Keizo's wedding celebration pool party in Waterloo which I'll be going to as well. Finally I went out and bought a BBQ to attach to the natural gas pipe sticking out of our deck! I seasoned the cast iron grill last night so we should be able to use it this weekend! I love BBQ.

High Dose Methotrexate, Round Two

Tuesday Kim was admitted to the hospital for her second round of high dose methotrexate. It all went super smoothly, no problems or complications. After 24 hours of receiving the rescue drug the doctor pronounced her safe to leave and she was released Thursday night.

The doctor also mentioned that the last lumbar puncture showed no sign of cancer in the cerebrospinal fluid anymore which they will confirm with another lumbar puncture next week. They will also do another MRI and CT to see how big the spinal tumours still are. If the tumours are small enough they'll switch to a new type of chemotherapy to target the tumours in the rest of Kim's body. The chemo is called DHAP (dexamethasone, cytarabine, cisplatin) and it is the alternative regimen the Kim might have gotten when she originally entered the clinical trial back in April. The reason for the switch to this one is that it has some ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and so it should continue to work a bit on the remaining spinal tumours.

Although the doctor was happy to see that the CSF is now clear, she cautioned us again not to get our hopes up as they do not expect to be able to get rid of the spinal tumours entirely.

This weekend Kim's at her parents' house to visit with extended family and I'm staying in Toronto to catch up on a bunch of stuff and also just to chill out for a while.

2011-06 | 2011-08