• Karen

One-year anniversary & new chemo treatment to start soon

From the back left: Ron, Penny, David, and Pablo; from the front left: Karen and Judy

We met with Dr. Brooks on 11/7. Now that the radiation treatments are done and David is making some progress recovering from them, Dr. Brooks wants to restart the IV chemo using a different drug called Taxol. (The drug he'd really like to use next is Keytruda—an immunotherapy drug—but insurance won't pay for that unless Taxol is tried first. If Taxol does not work or causes too many side effects, he can legally move on to using Keytruda.) David will receive a Taxol IV once a week for the next three weeks starting next Monday.

David also had another CT scan done. It's been three months since the last one, and he's been off chemotherapy for over a month to deal with the brain tumors. Dr. Brooks wanted to see how David's stomach, liver, and lymph node tumors are doing. He called with the results tonight and said the liver tumor looks a bit smaller and the lymph nodes look good. He didn't mention the stomach tumor, but the bottom line is that the non-brain tumors haven't grown a lot since David has been off chemo, which is great. David's CEA tumor marker went up, though, to 36. So it is no longer in the normal range (< 2.5), indicating the cancer has been more active. So it's good David will be restarting chemo soon.

It's hard to believe, but 11/7 also marked one year since we received the urgent phone call from David's PCP telling us that he was severely anemic and needed to go to the ER to get a blood transfusion, which led to the discovery of his stage 4 gastric cancer. It's been a tough year, but David is still fighting.