I just looked back at this and realized how much had changed since that last update. They talk about the roller coaster, and it has been so true for us. Unfortunately, the roller coaster has been mostly going downhill since the last update.
Starting in late June, Andrea started to have pain in her shoulder. It turned out that this pain was "referred" pain. The pain was really from one of the liver tumors pushing on the diaphragm, but her brain interpreted the pain as coming from her shoulder. Andrea got another scan in early July that indicated there were now 3 tumors, and the biggest was 3.5 cm (the one causing the pain).
The shoulder pain had been steadily increasing, and with the tumor growth the decision was made to switch from xeloda to GEMOX. The hope was to shrink the main tumor away from the diaphragm to allow for easier local treatment. Unfortunately, this did not work.
About a three weeks ago, started to get bloating in her belly. We first thought this was just constipation caused by all her pain meds, but eventually we figured out that she had developed ascites. Not a good development. Our oncologist said there were basically two possibilities for the ascites. One was that the fluid was a reaction to the tumor that was irritating the diaphragm (this was the leading hypothesis), and the other possibility was that the cancer had spread to the abdomen.
Andrea had a paracentesis procedure where they removed 3 liters of fluid. They tested the fluid and determined that the fluid was malignant. This basically meant that the cancer had left the liver, and progressed to somewhere in the abdomen. Malignant ascites is not a good development. About 11 days after her first paracentesis, she had another where they removed 5.2 liters of fluid. The fluid build up is very uncomfortable, so she is now on a weekly schedule to try and keep it better controlled.
What is the plan? Well the number of possibilities seems to be much more limited. She has switched from GEMOX to FOLFIRI. This has hit her hard after just one treatment. Heavy fatigue and painful cramping. It has helped the shoulder pain though, so perhaps it is working. We will see what the tumor marker shows next week. Andrea also had a biopsy done that was sent off for genetic testing. We should get the results for that on Oct. 6. I am hoping that the genetic testing finds something that we can either target with an off-label treatment, or qualify for a clinical trial.
So that is the update. Lots of twists and turns. So many have been negative recently, we are really struggling to try to stay positive. Hopefully we will get some good news soon.
Best to all,