Promise in the path ahead!by Kyle & Vanessa on 03/16/13
The last several weeks have been some of the toughest times we've had to endure throughout this journey with cancer so far. Kyle has been declining; his pain has increased (which we didn't think was even possible), he's lost weight, and has less and less energy, which makes it difficult to even get out of bed some days...I can, however always seem to lure him out of bed when a wings or leafs game is on!
We know that Kyle's situation is not good and he needs help right away. We are grateful that Kevin, Kyle's dad is here with us right now and has extended his trip to stay another two weeks while we get Kyle started on his new treatment plan. Some more family will join us next week, which I think will give Kyle a huge boost!
On the flip side, we received some good news earlier in the week. We finally got the results from the chemo sensitivity testing we had done over four weeks ago using the tissue removed from the biopsy of his tumour. The results revealed that Kyle's tumours are 'sensitive' to a few different combinations of chemotherapy drugs. The most sensitive being a combination of gemcitabine + cisplatin...both drugs he has received in the past, but never in combination (he received gemcitabine last year as a single agent and cisplatin when he went through chemo in 2003, but it was given in combination with four other drugs). Apparently the synergy between gem and cisplatin is key, so it is definitely worth a shot!
After consulting with doctors across the globe, including Dr. Bethel (Bahamas) doctors in Toronto, Dr. Rosenberg (Florida) and an oncologist in California, we have decided that the best option for Kyle right now is to start on low dose chemotherapy using these two drugs. We were a bit uneasy about starting treatment here with Dr Bethel, but after much discussion and consideration we all agree that Kyle's in great hands and its safest for him to stay here in the Bahamas right now. He will begin insulin potentiated chemotherapy treatment (IPT) here on Monday.
The reason we have decided to do IPT vs. regular full dose chemotherapy, like he's had in the past, is because Kyle is too weak and 'fragile' as he says to take on full dose chemotherapy right now, considering all of the side effects that come along with this treatment. The benefit of having chemo through IPT is that he has the potential to receive the same benefit from the drugs as full dose chemotherapy, but since he will only be given approx. 10% the usual dose of the drugs, he won't experience the same damaging side effects as he would with full dose. The drugs have the effect of full dose chemotherapy because they are potentiated by a combination of insulin, glucose and other nutritional agents, which target the tumour cells and have no damaging side effects. This is not a new or experimental treatment, in fact it is now being done by more than 600 oncologists in the US today and much more around the world. Another benefit of IPT is that the treatment can be given much more frequently than in regualr chemo doses, because the drugs aren't expected to have much of an impact on Kyle's blood counts. For now, the plan is for him to have one chemo treatment per week and that may increase to two treatments per week, depending on his response and reaction.
I should also mention that interestingly, the chemo sensitivity test results also indicated that Ky is resistant to Votrient, the targeted medication Dr Blackstein prescribed and he's been taking since September. He's now happily discontinued use with Votrient, for good (he hated taking that stuff!). We were pretty sure Votrient wasn't working, but we wanted the confirmation before giving up on it.
So that's pretty much the full update for now. I wish I had better news to pass on, but what I can say forsure is that there is a lot of promise in the path ahead! All of Kyle's doctors agree this is a great and exciting next step for Kyle to take and we're hopeful about the outcome. We are constantly doing the best we can to get Kyle the best treatment and care possible, although at the same time we have to be realistic and consider his energy level and limitations at this time. There is a lot of information coming to us about treatments and doctors far and wide, but especially with Kyle's travel restrictions we have to make good decisions that will conserve his energy so he can stay strong and beat it!!
As Brodie mentioned the other day, we don't believe Kyle's cure will be in one treatment alone, so we will continue to try and hit this thing from as many angles as possible. He will continue with some of the other treatments, which doctors think Kyle is benefiting from such as the vitamin IV infusions and Coley's treatments (when he's feeling strong and brave enough take that beast on!)
We thank you all for your continued love, prayers and support.
Lots of love,