And Now I Can Let My Hair Down and Relax

I have been on the same chemo combination for the last 3 years (FOLFIRI) because it has worked. Why fix it if it ain't broke, and the general idea behind treatment is that you stick with whatever you're doing until it stops working. The main drug, Irinotecan, as continually shrunk my tumors enough to keep them in check.

The 4th version of the 5-FU pump I've had in as many years.
At my last scan, the tumors hadn't grown, but they hadn't exactly shrunk either. This leads me to believe I might have run my course, and it's time to consider something new. My doctor isn't quite as quick to jump on that train, and wants to wait to see what my next scan (November 2nd) shows. I've taken a little Irinotecan break over the last 2 months, primarily because life has been a little hectic with the Get Your Rear in Gear - Twin Cities event (it was last Sunday), so it was all hands on deck - not all hands laying around in bed too sick to work. I've still been getting my 5-FU pump, as I can get hooked up to that and still go about my day (and make my 10,000 Fit Bit steps because I feel normal). I currently have round #66 hooked up to me now.

Back in August, my doctor found a drug trial he thought sounded promising for me. It involved testing my original tumor for a BRAF mutation (only 10-20% of colon cancer tumors have this mutation). The BRAF mutation is associated with melanoma, and from what I gathered from the papers I was given, they are finding some genetic links between colon cancer and melanoma that may make the melanoma drug work with certain colon cancer tumors. As exciting as a drug trial sounds, I wasn't exactly thrilled at the prospect, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. The trial drug would make me lose my hair (which is falling out right now for the 4th anyway), and the trial included a colon cancer drug (Eribtux) which has the wonderful and vanity-pleasing side effect of a rash on parts of your body that are highly visible. What vain girl like myself wouldn't want to be bald and adult acne all over her face, head, chest, and back?

I found out yesterday that I do not have this BRAF mutation, and therefore do not qualify for the trial. A slight sigh of relief on the part of my vanity. May I enjoy my unblemished skin for now.

So for now it's the same ol' same ol', and I will admit that I'm not all that disappointed in my hair falling out again. I was frankly shocked that it grew back in while actively on Irinotecan. But as with the first 2 times it fell out, it's a gradual shedding - none of this falling out in chucks in the shower like it did the 3rd time. So I'll let it take its time, and help it along the way with some daily combing. I'm glad to see the curly coarse hair fall into the sink, and I find them somewhat fascinating to look at - in all their curly coarseness (#straighthairproblems). May my hair follicles resume their straight hair growing ways for this straight-haired girl who has no clue how to handle the hot mess of hair that I've had all summer. 


Anonymous said...

so far there are not really any drugs that effectively target BRAF. Having the mutation in colon cancer, however, is a bad prognostic factor overall!

So it is probably good news that you don't have the mutation!

savvyskingirl said...

wow friend, God gave you an extra dose of moxie for sure! I know we never really know what we're made of till the chips are down but dang you're strong! I will continue praying for a full recovery, and in the midst of the trial, more of that 'thang' that you already have ;)
I'm leaving for Dubai on November 7th for who knows how long. Let's dream for a minute and imagine you and the boys visiting 'Dubailand' and crashing in our one bedroom flat. Anytime girl, just give me um, 2 minutes notice. Love ya, Kristina H

Sarah DeBord said...

Tempting Kristina! I haven't decided what international adventures I'm taking Merrick on next year. He, of course, can't want to go diving in Cayman with Auntie Lisa again. He has also requested I take him to London since I didn't take him in August. But first, he and I are off to LA for Thanksgiving again. Maybe I can talk Lisa into a Dubai trip?