Thursday, December 17, 2009

Calling off treatment

After just four treatments, my oncology doctor has yanked me off the drug Erbitux.

I had been counting on Erbitux to succeed where radiation and chemotherapy had failed, but toward the end of Wednesday's treatment in the oncology department, Dr. B2 told me that it's not producing the results we need in order to knock cancer out of my system.

Erbitux never really looked promising to Dr. B2, but he thought it was worth a shot. At this point, he said to me on Wednesday, continuing with treatments probably would do more harm than good. I didn't press him on that point, although in hindsight I wish I had.

Dr. B2 said that he was handing me off to the hospice program, and I'm waiting for a call from hospice now.

A lot of "what if" scenarios have been piling up in my head lately and airing those concerns with a social worker seemed the best thing to do. A friend called the Social Work Department on my behalf, and facilitated a visit from one of the staff during Wednesday's Erbitux infusion.

At the head of my list of concerns is what to do about an advance health care directive. Up till now, making decisions about my health care has been my responsibility, but I need to think about what I want to happen if I'm not able to make decisions on my own. The social worker gave me all of the information and legal forms to complete.

She also gave me the Department of Motor Vehicles application for handicapped parking privileges. As hard as it is for me to admit, I can really use a handicapped parking placard; it's not uncommon for me to get winded after walking from one room of my apartment to another.

I wish I could post happier news on this blog today —after all, 'tis not the season for tidings of gloom.

All I can say is no one knows what will happen next.

Stay tuned.


  1. I am sorry to hear this, but don't be giving up! Using a sports analogy, there have been many a football game where one team was losing by a bunch and came back to win it. It is not the team with the most talent that wins ... it is the team with the most HEART. In that league ... you are a SUPERSTAR.

    Love ya

    Mike (the brother)

  2. Thinking of you ... my heart goes out to you.

  3. I with Mike on this one Paul... your HEART has more strength and drive than anyone else that I know. You are my HERO.

    Lots of love,