Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Mom in Rehab 2016

My mother was first diagnosed with kidney cancer in August 2013, the same kind of cancer my dad had. It was Stage I or II because it was contained in the kidney, She had surgery to remove the kidney in October 2013. She got a specialist oncologist at Hackensack hospital. She had normal follow-up scans in June 2014. In January 2015 CT-scans showed that her cancer had returned.

Visiting Nana- July 2016
Spoiling the kids with plantain chips and cookies in rehab

She tried several treatments: #1- In February 2015, sunitinib malate (Sutent). She had bad side effects and it didn't do much. #2- In mid-June, she did a Phase II study of axitinib (Inlyta) + Dalantercept (or the placebo for Dalantercept). She had really bad side effects from the treatment. Her August scans showed a cancer increase. #3- In September, they put her on a IV drug combo of temsirolimus (Torisel) and bevacizumab (Avastin). She had mild side effects compared to her reactions to the other drugs. Her November scan showed no progression and some shrinking of the tumors.

In mid-March 2016 her scans returned that the bigger tumor on her side had grown though the other little ones hadn't. Doctor suggested she try something else. A week later she went on Drug #4- nivolumab (Opdivo). Nivolumab is a type of immunotherapy, which stimulates the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells. Nivolumab blocks a signal that cancer sends to prevent your body's activated T-cells from attacking the cancer. It's purpose is to stop the cancer from blocking your immune system.

In June scan showed a lot of growth so she was changed to a combo drug #5- Lenvatinib (Lenvima), which targets VEGF,  combined with everolimus (Afinitor), which targets mTOR. (As I explained in an earlier post, VEGF is a protein which helps cancer grow blood vessels, and MTOR is a protein that makes cells divide and grow.)

On Sunday, June 24, she checked into the emergency room with stomach pain. The doctors in consultation with her doctor decided she had an infection, treated the infection, and tried to figure out what it was. Though she got over the infection they didn't know what it was nor did they solve the issue of her pain directly, instead opting to put her on more pain medication. With Zelmy's assistance, she moved to a rehab on Thursday. Rehab is going well, and hopefully she's getting out next week.

Visiting Nana- July 2016
With Zelmy who is awesome.

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