Well, here I am, still in Santa Monica Hospital. Things are...well...interesting!
If you will recall, I was originally admitted a week ago Monday for dehydration due to my near constant nausea and inability to keep food down (if I could even swallow it in the first place). I had become so weak that I was virtually unable to get out of bed and so disinterested in food that it seemed I might never eat again. I didn't realize how sick I was until I started rehydrating and getting a little food In.
As you have already heard, when I arrived we discovered a 6" or so blood clot in my left groin, stretching across my stomach, so we dealt with that first (see previous post). Meanwhile, still trying to get a handle on my nausea, we had been going through multiple anti-nausea drugs to try to find a combination that worked for me, we ran another brain MRI to see if anything new had developed since the last one on 10/3. The results were mixed. Biggest tumors still shrinking, little ones undetectable. However, there was some indication of development of leptomeningeal carcinoma, meaning thie cancer had spread to the Central Nervous System (CNS). This, of course, would not be a positive development.
To determine this, I received a spinal tap early last week. Not a fun procedure but more from a conceptual than a physical standpoint. I don't know about you, but I'd rather do just about anything than have someone puncture my spine. With no sedation.
Apparently, enough of my doctors were convinced that the cancer would show as present, given the images on the MRI, that they unanimously decided to inject a high-dose chemotherapy called methotrexate directly into the lumbar spine. You know, since they were there anyway. I slept 21hours immediately following.
Next morning come to find out that the spinal tap is negative (didn't see that one coming)! Docs still express confidence that it will eventually arrive so none considered this a wasted treatment. Now, after considering all the options, we have a treatment plan I think we can all live with. On Monday, they will be placing another port in my body. This one will be larger and stick out more. It will be attached right in the middle of my giant bald head so if anyone has some bolts for my neck I could have quite the hip Halloween Costume.
This is called an Ommaya Reservoir and will allow them to deliver Herceptin (which is the same drug I am already taking) directly to the CNS. Yes, it means carving some small portion of my skull to place It, but, hey, no more spinal taps. Yippee! And THEY will sedate you!
Before this Ommaya Reservoir, two more lumbar punctures at least were planned to confirm a positive result. I won't be missing those.
So next things next: we have relatively low (I hope)side effect treatment plan for the cancer which seems to be pretty much under control, both above and below the neck. Most reassuring to be sure is that we know we can directly get across the blood brain barrier if we go interthecally. Here's hoping for a good run on try Herceptin. And some quick and lasting help with the nausea !