I saw Motzer and the team today. (Busy day in Motzerville; waiting room packed with patients.) Compared to a week ago, I am feeling much better, with the pneumonia pretty much gone and the remnants of the belly bleed much less. So everyone was cheerful and upbeat.
I learned a few things that Motzer may have told me last week, but I
simply didn't take in; I wasn't functioning well. I am officially off the study combining Avastin and Everolimus. Even though I
have now recovered from most of the side effects, they were simply too many
to ignore. So today I started a new regimen: weekly infusions of
Torisel (Temsirolimus). Like Everolimus, this is a kinase inhibitor.
Allergic reactions are sufficiently common that the infusion starts
with Benedryl, followed by the Torisel; the whole process takes about an hour. Fortunately I had no adverse reactions. In
mid-December I will have more CT scans, without contrast, due to
my allergic reaction.
Is this good news or bad? The October scans showed that the combined
therapy was showing some efficacy (shrinking the tumors), and effective
treatments for late-stage renal cell carcinomas are rare. But if the
treatment made me so sick that I could not function, it is not
worth it and cannot continue, or so is the conclusion of the MSKCC team. This makes sense for now. Treatment is clearly a process
of trial and error, each patient different. The good thing about being at MSKCC is that they
have seen so much and have many options.
My sister Diana and I are flying to California tomorrow for a quick
visit with her daughter, Allison, and her family. Allison is an
oncologist, so I should be in good hands all around. Three-year-old Sean should keep us entertained. Back to NYC on Monday.