I've been getting lots of questions from family and friends about my treatment plan. I think I have enough information now - after many scans and specialist meetings - to share the plan. There are three components, which I understand are the standard fare for a cancer like this however my doctors tell me that because of my young age and the advanced stage of my cancer they are going to hit me with the most aggressive combination of these treatments
Starting August 14 I'll be doing both radiation and chemotherapy. This is intended to: (1) shrink the primary tumour to make surgery easier; and (2) halt the growth of the small tumours that they found in my liver, before surgery.
All of my treatment is being done at the Macquarie University Private Hospital.
My radiation treatment will last for 5 weeks. I'll just go into the hospital once a day, 5 days a week, for about 40 minutes. The treatment itself is very quick. It's actually pretty amazing. I had to go in yesterday to get small tattoos for the machine lasers to align to every time I visit.
My chemotherapy is going to be "very aggressive". My oncologist tells me the combination of drugs I'll be receiving is not that common but they think I can take it because I'm young and otherwise perfectly healthy. I found this super interesting as I had never heard about this before, but apparently we need to designate a bathroom for me because my urine will be so toxic it may cause harm to other family members if they come into contact with it. Crazy right ? For those that are super interested, here is the cocktail I'll be on:
These will be administered via IV every three weeks and daily tablets. I'm not entirely clear on this but I think this first course of chemo will run for 8 weeks. It will need to stop 3 weeks before my 1st surgery to allow my body to purge the chemo drugs to make surgery safer.
After the chemo and radiation treatment I'll go in for the 1st of two surgeries. This first surgery will likely be done laparoscopically to remove the primary tumour in my colon and the surrounding cancerous lympth nodes. They'll then allow me a couple of weeks of recovery time before putting me on another course of chemotherapy, to keep the liver tumours under control. After a decent recovery period, chemo cycle, and 3 week chemo rest, I'll be booked for a liver resection to resect segments 5 & 7. This will likely be followed by more chemo.
As you can see, this entire treatment plan encompassing radiation, chemo and both surgeries will stretch into late 2017 / early 2018.