Tuesday, January 15, 2013

PET scan results & new plan

Madeleine’s Blog

January 15, 2013
So do not fear, for I am with you
Do not be dismayed, for I am your God
I will strengthen you and help you
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand
Isaiah 41:10

Something to be thankful for... Madeleine & Austin - December 2012
Last week, we met with Madeleine's local oncologist in order to hear the results of her January 4th PET scan.

That night, with a lot of emotion, Madeleine wrote the words that I then copied into this blog and titled, "What a year it has been." Her words (describing the things she has learned through this difficult year) reflected a perspective that few of us -- without the touch of cancer or other tragedy -- are able to attain. Life IS precious, and even in regular, day-to-day life we have so much to be grateful for.

Now, back to the results of the scan.... The good news is that the cancer in her liver appears to be about the same size, and there are no new spots in the liver or other organs. This is always a reason to celebrate. The other good news is that her recent radiation treatment appears to be helping shrink the lymph node on her neck - it was both smaller, and softer (which is a good sign). The scan did show some growth in an adjacent lymph node, as well as a new lymph node in a nearby area -- and, of course, we don't like to see this.

The oncologist did explain, however, that he wouldn't actually expect to see results from the Yervoy infusions quite yet as Yervoy can take quite a while to work, and Madeleine has only had two infusions so far (one every 3 weeks). Fortunately, she has had very few side effects with the Yervoy, and so that has enabled her to work, run, and do lots of regular activities that she is happy to be back to.

Our local oncologist has been consulting with Dr. Daud, the melanoma specialist from UCSF. There is a  promising clinical trial that has shown very good results, and Dr. Daud believes it will be a good match for Madeleine's situation.

Because there have been so many recent advances in melanoma research, and it takes so long for good drugs to be approved, sometimes the most effective melanoma treatments can be found by becoming a part of a clinical trial.

So, Madeleine will be meeting with Dr. Daud down at UCSF on Tuesday morning, January 29th, and if all goes as planned, her participation in the clinical trial would begin in early February.

The doctors are also considering doing additional radiation on the lymph nodes that are showing growth. It is always a balance between wanting to shrink the tumors on the one hand, but also wanting to avoid the potential downsides of radiation on the other hand.

Thank you for your prayers for Madeleine (and the doctors) as all these decisions and treatment options are being considered. We appreciate all the encouragement we have received.


judy said...

Madeleine, I admire your strength...the depth of character we have is not discovered until tested...you have been tested more than anyone should be (especially at your young age) and I am proud and amazed at your courage and determination. Do not give up!!!



Anonymous said...

My very best wishes to you for a complete NED/cure! My father was diagnosed with stage iv melanoma a few months ago; we are also making plans to see Drs Gailani and Daud. I've heard great things about them and am glad to see they are helping you. Stay strong!

Anonymous said...

Madeleine and Family - we are so proud of the continued fight and the strong message of hope and love. We are sorry we are so far away and can't do anything to help. You are such an amazing family. Please know you are in our hearts and prayers. We know you can beat this!!!!

Barbara, Ryan, Grayson and Avery