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Oncology 21.0

My latest CT scan shows good news.

The CT was actually before Christmas, and I had the results a few days later, but I haven’t had the chance to have my own eyes on the scan until the last few days and actually be able to quantify what ‘significant’ response is….. and its actually pretty impressive.

The liver lesions, the retroperitoneal lesions, the lung lesion and the mesenteric lesions have all either shrunk or remained stable, and there is no new disease. This is about as good as we could hope for with my treatment. There were really only three categories the CT result could have fallen into:

  • No response, where disease continues to grow uninterrupted, the worse case scenario;
  • Partial response, where disease might remain stable with very little advance;
  • or Response, where the disease stops growing and actually begins to regress.

The third category being the best outcome. What makes it even more significant is that the scan was only done after 4 rounds of chemo, when it would usually be done 6 rounds in. So what we are seeing is significant early response, arguably even better.

What this means is that I will be around for longer yet. I will almost certainly get to see my daughter as well as being around for the very early part of her life. How long this response continues is another question entirely, and only time will tell. Perhaps the biggest deciding factor is how long I can continue on Oxaliplatin. This is the most toxic of the drugs I am on, and it is doubtful I will be able to sustain 10 rounds at full dose. At some point we will have to either dose reduce it, or stop entirely. This is compounded further by the fact that it’s toxicity is cumulative and I have already had 8 rounds of it 5 years ago. At the moment what I notice in particular is the peripheral and autonomic neuropathy. Cold feels like pain (particularly in the week after chemo),  I have reduced sensation to light touch at my finger tips, and I have increasingly noticeable postural hypotension, related to sluggish sympathetic nervous response when I stand. This is also compounded by the lack of sympathetic innervation in my right leg after my retroperitoneal lymph node dissection last year. What this basically means is every time I stand up, I have to be careful I don’t pass out as the body doesn’t get blood to my brain as quickly as it normally does with a change in posture.

Further to all of this is the fact that my most recent round of chemo (round 5) has been deferred for 2 weeks due to neutropenia. My blood test the day before chemo revealed a neutrophil count of only 0.29, which is too low for chemotherapy. It would also explain my more-than-normal fatigue during my well time, as well the 10 days of rampant mouth ulcers I had. Christmas day was the first day for 10 days I could eat with no pain and I am yet to figure out if God was being symbolic or ironic…  Neutropenia in itself is not too bad, but I am at further risk of infection, and neutropenic fever would necessitate a hospital admission with IV antibiotics. So far no drama on that front.

So I end the year with the good news of the CT scan, the semi-good news of the delayed chemo (more well time), and the perhaps more significant implications of how future chemotherapy may impact my health, with increasing toxicity, both neuropathic and haematological.

Until next time…

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  1. Sylvie Gneckow
    January 2, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    Hi Jared,
    How fantastic! I’m so happy to hear the good news. I am thrilled for you and your wife and can only imagine how excited you two are about the birth of your daughter. 2014 will be an amazing year for your new little family.
    Good luck and stay strong!

  2. Claire
    January 2, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    Such good news, Jared. Thanks again for the update. It is much appreciated as you and your family are very much in our thoughts and prayers.

  3. Alison W.
    January 3, 2014 at 3:31 am

    I am so glad to hear that you will get to meet your daughter and that you will be able to spend some high quality time with her! It is very satisfying that I was able to play a tiny part in making this happen – thank you for allowing me to help.

  4. Julie Smith
    January 3, 2014 at 3:46 am

    May God continue to bless you, He is The Lord God almighty who breathed the stars into being, but also Abba, our heavenly Dad who hears the heartfelt cry of one. Your beautiful daughter will carry a heritage of faith and be forever testimony to your love, and Gods miraculous grace and faithfulness. Happy New Year, thank you for sharing your journey with us, we continue to hold you up in prayer.

  5. Janice Roseingrave
    January 3, 2014 at 3:57 am

    Good news Jared,
    I am pleased that Christmas was reasonably comfortable for you. I hope that January continues to go well for you and that your wife is doing well also. You are very much in my thoughts. Good luck and stay strong! Kindest regards, Janice

  6. Rob Hart
    January 3, 2014 at 9:54 am

    Great news, Jared. God is good. Maybe you need to enrol for a PHD pgm and submit a thesis on Patient Responses to Chemo drugs!!! You could use a Speech interpreter so you don’t need to touch type and give you something to do that hopefully is not too tiring! Blessings Rob

  7. Dyana Parore-Connell
    January 3, 2014 at 11:03 am

    Good to hear the semi good news Jared and that you were able to eat at Xmas. Happy new year to you and Hannah. Great to hear that you will be here for your daughters arrival. Good luck with all and stay strong (as you have always done. God bless.

  8. Brigitte Murdoch
    January 3, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Fantastic news for you both. Brought a smile to my face to read your log.

  9. Mar
    January 11, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    Jared, Hannah and baby daughter every blessing to you all. So glad that things are holding for you and that you could enjoy Christmas Day dinner. You show such amazing courage and I continue to pray for you all.

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