Sorry I missed updating round 4 two weeks ago. Life got in the way.
The day of round 4 was a roller coaster ride. Jim had his tumor markers re-tested & a CT scan to check the size of his tumors (the Dr. wanted another PET scan but the insurance wouldn't authorize it). The tests showed he is having a good response to the treatment. He's had about 30% shrinkage in his tumors & the tumor markers in his blood went from over 122,000 (normally a person has 0-36) down to just over 35,600! This was a significant drop in just 3 rounds of chemo & his doctors are pleased but warn that he still has a long way to go. That was the high point of the roller coaster. Jim had chemo that afternoon & the next day the roller coaster dropped! All the side effects got nastier & he basically just got over round four 2-3 days before round 5.
Met with his oncologist & discussed where treatment is going. The Dr. did a test that shows Jim qualifies for a new biological drug that would replace one of his chemo drugs & generally has a lot fewer side effects. Jim & Dr. Dayyani discussed it & decided that for right now he will stay with what we know is working, just at a slightly lower dose to help with the side effects. We met with his pain Dr. today & switched around some of his meds, again to try to manage his side effects better. Keep your fingers crossed that we hit a good combo today!
I'll update in a few days to let everyone know how the new plan is working.
As always, thank you to everyone who has helped Jim out with their generous support it has helped us greatly with his co-pays. The bills are starting to roll in so we are getting a better picture of where we are financially & it's not a pretty one. It would be MUCH worse if Jim didn't have insurance & we are grateful for what they are paying. I'm still looking for help from the various funds out there with no luck. The funds sometimes add different drugs or diagnoses that they will assist with so I am hopeful that I will find one to assist him after the first of the year.
Please keep Jim in your prayers & consider sharing the link for his page to help us get his story out there.
With love & gratitude,
Had a little setback two weeks ago. Jim wasn't feeling well & the PA had his chest x-rayed. They found the start of pneumonia so his chemo got pushed back a week. Had chemo last Thursday & had a new, weird & disconcerting side effect. After Jim woke up from napping during his 2nd drug, he said 1/2 the vision in his right eye was "blank". The nurse thought it was odd & said to let the staff know if it happened again. Long story shortened, it continued to happen off & on Thursday and Friday, always a different spot & eye. Called his oncologist & he said to get Jim to an ophthalmologist or the ER on Friday. We were able to get an "emergency" appointment with an ophthalmologist and thankfully his eyes are structurally sound. The Dr.thinks it may be a neurological issue caused by his chemo. One more thing to discuss with the oncologist when he goes back the first week of December. That day will be long but important. Jim will have a PET OR CT scan (whichever the insurance will allow) to check on the progress of his chemo. Pray the tumors are shrinking!
On a lighter note...Jim the skeptic actually agreed to give acupuncture a try! His fatigue seemed a little better for a short while until his big badass chemo drug he gets over 46 hours kicked in. He's agreed to continue with the acupuncture with each chemo treatment. Hopefully he will see more benefit as time goes on. The nice thing is MD Anderson offers the acupuncture for free!
We just want to say again how grateful we are for the love & support that have been shown to us.
Love & blessings
Jim & Sheri
Been busy & haven't updated the page for too long.
Last week we got the best news since Jim was diagnosed. His oncologist ordered a colonoscopy because he was afraid that there might be involvement in that location. We are happy to report that his colon is cancer free! That means the involvement is contained to his esophagus & liver. While that is bad enough it would have been much worse if they'd found a third site!
Jim is bouncing back from his second round of chemo. He has more energy & feels less crappy than he has in months. Some of his symptoms are lessening also which Dr.A told us means the chemo is kicking in. Jim's fever & nightsweats are gone at this point. That was one of the symptoms that was wearing him out the most.
Round 3 for the chemo is next Thursday. Still trying to find a fund that will help out with his co-pays. Got a letter the other day from a place the social worker suggested as our best shot...they thanked us for applying but regretfully can't assist with Jim's co-pays because he doesn't have a diagnosis that they cover!. I'm hitting this roadblock over & over again! Frustration level is high!
But I want to end this update on a good note so I will once again thank all our wonderful friends & family for all the love & support they have shown Jim & me du
ring this very difficult time. We are grateful you are a part of our lives.
Love & blessings,
Jim & Sheri
We were told that the 2nd or 3rd round of chemo would most likely have worse side effects. They were right. Still not the horror stories that you always hear about when people talk about chemo, but bad enough as it is, let's just hope that round 3 is no worse than round 2 was. Jim still only has a few side effects but they are more intense than last time. His appetite is almost non-existent; little nausea here and there; his hand/foot syndrome has progressed to interrmittant tingling in his finger tips as long as the redness and hot feet for a bit; and the fatigue which is the worst. His sleep is so messed up that even when he does catch a nap he wakes up exhausted. I can't even imagine feeling so tired and sick for months on end. It's hard on Jim and he has his good days and his bad, just like anyone would. He is a fighter though and will keep pushing through until he beats this disease! Like his son, Jimmy, says, "Cancer can't beat my dad. My dad is a BADASS!!"
Jim is so excited because he has an appointment for a Colonoscopy next Tuesday!! We're going to make a photo album of the pictures they take when the doctor is in there!
Third round of chemo coming up in two weeks and then right before Thanksgiving he has more tests and scans to see how well the treatment is working.
Feel free to leave messages on here for Jim, I'll make sure he gets them.
We really appreciate all the generosity and support that have been shown. It makes the fight a little easier knowing that he has people out there who love and care for him!
Love and Blessings
Sheri and Jim
Today ended up being a LOOONNNGGGG day at MD Anderson Clinic! Jim had labs at 8:30 then a "toxicity" checkup with Dr. Dayanni's PA Michelle at 9:30, then up to the infusion lab for his chemo. Because his potassium levels were so low, he had to have IV potassium which added an hour and a half onto his normal 4.5-5 hr clinic time. Since I had Jim trapped, I got him to finally watch "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"! He said if he was in a better mood it would have been a funny movie. One of these days I'll convince him that it's a fun movie!
Luckily, not showing a lot of side effects this time around either. Just a little bit of cold sensitivity which he had the last time. It only happened once last round so he didn't even think about it this time. Boy did those ice cubes and that bottle of ketschup teach him a lesson!! Only other side effect right now is a little of the hand/foot syndrome. His palms are turning a little redder than the last round so I'll keep an eye on that. Don't want it getting worse and his hands/feet cracking open or him developing neuropathy and losing feeling.
His appetite was good tonight. Made him his favorite sandwich...eggs over easy, bacon and ketschup on a toasted bagel. Messiest sandwich EVER but he loves it and they want him to get lots of protein after chemo. Jim swears that bacon will be the cure for his cancer!
Thank you again to everyone who has shown Jim support through donations, love and prayers. It means a great deal to us both.
Love and blessings,
Jim and Sheri
Just a quick update on the fundraising. We decided to move the fundraiser here because of issues with the other site we started on asking our donors for extra donations.
Thank you again for the donations to the other site:
Ellie, John, Michael, and Mariah Verhun ($250)
Lisa and Jimmy Malone ($50)
Robbie Malone ($300)
Charlie and Mary Jo ($25)