Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Endocrine check-up

( pic from: )

Can I start off with an AMEN!?!?!

I love me some Dr. Habra!!  He is an amazing doctor!!

His first comment to Albert was..."You look great".  He stated that compared to the last time we saw him, last summer, Albert was looking tired and haggard, but this time, he looked sooo much better.

Think about it!  How many doctors would remember how you looked 9 months ago?

Albert was very impressed and happy to know that this doctor took that much time to review his previous notes and jot down enough detail in his notes in the first place!  MD Anderson does a great job of acquiring superb doctors/nurses/staff.

All in all, the preliminary lab results showed that everything was looking great and the doctor was pleased with Bert's progress.  More detailed lab results would be available after the visit AND the bone density scan was also scheduled for after, but Dr. Habra was very happy with Albert's overall status.  If anything of significance comes from those data, we would be hearing from him, but then again, we always get the actual written reports from every procedure.

It was a quick, but very pleasant and positive appointment.

We are so lucky to be in such a wonderful cancer center.

Thanks for checking on us!


More clinical information:

The Endocrinologist is checking on Albert's MEN-1 disease activity.  Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia, Type-1 is the syndrome that is causing the tumors throughout his hormone system.  

Remember that this syndrome is a very complicated and very rare disease that is inherited.

It has a knack for affecting most patients in the parathyroids, the pancreas, and/or the pituitary gland.

Albert's disease chose to first present in an even rarer spot, his thymus (cancerous: Neuroendocrine Carcinoma).  Additionally, he had more traditional symptoms including: an enlarged parathyroid (non-cancerous: Adenoma) and still has a very small growth on his pituitary gland (non-cancerous: Prolactinoma).

The most effective, least invasive way to keep checking on these tumorous areas is to monitor Bert's hormone levels.  On three month intervals, we are specifically keeping track of his ParaThyroid Hormone (PTH) and Prolactin hormone activity.

Of course, all of his hormone levels are tested, but these hormones are very important indicators for the tumors that are already active in his thymus, parathyroid, and pituitary.  These are what I refer to when I say: disease activity.

And then it gets more complicated!!

The thymus tumor grew into Bert's heart.  So even though the tumor is still there, the radiation and chemo knocked out the cancer last summer, hopefully forever  (his primary oncologist checks on this one today).

One parathyroid has already been removed, but he still has 3 more.  When these are producing too much PTH, they also trigger his bones to release more calcium than they should.  The calcium leaks out of the bones and into his blood and eventually out his urine.  The problem with that is that our bones need their calcium!!

Yay!  Albert's blood calcium was at the high end of normal.  BUT it was still normal!  On its own, without medication.  YAY!!

The bone density scan yesterday will let us know if his spine (osteopenia) and hips (osteperosis) are improving/staying the same/deteriorating.  We will get those results in the next few days.

The PTH results should also be in today, but weren't available for the actual doctor visit.

In addition to checking his prolactin, they also check Bert's testosterone levels.  When the prolactin shoots up, the testosterone tends to drop.  By checking both hormones, we can keep better track of any problems as early as possible.

Dr. Habra will only scan his pituitary yearly to avoid any potentially harmful effects from too many MRIs. His next scan is already scheduled for September.

You actually made it to the end??!!??  I am very are a SUPER follower!!

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