Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Latest on Kay

I'm back to posting on this family blog because once again we have news that we want to get out to friends about Kay's cancer that she and I just don't have the energy to pass on personally to all of our supporters, friends, and loved ones.  You are all in our thoughts and prayers, and we very much need and want your continued prayers for comfort, peace and good response to therapy.
After 8 years and 2+ months of fighting ovarian cancer, incredibly successfully much of the time, the cancer has seemed to enter an accelerated phase where after a 4 1/2 year remission at least 4 different treatment attempts have failed to stop its progression more than transiently.
Kay, Jean and I met with Dr. Elizabeth Swisher today at U. W. and it was not difficult to read her emotions on her face.  Dr. Swisher is usually a bundle of positive energy.  Kay once asked Dr. Swisher if she was her favorite guinea pig, having responded to her expert treatment so successfully. Dr. Swisher responded from her heart, telling Kay that she was one of her favorite people.  Today we could see a hint of sadness, of lack of good news to share, in her face and demeanor.
We have known since the first recurrence of Kay's ovarian cancer that further treatments had the expectation of knocking the cancer back, keeping it from progressing, and buying time hoping for a big breakthrough.  Even during her 4+ year remission following her third round of aggressive chemotherapy no one was bold enough to use the "cure" word. The bad news is that Kay's cancer growth has morphed into a phase where it seems to be relentlessly growing quickly. Kay is feeling more and more symptoms from the cancer, but overall most days remain good enough that she chooses to to accept further anticancer treatment.  That said, realistically we are starting to accept that treatment needs to be focused on reducing her symptoms and giving her as many days as possible where her pain, fatigue and other suffering do not outweigh the joys and happiness of life. Her physicians don't have treatment options with a very high likelihood of shrinking or even halting its growth.
That said Dr. Swisher had good suggestions.  Kay is going to try another course of chemotherapy, using a lower dose of Taxol weekly, rather than a higher dose every 3 weeks.  This may slow the growth of her tumor, or get it to regress for a while. with less side effects than a higher less frequent dosing regimen.  In addition we are hopeful that it will get rid of the ascites (peritoneal fluid in her abdomen) and pleural effusion (fluid around her lungs) that is causing bloating, abdominal pain, and shortness of breath.  We also have ideas on how to help with her nausea and fatigue, as well as her gastrointestinal difficulties under better control.
What we ask most of all of you is your continued prayers, that you try to be supportive of each other when possible and that you remember that Kay is the same Kay as always, she just has this relentless disease that makes her sick.  She will love phone calls, company and a good laugh, and maybe a good cry occasionally, but just cannot cry with each of you individually.  Kay told me that "our bucket of tears keeps running dry," and it just takes too much energy to be sad with everyone she loves.  Please prayerfully find a  way to treat Kay normally while acknowledging that it is a hard time and that she is not well.
Our love to all of you.

Kay & Ed