“It’s like déjà vu all over again.” Yogi Berra.
Hi friends. Steve here with some sad news to report. For the past two weeks, Gabrielle has been having some stomach and GI issues, which we initially attributed to a little overindulgence at a wonderful weekend beach getaway to Long Beach (aside: thanks so much to Elliott for the loan of his wonderful digs down there…I think I remembered to water the cat and put the house plants out, or was it the other way around??). Anyhow, back to my story. The drive home was associated with nausea, abdominal pain and then a fever. Gabrielle wisely high-tailed it to Dr. M. as soon as she got back. She met with both Dr. M and her fellow (kind of like very advanced resident, uber smart). They were sufficiently concerned that they repeated the CA-125 and ordered a CT scan of her abdomen for a week later (today). The CA-125 had risen by 3 points—still well within the normal range, but it was still a matter of concern. In the intervening time frame, Gabrielle continued to improve but still had some stomach upset, and not much of an appetite.
The CT scan went smoothly and an hour later we met with Dr. M. She came in and simply said that the result was “not what she had hoped for”, that the cancer was back. Before anything else, she stood up and gave Gabrielle a gigantic bear hug (then me too). She then went on to explain, that there was one spot on the liver along with some lymph nodes which showed obvious involvement near the pancreas. She said that surgical resection was not an option as some of the lymph nodes were not accessible and the recommended treatment at this time is more chemotherapy (aaarrrggggh!). So Gabrielle starts in again tomorrow with a triple dose of medication. There was some initial talk of signing her up for a trial with a “cancer vaccine” as well which is part of a study to see if the host’s immune system can be stimulated to recognize the cancer cells as foreign and attack them. She quickly found that she was ineligible due to the fact that she also has lupus and is on steroids which would counter the vaccine.
Daniel cut out of class, broke all the speed limits on his race to the hospital. Renee, likewise, bowed out of her work and I cut my schedule short this afternoon as well. So we’re all just hanging out at home with one another, trying to get over the shock and numbness of it all. Dr. M. worked hard on maintaining hope amidst all of this, and we are all trying to do so as well.
So that’s it in a nutshell. More cancer, more treatment. We are still not sure of the long-term plan. Initial goal is to have three cycles of treatment (I forget the exact drugs she’ll get, but tomorrow will be the worst of the three). Will re-assess after two cycles, I believe. Renee and Daniel are both going to go to her initial chemo session tomorrow. After that, we aren’t sure. Renee is thinking she can change her days off to Fridays such that she can take Gabrielle, but expresses some nervousness over needing to match wits with Gabrielle at Scrabble. She forgets that the Benadryl pre-chemo ought to give her a decided advantage.
We have appreciated all of your kind words and prayers, cards, etc. Today alone, I have gotten several hugs, many kind wishes and they go a long way. At this point, am not sure what sort of help we’ll be asking for in the future. We may try and bum a meal from time to time, but not quite yet. I am pretty handy with the grill and we are planning on fresh halibut tonight. If my luck holds, I may even just beat Gabrielle at Scrabble after dinner.
We will definitely keep you posted as we move forward. After all, you are all part of our rope team and are a key element in this…our very own “12th man”, to borrow a Seahawk analogy. And since I started with a Yogi Berra quote, I may as well end with one as well: “It ain’t over till it’s over.”