September 11, 2005

We traveled to Houston this past week on Tuesday. Sept. 6 to meet with Dr. Blumenschein on Wednesday Sept 7, Fortunately we had made our reservations with the Marriott earlier. When we arrived the hotel was full of people escaping the Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans. We spoke with several people who did not know the status of their homes. All of the people we spoke with only have the clothes they took with them. Wow, we did not expect to be in the middle of this disaster but we feel for the people.


We both have been very nervous since the biopsy. We did not do as many outside activities during this period. We spent more time at home resting and trying to relax. Not an easy time. Unfortunately, Dr. Blumenschein confirmed that Diana’s liver lesion was malignant. However, he was very optimistic – he told us that her lung was very stable. No signs of any new cancer there. The tumor in her lung was stable. The liver tumor was only 1.2 CM in size and there was only one lesion. He was pleased with Diana’s overall physical condition.Dr. Blumenschein explained the options to treat Diana’s new tumor. He explained again that over time cancer cells tend to build an immunity against a chemo being used – and that is what happened to Diana – her chemo – Alimpta – had done a great job of killing the cancer cells but finally some cancer cells built up an immunity to the Alimpta chemo and spread to her liver. Thus the new lesion on the liver. Dr. Blumenschein stated that we could change to a new chemo type. However, Dr. Blumenschein felt it was time to attack her cancer with new anti cancer drugs.

Dr. Blumenschein spoke to us about a new Clinical Trial that he hoped would open to new patients soon by the beginning of October Diana would meet the requirements and he felt the drugs being used would work well in her system. The new drugs are Tarceva – an approved FDA drug and RID001. Both are pills which will be taken orally Both of these drugs are designed to block tumor growth by targeting protein cells that are present on the surface of the cancer cells. The two drugs work in different ways to achieve their goal. Tarceva is approved for lung cancer treatment. RID001 has not been used for lung cancer treatment previously – it has however been used for other cancers. This is the first time the two drugs will be taken simultaneously by a patient.

Dr. B was very confident Diana could wait until early October to start a new treatment cycle. However, she was not guaranteed to be selected as only 6 new patients were to be selected. The trial is being conducted jointly at MD Anderson and Mayo Clinic. He had already submitted her name before our visit. Dr. B had us meet with the Research Nurse for the Clinical Trial. She explained the Clinical Trial procedures in more detail.

We arrived home late Wednesday night – actually early Thursday AM and received a phone call from the Research Nurse on Friday. The Clinical Nurse called to let us know that Diana had been selected for the clinical trial. She had a tentative schedule that will finalized in the next few days. It was good news. No more chemo and IV transfusions. Chemo is such a difficult treatment for anyone to endure. Now Diana will only have to take some oral pills and there is no nausea associated with them. There are of course possible reactions to the drugs.

Tentatively, Diana is scheduled to start on this new medication the week of Sept 20. We will have to be in Houston at MD Anderson for 2 weeks initially. During this period she will start to take the pills in a controlled manner. They will be monitoring her blood with a sample taken every 3 hours. We will then need to be at MD Anderson one day a week for the next 3 weeks. Once past the initial startup procedure – we will have a monthly visit with Dr. Blumenschein. CT Scans, etc, will be done every 2 months.

We are both pleased that the Clinical Trial opened early and that Diana will be included. At least the uncertainty of Diana’s future treatment has been resolved. The clinical trial is very comforting to Diana. We are anxious to get on with the treatment. Diana is happier when she is getting the treatment. The thought of the cancer cells in her liver without any treatment is a little unnerving to both of us. We will be more relaxed once Diana starts the treatment process.

Prior to this past visit – I had discussed with Diana that we should discuss her blood pressure with Dr. B. Every time we go to MD Anderson – it is very high. We have been taking her blood pressure at home and it seems to have settled in the 130 – 140 range. Higher than it used to be. Anyway, we agreed to discuss her blood pressure with Dr. B.

Anyway – the nurse comes into the room and takes Diana’s blood pressure before we see Dr, Blumenschein – we are all waiting for the blood pressure gauge to “pin the needle” – however, it only measures 126/88. Which is great. It figures, the one time we expected it to be high and it is low.

We relate the info to Dr. B and he says that Diana’s blood pressure has been a little high from the beginning and it is nothing to be worried about. Later Wednesday afternoon – Diana got an IV of Zometa – a Calcium supplement that she usually got as part of her chemo. Since she did not have her last chemo treatment – she didn’t get her Zometa. Dr. B wanted her to have it. We go to that portion of the clinic. A nurse takes her blood pressure again – standard procedure every time you go to a new area in the clinic – Diana was back to 145/94. At least we are not worrying about it as we were before this trip.

