Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Dianne's Update

'Allo Dear Reader
As promised, here is the latest on my dear wife. If you recall, Dianne has been receiving a drug called Herceptin. This drug is an antibody that fights against HER2+ disease (which is what made her cancer so aggressive). With this drug comes some inherent risks....mainly heart problems. So, she has been going for heart tests every 3 months.  Around 6 weeks ago, she went in for her regularly scheduled heart test....and the results were that the numbers dropped by a factor of 10.  What this means I don't have a clue.  But what we do know is that the doctors immediately stopped the Herceptin treatments.  It is policy that if the numbers (what they mean I still don't have a clue) drop by 10 or more, the treatment is cancelled for at least one month, and resumption of the treatment is subject to a) another heart test and b) the doctors whim.
So, where does this leave us, dear reader?  Well, Dianne did go for the follow up heart test, and the 'numbers' did not improve.  And by 'did not improve' I mean they went up by a factor of 1...basically very little.  And here is where the fun begins. 
Dianne's oncologist has decided that he wants her to continue with the Herceptin, even with the 'numbers' of her heart.  However, instead of going for a heart test every three months, she is going to be watched very closely by the heart specialists at the University Hospital.  Apparently, it might even be the head honcho who will be watching and testing her heart very closely. 
What are they worried about?  One of the side effects of Herceptin is heart disease / failure.  Before you freak out, dear reader, let me explain.  The doctor is NOT worried about Dianne suffering from heart failure.  But he is erring on the side of caution.  She is young and healthy, and thus is not a likely candidate for heart failure.  But, as he says, why take a chance?  It also allows the medical community to study the effects of Herceptin...thus they are using Dianne for research purposes.  And we are good with that....if they can learn something that will help someone else down the road, then all of this is well worth it.
Dear reader, all of this means that Dianne will have oodles of appointments coming up.  Heart tests, echocardiograms, consultations, blood work, more heart tests etc etc.  Just when we thought the constant barrage of appointments was coming to an end, they start up again.  We are not complaining about it, of course...we could not be more pleased with how the medical community has taken care of Dianne in the past 14 months.  Alberta Health Services has come through big time, and they continue to come through.
And that, dear reader, brings you up to date.  Based on all this information, you can correctly assume that much more will be written in the upcoming weeks and months.  Use the RSS feed to keep up to date, or bookmark the site and check back regularly.  Thanks again for all the ongoing support.  And please, in your prayers, remember Evelyn Peters....she's battling this awful disease right now.  We wish her the Lord's strength, and also to Marvin and the family. 
Until next time...cheers.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the updates, Rod. I have totally been out of the loop since my computer was on the blink. We wish you the Lord's blessing in everything you do and go through. I don't know what to say except that we continue to pray for your family that you may have patience, peace, and perspective. The anxiety for your family at times must be overwhelming. As a person who avoids doctors like the plague and needles and such, it brings shivers to my spine to read what Dianne and my sis-in-law Evelyn have been going through.

    Big hugs to you all!

    Rose & Wes & family