Chest and abdomen scans, brain MRI, and blood work all look good! Wow, that means the cancer that is there is stable and the drug isn’t messing with my body badly enough to need to make changes. Now, unless I become symptomatic, we can breathe a sigh of relief for another nine weeks. That takes us through the holidays all the way to my third cancerversary! Yup, three years since the big blindside. Three years of figuring out how to live well with metastatic lung cancer. Three years of living!
Below: February 2016 and May 2016 after two months on my first targeted therapy, crizotinib.
Yesterday at 3:30 a.m. we left home to drive to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute for the above tests and an appointment with my oncologist and clinical trial nurse. Big traffic jam getting in, but 6 hours later we arrived, parked, made our way to Dana L2 (I think). I got my beverage of the day in prep for the scans. Then blood draw (extra for the study) and IV in for scans. Scans done and in for brain MRI. Ear plugs, bean bags around my head, hockey mask on, and slide in for a noisy, long nap. Did I say it was long? Oh yeah, I did. IV out. Then back to Yawkey and up to 3 for a very quick cafeteria lunch, and on to the 10th floor. Vitals done (anyone wonder why the blood pressure might be up), EKG, and off we go to the patient room. Whew! In comes a fellow (yes, a fellow fellow) and the nicest trial nurse you can imagine. Dr. ? (the fellow) told us the scans looked good and that Dr. J, my oncologist was waiting for the results of the MRI and would be in shortly. We talked about my neuropathy, and my theory that the tendon inflammation I have (hands and feet) is related. No one can explain it to me, still. After listening to my heart and breathing (all good!), the fellow left, we talked with Nurse D, and then soon the Fellow and Dr. J were back. The brain MRI looked stable too. So, good news all around.
Dr. J suggested I might want to reduce my dosage again to see if that helped with the neuropathy. Early on in the trial we reduced the lorlatinib from 100mg to 75mg for that reason. I said, “No thanks, I don’t want that nasty beast back in my brain.” (Not that it is totally out.) We talked about it a bit more, and Dr. J said, “So you can live with it this way?” And of course I replied, “You used the key word there. I choose to live. I’d rather not take a chance on it now.” And so, I remain at 75mg.
Finally it was off to floor 2 to wait for the cancer fighter, our Lady Lorlatinib. I imagine her dressed in white this day for Lung cancer Awareness month, riding from the heavens on Pegasus. She is a powerful ROS1 cancer fighting targeted therapy drug – that I know. Whenever I feel her working in my brain, I am grateful. Grateful to ALL that make it possible for me to live.
When everything was done, it was only 2:45 p.m. We find the car in P5 and head to Seabrook (much cheaper place to stay), an hour away. In good traffic that is. Two hours for us yesterday… Dinner and off to sleep. Up at 5:00 a.m., a stop for breakfast, and home before 10:00 a.m. A whirlwind 30 hours! For both of us – thank you Dan.
And now here I am on the couch with the dachshunds, bird feeders filled! Finding joy in the everyday every day.
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