295767 tn?1240188314

MD Anderson Update

Hello all! I hope everyone is looking forward to the spring and enjoying a little sunshine. I wanted to post an update since I just got back from MD Anderson. Just to recap, we sat down with my oncologist in Boulder to discuss what would be the next plan of action after finding out I still had active cancer cells around my stomach. My gyn/onc who performed the 2nd look surgery suggested I receive 3-4 more doses of IP chemo which was infused directly into my intestines/stomach. On the contrary, my Boulder oncologist believed this would do nothing but more harm to my kidneys and overall health. He believes these cells were unresponsive to the first line chemo drugs given to me, and that I should receive a different cocktail of chemo for another 6 cycles. Having two conflicting opinions when my life is at risk was very discomforting, so I decided to seek another opinion at the well known cancer facility, MD Anderson in Houston. It was a 4 day event which proved to be educational and revolutionary. At MD Anderson you are assigned an oncologist who best fits your unique case who will be your primary doctor and act as a spokesperson once your case is presented to the team of radiologists, oncologists, residing doc’s and gynecologists. This team of 20 will bounce ideas off one another in a sit-down meeting to try and come up with the best line of therapy for your cancer. Once the meeting was concluded, my oncologist, Dr. Wolf, presented the three options I could choose from. 1) I could do nothing and wait until the cells formed a tumor which eventually it would (her words exactly), 2) I could do one year of chemo which would consist of a different cocktail infused once every 3 weeks, or 3) I could participate in a study for which I qualified for, where a stem cell transplant was performed. I was then told all 20 of the attendees were in favor of the 3rd option. This procedure would involve 3 cycles of the most intense chemo (5 different drugs) you could receive given once per week. Because the chemo is so intense, my stem cells would need to be taken out before the chemo, be harvested, then be re infused back into my body for the making of platelets, red and white cells. The whole process would take a month and a half, all done in Houston, and most of it spent in the hospital. This method has proven to be successful with a 50% complete response rate (no more tumors), and 90% rate at keeping the cancer at bay for a longer remission. The procedure is extremely aggressive, but is my best chance of eradicating the cancer for good. I have decided to go this route and it should be underway once my insurance gives the approval. I look forward to coming back here to report the procedure went well and believe me when I say I WILL be here 50 years from now with beautiful, long hair and a smile. :)
I'm very tired, but I promise to get back to all the personal emails and catch up on the forum in the next few days. You all are in my daily prayers, with love - Deandra
25 Responses
194838 tn?1303428544
Dear Deandra,
just to wish you lots of luck , will be praying for you and  hoping that its not too tough on you as you,ve been through so much .

Very best wishes Angie
329994 tn?1301663248
this sounds like a hard, but good treatment for you and you sound very optimistic, which is wonderful. I will continue to keep you in my prayers and look forward to good news.
Avatar universal
Dear Deandra....You can do it mate :-) ...you have youth onside, and a strong will to get the job done, and be well and happy, and looking forward to a wonderful future with your man.
Wishing you all the best for successful treatment, and looking forward to hearing from you with great news, when it's all done with.....hugs and love...Helen...
Avatar universal
I hope this treatment goes well for you!
408448 tn?1286883821
It is great you were not just offered the same ol' stuff. Something more has to be done. More than most oncologists are doing. It sounds like you have been offered the best option. I wish you well with it. I am happy to read this kind of exciting news. Marie
187666 tn?1331173345
It's so exciting that you have the options to choose from. The 3rd choice does sound exhausting but most promising. Let's hope the insurance company gets on the ball so you can get better sooner. Rest up for now.
135691 tn?1271097123
I KNOW you will beat this disease...you have such a strong will to get passed all this. It's really inspiring :) This sounds like a harsh treatment at first, but with outcomes like the ones you mentioned, how could you not try it? I hope your insurance company doesn't give you any hassles and covers this for you, no questions asked. You have youth on your side, which tips the scales in your favour big time.
Please keep us updated,
love Becky
282804 tn?1236833591
I know I answered this post already (Insert Twilight Zone Music).  I am glad that you have a plan that is different than the ones we usually get.  I have heard a lot about the stem cell thing, but haven't had time to investigate.  It might just be worth a trip to Anderson.  I wonder if Leslee should revisit.  I think she went there once.  Let's just have our sping get together at MD Anderson.  Maybe they will give us a discount rate for having 20 of us there!!
Deandra, I really am happy that you have some positive, aggressive therapy choices. Have you decided what you are going to do?  It kind of sounded like you were going to pick door number 3, but I wasn't sure.
Take care honey.
398758 tn?1248220291
How terrific to get an update, and such hopeful news, too!
MD Anderson has made very significant strides curing reproductive cancers.  I'm glad they gave you choices, and I'm so happy you've decided to have a stem cell transplant. The only cancer patients I've ever known who had a stem cell transplant are all still alive.
I hear that the rough chemo stuff is hard. You won't have much energy.  Tell ya what.  Keep us informed about when this will happen, and we'll send you our income taxes to do.  Don't want you to be bored, y'know!
Great news.  You Go GIRL!!!!
238582 tn?1365210634
Way to go, brave girl!


282804 tn?1236833591
DUH Chemo Brain!! Completely missed the line about you deciding to do it.  Sorry.  Now ya know why I don't post much anymore. LOL
Avatar universal
Hi Deandra,
Well, you brought me to tears today.  You sound so good and positive and I'm glad you have made your decision and feel GOOD about it.  The care at MD sounds wonderful.  You just go and do it all!  We'll be here waiting for you.  

