It's been just over a two years since Stage 4 Lung Cancer entered our life. And along with that, "Stage 4 Love and Caring" from family and friends.
It's been nearly one year since the cancer spread to areas above the neck (I've never liked using the term "metastasized" because it has too many syllables, and doesn't flow gracefully in most sentences. Besides "spread" communicates the concept just fine.) leaving tumors on my right eye and brain.
It's been six months since we made the move from the effective-yet-fiery ceritinib to soothing-yet-sleep-inducing alectinib. Six months of success - the primary lung tumor is now mostly scar tissue.
But here's the thing about these ALK+ cancer drugs - at some point, your body builds up a resistance, and the drug becomes less effective in staving off the spread of cancer. So to stay ahead of the curve, we undergo scans every four months to analyze the cancer's level of activity. Is it dormant, or has it begun to spread again?
We have two scans scheduled for this week - one for below the neck, and one for above the neck. The results will tell us if we can keep the current pitcher (Alectinib) in the game, or if we need to replace Alectinib with a fresh arm from the bullpen.
Either way, I'm feeling good. M.A. is keeping me healthy, sane and happy. And as I've said before, we have a strong bullpen of cancer drugs to fall back on.
Let's get these scans done, and play on!
(Apologies to Pats fans for my use of a baseball metaphor one week before the Superbowl.)
Having cancer has been pretty easy for the past two months. The new chemo pills have made it that way. No gastro-intestinal infernos, and no inconvenient periods of fasting for a guy who loves eating.
The only issue has been fatigue, and I’ve discovered an excellent cure for that – it’s called sleep:
A minimum of 8 hours each night, and one to two 30-minute naps during the day. Long before I was diagnosed with cancer, M.A. would tell me that I wasn’t getting enough sleep at night – that the human body needed 8 hours. While I listened, I didn’t act on it. I continued with my 6 to 6.5 hours nightly. Getting cancer is an extreme way to learn that your wife was right.
So, yeah – I’ve been feeling pretty good while taking these new drugs. But the unanswered question is “Is the Alectinib working? Is it shrinking the tumor in my lung, and preventing it from growing or metastazing to other parts of my body?”
We’ll find out on Monday – I have an MRI scheduled for above the neck, and a CT scan of my torso. Those scans will tell us what the cancer's been up to, and if the Alectinib treatment is doing more than making life easy and comfortable - is it making life safe?
My take? Come Monday, it’s be alright.