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Round 7 – Exceeding all Expectations

Yesterday was Round 7 of Chemo.  Anda picked me up and we headed first to my appointment with the Amanda Sweet, Physician’s Asst and Dr. Wolliver.  Amanda said your CT results are really good, your labs are really good and then Dr. Wolliver walked in and said immediately “you are exceeding all of my expectations!”  Those words were so amazing to hear.  Even though I knew the CT results were positive I didn’t konw what it all really meant.  I still have a long journey to go but we are on the right track and windows are opening up.  It is time to head back down to USC and meet again with Dr. Lenz and his team to strategize the next steps. Do we keep pushing forward with medication and alternative treatments, do we consult with surgeons or both??  The tumor that has shrunk down to .7 cm is close to the aorta so any surgery is going to be risky.  Risky does not mean it can’t be done it just means risky and that means I need to head down to the expert surgeons to find out whether or not it is something that can be done.  We also discussed the possibility of immunotherapy and Dr. Wolliver is going to start exploring what is going on around the country and whether I would fit into any of those studies or categories.

One of the comments in the CT report was that the tumor in the pelvis area was no longer visible.  What does that mean you ask?  Well, it means that if there is any tumor left it is microscopic and the only way to really know if there is anything is for a surgeon to go in and really have a look.  I’ll take microscopic although I really believe it is gone and gone for good.

We don’t know at this time the number of tumors that are left in the liver.  What we do know is that they are significantly shrinking and it appears that some are no longer tumors and we are now only seeing scar tissue.  After all this great news we decided that I would take break from one of my chemo drugs which meant that I went from 4 hours in the chemo chair to 45 minutes.  So awesome!   This also mean that my hands wouldn’t suffer the debilitating neuropathy and my throat would not feel like razorblades if I drank something that was just a little too cool.   Oh and no steroids.  On the other hand I wouldn’t be totally honest if I didn’t tell you that it makes me a little nervous to stop one of the drugs.  When things are going so positive maybe it is better to just push on but we can always go back to it and in the long run it might save my nerves.  That 45 minutes in the chemo chair flew by as I was reading the Awkward Family and Pet Photo books dropped to the cancer center by Ginny and Ann and all the incredibly funny Awkward photos that were sent my way.  I had some good laughs yesterday.  Another great theme for chemo!

Since we dropped the oxalyplatin from the regime yesterday I didn’t get a chance to try out whether or not putting my finger tips on ice as I received the medication would reduce the neuropathy in my hands.  Not sure if you have heard about the penguin caps but people are using these to save their hair.  They put these froze n caps on their head to freeze the follicles so they aren’t impacted by the drug.  My nutrutionist brought up the idea to me and then when I talked to Eve on Sunday she said that people have told her they have been successful with the ice pack idea so I thought what the hell it can’t hurt.  I was going to keep my fingers on ice packs as long as I could while getting the oxalyplatin.  Fortunately, this go round I didn’t need to test it out but it is in my tool belt for future uses if need be.

What is the next step?  We will be sending my CT and Petscan to Dr. Lenz and Dr. Jarnigan in NYC.  I will be scheduling an appointment with at least Dr. Lenz and then formulating a plan.  Dr. Lenz may want to do some additional tests before formulating a plan and of course another CT/Pet or maybe both at the same time will happen in 8-9 weeks.

Thank you Anda for being my wingman yesterday as we interrogated Dr. Wolliver.

While I was seeing the doctor and getting chemo, Jon was at home building the last two garden boxes so we can plant our garden this weekend.  We will be planting tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, celery, kale, red potatoes (maybe) and more.  I’m so looking forward to being able to walk right outside and grab what I need for my juice.

Thank you Brady for the awesome veggie soup and hanging out with me last night.  Thank you to Laura Zoltan for the cream for my hands and feet.  I’m hoping that it will give me great results!!

I met with my healer this morning and shared all the great news.  As we were talking she said to me okay what are your goals now.  I said well it used to be that I wanted to get to a point where the surgeons could just cut it all out but now I’m thinking through the chemo and alternative medicines I can get rid of cancer without  surgery.  She said to me you know Tara I think we can get rid of this cancer and maybe we should be looking at the next set of scans as the date you will be cancer free.  I know it sounds a little crazy but I’m going for it!  What do I have to lose? Nothing.  We had a great session today and I’m feeling fantastic.

After my appointment with the healer I headed to Brophy Brothers for a celebratory lunch with Linda Meyer.  There is nothing better than a beautiful sunny Santa Barbara Day sitting at the bar and looking out at the amazing place we live in.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all the families impacted by the Boston bombing.  Give a big sqeeze to your family and don’t forget to say those three most important words “I love you.”  Life is everchanging and you never know what the next day might bring so enjoy it to the fullest and don’t let the small stuff get you down.

It looks like we will have a beautiful weekend here in Santa Barbara so enjoy!

Hugs and Kisses


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