Day 272, Year 11: Back on the Roller Coaster
Date: Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Weather: Sunny Day; 80’s in Boston, 70’s on the Cape
Location: At Home in The Studio #8, Falmouth, MA

Yesterday I wrote that things here were moving right along, but today we are back to the ups and downs of a roller coaster ride. We went to Mass General this morning to meet with Mark’s oncologist to discuss the results of last week’s scan. The report was not positive. The trial drug has been effective in a few specific areas, but Mark’s cancer has become more aggressive in other areas. Dr. Kwak met with the team before we arrived this morning to go over the scan results and the consensus was that the trial should be suspended because it is just not working for Mark. We had read the scan report this weekend and knew that the results were mixed, but I’m not sure that either of us was prepared for today’s news. In the name of science, Mark will undergo biopsies in three different areas (requiring three different specialists) and we will wait for the results of those biopsies before a decision will be made on the next step. Options will be to go back to the first chemo treatment Mark received in 2012, Folfox, or to choose between two different chemo drugs delivered via pills, not infusion. But there is no guarantee than any of these will work. The fourth option would be to stop chemotherapy altogether. Dr. Kwak was clear that we might not gain any information from the biopsies that will help guide the decision, but Mark wants to do this as the information could help the team better understand how his cancer has progressed. And hopefully that can help with future patients. In the next couple of weeks, he will make his decision on next steps by weighing pain versus gain. Not an easy task and not an easy time, but Mark always sees the bright side of everything. When he found out that the trial was ending, he was immediately excited by the idea that he will now be able to eat without being on the strict schedule the trial drug required. One thing is for sure. Mark is going to fight this thing to end with a positive attitude, living life to its fullest as long as he can.