Monday, June 8, 2009

Treatments! ... Finally

Dave had a biopsy done on the swollen lymph nodes this morning. Then he met with Dr. Watson who specializes in Liver Therapy. Kaylene says that the first appointment was very grim. One of the lymph nodes has a cancerous tumor that is 6 cm on one side. (That is half the size of the tumor on his liver.) The doctor that gave the results of the biopsy was very matter-of-fact. Kaylene said that it was horrible to sit through that explanation. On the flip side, Dr. Watson was very positive. He came in and said that he will treat this cancer very aggressively and that they will get started right away. There are three different treatments that they will use. One is a pill called Nexavar. That will help keep the tumor from growing. With the tumor being so big, the Nexavar won’t shrink the tumor. The second treatment will be radiation on the lymph nodes. They have ordered the stuff to start radiation within the next week. The third treatment will be a new type of radiation therapy that is more concentrated on a specific spot. This is called Therasphere. Dr. Watson is the only doctor in Utah who uses Theraspehere. We are very fortunate to have been able to meet with him. Dr. Watson wants to start treatment within a week from today. (Hopefully Wed/Thurs) Here is the website that explains this new treatment option.

Brief Explanation of Therasphere:
The doctor will make a small incision into Dave’s leg (I believe in his thigh) and place a catheter into the Femoral Artery. He will use fluoroscopy which is the technology that allows the doctor to see the images as he guides the catheter up the Femoral Artery and into the Hepatic Artery. The liver has two main arteries. One of them, the Hepatic Artery, supplies blood to this type of tumor. Once the catheter is in the Hepatic Artery, the doctor will inject millions of tiny glass spheres filled with radioactive material. Those spheres will travel along the blood stream and attack the tumor from the inside. There will be minimal (if any) damage done to the healthy tissue near the tumor. The half-life of this material is approximately 64 hours. This means that after 64 hours only half of the original amount of material will be left in his system. After 4 half lives of this material (256 hours or 10.5 days) the radiation levels will be undetectable (basically out of his system).

The Side Affects:
Each of these treatments will be done outpatient. For the radiation and Therasphere, Dave will go in to the hospital for a few hours and then come home and likely go right to bed. There are side affects to these treatments but right now it seems the biggest one is fatigue. He will be very tired. With the Nexavar he may get a rash and his feet may swell up. Fortunately, increased nausea, pain, and discomfort are not likely.

1 comment:

  1. Once again you have been very eloquent in helping us understand what is going on. What a wonderful, loving, caring support system Dave has in your family! So thankful that Dave was guided to a doctor who plans to aggressively treat this disease! So grateful that he is an "action" doctor ~ not a gloom and doom type!! There is no doubt in my mind that Dave can be healed!! Big hugs to all of the Palfreyman clan! Love you all!