Monday, June 7, 2010

Labs last Thursday, Avastin today

In the past couple of weeks I graduated to only getting labs tested every 6 weeks - which means my blood cell counts have come back to more or less normal after the standard chemo and remained stable for several weeks. That is good news.

My most recent lab tests were last Thursday, followed by Avastin today. Currently my energy seems to take me pretty well through 3-4 days a week, then I get worn out and take it very slowly for a couple of days and recover. This week I am stepping up to working 4 (rather than 3) days a week. We will see how it goes...

My hair has returned to a sort of peach fuzz state all over my head. I suppose if you have not seem me at the end of my chemo with essentially no hair it does not look like progress. But believe me, it is progress. These days I mostly go hatless except when I need protection from the sun, which is any time I am out.

Results of the clinical trial that tested women who got standard chemo against women who got standard chemo plus Avastin during and for 10 months after standard chemo have been released and document a "progression-free survival" (time you live with no evidence of the cancer coming back or growing larger) advantage of about 4 months for women who got Avastin over those who did not.

Since I am getting Avastin, this is good news for me.Combined with the Japanese trial that suggests that dose dense TAxol (the kind of standard chemo I got where I received carboplatin every 21 days but got Taxol every week) gives on average about a 2 year progression=free survival advantage over the standard method of dosing (carboplatin and taxol both only once every 21 days) and i am feeling that it was a very good thing for me to have entered this trial.

The remaining question, which the trial I am in is designed to answer, is whether there is a survival advantage to getting standard chemo directly into the belly (intraperitoneal or IP) rather than into a vein (Intravenous or IV). Guess we will have to wait for the outcome of this trial to learn that answer. STudies to date suggest that there may be some advantage to IP treatment over standard IV chemo, but that is the chemo where both drugs are given only once every 21 days. No way to know what would happen with the Dense dosing of Taxol which I received.

Meanwhile, I increased my work days from 3 per week to a planned 4 per week starting this week. I have no plans to "overdo it" as many have expressed concern that I might. But at the same time, I see no advantage in prolonging an convalesence any longer than necessary. Sitting watching TV is loosing its charm - but I need to build back a bit more strength and endurance before i am ready to venture out on vacation trips or other outings. So pushing myself a little bitter further physically and mentally every week seems the best way to maximize the efficiency with which I get from where I am to where I want to be.

Thanks for your support.

1 comment: