Thursday, October 25, 2012

Newest Treatment Plan

This is a REALLY long post, but i wanted to explain all the details. Also, I've had very little sleep lately and I'm barely able to keep my eyes open as I type this. So please be patient and forgive any typos or things that just don't make sense. ;)  Update on Mark- So, we went to see Dr Fink today. (She is Mark's Neuro-oncologist in Dallas). I was extremely nervous. When Mark had his Avastin infusion a couple of weeks ago, the nurse told us that today would be Mark's last chemo (Carboplatin) treatment. I knew that the Carboplatin was no longer working since he got a tumor while on it, but I believed that it was slowing down the growth of the tumor. I was finally starting to feel a LITTLE better about the fact that he would no longer get to have chemo because I knew that he would still be on the Avastin every two weeks (which also failed to keep tumors from developing, but was probably slowing down the growth) when I got a call that Mark's UA showed that he was spilling protein into his urine. The nurse that called me explained that Avastin can be very hard on the kidneys, so that was probably the cause of that. She said he would need to do a 24 hour test to see if he was having kidney failure and that they would probably need to stop the Avastin treatments if his kidneys were really bad. So, I went into the appointment today thinking that Mark was going to have no more chemo and no more Avastin and I was honestly preparing myself to hear the doctor say that there is nothing else that can be done and that we were at that point where we are just waiting for the cancer to progress far enough that it will take his life. Praise God, that is not what Dr Fink said!  First, she said that the MRI didn't show that the radio surgery shrunk the tumor any, but that it really hadn't grown any, so that was a good thing. She said the radiation will continue to work for a while, so we could see some benefit of it in a future brain scan. She did say that today would be his last Carboplatin treatment, but she was questioning her treatment plan that she has had him on. She said since he developed a tumor while having the Carboplatin she was thinking it might not be the best option for him. She was looking back in his records and found that there was a little bit of confusion from when he stopped taking his Oral Chemo 2 years ago. This is what happened then... He was just finishing up his year long treatment of intensive oral Chemo (Temodar) when his regularly scheduled MRI showed a second tumor and he needed surgery. After surgery, we were told he needed to start IV chemo (Carboplatin) and Avastin because the oral chemo (Temodar) had failed to keep tumors from developing. Today the doctor looked back at his records and said that it is possible that the 2nd tumor didn't show up until AFTER he stopped taking the year long treatment of Temodar. Because of the timing of him stopping it and when his MRI was scheduled, there is no way to know if the tumor developed while he was still on the Temodar, or if it showed up just after he stopped it. ANYWAY, since there is the chance that the Temodar didn't fail, there is the chance that it could work to suppress the current tumor and prevent the growth of new ones. So, Mark did not get Carboplatin today, and is officially done taking it. He will start on November 1st, taking the Temodar daily. Once the results come back for his kidneys, he will probably be put back on the Avastin as well, but he will have that every 3 weeks instead of every 2 weeks. He will also be taking Celebrex daily (it is supposed to help the chemo pass the blood brain barrier more efficiently) and will need to take the antibiotic Bactrim 3 days a week. We are REALLY hopeful that this will be a great treatment for him and prevent any more tumors from developing. He will hopefully feel much better overall as well without the Carboplatin. So overall I am very happy about today's visit since it was so much better than I thought it would be!  Please continue to pray for our family and especially that Mark does not develop any more tumors while on the Temodar. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Yesterday was our 14th wedding anniversary.  I wish it had been a better day for us.  Mark had an MRI that showed that he has a new tumor.  This means that the Avastin and Carboplatin is no longer stopping the tumor cells from growing, but the doctor feels it is at least keeping it from rapidly getting larger.  So, Mark will continue to get the infusions every 2 weeks.  We are looking for the next treatment to try as well.  Right now the tumor is too small for surgery.  Targeted radiation is an option.  He has an appointment with Dr. O'Conner on the 30th to talk to him about that.  Dr. Fink sent off a tissue sample to see if Mark's tumor has the EGFRvIII protein.  If it does, he will eligible for a clinical trial using a vaccine.  For those of you interested, the vaccine is called rindopepimut and is also known as CDX-110.  I am researching other clinical trials that Mark might qualify for through MD Anderson and Duke University Cancer Center.  We have some big decisions to make in the next few weeks, so we would appreciate your continued prayers. 

We did get some good news this morning- we are going to get to go on our vacation as planned!  Mark will be going to NC on Monday and working at the Microsoft campus there until Thursday.  The boys and I will be flying into NC on Thursday to meet Mark and visit a few friends for a couple of days.  Then we will all fly to Florida together to spend 4 days at the Disney parks, 1 day at Lego Land, and 2 days at Universal!  We are really looking forward to spending time together as a family doing such fun activities! 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Colin said he wanted to raise money for Daddy's doctor.  He talked to the manager himself to tell him what he was trying to do!  I am so proud of him.  Carter said he wanted to help too, so I am looking for different fundraisers they can work on in the near future.  This is the first one.  If you are local, can you please help make it a huge success?  Will you please print this flyer and take it to a Friso Chili's (both locations are participating) on June 20th?  Give it to your server (or the person working the take-out register) and Chili's will donate 10% of the order to Mark's doctor, Dr. Karen Fink at Baylor Neuro-Oncology Foundation.  Please forward this to everybody you know in the Frisco area so that we can have a huge turn out for this event.  If you are not local, or are not able to attend, please keep us in mind and say a special prayer for us on that day.  Thank you so much for your support!  Right click on the flyer and select print (it does not have to be printed in color).