Topic: chemoembollization

Last week my husband underwent chemoembollization on the right lobe of the liver. This procedure was done by "drug alluding spheres" a fairly new process, and the procedure is a targeted chemo that is fairly contained in the liver area. The follow up was needlesslly rough on him.. The pain started approx 12 hrs later and because the hospital let it get ahead of him ( long typical hospital story) it took him awhile to get on his feet again ( 2 1/2 days). He is home now -and has been very very tired, a little pain ( mainly from constipation from the meds), mild nausea, and after seeing our oncologist today we have hopes that these procedures will get easier ( he will have it done again in 6 weeks and possibly a 3rd time -big tumor) and do what they are supposed to do...blast the sucker from the inside out, so we can get good liver tissue back and possible resection. 
If any of you have had this procedure -would be interested in your feedback, if you need more info on it ( nothing much online), I can tell you that this is meant to contain and reduce the growth of the cancer. So far, it has been a bit rough on him but not too bad, am most people seem to sail through it after a few days.
Will post again to let you know how it is working out for him.

Re: chemoembollization

Hi Michele-
I am not sure what you mean by "drug alluding spheres," but my 37 year old husband was diagnosed with CC the end of March, and had his first chemoembolization on May 1.  The proceedure was a breeze as was the following day, then the pain hit him like a ton of bricks on day 3, and he was basically out of it for the next 4 - 5 days.  His recovery was slow at first, he was very tired, didn't eat much and his color wasn't good, he was able to wean off the pain meds after about 3 - 4 weeks and is now back to his normal self although he still tires easily.  He had a comprison MRI done on May 25th, and it showed that approximately 25% of the tumor cells were dead, but there was no shrinkage in the tumor size.  His tumor is large also, 8.3 cm x 8.9 cm, so resectioning is out of the question.  He is scheduled for his second embolization on June 26th, with a followup MRI on July 17th, then they will decide if they will do a third embolization.  We were told that they will do as many as 3 back to back, then they will monitor the tumor for any growth for a few months before proceeding with anymore treatments.   I have read a ton of information about this proceedure and like anything there mixed opinons about its effectiveness, hopefully for both of our husbands it will be effective.

Re: chemoembollization

Thanks for your reply Colleen. Sorry about the delay in replying.
The drug alluding spheres is when chemoembollization is done with  spheres filled with chemo that are shot through the catheter by the interventional radiologist ( a yop guy at Georgetown"s Lombardi Center). This technique is fairly new but thought to be less traumatic as the spheres release the chemo only in the liver and very little goes through the system. The spheres then help choke off the blood supply to the tumor. He is having a 2nd one in mid July, and after a tough first week, now he is simply tired with some pain in the liver area and shoulder ( which we are trying to find the right painkiller as Oxycodone stopped working after 6 days). He is able to go to work ( shorter days) and feels basically better each day. Pretty similar to your husband, and next week he will be on a systemic drug Xeloda to keep up the battle while waiting for the next round.
We are also hoping for successful reduction and or stabilization-and would be interested in your feedback after the 2nd embollization is done to your husband.
Good luck - will be looking for your posts in the future. Our oncol

Re: chemoembollization

Michele

Re: chemoembollization

Hi Colleen, hope the 2nd embollization went OK? My husband goes through it next week. Have been enjoying normal life for past 10 days, no pain, good energy, back to work. If this treatment works, and we learn to control the side effects better, this is do-able. We are considering doing systemic chemo along with the chemo ( no data available for this but onc suggested we try it), taking Xeloda which he reacted well in the past. Oxycodone worked well for him and we also switched to Oxycontin after a bit.
Tom was diagnosed in late Feb, 11cm tumor on right lobe and 2 tumors under 3cm on left lobe. No other sites.
Hoping it went well for you this time...

Re: chemoembollization

Hi Michele - the embolization went well.  The side effects from the second treatment have been a complete 180 degrees from the first.  He was very nauseous for the first 3 days following the treatment, but is fine now.  He has had very little pain, which with the first was so intense, but this time he stayed on top of his pain meds from the time he got out of the procedure.  Which I think I key to this treatment, it seems that if you let the pain or nausea advance too much, it is hard to get it under control.  A week after the treatment, Fred is pretty much back to his normal self.  He has cut down on the pain meds only taking 2 in the morning and 2 at bedtime.  He still tires easily and has been taking a nap most afternoons, but we are back to our normal busy routine.  Fred is a teacher so he is enjoying the summer off with our two girls (9 and 5 yrs.).  I can

Re: chemoembollization

Thanks for the update Colleen, am so glad this time was easier, gives us hope. But to be honest we only had 10days-2 weeks last time until he resumed normalcy and mostly because we had simlar issues with the pain killers, which triggered the nausea and the the extreme fatigue. This time we feel more prepared. Am anxious to see the reults of the MRI next week. ( have you found out anything from round one?)  You all should have some reprieve right now, this procedure has it's plusses. If we can be sure it is working....
Will post late next week after round 2.

