Happy: A Quest for Life After Death

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Sequel

February 2006
After the surgery, Mat's oncologist, Dr. David Ryan at Massachusetts General Hospital, started him on a schedule of regular follow-up tests. In early February 2006 we learned that the cancer had resurfaced, this time in his liver. The devastating news was that with 10-12 tumors spread through both lobes of Mat's liver, the cancer appeared to be inoperable.

Dr. Ryan is a nice man with a lovely wife (I've heard) and four children. Here's a link to a webpage with Dr. Ryan's (unflattering) picture and resume:
http://www.mgh.harvard.edu/cancer/locator/search_clinician.asp?id=213

The Drugs - April 2006
Mat first tried a combination of Temodar, a chemotherapy drug, and Avastin, a cutting-edge therapy designed to approved therapy designed to inhibit angiogenesis, the process by which new blood vessels develop and carry vital nutrients to a tumor. He received infusions of Avastin at MGH every two weeks, and tolerated the treatment well. Mat was occasionally tired, but kept up almost full-time with work. His nausea was pretty well managed with medication.

New Drugs - June 2006
The Temodar and Avastin didn't work -- after eight weeks of treatment, the cancer had grown substantially. In late June, Mat started on an older chemotherapy combination of Streptozocin and Adriamycin, which sucked. Mat had daily infusions for a week that made him very tired and, about a week later, made his hair fall out. As an amusing follow-up to the week of infusions, Mat was hospitalized for pneumonia on July 4. In the middle of the night, of course.

Mat was scheduled for infusions every three weeks, but Dr. Ryan had him skip Cycle 2 because his white blood cell count was too low.

No comments: