• Karen

Some good news & some bad news

Updated: Jun 12, 2021

Beautiful glass art in our garden, created by talented artist and friend Mary Sherwood

David got a brain MRI on 5/24 and an abdominal CT scan on 5/25, and today we met with Dr. Brooks to discuss the results. I'll get the bad news out of the way first: The current Enfortumab-vedotin chemo regime has not slowed the growth of the cancer. The CT scan indicated the cancerous lymph nodes have grown since the last CT scan two months ago. Also, the result of the latest CEA tumor marker blood test, which indicates the activity of cancer cells, increased significantly. This time it was108, the highest it's been since he was first diagnosed with stomach cancer back in Nov. 2018. It should be less than 5.

Given all that and the fact that David has been experiencing so many very unpleasant side effects (two new ones cropped up lately: eye inflammation that has caused burning, tearing, and swollen eyelids; and restless leg syndrome, which prevents him from sleeping most nights), Dr. Brooks feels there is no point in continuing the Enfortumab-vedotin chemotherapy.

The good news is that since David started on Enfortumab-vedotin, a new chemo drug called Fam-trastuzumab deruxtecan has been approved by the FDA for treatment of HER2-positive gastric adenocarcinomas, which is what David has. (HER2 is a gene mutation David has.) It's still chemo, so it probably will have side effects also, but Dr. Brooks thinks the side effects should be milder based on reports from another patient he has who has been getting Fam-trastuzumab deruxtecan.

Dr. Brooks wants David to take a chemo break, so the plan is to see Dr. Brooks in two weeks and then probably start the new chemo the week after that. In the meantime, AZ Oncology will verify that the cost will be covered by our insurance, and David and I will read up on Fam-trastuzumab deruxtecan. We're all hoping that David's current side effects will start decreasing a bit each day now that he will not be getting more Enfortumab-vedotin.

There's no guarantee the new chemo will work, but David and I both expected to hear Dr. Brooks say that there weren't any options other than hospice. So this new chemo is a ray of hope.

We'll get the official word on the results of the brain MRI when we talk with Dr. Frye on June 2. (We've seen the report on the portal, and it mentioned a suspicious area, but the report from the previous MRI also said that, and Dr. Frye said it was scar tissue from previous radiation, not a new tumor. So we hope the same is true this time.)