It's been slightly over two months since I've written anything here. I'll blame the lack of writing on an excess of traveling, combined with the purchase and move to a new home.
Travel to Atlanta, New York, Indianapolis, London, San Francisco, Paris, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco (again) and Richmond, Virginia. I'm sure I've forgotten a few places, because I've become very adept at forgetfulness. I'm not sure if that's a natural talent, or if I've acquired it through deliberate practice.
Now, you'd think that traveling provides plenty of opportunity to write, inspired by new sights and experiences. The perfect storm, right? Well, it turns out that another skill I'm mastering is getting tired when I should get inspired.
Actually, the fatigue is side effect number one of the daily 1,200mg dose of Alectinib chemo med. And the travel exacerbates the fatigue.
That's it for travel. Now, let's move onto the new home in Portland, Maine.
Why the move? M.A. and I wanted to experience more of Portland (dinner, coffee, museums, Back Cove, and did I mention Brewpubs?) from our doorstep. The location of the house lets us do those things, and more.
But "buying a house" isn't like buying a car. Once you've received the keys, it's no where near ready to show it off. There's no new car smell. Instead, there's the smell of latex paint, and the purging, packing, stacking, boxing and getting everything ready for the movers, who'll arrive next week.
So, yeah - traveling and buying a house (and preparing to move) are my best excuses for not posting anything to this blog for eight weeks.
As for the health, here's what's new:
June's CT scan of my chest showed that the primary tumor in my left lung - once the size of a plumb - continues to look more like a raisin. That's good news. The Alectinib has kept it under control.
And this month's MRI of my brain revealed nothing (go ahead and make a joke - everyone else does.)
But a PET scan revealed new cancerous growth on my left hip. That's a sign that despite the success in the lung, the Alectinib has likely run its course.
The thyrosine kinase inhibitors (the type of chemo drugs I've been taking) lose their effectiveness after a period of use (months or years, depending on the circumstances). And when that happens, you need to move to the next drug in the series. That next drug is Pfizer's "lorlatinib." It's not yet FDA-approved (you can't get it through the normal specialty drug channels). But the good news is the FDA recently granted it "Breakthrough Therapy Designation" which expedites the final testing and review process. So, I'll be able to get it sooner, rather than later.
To translate all this into the language of an American Summer (a.k.a. Baseball)
The current relief pitcher (Alectinib) has thrown several innings of scoreless baseball - in fact, Alectinib has not allowed a base runner (cancerous growth) until now. And it's only a single, and the runner on first base is no speedster (the cancer on this hip appears to be slow-moving). So chances are good that Alectinib will finish the inning without further damage / no runs scored by the Evil Empire.
There's a phenom (Lorlatinib) who's advanced rapidly through the minor league farm system, showing great promise. Management has given the approval to fast-track Lorlatinib to the Major Leagues. Once he arrives, he'll be called in immediately to replace Alectinib, and prevent any further damage.
And when Alectinib walks off the mound, he's sure to receive a standing O.
Nobody said this would be a picnic, but based on my scorecard, we're winning, and still in control.