…and we’re off! Today marked the first day that we officially fought back. My first burst of radiation to my lung. Take that, sucka! No more rope-a-dope. Took all of about ten minutes. And that was long from what I understand. As far as I knew, they just waved a magic wand over me. Didn’t feel a thing. Except them reinforcing the “x marks the spot” areas with a pen. Write-on!
The plan that we are following is the one that I described yesterday: 15 days of lung radiation and 5 days of brain zapping. On the day after April Fool’s day I will begin the Tarceva oral medication that should arrive tomorrow. We’ll sit on that until the radiation therapy is complete. Don’t want to give the Fuzzies everything we’ve got just yet. Need to hold something back and when they are least expecting it – wham, right in the kisser! They won’t know what hit them.
So today was the long (but not really) awaited appointment with the specialist at UCSD. She concurred on the treatment plan but I have to admit there was a bit of waffling. Apparently the radiation and Tarceva have about the same success rate out of the chute but at the time I didn’t know the Tarceva was arriving tomorrow. So initially she thought that if I had the drug already, that she would probably opt for that over the radiation. By the end of our conference she had swung over to the radiation plan that was already in place. But she was to confer with my oncologist so that they were on the same game plan. When I found out the Tarceva was arriving tomorrow, I thought that the plan might change. I hadn’t heard back from my oncologist by late afternoon when I was to go into radiation. About two blocks from the treatment facility, he finally called me on my cell to say that he and the specialist had agreed that moving forward with radiation in both areas was the best course of action. A good thing since I had already made an executive decision in my glowing head that I was going to anyway.
The specialist indicated that there is not a current clinical trial going for my type of cancer but it may open up at the end of this month. And as my wife said, something about the word “trial” brings to mind another pair of words: “guinea pig.” Of course that is not the case but both of us had the same initial reaction. If I get into the trial, I will be in a group where 50% get Tarceva and 50% get Tarceva plus another drug, Avastin, that has shown promise of making Tarceva even more effective. The latter requires a visit about every 3 weeks for a long (30-60 min) intravenous treatment. Yeah, like I need more holes in my arms. 🙂
Of course, doing her proper diligence, the doc had to spell out all of the possible side effects and potential pitfalls to each drug. That probably scares me more than the cancer. Especially the diarrhea part. Come’on! It ain’t enough that I am now lit like a Roman Candle? – I have to worry about wearing Depends too? So if any of you Rotarians see me sitting in the way back at lunch and dash off, you’ll know why (not that you’ll want to). Like I said before, modesty is out the window. And if you see me sporting a really cool rash on my face, that would be a good thing as it usually means the drug is working. But none of this will be until after April 1st. Until then, I’ll just light up the room when I enter…
Some of you have commented on the positive (and even the offbeat humorous) spin I put on this blog. Those of you that I subject to my Christmas Newsletter know I cannot write straight-faced and will recognize my writing style. And as I quoted Lance Armstrong (I know , I know…) the other day at Rotary: “We have two options medically and emotionally: give up or fight like hell.” Well, I choose the latter. And I gotta make some jokes along the journey – ’cause some of it really IS funny. And you wouldn’t want to read it if it was just a clinical rehash. Bah. Boooringgg…! I know I wouldn’t read it.
Business as usual. Day at a time.