Thursday, 16 August 2012

Here's to Ecteinascidia Turbinata

Today has been a very good day, Katie and I got the result of my most recent scan which showed that the current chemotherapy has had a significant effect on my tumours. It's very difficult to give a quantitative estimate, but from comparing my two most recent scans I would guess that the largest tumour in my liver now has a radius that is between two thirds and a half of what it was in April. The radiologist's report states that all the tumours are shrinking. The statistics suggest that Trabectedin produces significant shrinkage of tumours in fewer than 20% of LMS patients so it was far from a foregone conclusion that the drug would work.

As I noted in a previous blog entry the active compound in Trabectedin was first identified in a Sea Squirt -   Ecteinascidia Turbinata, hence the title of this post. To celebrate our good news Katie and I went to the pub on the way home from the oncology clinic. I had half a beer and Katie and I toasted our new favourite marine filter feeder. I'm not supposed to drink alcohol whilst on Trabectedin but there are times when a beer is essential. It was the first alcoholic drink I've had since mid-April and it tasted very good!

The plan now is to continue with further cycles of Trabectedin for the next three months; I will then have another scan to see if it is still working. While the tumours continue to shrink or remain stable in size and I continue to be able to tolerate the side effects I will stay on this drug. My oncologist told us that he has a patient who has been on Trabectedin for over a year and there are examples of people who have had the drug for considerably longer, so I'm hoping for a good run here.

On Friday last week Katie and I got up at 5am and drove over to Dundry Down, a hill just to the south of Bristol. We went there to watch the mass ascent of balloons at the Bristol Balloon Festival. The balloons are launched from Ashton Court Estate and the launch site is visible from Dundry Down. It was pretty misty so it was not much of a day for photography, however I did manage to get a few shots that I could salvage on the computer. The distance from the hill to the launch site is around three miles as the crow flies, so taking that into account along with the mist this one has come out reasonably well: 

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