Germany changes course...

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Hi Ladies!  Well, I am just home from my third trip to Germany (yes, Chris and I are at the same clinic, have the same doctors...).  Only this time, for me, everything changed almost as soon as I got off the plane.  Dr. Herzog decided that my treatment plan needed to switch to transarterial chemoembolization to be done by Dr. Vogel at the Univ. of Frankfurt Hospital.  He is one of the best in the world who does this and just happens to be best friends with Dr. Herzog so I was fit into the schedule on the basis of a phone call!  The two spots on my liver were not responding and rather than risk allowing them to get larger, Dr. Herzog decided chemoembolization was a better approach.  They go in through the femeral artery up the aortic artery, make a turn at the hepatic artery, and locate the artery feeding the tumor.  They then go directly into the tumor with chemo that is 100x as potent as chemo given through an IV, and seal it in the tumor with a substance that solidifies at body heat.  In a perfect world, the tumor dies from the inside out.  We all know about perfect worlds, but the response rate is very high.  I think it is not used/suggested as a first line treatment more often because obviously the risk factor is a bit higher, but I think the reward factor is higher as well.  They do an MRI prior to each procedure to measure the success since the last procedure, so I won't know for sure how things are going until I go back but I have a distinct feeling it is going well.  All the pain in my pelvic area and lower back that I have felt for the last six months is completely gone.  Both my husband and I are feeling very optimistic for now, and I have a better feeling about this approach than anything that has been tried so far.  They are anticipating 4 cycles, 4-6 weeks apart.   It is my understanding that Dr. Vogel also does laser ablation if there are any final small parts of a tumor that hang around.  He kind of "zaps them to death".    Chemoembolization works best on primary liver cancer and liver metasteses so I kind of lucked out in that regard.  The two spots on my liver are the main issue.  I had some swollen lymph nodes, but they are no longer active and Dr. Herzog does not seem concerned about them.  He says when they do embolization, some of the chemo does eventually leech out and has the effect of just killing anything else that might be running around in here because the chemo itself started out being so strong.  I think that is why my pain has disappeared (there are basically no symptoms from the tumors on the liver).  This whole thing feels a little like dropping the atom bomb, but I just keep telling myself that after they dropped the bomb, the war was over.  My next embolization will be April 27th.  Hold a good thought, and I'll keep you posted!!  Hugs all around, Helen

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  • Lou Ann M
    Lou Ann M Member Posts: 996 Member
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    Hi, Helen

    Even though you have had a change in plans, this still sounds very promising.  Wishing you the very best.Hugs and prayers, Lou Ann

  • NoTimeForCancer
    NoTimeForCancer Member Posts: 3,385 Member
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    Helen, you are in my prayers

    Helen, you are in my prayers and your continued health is in my thoughts.  

  • Soup52
    Soup52 Member Posts: 908 Member
    edited April 2017 #4
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    Sounds very promising.

    Sounds very promising. Prayers for success!

  • Nellasing
    Nellasing Member Posts: 528 Member
    edited April 2017 #5
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    Wow Helen!!!!

    That sounds like answers to prayers are just pouring in by the bushel!  So glad to hear that things- though different- are moving forward and you are not in pain and feeling positive!!!  That is wonderful- so glad to hear from you- so glad you got to meet up with Chris- you two are our pioneers and it's all so facinating and we are so grateful you are sharing with us.  Sending you tons of love and (((HUGS)))

  • Donna Faye
    Donna Faye Member Posts: 427 Member
    edited April 2017 #6
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    Thank you for sharing

    Go girl! and thanks for sharing this information as it arms all of us with facts we might not otherwise know.

  • Kvdyson
    Kvdyson Member Posts: 790 Member
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    Helen, sound like they are

    Helen, sound like they are doing an amazing job for you! I'm so happy that you decided on this route. Good luck to you and keep us posted on how you are doing. Kim

  • TeddyandBears_Mom
    TeddyandBears_Mom Member Posts: 1,814 Member
    edited April 2017 #8
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    Helen, It is great to hear

    Helen, It is great to hear from you. What a great team of doctors you and Chris have found. I'm so hoping this is the magic formula to get you back to NED. Please let us know how you are doing as this journey continues. I think of you often. Sending loads of love and hugs your way. cindi

  • daylady
    daylady Member Posts: 122
    edited April 2017 #9
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    Thanks everyone!  So good to

    Thanks everyone!  So good to hear from all of you.  I am just trying to relax and enjoy "home" as much as I can between trips.  We are thinking it is possible that I will be home for almost the whole month of May.  It will be the first time I have been home for a whole month this year!! - Helen