Tuesday was my consultation at Memorial Sloan Kettering in NYC. The appointment was early so we stayed Monday night at a hotel nearby that offered a discount for patients. My sister was supposed to join us and was unfortunately unable to, but my Mom was able to come instead on our adventure. My Uncle Bob happens to be a retired NYC police officer and excellent city driver. I am grateful to him for door to door service – dropping us at our hotel Monday evening and picking us up at the cancer center Tuesday afternoon!!
My experience at MSK was very positive. Nearly every employee, from the receptionist to the doctor was extremely helpful (I encountered only one cranky person but was able to charm her anyhow). I met with Dr. Tiffany Traina and also her fellow in training, Dr. Jarushka Naidoo. for about and hour and 40 minutes. Both of them were very thorough, both did exams, and answered every question I had. Dr. Naidoo reviewed my cancer history over the last four years in detail, gave her interpretation of my most recent scan results, and made suggestions about treatments they could offer me. She didn’t think that the most recent scans were as bad as they seemed. The scans indicate a liver problem but she thought the floating tumor thing (carcinomatosis) was not at all conclusive since it didn’t indicate specific sizes of tumors like X cm by Y cm. She also though that what was found in the lung was likely irritation from the liver, Afinitor, or the virus I had a few weeks ago. Then I was examined by both doctors and we talked in more detail about my current chemo regimen and future treatments with Dr. Traina. Dr. Train felt that the Taxol/Carbo chemo I’m on is already showing signs that it is working and I should stay on them as long as possible. If they become too toxic for me, I can drop Taxol and keep taking the Carboplatin. I would then be able to use Taxol again later if need be.
In terms of future treatments, Dr. Traina recommended other chemos that were likely to work well for me. She is going to test me for a new hormone receptor called the androgen receptor for which there are hormone injection treatments. Dr. Traina felt my best options would be trials for genetic therapies (matching my Foundation Medicine testing) and immunotherapies. She said there are several I would be eligible for and new ones are added daily. I am in the system now so if I have progression I can contact Dr. Traina and give her my scans and she will check to see which trials are available at that time and get me enrolled quickly. The only downside is that because they are brand new treatments (phase 1 trials) most of them would require weekly visits to NYC.
I’ll write a few more posts this week about details of the possible future treatments, other questions we asked, and treatments they specifically recommended against. I am so glad I came and I feel a huge sense of relief. I got so excited about the possibilities that I started crying happy tears!!