Those semi-nerds in the audience will recognize those words from the movie Independence Day at the tail end of the President’s speech before the big battle. Heck, who knows if they stole it from some other movie. But it’s the quote that counts and I found it to be eminently appropriate. The fact that I’ve watched this movie almost as many times as Groundhog Day means I could have written this without even looking it up.
Today we celebrate our Independence Day.
OK, that was actually the last line in the speech but not only would it have given away the movie title, but it doesn’t necessarily fit. So I will twist it to make it work. How about: my independence from sitting on my butt doing nothing to fry these fuzzies? Close enough.
Today was Day One where we re-initiated the fight. The A-Team (AZD9291) has taken over the battle where Tarceva left off. On a side note, I’d love to thank the anonymous person who was the first to suggest the new name, but whoever you are, thanks. It was the clear consensus winner. The depth of my IP backtracing internet sleuthing skills tells me you are from Texas.
The short version: I passed all of the necessary plethora of tests and this morning, precisely at 8:47am, I switched back to my former persona as a pill popper. Thanks to auto-correct on an e-mail I almost sent to a friend, it tried to change pill popper to pill pooper. That would have had a whole different meaning; and result. But here I am getting ready to down that sucka for the very first time. I am officially, officially, officially, in the trial. I have to admit, yesterday after getting word that I passed the tests, when I came home from work (of course I went), I broke down out of sheer relief. I think that is the first time I allowed myself (not that I had any choice) to shed a few since I dropped a few tears for the opposite reason back in December in my Chi-town meltdown.
OK, I broke my own rules. I started off with the highlights without making you wait for the big stuff at the end. But since quite a few things transpired since my last blog on Saturday, I shall return to the chronological version for those of you who like to read the whole book and not just skip to the end.
Over this past weekend, after my 2nd lung-suck last Friday, I not only didn’t feel better like I did after the first one, but actually felt worse and had developed a fever to boot. Toughed it out until Monday morning and after a few calls, was directed to come back in for yet another X-ray to see how it compared to the one Friday after my procedure. Apparently no change, and perhaps even “a little better” according to the Sharp lung-doc. But in case there was an infection causing the fever, my regular onc-doc prescribed an antibiotic. But having learned to be my own advocate and being ever watchful over my own treatment, I sent over the name of the antibiotic he prescribed for me to the coordinator running my trial over at Moores. You know where this is going, don’t you? That particular medication was on the no-no list for the trial and had I just said duh and taken it without checking, my entry into the trial could have been delayed another two weeks. Moores prescribed an alternative that was OK to take. Lesson to you all: you gotta ask questions and triple check things, especially if you are working with more than one doctor or medical group.
So no formal definitive answer on why my breathing remained difficult other than 2 theories: one, my lung just had not recovered yet from last Fridays lung-suck or two, it was now the progressing (hate that word) cancer causing the discomfort. The fever had disappeared by Monday in any case.
Tuesday was my all-dayer at Moores Cancer Center. 7:15am arrival, 6:30pm departure. In between I had a total of 7 EKG’s, one every two hours, all required by the clinical trial. Passed with flying colors. Or at least there were lots of squiggles on the printout each time.
Yesterday I went downtown for another EKG and a echocardiogram. Never had one of those. I’d like to say I never want to have another, but I know there are more in my future. For those that are not sure how an echocardiogram works, and I was one of them, picture the sonogram used by OB-docs on a pregnant patient. Sounds calm and innocent enough, right? Only instead of gently rolling the stylus over my belly, it was mashed into my upper ribcage for over 45 minutes. In this case picture a knuckle noogie of grand, and lengthy, proportions. But this was my last test before formally beginning my trial so I sucked it up.
So that led us to this morning and the first of my daily pill popping (not pooping). But today was a bit shorter, having ended at 5pm. However, instead of just another EKG every two hours, added to it were blood draws each time as well. Luckily they set up an IV port so they didn’t have to stick me each time. Unfortunately it took two tries. Eh, small stuff and I’ve been poked so much in the past week, no big deal. And they are simply wonderful over there at UCSD Moores Cancer Center. Looking very forward to working with them. So a 2-hour appointment once a week for the next 3 weeks, and then it goes to every 3 weeks. My first scan will be in 6 weeks. I just know it will show fuzzies on the run.
Totally unrelated but part of my business as usual, many of you know that I volunteer weekly doing science experiments at a first grade class. I’ve missed a few sessions so when I got back, the teacher had had her students all write me get-well cards. I had to include one to end my blog. Awww….
So today begins a new chapter in my journey. I should say our journey since you are all coming along for the ride, right? I’ll try and make sure to keep the stomach churning roller coaster dips to a minimum.
Business as usual. Day at a time.