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My Treatment Option - Theraspheres

Posted Nov 25 2009 11:02am
  • 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.


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