The Doctors chose to treat Brian very aggressively due to his age and overall good health. The idea was to give him more time. They started him with high dose radiation on a Tomotherapy unit and two different chemos, Xeloda and Oxiliplatin. This lasted for six weeks. Brian started taking Glyconutrients after he completed radiation. Four weeks later we had the first CT scan, which showed tumor shrinkage and no metastatic disease. The tumor still involved the veins and artery, so it still was not considered operable. His CA 19-9 was down to 447! Brian then started on GTX for three cycles. Another CT scan was done which showed more shrinkage. It was still considered inoperable. His CA 19-9 was down to 119! Back on GTX for two more cycles. The next scan showed no shrinkage, so we were very surprised when our oncologist started talking about surgery! The next two weeks went very quickly. We met with the surgeon, who told us that because it was eight months post diagnosis, the chances of her finding metastatic disease were very high. She also said that she would not be sure if she could complete the surgery due to the vein and artery involvement, but that because of the situation “heroic measures” were called for.
Surgery was scheduled for November 2, 2006. The surgeon found no metastatic disease, and when she got to the tumor she found that the vessels were surrounded by scar tissue, not cancer. There was no need to resect any of the vessels. She kept finding spots that she was sure were cancerous, but every biopsy she sent to pathology came back as non-cancerous. The surgeon was able to do a standard Whipple. The best news came a few days later, when we were told that no cancer could be found in the tissues that were removed. Clean margins, no lymph involvement, and no cancer in the tumor.
I wore a pin the day of the surgery that said: Never give up. This may be your moment for a miracle. And it was.