Friday, 31 May 2013

Scan result

I keep forgetting that I should never try and predict anything where my cancer or its treatment is concerned. Katie and I had two surprises at our meeting with my oncologist yesterday. Firstly, the radiology report from the scan I had on Wednesday was available and, secondly, the result was not quite what we had expected. The scan showed 'minimal growth' in both my liver and abdominal tumours compared to the previous scan. This is not as good a result as disease stability but is better than there being more marked growth in the tumours.
My oncologist views this as a positive. He recommended that I have three further cycles of Trabectedin before having a further scan in three months. Having had twenty four hours to think about this I'm concerned that three months is too long to wait before checking on how the tumours are responding. At my next appointment with the oncologist I will raise this concern and see if I can have a scan in two months time.
I also want to understand more about what is meant by 'minimal growth'. I plan to ask to see a comparison between this most recent scan and the one I had around six months ago. I'm hoping this will provide some reassurance that the tumours are growing very slowly. In the meantime I will be going ahead with my next round of treatment on Tuesday/Wednesday this coming week.
There were a couple of unequivocally good points from this scan. First, the small lung tumours that I had are no longer visible. This doesn't mean that they've completely gone, but it does indicate that they have shrunk to a point at which they are no longer resolvable by the CT scanner. Also, my last scan showed that I had a lot of fluid retention around my heart that was causing a degree of heart failure. This recent scan showed that this had cleared up quite considerably - something that is very much aligned both with how I've been feeling physically and with the changes in my weight during the last two cycles. 
Here are a couple more shots from Scotland, a white tailed eagle and the Eilean Musdile lighthouse.


Thursday, 30 May 2013

Waiting for the results of my latest scan

The last three weeks have been very enjoyable. Katie and I spent ten days up in Scotland and we had a great time. The weather was surprisingly cooperative and we saw some great wildlife and some wonderful scenery. The side effects from my last treatment were milder than they have been on any of the previous twelve cycles of Trabectedin so I've been feeling pretty good.
Yesterday I had a CT scan and this afternoon I have an appointment with my oncologist. It is highly unlikely that the radiologist's report on the scan will be available so soon however the oncologist will be able to take a look at the images and see if he can determine if the cancer is stable or if the tumours have started growing again. Past experience has taught us that unless the scan shows a very clear change in the tumours we can't take the oncologist's interpretation as anything other than an indication - we've had a previous instance when the radiology report came to a different conclusion from the one the oncologist had reached.
As usual the scan results are absolutely crucial. If the cancer is stable my intention is to go ahead with three more cycles of Trabectedin. If the cancer is growing we'll have discuss next steps with the oncologist. 
Waiting to get the results of a scan always makes for a tense and stressful few days. Sitting in the waiting room ahead of seeing the doctor is always the most difficult time in my view, I find in near impossible to think about other things whilst waiting to be called in. The clinic is often running up to an hour late so that also adds to the tension.  
I'll post a further update on the situation tomorrow or over the weekend, in the meantime here are a couple of images from Scotland. The first is a dipper and the second is a rainbow in a glen.


Thursday, 9 May 2013

Cycle thirteen

Earlier this week I had my thirteenth infusion of Trabectedin. The last cycle was probably the easiest one I have had since I started the treatment with this drug back in April 2012. There is no reason that we can give for why cycle twelve was so much better than cycles ten and eleven but the change is certainly welcome! I'm hoping the rest of this thirteenth cycle goes just as well but I know that chemo side effects are a little like investments: past performance is not necessarily a guide to the future!
I should have my next scan week of 27th May so that's the next significant milestone regarding my treatment. 

As many readers of this blog generously contributed to my fund raising efforts for Cancer Research UK, I thought you might be interested in some promising new research that they funded that could, in the long term, really help in improving cancer treatment and in running clinical trials. You can read the article by clicking this link. This is typical of the work that Cancer Research UK fund and is a good example of how the funds raised through your donations are spent.  
Following the great time I had photographing kingfishers recently I decided to go back to the same farm in Worcestershire to see if I could get some shots of Little Owls. I picked a lovely sunny day but the owls were not very cooperative. I spent ten hours sat in a hide during which time the owls showed up for only six minutes! I did manage to get a few decent images so in the end I was happy with my day: