Letter to extended family, Apr 2016
As many of you know, the past 2-3 months Julie has been feeling more sick and tired with some gradually increasing pain. We knew her liver tumors were growing and we were addressing that, but we have also been seeking reasons for the increase pain in her hips and pelvic bones. We have been discussing this with two of her cancer doctors. X-rays and CT scans recently showed no cause for this pain, so they were left scratching their heads. The past two weeks her disability has rapidly increased and 10 days ago while having a procedure done for her liver, she experienced more severe pain than she had before. We asked her doctors again about this and even though the other scans did not show a cause for her pain, they agreed that additional testing was warranted. So on Monday and Tuesday she had MRIs of her hips, pelvis and spine. They found that she has metastases throughout her spine, with some particularly large ones at the S1, L5, L4 levels, that are encroaching on the foramen and nerve root. She has been fighting pain, fear, despair, but mostly sadness over the past year, and it has been especially keen the past two weeks. With the help of medication for pain, she is a lot more hopeful and comfortable. She asked that I write family and update them. She is comforted by your prayers, and we believe they help.
Thursday and Friday we were back down to SLC for some radiation treatments to her lower spine and more consultations. The plan for now is to undergo her liver Y90 radioactive microsphere treatments directed into her liver on Monday and then again in two weeks. Then complete 5 days of radiation to her lower spine. She will have a port placed into her central circulation for access for IV chemotherapy, which she will started in about two weeks from now, probably on 22 Apr, consisting of a two hour infusion of oxalaplatin then 48 hours of fluorouricil. She should tolerate this chemo better than some other options, but it will take her a couple of weeks to recover, then they will do it again every 2 weeks for 2 months. Then we will see how she is doing.
As you know, there are not a lot of tried and true options in treating her type of cancer, and her doctor referred to this chemo treatment for her cancer as “uncharted” territory. The liver Y90 treatments should kill much of the cancer in her liver, and the radiation should help with the areas it is targeting in her spine, but due to the extent of her cancer spread she needs to try a different chemotherapy than that which she has been on for the last two and a half years. We are praying for a miracle.
We are proceeding with our plans, hopes and goals as best we can. She does’t want to just stop and wait for whatever comes, doing that seems like giving up hope. Still the next two months will slow us down more.
Julie appreciates all your kinds words, even though she may not always be able to talk about it. Keep sending her all your love.
Grateful for Family,