Friday, December 05, 2008

12/09/08 - Intrathecal Chemotherapy #1

The other day, my flow study was successful. The following day, Thursday 12/04/08, I had my first of ten doses of intrathecal chemotherapy (depocyte). As I mentioned before, intrathecal chemotherapy is administered via my Ommaya Reservoir directly to my cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).

Cleaning the Reservoir area

Since the CSF is in a relatively small area in the brain and spine, some must be drawn out to make room for the chemo drug. The picture below shows this. Another bonus to this techniques is that the extra CSF can be examined for disease spread under a microscope.

Removing some CSF

Admitting the intrathecal chemotherapy is a relatively short process. For one thing, it is a relatively small amount of drug. I will get this dose every two weeks for two months, and then once per month for six months. The drug is supposed to eliminate any cancerous cells in my CSF.

Intrathecal chemotherapy via Ommaya Reservoir

My doctors will decide if the disease has spread outside of my CSF (likely via MRIs), and may also administer traditional chemotherapy along with the intrathecal type.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Mark,

Amazing....absolutely amazing!! I look at (and try to all of your pictures, read your explanations, and sit in amazement!!!!! Utter amazement!!

We are so proud of you and your continued progress of conquering this fight! Keep up your faith, your drive and stamina...your spirit helps not only yourself but is infectious to all of your family and friends.

Hey, you look pretty good too -- still handsome. Hey, it's nothing a Penn State cap can't cover!! By the way....YEAH GATORS!

Keep up the postings....! Tell Laura and Big Monkey hello from all of us, too.

The Gregory Families

12/09/2008 10:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too am amazed that you can look at all of this with such neutrality and clarity. But what is that grin on your face all about?

Uncle Bill

12/11/2008 8:44 AM  
Blogger Mark said...


Don't know... probably because I realized Laura was snapping the shot of my "disinfected" Reservoir, and what I likely looked like.

It really is a good thing that I don't have some unfounded fear of needles, or claustrophobia. That would definitely hamper my treatments...


12/11/2008 10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What I find myself wondering is why they didn't go with this localized, directed treatment first? Might have saved some now-tinged nerve endings, right?! It seems to be much less hard on the patient, and perhaps even more effective.


12/12/2008 12:08 PM  
Blogger Mark said...


Good question. I don't know. Maybe the other treatment type (the first one that didn't work for me) is substantially cheaper... That might explain it. Keyword might. You'd think doctors would have the patient's best interest in mind, but that could easily not be true in today's world. I'm going to try to remember to ask my doctors next Tuesday...


12/12/2008 1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My guess would be that the Ommaya port is not the first approach because it will remain in his head for life. The port in his chest (used for first round of chemotherapy) can be removed when it is no longer needed.

12/12/2008 6:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Both salient points, Mark and Laura, and maybe the answer is some combination of the two. I bet that I can plug that hole up, though, if Mark decides to go that route someday. Grout that puppy up in a jiffy.


12/15/2008 11:40 AM  

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