Rickie's Scan Results Half Empty or Half Full

cher76 Member Posts: 292
After being on the road all day we finally returned home from Houston tonight. Rickie had scans on Monday morning and an appointment with the doctor the same afternoon, so the results were only preliminary, however the doctor said that the cancer appears to be "stable." At first I think we were a little disappointed, as the scan in May had shown marked improvement in shrinking of all the cancer and we were hoping for the same, but we decided that we could look as it as "is the glass half empty or half full," and we decided to look at it as half full. The tumor is now in the lower third of the esophagus and in the upper part of the stomach cardia. The bone mets seem to have resolved. Dr. Ajani questioned Rickie about how he was feeling and how he was dealing with the side effects. Rickie explained how after the chemo he usually feels "yucky" for about 5 days, and then started feeling better. He asked the doctor what would happen if the dosage was cut down some, and the doctor said that the cancer would probably start spreading again. Rickie asked him if there was a chance of doing radiation, but he said no, only as a form of pain management. He again reiterated that it is incurable and inoperable, only manageable. Dr. Ajani recommended that Rickie stay on the same chemo regime, Erbitux (cetuximab) and Irinotecan (Camptosar) every three weeks, for 3 more months, with the agreement that if quality of life goes down we will return to see about trying other drugs. Rickie agreed to this.
We also saw the nutritionist while we were there and discussed with her the fact that even though Rickie is taking tube feedings along with eating regular food, he is not gaining weight. In our discussion we mentioned that he gets a Sandostatin injection once a month for diarrhea and she said that that may be working as a fat blocker in his body, causing him to not absorb fats. She suggested that he take pancreatic enzymes to help offset the effect. So he will begin those tomorrow and we will see how that goes. However, when we got home this evening he weighed himself and since we have been gone he has gained about 5 pounds! Of course this week he has also been eating a little better. We think that maybe his esophagus has healed since the dilation and things are going down easier. I also think that he was afraid to have a recurrence, and so was not eating as much and sticking to softer foods. Being out of town, it's sometimes a little bit harder to find those kinds of foods, so he just tried whatever was available and found that he could eat most of it without rushing to the nearest restroom. Overall he has felt much better this week and he actually did the driving up to Houston and back. So I definitely think the "glass" is half full! Things could be so much worse, but by the grace of God they are not at this time. I do want to thank all of you who have lifted us up in prayer. I truly believe it makes a difference!


  • sandy1943
    sandy1943 Member Posts: 824
    I am still NED after three
    I am still NED after three years; but from day one I felt the power of all the prayers going up for me. I was so lifted up, even when I would be too sick to pray for myself.
    I agree , The glass is half full.Our positive attitudes help to fight " The Beast".
    Continue good luck with the eating. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Sandra
  • Daisylin
    Daisylin Member Posts: 365
    half full glass
    Hi Cheryl,
    Well, we certainly seem to have to view any *good* news as glass half full. I'm glad to hear that Rickie has gained some weight, that in itself is reason to celebrate! Also, the fact that the cancer is stable, is not fantastic news, but it's certainly much better than it could have been. So, there you have it, a double celebration! We're all slowly learning the recipe for lemonade with all the banged and bruised lemons we've been given, so CHEERS to Rickie, and CHEERS to you Cheryl!
  • fredswilma
    fredswilma Member Posts: 185
    Hi Cheryl
    So pleased for you

    Hi Cheryl
    So pleased for you both, I know how you must have hoped for better news, but in itself the fact that the cancer appears stable is good news. So pleased also that Rickies eating is getting a little better and a weight gain that in itself is cause for celebration. Stay positive, thinking of you both.
  • rose20
    rose20 Member Posts: 258
    Half Full!!!
    Cheryl, I agree with you that the glass if half full.
    The news we all want to hear is the cancer in GONE!!!
    Anything less than that can be a bit of a disappointment 'but' hearing that the cancer has not spread or enlarged is great news in itself.
    I am just so sorry that Rickie suffers bad side effects from the chemo, I so wish he could receive a lower dosage.
    Right now they have lowered the dosage on my brother and he is doing so much better.
    In two weeks they will retest him to see how this chemo treatment has done.
    So we do not know what the outcome will be but I guess it is true about the "quality of life versus the quantity of life."
    Before Jr. was in horrible shape, with all the meds and the chemo but since they lowered the dosage and the meds he seems so much like himself.
    Good news that Rickie has gained 5 lbs! Every pound gained is a blessing!!
    My heartfelt prayers are with you both.
    God has given you two today to love on each other and make beautiful memories, because each day is a day to be cherished, so perhaps the glass is really full!!
  • linda1120
    linda1120 Member Posts: 389
    Cheryl, half full is a good thing. I admire both of your attitudes in this fight. I am so glad Ricky gained five pounds. Every pound is a victory!

  • unclaw2002
    unclaw2002 Member Posts: 599
    As a stage IV -

    As a stage IV - Stable cancer is great news. The world for a stage IV is so different from a stage III. Since the option of surgery doesn't exist it's as if you are living on borrowed time hoping to be one of the ones to beat back the monster and defy all the odds. I have seen many here do just that and be able to spend much more time with their loved ones than ever imagined. What a blessing for both you and Rickie. I hope he continues to tolerate the chemo cocktail and you are able to enjoy each other and your family. Plus Rickie is blazing the way and helping the doctors evaluate how this treatment helps stage IV EC patients. Perhaps someday it will be FDA approved, in part, because of your efforts. Keep the faith.
    Lots of hugs and love,