Big updates today! Here’s the short version: My liver numbers finally went back to normal today after 12 days off treatment, and my doctor and I decided together to no longer do infusions! But this is a good thing!! I am moving on to the injections portion of my treatment. I will give myself 3 injections a week for almost an entire year. Below are the details for those interested! I am thrilled by this turn of events! Thank you for your prayers as I’ve dealt with my stupid liver!
Thursday: Liver still stupid.
On Thursday, I went into the cancer center to have my liver enzymes checked again. My doctor was hoping that my numbers would have normalized by then, and I would be able to proceed with a 25% dose infusion. However, my numbers were still too high. They had come down substantially but not enough. So, I had to wait until today to go in again for another blood test.
Meanwhile, my doctor took my case to the MD Anderson Cancer Center. MD Anderson is not related to Anderson, Indiana or Anderson University. It’s actually part of the University of Texas, and it is one of the premier cancer treatment and research facilities in the country. I have bragged on Community Health Network a million times, but once again I must say that they are amazing. Community Health has developed a relationship with MD Anderson. Thanks to this affiliation, my doctor was able to send my chart to their doctors and discuss my particular situation.
It is reassuring to find out that one of MD Anderson’s melanoma experts said that we have proceeded with treatment exactly as she would have prescribed, beginning with high-dose interferon, taking breaks when my liver acted up, and moving down to 50% doses. She said that continuing with these doses with my liver issues was a bad idea… “not something to mess with” as my doctor quoted.
She also said something that I hadn’t heard before, but it makes sense. She said that according to their research, the dosage matters, but it does not matter as much as the length of time that my body is exposed to the interferon. She said that the longer I am exposed to interferon, the more likely it is to keep the cancer away. Since my liver can’t handle the high doses, it is still important to keep going with interferon in some form. With that in mind, I was encouraged to either attempt 25% dose infusions, or skip to the next phase of treatment.
No more infusions!
With everything my liver has been through, I opted to not do the 25% dose infusions (IV chemo treatments). I AM DONE WITH INFUSIONS!! HOORAY!
I am moving on to the next phase, and my doctor seemed very happy with the choice. He has been very concerned about my liver, and we agreed that this is best. For the next 48 weeks, I will be giving myself low-dose interferon injections every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This dose is tiny compared to how much of the drug was in my IV, so we are hoping it is easier on my liver.
I am so excited about this. I should be able to get back to a pretty normal routine. Most people do their injections right before bed so that they sleep through any side effects that pop up (fever, chills, etc.)
Wednesday: I’ll go to the cancer center to learn about the injections. They will administer my first one.
Thursday: My first physical therapy appointment since way back in early December when I had my first one. I have almost all of my range of motion back in my arm, but it will be good to check in and make sure there are no issues.
Friday: Back to the cancer center for my second injection and to learn how to do it myself.
Monday: Once again, back to the cancer center for blood work. From then on, I will continue to go in every Monday morning for blood tests to make sure my liver is functioning as it should. While I’m there, I’ll pick up my shots for the week.
Thank you for your prayers! I know they are a big part of getting me to where I am today!
5 thoughts on “On to the next chapter!”
Thanks for sharing your good news, Maggie! It’s wonderful that your doctor was able to take your case to the MD Anderson team and that the experts are in agreement with your treatment plan. Good luck with this next phase of treatments! I am praying for you and your family.
Maggie, I am so thankful you have come up with a plan that works better for you, and seems safer! Good luck with your injections and will keep those prayers going that this new path will be the cure!
Fabulous, Happy Dance!!
You are truly amazing – in your faith and in your ability to see your way forward in a positive way not matter what the apparent roadblocks.
Way to go!
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