Take care and many hugs,
167426 tn?1254086235
I have read and reread your post several times, it sent me into researching the stem cell treatment again,  I will be talking with Leslee today to see if she wants to try and go to Houston  for an analysis of her situation.  I am not completely sold on going with the Gemzar, Leslee wants to be very agressive while she is still strong enough to tolerate  a harsh regimen,  you call this a study, is this some kind of a trial?  I pulled up the MD Anderson web site on stem cell and they appear to be the leading facility here in the states. I believe that at a certain stages with this disease, the choices that are offered  fit into a curve between pallative to agressive,  If a person waits till their strength is too low to help the treatment work, then failure is more likly to happen.  When that same person is strong, then the body should be able to stand the aggressive  side effects.  I can see there are a  things to work through on this, getting accepted by the center, getting a proper mind set as to what is required to do, insurance ok, relocation and accepting the time necessary to complete the treatment. All of this can be done, and as you say the benefits of it are so good. A 50 to 90% of  success  is a great incentive to work towards.  If Leslee decides to go this route also, I may be thanking you in the future for giving her the best chance to live.  Whatever she decides, I wish you the very best in going ahead with your treatment,  We do have quite a few relatives in the Houston area and surrounding Texas cities, we would not be alone. Marty
229895 tn?1261601948
Dear Deandra

MD Anderson sounds like a terrific facility that gives you a lot of options and allows you to be part of the decision process about the treatment that you are receiving instead of feeling that you are on the oncology treadmill. You have such a fabulous attitude about the whole thing I know you are going to back with us sharing your success story.

Sending you loads of positivie thoughts and hugs


Avatar universal
In your post you sounds just so positive. That positive energy will go a long way to helping you through the agressive chemo. It must be comforting to know the 3 options are what 20 specialists agree and believe are the best options. I assume option 1 was wait for tumours then surgery? Even though option 3 is really intense, 1 month or treatment and getting the potential results you mention sounds so exciting compared to mentally dealing with another 12months of another chemo with all the sideaffects etc that entails or just waiting for things to grow!
Good luck. I'm sure this will work for you. I'm sending you positive vibes and I will be watching out for updates!
Avatar universal
Wow that sounds so hopeful - sending you lots of luck.

A friend with stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma had a stem cell transplant and five years later is still disease free.  :-)
Avatar universal
With such a positive attitude, you are already half way there!  You're going to do this, girl.  It will be  a long haul, but the rewards are well worth the struggle. I am anxious to hear more about this; please continue to keep us posted, and as always I will continue to keep you in my prayers. Sending you love and positive energy as you start on this journey. Love, Judie :)
178345 tn?1242536246
I am so glad you had a positive experience at MD...It sounds like you are definitely making the right choice. I will be praying and praying that this is the golden ticket!!! Please stay strong and take it easy....Love, Gia :)
295767 tn?1240188314
Thank you all for your support and prayers. I will be keeping everyone informed as soon as I know when the treatment will start. Meanwhile, I hope you all are enjoying the weekend.
Marty - I think it would be a GREAT idea to get Leslee back to MD Anderson for another evaluation and some possible ideas for treatment. If she wants to be aggressive, it sounds like she does, this is THE BEST option out there right now. I will give you as much info as possible throughout the process so that you and Leslee can decide if this might be something she wants to participate in.
With love, Deandra
155056 tn?1333638688
Deandra -  Thank you...thank you....thank you....what you are doing and willing to try could be a break through for all OvCa patients.  
I wish you the best of everything as you go through this....I am certain that you already know, you have the biggest support group behind you 100 percent!!!!!  
Thank you for being so brave!!!!
All my love and support,
Avatar universal
Have you explored any complementary approaches such as
macrobiotics or gerson therapy.  My wife is using these approaches.

And I have a relative who had an advanced cancer called retroperitoneal lymphosarcoma and was told he had only a few months to live in 1952. He was 32 then.  Today he is 88.  It took him about 2 years to completely recover using Gerson Therapy.  He consulted with Dr. Max Gerson MD (who died in 1959) and he was too poor to go to Dr. Gerson's Clinic.  He and his wife did everything at home under the good doctors

His case is published in Dr. Gerson's 1958 book called:  A Cancer Therapy
Results of Fifty Cases.   The Gerson Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated
to educating the public about the Gerson Therapy is in San Diego CA and is associated
with a wonderful clinic in Mexico called BajaNutriCare.

I am not saying these things are for you.  I have no idea.  Only you can figure than out.
But I did want to share this hopeful information about my relative who had a big success with the gerson therapy.

BenFranklin (still around, still trying to do some good!)
178783 tn?1197300099

The treatment sounds harsh, but successful.  Here's wishing you all the hope that can be given that this will be your last go around with this beast!

Take Care and God Bless,
272338 tn?1252280404
  It sounds like all went well for you. It is good to know that you were included in making the choice about what is best for you. It sounds as though they are wonderful there. I wish you the very best and hope that this works. I wil anxiousy be watching for your updates. Good luck to you my friend!!!!
                Love Chris
Avatar universal
Wow it sounds like the doctors really know what they're doing and with them all in agreement with option 3 I'm sure you can't go wrong!

This is great news!  I know you will be here in 50 years.....with beautiful long hair and smile :)   after kicking ovca's butt

I hope they are able to work it out with insurance to start soon.

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