Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Latest Cabana Boy Challenge

It turns out that we are not going to be heading to Bethesda anytime too soon. We may end up at the National Cancer Institute at some point for participation in one of their clinical trials, but not now. The drugs Meagan are currently on, meant to prevent her hormones from stimulating cancer growth, will be in her system for minimally another 30 days (and possibly another 90 days depending on whether some of the drugs are classified as cancer fighters), plus 30 days after that, so the earliest we would go back there would be the first of May and more likely the first of July. That being the case we are back to our original plan.

That plan involved being on these anti-hormone drugs for the second month, through March. We then do another set of scans. If there is any disease progression then we go the traditional, hard route - Interleukin 2 - which is the two week hospital stay treatment. She would start right away. I've learned not go think about things being cast in stone though. Maybe the anti-hormone drugs will work, in which case she would stay on them and we'd watch. Likely they won't have effect, so we are preparing ourselves mentally.

Because life goes on, getting it done in April and finding out if it works is better. She doesn't want to start in March, both to give the anti-hormone stuff a chance and because she has a weekend concert adventure scheduled in late March with a friend. May is Riley's graduation, so that's out. We are planning on driving down several days before the graduation, maybe even taking a bit more time, and fly back so Riley can drive the fully loaded car home.

So the challenge is to help Meagan prepare herself for this upcoming treatment. It's scary and there is nothing good written about it. She has been online more, becoming more educated about treatments and drug interactions which is a good thing. She's the one who discovered the previous link between Tamoxifen and anti-depressants which led to the shift in drug type this month. So I think having her more educated and empowered is good. It's been a gradual process, initially I did most of the research and leaked out that which was manageable. But as time has gone by and she has come to grips with the situation and her ability and need to assert some control, it makes sense for her to get more information, without losing her sense of hope and conviction that we will prevail. But that means you read the bad and the good. So buoying self-confidence and supporting the belief that she can do this treatment is critical.

The good news is the treatment will be here in Seattle. That means our team will be able to support us, and it's easier on our young men. It also means she needs to put on some real weight - the treatment side effects usually lead to weight loss. So she needs to start drinking those protein shakes made with coconut milk. So I have to build her confidence and nag her to eat more. I'm grateful that Casey is now home and can help me on the food front - he's become very knowledgeable about nutrition thanks to some biology classes and has become an effective and articulate promoter of her eating more. So cabana boy has help this month.

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