We have a week of rest while we prepare for our 2 weeks at MD Anderson. Her blood pressure has been in the 120/130 the past two days – really good.

Diana looks great. She has been coming to work for about 4 hours per day and really active. She is really doing well! And she is helping me get the records in order as we finalize the sale of her Company (unbeknownst to the employees of course.)

Thanks for your continued prayers and support.


September 25, 2005

We traveled to Houston on Monday, September 19. There was a new hurricane – Rita – brewing in the Gulf and headed for Texas. Hurricane Katrina had already hit New Orleans. Our hotel was full of New Orleans people. FEMA had set up a desk work area in the lobby for displaced New Orleans folks that were staying at the hotel. There were kids running all over the place. The Marriott had to close their swimming pool because some kids had dumped soap in it and it had turned to a bubble bath. Fortunately we had a room since all of the Houston hotels were full with people displaced by Katrina. Now we were expecting Rita to hit Texas. It was an uneasy situation in Houston.

Diana had a full schedule of tests and meetings on Tuesday starting at 6:20 AM with a chest x-ray. Next was a CT Scan followed by a meeting with the Research Nurse for the Clinical Trial. After that meeting Diana had an EKG followed by a meeting with Dr. Blumenschein.

All went well except for her blood pressure and the EKG. The EKG printout stated abnormal – what was abnormal we don’t know. Diana was provided with a copy of the EKG to give to Dr. Blumenschein. He told her (and me too) not to worry – all looked fine on the EKG printout to him and to ignore the machines abnormal interpretation. We both felt relieved. Dr. Blumenschein said all was set for Diana to start the Clinical Trial Treatment on Thursday. The fact that Dr. B was going to start the clinical trial on Thursday was extra assurance that there was nothing wrong with the EKG. We left the clinic – had a very late lunch and retired to our hotel to follow the progress of Hurricane Rita.

The next morning, when we woke up at 6:30 AM, we turned on the TV in the hotel room. All that was on TV was information regarding evacuation routes from Houston and school closings for the rest of the week. Hurricane Rita was now pointed at Houston and expected to hit Saturday/Sunday timeframe. Galveston Beach – about 40 miles south of Houston, was in a mandatory evacuation zone. We had a 9:00 am meeting the Research Nurse. At 8 AM I called via telephone to her office to verify our meeting and treatment schedule was still valid. She said all was still a green light. With what had just happened in New Orleans – it felt like Houston was about to go into a panic situation.

We left for the Clinic and our 9 AM Meeting. As soon as we met with the Research Nurse, she told us that they were worried about starting Diana’s treatment on Thursday. Did not want to have the process interrupted by Hurricane Rita. Thus we were going to postpone her first treatment until next Thursday – 9/29. We agreed. She said she would change all the schedules accordingly. We left the clinic and went back to,the hotel to checkout.

We got on infamous Interstate 45 which is the highway that connects Houston & Dallas about 11:30 AM It took us 6 hours to drive home – about an hour longer than normal because of evacuation traffic. However people who left Houston only a couple of hours after we did – took from 12 – 24 hours to make the trip because of the ensuing traffic jam on that highway. Cars were running out of gas. Everyone was trying to leave Houston at the same time. Houston is the fourth largest city in the US so it was a huge number of people trying to evacuate. Traffic jams the likes of which had not been seen in this area occurred. We were very lucky to get out of Houston when we did.

On our ride home Wednesday afternoon – we received a phone call from MD Anderson that all appointments except emergency ones were cancelled for Thursday & Friday. The Clinic was going to be officially closed on those days. Fortunately, we were already on our way home.

We are now home and do not have a schedule for next week. I will get on the telephone on Monday to verify/setup our next weeks’s schedule.

Hurricane Rita eventually veered East and missed the Galveston/Houston area totally. We did not even get any rain or winds in Dallas. Today, Sunday, the sun is shining brightly. The temperature high for the day will be about 95. Another normal day in Dallas. Even though Hurricane Rita did not hit the Houston area, Houston was basically shut down by the fact that so many people evacuated the city. I will try and call MD Anderson on Monday and get a revised schedule for Diana’s treatments.

In the meantime, we have accepted an offer for Diana’s company. The potential buyer is requesting lots of information which I am doing my best to provide. I have been meeting him early in the morning at a Starbucks and giving him the information he has requested. At least I am getting an early start with coffee. We are looking at a closing of mid October. Even Diana is starting to get a little excited about the sale – although she does miss her company. She knows it is what we need to do and will allow us to concentrate on moving. Our next obstacle will be our house once we find a new one in the Houston area. Since we will be spending lots of time in Houston the next couple of weeks for her clinical trial treatment, we should have plenty of time to look for a house.

Thanks for your continuing support and prayers.