On Wednesday, September 20, Teresa had her second post-op visit with Dr. Greene.
While I cannot remember what he said verbatim when he walked in the room and saw her (in the outfit she’s wearing in her new CB profile photo), I can tell you that what he essentially said was, “Why, aren’t you the picture of a cure!”
She can do gentle exercises. She can try some abdominal exercises (ex: she can test out playing golf on the Wii to see if her muscles can handle the motions of swinging a virtual golf club), but nothing too strenuous (no sit-ups/crunches or similar yet). She’s not cleared to lift anything greater than 2-3lbs.
She can drive some, but she cannot open / shut doors. (I’m glad for the driving part because I wasn’t quite prepared to drive in NYC just yet! My Mom is staying at a hotel in the city, and we’re dropping her off there.)
Before we left Greene’s office, I requested another CBC and a Metabolic Panel. She’d been prescribed potassium on discharge, and had taken the last pill the 19th. At discharge, she’d just been slightly low on potassium (3.4, with the range being 3.5 – 5.3). She is now at 4.4. (And, in fact, everything they check for in the metabolic panel is now considered in range!)
Her hemoglobin was 10.6 on 9/6 (range 11.7 – 15.5). As of 9/20 she was at 11.2!
Her anemia is nearly gone, but since her body still has a lot of healing to do, she still gets tired easily.
That afternoon, we also met with Dr. Tamara Musgrave. Her specialties are oncology and hematology. If we transfer Teresa’s treatment back to BRMC, she would be T’s medical oncologist. She told us what the 2017 drug regimen for the cancer Teresa has is, and told us that the first place it usually metastasizes to is the lungs. Because I was worried about the pleural effusion, I asked for a chest x-ray to be done on 9/6. Based on that, Dr. Musgrave says it is not in her lungs.
T also says that it has become easier and non-painful for her to take deep breaths, so it sounds like the effusion is going away!
Musgrave also told us that T will probably get a Mediport for the chemo. This would mean she wouldn’t have to go through getting an IV at every appointment. Her arm is finally nearly bruise-free from all of her hospital IVs (and even from the arterial IV), so we can certainly see the benefit of this.
You can read about mediports here: https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/patient-education/your-implanted-port
Today (9/23), we will leave for NY, and hopefully get in while it’s still light out to make it easier to get Mom to the hotel she’ll be staying in, before we head to T’s Mom’s house.
Monday (9/25) we have our first appointment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, with her surgical oncologist, Dr. Nadeem Abu-Rustum. That appointment is estimated to last 1 1/2 hours. If he decides she needs another surgery soon (re: removal of the rest of her cervix, which Greene says is very small — about 2 x 2 1/2 cm square), she can opt to either schedule pre-surgery tests, or to go ahead and get them taken care of on Monday.
Musgrave expects that the 2 chemo drugs Teresa will/could be taking are Gemzar (Gemcitabine) and Docetaxel (Docefrez, Taxotere). I think Docetaxel is the preferred one. It would be 4-6 cycles, two weeks on, one week off. And a shot, I think on day 9, to keep white count up. You can read about them here:
With these drugs, she said to most likely expect flu-like symptoms, mild – moderatre nausea, possibly some edema, and hair loss (possible within 2 weeks). Considering Teresa’s very positive response following such a major surgery (and everything related to it), we’re hopeful that this will continue through any treatment plan, be it chemo and/or otherwise.
Musgrave is open to any protocol MSKCC decides to do instead of, or alongside of, what her plan is. We appreciate this as MSKCC seems to have a number of very innovative ways of taking care of their cancer patients!
Once we know more, we can call the Bristol Cancer Center and let them know what’s happening, or MSKCC can do so (which seems less complicated in the long run – and more likely to get all the details firmly and correctly in place).
I will be keeping an eye on my e-mail as much as possible (). If you’re on FB, you can message me there as well. I will keep an eye out for messages from non-FB friends too. You’re much more likely to get a response if you e-mail or message me than you are if you contact Teresa (and this is a general statement; it has nothing to do with what’s going on right now! 🙂 ).
I will post again here once I know more.