In the last post, I talked about the "new" cancer in my hip, and how that signaled the current drug had run its course.
That was before the second opinion.
Earlier this week, M.A. , Jim II (he's finally home from Indy for a few weeks!!!) and I met with an oncologist at the Dana Farber Institute to get some additional perspective on how to best address the recent developments. We expected a biopsy, and a change in treatment.
After reviewing the scans and the history of the cancer, he concluded that while there may be some new cancerous activity, it's advancing very slowly. In the grand scheme, we've taken 50 steps forward since the original diagnosis, and recently, only one step back.
We're still way ahead of the bad guys.
Therefore, stay on the current meds for as long as we can, to buy some time for the development and testing of the next phase chemo drugs. At some point, we'll need to go there. Things are not bad enough at this time, to warrant the move.
We'll go back for scans every two to three months to gauge the growth of the new cancer. We won't move to another drug until we see real measurable growth. This approach, he explained, is very low risk, and puts time on our side.
Or, to bring it back to the bullpen metaphor, the current pitcher still has plenty of pitches left in his arm. There's no statistically valid reason to pull him from the game yet. We'll watch him closely, and pull him when he's closer to getting into real trouble. For now, let's let him stay on the mound, because we have a solid lead.
And that's the big picture that really matters.
(This is a guest post by my daughter, Shea Watson)
In January 2015, the best guy I know was diagnosed with Stage IV non-small cell lung cancer. None of us knew what to make of it-- we just knew it really, really sucked. When you're told the healthiest person you know has cancer, it comes as a complete shock.
Growing up, I watched my dad run road races, swim the Peaks-to-Portland, and complete triathlons. Anyone who knows my dad knows that physical fitness is a major part of his life. Unfortunately, it was clear it would not be a major part of his life in the months following his diagnosis. I realized that the best way for me to support my dad would be to participate in one of his favorite activities, all the while raising money to benefit cancer research. So (in a move that shocked literally everybody I know) I registered for the Tri For a Cure and vowed I'd be able to complete all three legs of the race after a few months of training.
While my dad may be incredibly devoted to fitness and exercise, my interests in early 2015 were skewed towards bingewatching Netflix and eating an entire pint of ice cream in one sitting (full disclosure: these continue to be two of my preferred activities). Training for the Tri totally changed my lifestyle. I took full advantage of West Hartford's New York Sports Club by swimming laps each night and becoming a cultish-spin-class-regular each morning. I even tried to force myself to run a few times, which was slightly less than successfull. But to be fair, when I was 16 I ran a full 10K and promised myself I'd never run more than a mile ever again-- a promise I kept until July 26, 2015. My new outlook on exercise and the bond that grew between my dad and I because of it are nothing short of incredible. My first Tri instilled a positive attitude towards exercise (except running...still hate that) that has grown in me ever since.
And while those personal changes were fantastic, it was the sense of being part of something so much bigger than myself, so much more important than anything I've been a part of that truly made my first Tri For a Cure such a wonderful experience. The women that participate, the volunteers, the directors, the families and friends that show up and cheer even in the downpour are who make the Tri so amazing. There is no other event fueled by such motivation and ambition; it's one of a kind. After that first Tri, I told my dad I was going to participate every year until we find a cure to cancer. It's a promise I intend to keep.
My dad has defied the odds. As much as I'd love to say it's his fantastic genes (that he passed along to me...thanks dad!!) that are the reason he still maintains a normal life two-years into his diagnosis, they're not. No, what has given my dad the ability to fight this demon with the tenacity and vigor that he has are the incredible and miraculous drugs that are the result of cancer research. Quite literally, this continued research has saved my dad's life. And all proceeds fundraised through the Tri go directly to this essential research.
This year I'm setting my fundraising goal at $3,000: the number that will make my total combined fundraising for Maine
Cancer Foundation $10K, which is fitting because it's also the 10th anniversary of the Tri and my 3rd year participating. Cancer is everywhere. Cancer impacts everyone. Cancer is cruel. Cancer sucks. And far too many people get this diagnosis.
Thank you to those who have donated in the past two years, I'm so grateful for the support. Thank you in advance to anyone who chooses to donate in honor or memory of someone you love, someone you've lost, someone who continues to fight, or yourself. I "Tri" for my dad, the parents he lost to cancer, all the amazing people I know who have beat cancer, all the amazing people I know who continue to battle cancer, and all the people in my life who have lost a loved one to cancer. The fight to find a cure for cancer is a fight we should all contribute to.
Love to all of you!