October 14, 2005

Hurricane Rita came and left with no damage in the Houston or Dallas areas. However, Hurricane Rita did cause MD Anderson to accept only emergency patients for about 2 weeks. The reason was because so many of their employees had evacuated the Houston area prior to the storm’s expected arrival date. With the evacuation process taking so long – 24 hours to go to Dallas – Many of the Houston residents did not try to return for many days. Two weeks later, all is finally back to normal in Houston.

We had a rescheduled meeting with Dr. Blumenschein on Oct 4. So we drove to Houston on Tuesday Oct 3. Dr. Blumenschein had read Diana’s CT Scan and saw some very small growth in her tumors. Diana has been off of any chemo since early August. Dr. Blumenschein wanted to get Diana back on medication asap. The clinical trial that Diana was approved for and supposed to start earlier was temporarily closed for new patients. One of the people on the clinical trial had had a skin reaction and no new patients would be started until it was determined if the skin reaction was caused by the clinical trial medication. So here we are back to ground zero again with no treatment plan.

After discussing options as well as pros and cons – Diana agreed to start a new Clinical Trial, taking a drug referred to as RAD 001. Diana will be the first patient at MD Anderson to take this new medication. The medication has been given to several patients at both Dana Farber (Boston) and Mayo Clinic (MN) for the past 2-3 months and they have seen great success. The drug is one of the new “Smart Drugs”. Whereas, chemo is very toxic and targets all fast growing cells in one’s body (even good cells like hair cells), this drug is designed to seek out and only attack the cancer cells. It cuts off the blood supply to the cancer cells. The idea is not to eliminate the cancer cells but to prevent them from growing/spreading. Diana takes 2 pills orally each day.

After meeting with Dr. Blumenschein last week and agreeing to start the Clinical Trial, we met with the Research Nurse assigned to this Trial. She informed us that the protocol for this Clinical Trial required that all tests be completed within 2 weeks of starting the Clinical Trial. All of the tests that Diana had done in September were now out of date. So Diana had to do the following tests over again: Blood Tests, X-Ray, EKG, CT Scan and PET Scan. We remained in Houston thru Friday last week to finish the tests. We made arrangements with the nurse to take the new medication home with us – but agreed to not start taking the pills until all of Diana’s tests were reviewed. Once all was approved, the research nurse would call Diana to give her authorization to start the trial.

On Monday Oct 10, Diana was given the green light to start taking the RAD 001 medication. She takes it daily with a low fat breakfast. This medication is much less toxic than chemo and Diana has not had any abnormal reactions so far. All has been going well.

As part of the Clinical Trial, Diana has to be in Houston the next four weeks. We will be leaving each Sunday and spending Monday/Tuesday at MD Anderson to meet with the Research Nurse and do additional tests. On days 8 and 29 of the Clinical Trial Diana will get a PET Scan in addition to her X-rays and blood tests. Once past this initial time frame if all is going well – we will only need to be in Houston once per month for a CT Scan and meetings with Dr. Blumenschein.and the Research Nurse. It will mean about 3 days in Houston per each monthly trip.

Diana has been very active during the past 3 weeks. She been working part time every day we are not in Houston. Our days are active and Diana has resumed most activities except golf. There isn’t sufficient time for golf for either of us in our current situation. The sale of Diana’s company is proceeding well and a closing date of October 19 has been set. For the first time, Diana is actually looking forward to the sale. Once the sale is completed, we can focus our attention on finding a new home in the Houston area. Since we are scheduled to be spending much of future time in Houston, we will have plenty of time to look for the house. All else is well.

Thanks for your support and prayers. They are really appreciated.