Quite a few things have happened since our last blog post so here’s a quick update:
- Eleni Jr. was in town for about 10 days. We had a really lovely time together, lots of nice moments for our family along with delicious dinners and ice creams. We spent some time looking through old photos, telling stories, and we even made it to Duke gardens one day for a rare non-medical outing.
- We’ve had a few visitors from out of town - Luke came to stay with us for a few days and did a lot of gardening, among other things, and Dan dropped by one evening too. We’ve also had many people bring us dinners and spend time with us in the evenings - thank you so much to all of you!
- Niko started his second cyle of chemotherapy last week. The chemo is VP-16 (etoposide), and it is a 21-day on / 7-day off cycle. So far the side effects haven’t been too bad. Niko has also had two Avastin treatment since our last post, he does the Avastin every two weeks. It’s a 30 minute infusion but by the time you get lab work done, see the PA, get into the infusion room, it’s a good 5 hours at the Duke Cancer Center.
- Several of Niko’s friends from Duke Integrative Medicine have been visiting on a regular basis, and it’s been really nice to spend time with them. Niko’s been getting acupuncture here at home once a week which has been a huge help.
- In caregiver news, I (Kosta) went to part-time hours at my job last week. It’s been a huge relief, I have less stress and am able to spend a lot more quality time with Niko. I’m very lucky and grateful to have such understanding and supportive co-workers.
- Niko restarted physical therapy and we now work for 1 hour every day helping him with range of motion and strength excercises. His left side has been very weak for the last few months, from the tumor and the steroids, so we are doing our best to try and help Niko build up his strength. Sometimes it is amazing to see how much difference the exercise makes from the beginning of a session to the end of one, and from one day to the next. We are hopeful that this will help him regain some of his left side functioning and build up more strength in the rest of his body.
On Monday, Niko will go for an MRI and on Tuesday we’ll find out the results. The last MRI was six weeks ago, so on this scan we should see what impact the 5-FC (clinical trial drug), VP-16, Avastin, and radiation have had on the tumor. We’ll post back next week after we get the results.
Thanks for your support to all of us, the last month has been at times incredibly difficult and we know there are many more challenges ahead of us. We couldn’t do it without you.