Friday, October 26, 2012

Follow Up

Steve had his first follow up visit with his doctor since starting the Zelboraf (and then having to stop due to the severe side effects).  Steve started the Zelboraf on October 2nd and stopped on October 18th due to high fever, severe pain, chills, etc.  After letting the Zelboraf get out of his system he started feeling much better.  He is still dealing with some pain but it is tolerable in short distances with Celebrex and Tramadol.  We got him temporary handicap placards for our vehicles since he can't really walk very far without being in a lot of pain.  He re-started the Zelboraf on October 24th at 3 pills in the am and 3 pills in the pm- aka 3x3 (he was taking 4 in the am and 4 in the pm - aka 4x4).  At the follow up appointment, Dr. Kim said that Steve looked really good.  He recommended that Steve stay on the 3x3 and if his body tolerates the 3x3 well, he may increase the dosage back up to 4x4 to see if his body learns to tolerate the medicine.  And, if not, he will just go back down. 

The lymph node has shrank significantly.  This is great news, because although it is to be expected to shrink significantly with the Zelboraf treatment; we were not sure that the Zelboraf would work on Steve at all.  The mutation that was studied in the clinical trials was the BRAF V600 mutation.  Although Steve has the BRAF mutation, he has a rarer mutation, the BRAF K601 mutation.  This mutation was not studied in the clinical trials.  So, it was definitely worth a shot to give it a try, but we understood that the Zelboraf might not work on his mutation and we would possibly have to go another route if it did not work. 

Steve will follow back up in 2 weeks just to check in with the doctor to be sure his bloodwork comes back ok.  Then he will have new scans 4 weeks after that.  Ugggg, the waiting is killer!  The plan still stands that if Steve has no new tumors in the next 6 months that he will have his lymph node (and likely some surrounding lymph nodes) removed.

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