I started the new chemo of Irinotecan, Oxiliplatin, and Avastin in March 2015. My reoccurrence and tumor growth was rapid and I was very worried how fast the cancer was coming back. I haven't posted anything really in several months as my body had seemed to have been telling me things were not getting better. I lost about 75% of my hair after the first round of this chemo and after the second round of this chemo, I found myself coughing in the shower while dropping on my hands and knees while my side felt like muscles and organs inside me were tearing. The pain under my diaphragm continued to increase over the next several months too. The discomfort was and still is constant and the pains come and go. I spent many mornings not wanting to get out of bed. Sharette would bring me breakfast and it sometimes took me two hours to eat it and I would take my pain meds and supplements. Eventually, I would get up. Sometimes leaving the house and doing some activities, sometimes only made it downstairs to lay on the couch and watched TV all day. Most days have some type of emotional stress to get through but I am thankful every day I can be here with my family and friends. By the fourth round of chemo, I was still having increased pains and they were spreading to my belly and pelvis. Pain would completely cover my diaphragm and radiate to my back and spine. I started getting sharp pains in my belly too. My belly also has seemed to get slightly larger. Round 5 and 6 seemed to be about the same. I couldn't tell if I was getting worse or if the chemo might be slowing things down. Each day is difficult but I still managed to watch my oldest son James graduate with honors. I was able to scuba dive with my family in St. Thomas and go on a few walking tours and out to eat a few times. I went fishing at the lake with my family including my mom and dad and my sisters family. I also toured the Oregon and Washington coast and Seattle, Portland, and Southwest Oregon. We went caving, jet boating, I even did indoor skydiving.
NOTE: The pictures posted shows me to appear to be living a perfectly normal life. What is actually going on is I find moments I can do these things and then take advantage or I push through the pain and feeling like crap and just do it anyway and then rest for a long time after. Having fun has its setbacks as I get wiped out easy. My normal is a little bit of fun and a lot of resting when I don’t feel so good but I take very little photos of me not feeling good, - who wants to see that anyway.
I try and go for walks and I usually get tired doing that but it's nice to get out. The chemo makes me very tired, sick, light headed, dizzy, and gives me brain fog known as "chemo brain" where I can't focus long and forget a lot. Sometimes it takes a week or more to wear off and sometimes I'm tired for the entire three weeks until my next infusion. This chemo causes me to feel funny, food taste bad for the first week after, my chest feels funny, I get pains near my heart, and the infusion site hurts for 3 to 6 weeks because of the Oxiliplatin and lately it feels like I have a broken wrist, but I love my life and want to keep fighting. My scan on 15 July 2015 finally showed some hope. There was not a lot of change in tumor growth since my scan back in February. There was also no tumor shrinkage either and that is why I am still in constant discomfort and pain. The doctor also said some of the visible fluids were not there this time. Some tumors showed up in my pelvis but the doctor thinks those might have gravitated there versus being new tumors. I am still worried as my CEA went from a 4.7 in February to a 9.1 in July and my CRP went from a 2.95 in February to a 4.25 in July. My CA-19-9 stayed the same at about a 35 and my CA 125 stayed the same at a 33. All readings show cancer but the most important thing is the MRI scan showing little to no new growth. Another bad finding was that the lymph nodes around my heart have enlarged meaning the cancer has spread to my lymph nodes. That was discovered after my second chemo infusion when the doc did a local CT scan to check my chest and lungs. The chemo should be combating that too but I won’t know if it has until I get a CT scan after 10-12 rounds.
The tumors I have still cause a lot of discomfort and pain but I can medicate my way through that and press on with this fight. Day to day I feel like I was beat up the day prior. It feels like I got punched in the stomach about 8 times and also like someone threw a baseball into my sternum followed by a crushing bear hug. That is my normal.
My next step is to do more chemotherapy. So at the end July, I got my 15th chemo infusion since March 2014. Once I get the 20th infusion, the doctor will scan me again to see what the chemo is or is not doing. There is also some new treatments that may be coming down the pipe and hopefully be ready for human trial by the end of the year. The doctor is hoping one will be ready and I can try it so even after my 20th round of chemotherapy, it looks like I will be given more drugs to fight this disease. I would rather I didn't need it and could come off of treatments and just feel good for a while but that day may still come one day. Until then, the fight continues.
Jeremy & Sharette
They will be providing updates on Jeremy's treatment and prognosis whenever there is news to report.