Monday, January 12, 2009

Some info for inquiring minds

Brent’s oncologist is Dr. Garth Beinart. He is a great doctor who worked at MD Anderson before coming to Methodist. Brent’s orthopedic surgeons who found the tumor and who will be doing his surgery after the first 6 rounds of chemo are Dr. Rex Marco and Dr. Jerry Buchert. Jerry is Dr. Marco’s PA whom we love. He was the one who broke the news to us, and he was very professional yet personal about it. Dr. Marco specializes in tumors and is supposedly one of the best. He trained at MD Anderson also. We are very grateful for all our wonderful doctors who are helping Brent through this. We talked to many friends and doctors before making a final decision on Brent’s doctors and we are very happy with the choices we have made.

The typical protocol for Ewing’s Sarcoma is called VAI. This stands for the 3 different chemotherapy drugs that are used: Vincristine, Doxorubicin(also known as Adriamycin) and Ifosfamide (also known as Ifex). The Vincristine is only given on Day 1 and only takes about 15-30 minutes to run. Vincristine is light sensitive and has no color. The Adriamycin runs constantly for 3 days straight. Adriamycin is light sensitive also, and is red in color. This medicine causes urine to become orange and can have long term effects on the heart. There is a lifetime max that a patient can receive of this drug because of the heart damage it can cause. Adriamycin can also burn the skin. Ifex is given once a day for 4 days. It runs for 2-3 hours each time. Ifex is not light sensitive and is colorless. This is the most potent drug that Brent is receiving. A medication called Mesna is given in addition to these drugs but is not a chemotherapy drug. Mesna is used to protect the bladder and kidneys from the effects of the Ifex. Brent will be at the hospital for 3-4 days each time. He will have 6 treatments then surgery and then 6 more treatments. The treatments will be 3 weeks apart, just enough time for him to start feeling well before he gets hit with the drugs again.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A third nipple!

I am definitely past due on updates, so there will be a few long posts over the next couple days.

After we found out that Brent had cancer, we went through a few more days of testing, body scans, and consultations. On Thursday the 18th, he had a Power Port put in. The port is implanted into his chest and a catheter is feed into a major artery in the heart. The doctors do this because they don't want to constantly be poking him with needles and also because some chemo meds are so strong that if they went into a vein in his arm, it would deteriorate the vein. Feeding the meds through the artery helps dilute them before they hit the rest of the body.

This is what the power port looks like:

To access the port, they use a thick needle that is inserted into the center of the port. At the end of the needle, there are feed lines that all the chemo medicines and fluids are hooked up to.

This is basically what it looks like in the end when it is accessed.

When it's not accessed, it looks like a third nipple.