Monday, December 30, 2013


Today's blood tests show Lisa's blood counts in general are quite good, and she is only slightly anemic now.  However, her resting heart rate is still around 125-130 and often spikes up into the 150s with even the smallest bit of activity such as walking from the bedroom to the kitchen.  Today's CT and PET scans show why.... we got the unexpected news that the cancer has grown and spread substantially since the September scan.  A large portion of Lisa's right chest shows active tumor, and the spot in her femur and spots on her hip are growing again, as well as some new areas of spreading.   All of this means that the current chemo mix is no longer effective.  The fever that Lisa has been experiencing is almost certainly "tumor fever" as this growth has been occurring.

The CT report also states that "tumor encases the right main pulmonary artery as well as the right superior and inferior pulmonary veins, with stenosis (narrowing) of the superior vein", so of course this is likely a large portion of what has caused her heart rate to continue being high even as her anemia has lessened.  Lisa dealt with the Superior Vena Cava (SVC) Syndrome element of this before, very early in her diagnosis, but of course this is an ongoing concern.

One of her lower spine vertebrae (L4) has also gone from having a tiny tumor spot to being fully "lit up" on the scan.  This is going to require followup and may be a candidate for radiation treatment to keep it from causing further bone degeneration there... we'll have to wait until we see our primary oncologist on Thursday and probably consult again with the orthopedic specialist.  I've already talked to the radiation oncologist to confirm that there's no problem with radiation directly to spinal cord vertebrae as a palliative treatment.

With all of the growth and spread, we're grateful that Lisa's left lung is currently clear, allowing her to get adequate air and oxygenation.