Got the results today from my abdominal MRI and chest CT.
Not what we were hoping for.
The single metastasis in my liver has increased in size, from 1.5 cm to 2.1. I’m only 12 weeks into my new treatment, immunotherapy drugs, so it’s hard to say whether the therapy is working or not. Here are some possibilities:
- This is real-deal progression and the immunotherapy isn’t doing the job. Oh shit.
- The tumor continued to grow a little bit until the drugs kicked in, and now they are working. Better.
- The size increase is actually due to “psuedoprogression,” which is inflammation at the tumor site caused by my killer immune cells attacking the cancer. If this is the case, the next scan hopefully will show stability or regression. Again, better.
But here is the shittiest part of today. When I scanned in August, before I started immunotherapy, the radiologist pointed out what he called “post-operative collections” in my abdomen. The idea was that these were benign collections of fluid that built up after my liver surgery in May, and they would clear up. Sounded fine at the time.
Unfortunately, those were not fluid collections. Looks like they’re other tumors. There are two sizable ones near my stomach, as well as several tiny ones around the border of my diaphragm. The largest was 4.1 cm in August, and now measures 4.7 cm. Again, we can’t be sure if the immunotherapy is working or not.
This means that Sarah and I learned today that my cancer has spread inside my peritoneum (the membrane that encases all the abdominal organs). This news has hit us hard. Lots of fear, anxiety, and tears.
We are strong in our beliefs, and we hold onto realistic hope. We hope the immunotherapy is just on the verge of turning this thing around and wiping out my disease. My CEA, which is a measure of tumor activity and has been very reliable this whole time, continues to trend DOWN. It was 11.7 before I started immunotherapy, 6.4 at the six-week mark, and 4.2 yesterday. Also, my eosinophils, which are white blood cells that fight disease, are off the charts. These are good indicators that my immune system is fighting hard, and my tumor activity is dropping. We need for those trends to continue.
Thank you so much for your support through all of this. It means the world to us. It is so hard on Sarah and the girls, and I ask that you think of them, and hold them up in your hearts. I will continue to write and share my feelings about facing this awful disease.