Re: chemoembollization

I wish this update was as good as the first.  We finally got the results from the second embolization the comparison MRI was done on 7/17, and the doctor was out of town, so we just got the results last Thursday. The results weren

Re: chemoembollization

Colleen, I missed your last post as our eldest son was getting married. Tom's 2nd embo went Ok, nowhere near as much pain and discomfort -about 6 days down. Am wondering if most of the discomfort is caused more by the response to pain killers etc...may consider acupuncture on 3rd go round in midSept.
Am wondering how things went for you all this week with the 3rd embo...the growth and reduction is not surprising to me. We were told that there had been some growth as well after 1st MRI, on one tumor on left side side. So this time he is taking Xeloda between treatments...see if the systemic chemo will affect new growth. Let me know how it went, am thinking of you.

Re: chemoembollization

Michele

Re: chemoembollization

Colleen,
Congrats to your husband for doing so well and actually going back to work! That's wonderful news, very uplifting to hear when there is so much bad news going around. Best of luck for continued success !
-Joyce

Re: chemoembollization

Thanks Joyce - It truly is amazing that he is able to do so much.  Before his last treatment he was cutting our grass and doing normal everyday household task, I feel that he somtimes is over doing things, but he keeps on going.  It makes it very hard to comprehend how someone who looks and acts so normal can be so very sick at the same time.  I know we are lucky that right now our lives are basically

Re: chemoembollization

HI Colleen, we too are enjoying a pretty normal life. Tom working long hours for a special project, regaining strength on weekends, but even then not too tired. The systemic chemo has had virtually no side effects, he has a little nausea if he doesn't eat and take Zofran regularly. We are even planning a 2 week vacation after recouping from the 3rd embo, since this one was so easy. However we do have MRI and ct scan to go through first. will let you know how it goes.
Am glad Fred is bck to work, let me know about theraspheres (radiation?), as Tom too, doesn't want to simply be monitored. But we can be grateful for these times, am dreading the end of the embo's really, as they give us time to hope and live normally. Hang in there...

Re: chemoembollization

Hi Michele!
We received the results from Fred

Re: chemoembollization

We were considering this therapy, and I researched, but we were turned down for it. Ricks tumor, Bob, was about 15 cm, and now has grown and has buddies in there.(we were rejected not only for size but the fact that the gemzar and oxaliplatin did not work) I did read that the necropsy, death of the tumor tissue, can cause the pain and nausea so maybe that has a good side.  I had also read that Xeloda has a good reputation as far as patient side effects, but also not a good percentage of success at any degree in cc.  The stats were something like 15% success rate, but success meaning an average of 2.3 mo.  These stats vary, but you really have to get into what the researchers or docs call success. In this case, every little bit helps, and with combined therapies and little side effects, who knows ! Right now we are doing nothing, which isnt good either, Rick is considering Integrative medicine, combining both alternative therapies and standard treatment. He has a consult soon with his oncologist as soon as they get the info from MD Anderson on latest CT results.  good luck to us all   robyn in Seattle

Re: chemoembollization

Hi Colleen -thanks for the update -your news is heartening. Our news is pretty good too -the MRI after the 2nd showed complete necrosis on 2 tumors..yay! They went for a 3rd ( and probably last as his portal vein has an embollus), and hit hit with maximum dose so the big tumor on right side could be zapped. Am not sure what will happen after the next MRI at end of Oct. Let me know how things for you all.
Robyn, hope you find some treatments, please share your news with us. Michele

Re: chemoembollization

Michele - Thats great news about the 2 tumors, I hope you have positive results on the third one.  After every treatment the doctor tells us he HIT it HARD.  I only hope he continues to be right! I will keep you posted on how things are going. - Colleen

Re: chemoembollization

Hi Michelle!
I wanted to update you on the 4th embolization that Fred had on Friday.   The treatment went well but the recovery has been the most brutal yet.  He has been in sever pain since Friday afternoon, even moving a tiny bit sends pain shooting though his stomach.  He says it feels like someone is sticking a knife in his side and wiggling it around every time he moves.  He also had some nausea the first two days but even without it he still hasn

19 (edited by michele Sun, 07 Oct 2007 19:37:51)

Re: chemoembollization

Hi Colleen -I so hope your Fred is doing better -am NOT totally shocked at your news as we too have been surprised at the lack of predicatability for each session.  Hopefully by now the pains are under control, and he is gaining strength? Am most interested in what they recommend for him at Hopkins, and whether they are looking at surgery as an option? And the Theraspheres?
Tom has had a couple of hiccups -the pulmonary embollisms which have made him short of breath, and lately some major fluid retention in knee which complicated his life for a week or so. The chemoembollization had a tougher reaction ( pain and nausea) this time as well, and he is still not back to full strength.
The MRI will be end of Oct so we are taking vacation, hopefully no more dramas for 2 weeks before we face the hnext hurdle.
We are following ( and praying) for you both, and hopefully next step will be easier for him...please keep me updated when you can.

Re: chemoembollization

Hi Michelle

Re: chemoembollization

Am so sorry Colleen, I know exactly how you must be feeling. God I hope this passes for you both soon. It sure sounds like the tumor necrosis is causing havoc, and it did for us too. Please let me know your news, I will check this site as soon as we return.