Met with Dr. Malmais today - an Interventional Radiologist at Loyola - to discuss the recommended treatment of Theraspheres.
Kelly, the Nurse Practitioner went over all the procedural aspects, which I did research on-line, so nothing new or surprising there. It is a fairly "complicated" procedure in terms of prep, determining if I am eligible for the procedure per certain tests, blood work, etc.
What I took from the meeting with Dr. Malmais:
Because I responded well to chemotherapy, I am a good candidate for Theraspheres. This treatment is also used for people who did NOT respond to chemo.
Expectations: 4% of patients have a "Complete Response" - tumors eradicated 60% of patients have a "Partial Response" - some tumor shrinkage/eradication The balance have No response/or stabilization
In order for me to be "cured" - all tumors gone - surgery is the goal. At this time, I am not a surgery candidate, and I may never be. My tumors are on both lobes of liver, some are too close to a hepatic artery, which makes it too dangerous for surgery/tumor removal. There is a high recourrance of liver tumors...hearing this reality upset me deeply.
It's a slippery emotional slope for me to want Honest Answers, percentages, and anything to do with "survival" and prognosis. I did get very upset at one point and left the room to get myself together.
How do I strike the emotional and psychological balance of Reality, practicality, possibility and being "prepared" and not kill the "positive attitude" everyone tells me I must maintain in order to "beat this"?
I am very pissed off about the "multiple options" I was told I had. I tried to get the Doctor to give me an idea of what my multiple options are. (Surgeon and Oncologist have uttered this statement to me several times when I ask about the "what-ifs")
If this treatment does not produce X result, them what? "chirp, chirp, chirp"
If A, then B. If X then Y. That's what I was looking for but I have not received. I know there are no absolutes, I know we must see how I respond. But don't tell me that not one of the Doctors think about or have a Plan B.
So I guess my Multiple Options (said with dripping pissed-off sarcasm) are: Do the Theraspheres or Don't Do the Theraspheres.
As of today I plan on doing them of course. I will try those options that give me a chance. I have my meeting with Dr. Benson at Northwestern next week and will try and nail him on my "Multiple Options" mystery. On the one hand, I hope he recommends the Theraspheres treatment as well, so I am not faced with confusing, disparate treatments. I am kind of expecting that it will be the same, but will be interesting to hear my 1st Second Opinion.
Lest this sounds like the ultimate downer of a post, I was at the Uptowon Shop getting a hostess gift yesterday and the girls asked me how I was doing with chemo etc...A woman shopping overheard and told me her Sister had colon cnacer and did Therasphere treatment 6 years ago and is doing very well. From my on-line reading, this is a promising treatment...
My prayer for the next part of my treatment journey: Please Oh Please Let me be the miracle, let me be the 4% Complete Response. XOXOXOX