[stanford_status] Dec 18, Mon - Chemo today but worrisome labwork

John R Larsen john at larsen-family.us
Mon Dec 18 15:17:01 EST 2006

Hello Everyone,

Stanford is receiving the gemcitabine infusion right now.  The blood 
counts were within acceptable range for that.  The worrisome news 
concerns Stanford's liver function.  Blood chemistry results 
indicate the liver is struggling.  One factor, ammonia, has a normal 
range of 5 to 32.  Stanford's ammonia is at 62, which Dr. O'Shea 
says is probably a large factor in why Stanford is so much more 
tired all the time.  Another factor, albumin, should be in the 3.8 
to 5.6 range.  Stanford's is low at 2.5.  The albumin is tied into 
the swelling.

Dr. O'Shea is very worried, but is still willing to proceed with the 
chemo.  In his opinion, the possible benefits of the chemo still out 
weigh the risks.  Stanford's weakening condition is related to the 
cancer and not the chemo.  The goal of the chemo is to control the 
cancer and start it shrinking so that the remaining liver can 
continue to work.  The big worry is that there isn't enough time for 
enough cycles of gemcitabine to get the cancer in control.  Also, as 
noted in my email of Dec 4th, Dr. O'Shea gives a zero to five 
percent chance of the chemo working at all.  This is based on the 
results of the previous three "cocktails" of chemo drugs that 
Stanford has received since July.

We need to take it a day at a time and a week at a time.  Lab tests 
will be repeated next week.  Dr. O'Shea said the primary goal of 
treatment is to control the pain and make Stanford as comfortable as 
possible.  Next is to continue treatment.  He says results could 
take four or more cycles.  We're only on cycle two.  He observed 
that Stanford is much more tired this week than at last week's 
appointment.  CT scans would be done after 7 or 8 cycles.

Needless to say we're very very concerned.  We continue to pray, and 
hope that it is the Lord's plan that Stanford improve.  It is in His 

Thanks for your continued encouragement, support, and prayers.


John R Larsen <john at larsen-family.us>

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