The updated chart of PSA (click on the thumbnail below) seems to belie the almost certain progress we’ve made since late November. The post-Thanksgiving CT scan and my newly found walking strength is clear evidence that my malignant retroperitoneal nodules are really shrinking .
The chief’s original plan
In late November, at the time of our last post, it appeared my PSA was again increasing rapidly. At the chief’s suggestion, we had planned to switch from Taxotere to Jevtana chemotherapy, as well as perform another biopsy of cancerous tissue in these nodules. It was hoped that Jevtana would turn quickly around the PSA. And, another genetic analysis of the cancer tissue would indicate whether a new drug, Olaparib, could deliver major damage to my remaining cancer cells. We were soon surprised.
First, the local radiologist studying the images from the November 27th CT scan concluded that the retroperitoneal nodules had shrunk too much to safely permit another biopsy in this part of my abdomen so close to a major aorta and my spine. That, of course, we welcomed as good news. But, it also meant that checking the potential effectiveness of the new drug, Olaparib, would have to be determined differently. Next, as noted in the late November post, our local oncologist expressed reservations about switching to Jevtana so quickly. So, I did go back on low-dose chemo on December 7th for the first series of three infusions. To my delight my body did manage to tolerate the old routine very well. We completed the second (and last) series on January 27. The success of this plan B is still somewhat in doubt, as shown on the chart.
Lower back pain link to malignant retroperitoneal nodules
Our suspicions about this link have grown stronger since the late November post.
Looking back at my day-planner I realized that I started pushing my walker for greater distances in late October. The pleasant temperatures we enjoyed in November and December made such walks easy. By mid-December I noticed that my lower back muscles were getting a bit stronger, and my walking was limited only by fatigue. By Christmas-time I was pushing the walker for a mile round trip. Now, with temperatures rarely as high as 50, I’m up for just a half-mile. I haven’t yet tried that trip with just my hiking sticks for balance, but that’s coming soon – maybe when we get to California next week after the SuperBowl.
If all my bone mets are indeed “dormant”, and the Taxotere is chasing down the shrinking nodules, it seems my PSA should really start to fade. Again I hear my ever-present refrain: “the next few months’ blood tests should be very interesting.”