I was able to have a long conversation with Jen’s doctor. Lots to worry about but I gained confidence that he is on it and has a plan.
MRI shows brain clear. CAT scan shows possible worsening in jaw (we’ve already been tracking). Liver developing nodules but not swelling, may be cirrhosis from the chemo. Need a closer look. Blood tests improving, but still elevated markers for cancer, high calcium (cancer in her bone), trending worse.
Bone scan next week. Also adding MRI of liver and MRI of spine and full body PET scan. Trying to rule out emergency condition, mostly – tumor pressing on spine, blood clot, etc.
Cognitive issues are of course my main concern. MRI didn’t help. Maybe calcium or dehydration or medication. And ‘chemo brain’ is common. But this is a big change over three weeks. Again could just be long-term chemo side effects (nerve damage), could be cancer related, could be her spine. Could explain everything as nerve damage, but just too many things going on for one explanation.
“If cancer is progressing, it’s not that we don’t have any treatments left, we’re down to not too many options. We need her to tolerate treatment, and her liver to tolerate treatment. I wouldn’t give chemo to someone in the shape she was in the last time I saw her. It almost feels like our best hope is that we don’t find anything specific, but we give her body a break, and see what recovers. But we also might not have a good answer to whatever we find.”
Basically, it’s a mystery, and he can’t guarantee things will get better, but not all signs are bad. The physical stuff is way less stressful than the mental stuff. If Jen’s ambulatory days are over, that’s surmountable. But today she forgot how to use her iPhone and needed help eating.
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Thank you so much for posting about Jen. I’ve been following your family for so many years, watched your kids grow up and vicariously travelled with you on your trips. Please give Jen a hug and let her know there’s people out here thinking about her, even if we’ve never met.