Sorry for the long break between updates. Brandon decided last week to take a week off. No doctors, no treatments, no labs. Just take a week and see how he felt and how much he could eat. The last chemo treatment really knocked him back, so he needed that break. Avery also came down with a cold last week, so time slipped away while taking care of her, and the week went by without an update.
Brandon has struggled the last couple of weeks, more so than before. He said that everything from getting a glass of water to moving from the bed to the couch has been a chore. We were hopeful for the best but (somewhat) prepared for the worst going into today’s appointment. As much as you think you’re prepared, you’re not. The scan showed that Brandon’s cancer is advancing. There is a spot on his liver now, in addition to the peritoneal wall involvement. A couple of the masses have enlarged enough to cause partial obstructions, and those are causing Brandon’s difficulties with eating and keeping food down. Brandon can still eat, but he has to be careful about what he eats so he can avoid a total obstruction. The doctor didn’t push Brandon to go back on TPN because he is focusing on quality of life, and the TPN wasn’t allowing Brandon the quality of life he wants. He also said there would be no more chemo treatments because the cancer isn’t responding to the chemo anymore, and Brandon has lost enough weight that his body just can’t tolerate a different type of chemo.
There is one last piece of ammunition they may be able to use against Brandon’s cancer. There is an immunotherapy trial for rare cancers. The doctor isn’t sure he can get Brandon into this trial, and he’s not sure that the immunotherapy will help if he does. Brandon’s molecular profile didn’t show any evidence that he would respond well to this therapy, but the doctor said it wouldn’t hurt him, so he has nothing to lose by trying it if he can get approved. It will take at least a couple of weeks to find out if he is accepted, so we have another appointment with the oncologist in two weeks. In the meantime, the palliative care doctor has increased his pain medication dosages and prescribed another medication to help him sleep more soundly and consistently. This medication may also help with his appetite. If Brandon is not approved for the immunotherapy trial, the palliative care doctor will work alongside the oncologist to coordinate his care going forward with a focus on pain management and quality of life.
It takes strength and courage to fight the battle with cancer. It takes even more to admit and accept it when the fight is more than your body can handle.