For those of you familiar with football lingo (my sports-fan daughter being one of them), the title of today’s blog is what’s known as an audible. Or in another use, you could say my son’s rock band is barely audible. But in football, it’s basically changing the play at the line of scrimmage at the last minute. That’s what happened today. So after 11 straight plays (days) of a fullback blast up the middle (lung radiation therapy) that gained no yardage, we are now going into a spread offense (Tarceva). OK, now I’ve even confused myself. Essentially the intent behind the radiation therapy was to shrink the mass in my upper lung that has a vise grip on my esophagus or some other piece of my anatomy down there. No, not that far down. Unfortunately after 11 days, it does not appear the radiation has worked its magic and the partial lung collapse is still fully in place as is the mass.
So, the 1st audible plan was to immediately add the oral medication (Tarceva) to the radiation therapy which was to continue through next Monday. After talking with my doc today, a 2nd audible was called as he felt that discontinuing the radiation was ultimately the best plan of attack since it hasn’t shown any benefit yet and there was some slight concern about having radiation and taking Tarceva at the same time. Plus there was a fear about potentially damaging my lung further with additional radiation that wasn’t benefiting me.
So, essentially, while I graduated from brain radiation school magna cum zappa last week, I flunked out of lung radiation school today and have been kicked off campus. So much for my second diploma. Starting tomorrow I’ll just be a druggie. Speaking of drugs, here is a picture of what a $200 pill looks like.
Amazing. Let’s hope it works like a $200 pill. As you all are aware, I really had very few side effects of the radiation other than a squashed face from the brain radiation birdcage, along with just a little tiredness. But Tarceva comes with its own set of potential side effects. If you unrolled the list of them it would cover the length of your arm. Of course the last possible side effect is that it could kill me. But so could an aspirin. I guess they have to CYA. The most common side effect (30%+ of the patients) is a rash with what may appear like acne if it reaches the face. Apparently this is most often a good sign since it it usually indicates the medicine is working. So the next picture you see of me will hopefully look like my high school sophomore picture, looking a bit like the surface of Mars. The number 2 most common side effect (excuse that pun…not), is diarrhea. I will not be sharing any photos, thank you. Hard to believe that little tiny pill can do all of that and more. You’d think I would have to swallow a pill the size of a suppository. OK Craig, now you are over the line. But I think some of the radiation may have removed what was left of my filters.
So today is really Rx day. Kim’s mom is in the hospital as I type this recovering from hip surgery to replace one of the two that were already replaced some time ago. Apparently she received one of those hips sockets that caused problems from the metal on metal rubbing that created cobalt poisoning in her blood. She’ll have the second one done sometime in the near future. She’s one tough lady.
And Kim was just diagnosed today with a case of shingles (as opposed to cement tiles). So far a light case (so I say), but I’m not the one dealing with it. It can be brought about by additional stress in your life. Stress, what stress? We haven’t had any stress in our household lately.
Beep beep, back up the truck. So back when I was diagnosed with lung cancer as a pretty healthy, non-smoking, 60 year old, the first question out of my mouth was “how the hell did that happen?” Google, my friend and enemy, says that the most common source of lung cancer in non-smokers is from radon poisoning. Radon is a natural occurring gas (other than what our dog produces) that leeches out of the ground. So I bought one of those radon testing kits on-line, set it in our house over the weekend, and just mailed it back for testing. San Diego in general is supposed to be a fairly low-risk area as far as that is concerned. And I certainly hope it comes back in that category. I’d hate to think my whole family has been exposed to that over the years. Just wanna be sure.
Well, tomorrow brings a new phase into this battle. Let’s hope the pill is mightier than the zap.
Business as usual. Day at a time.