Wednesday was the big day. Wednesday was the day that our oncologist would tell us what he saw in Monday's PET Scan.
The 3 possibilities:
- The cellular activity on my hip is actively growing cancer cells. They're growing slowly, so we'll continue to take the Alectinib chemotherapy drug to allow the "next" drug time to mature, and gain FDA approval.
- The cancer cells in my hip are growing quickly. This indicates the Alectinib is no longer effective in stopping the cancer growth. It's time to move to a different drug.
- The cellular activity is active scarring over the cancerous areas on the hip. This is a sign of healing; a sign that the Alectinib is still working. So, let's stay the course.
The good guys are winning. The game's far from over, but we can play with a controlled and carefully monitored confidence. That's the upside. And it far outweighs the downside.
(Before reading the section below, please understand that I am grateful for a very positive prognosis. But one thing I've learned as a cancer patient is that it's not exclusively about treating the cancer. You must also treat the quality of life.)
What is the downside? It's "Angry Bones." Not the Angry Bones from the video games, but Angry Bones that prevent me from engaging in most of the physical activity I've been accustomed to. My Angry Bones have resulted from a combination of three factors...
For the past 35 years, I've been running, cycling, running, skiing, running and weightlifting on a set of bones that has since grown tired. Quite frankly, they're beyond tired. They're pissed off. They just haven't said much until now. Or (more likely), they have, but I was too busy thinking about me to hear what my bones were trying to tell me.
I'll be 58 in March. That means my bones will also be 58. And as your bones age, stuff happens to them.
When the lung cancer metastasized to my bones, they naturally weakened. In fact, it was a painful compression factor in my spine that lead us to discovering the cancer.
So, that's the formula for Angry Bones: Over-use + Age + Cancer = Angry Bones. Or, if you're an empirical geek:
Ou + Ag + Cc = AB
My father gave me the gene for Perpetual Pessimism.
The good news is we're staying ahead of the cancer. But being a natural-born pessimist (realist?), I can't allow good news to stand on its own. I must always balance good news with bad news. And the bad news is the Angry Bones.
More about the Angry Bones, and how they'll actually improve life, in the next post. And thanks for reading this far!