Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Back to the gypsy that I was...

So we are back on the chemo pump again. I'm continuing with my naming practice to attempt an amount of befriending in my mind. This one is Jarvis. Too bad it doesn't talk to me.

This makes session two of this third round in a row. However, it does appear that a break from it may very well happen after the end of this round. Which, and this is where the mixed news comes into the picture, will be into August at this point. I received a phone call last week that my radiation oncologist wanted to see me soon. Odd, considering I had no reason to hear from her until my next MRI in July. Turns out that when my case was brought up to the tumor board two weeks ago, they decided that they wanted to address the left secondary metastatic tumor that has increased in uptake and size in the last three months. It could be that this tumor is clone cells and could have already mutated to no longer react to the chemotherapy regimen. However, no tumor can escape the wrath of radiation. We (my medical team and I) have always taken an aggressive tack in regards to my treatment. Being as healthy and young as I was from the beginning of all this, I've been able to handle and bounce back from everything we've thrown at me. So we continue to stay aggressive.

This means that we are going to shoehorn in some radiation in the middle of this chemo round. At first we were only going to radiate the left tumor, but after another meeting we've decided to do two small stereotactic radiation fields on both the primary and the secondary tumors, left and right. Because why not? It will absolutely have an effect and, if we are very lucky, will turn the tumors into scar tissue and no longer metabolically active tumors.

I have already been in for my CT simulation to get my triad of tattooed dots across my chest and to establish my breathing pattern and movement so the radiation fields can be made as small as possible. I'll start the radiation treatment next week. It will be a course of 15 sessions over three weeks time. I'll have to go in every weekday for about 30 minutes or so. Which means I am K'zoo bound for a little while. I will restart the chemo at the very end of June and should finish mid-August. If the PET scan in August shows excellent reaction to these treatments, then we are definitely taking a treatment break for a couple/few months. My guess is that there will be another PET scan three months after the August one, and we will see what activity there is (or isn't, fingers crossed) and make new decisions at that point. Meanwhile I am already making plans for trips to Paris, California, and possibly Italy in the fall and early winter. Exciting times possibly coming up!

Also meanwhile, I'm in the middle of the moving process. My roomie and I have decided that after a fabulous year of living together we are both ready for a change. By the end of this week I will have moved back into Kalamazoo proper with a pair of wonderful new roommates. Everyone all around is excited for the move and the changes. And the first batch of boxes has already been dropped off. Another beautiful new chapter is beginning.

My lovely chemo buddy puzzling
over the puzzles.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Trips and Pets and Weddings, oh my

Happy May to everyone. It's a lovely sunny, warm day here, and as they always do, these days lift my mind and spirit. I've been a very busy girl again lately. Went to spend some time with one of my best gals in Lexington a week and a half ago. Had a great time exploring that lovely city. Spent most of a day taking pictures in the cemetary and also found an amazing resale shop where I picked up more items than planned. Had a perfect couple of nights on the town and another perfectly relaxing one just hanging out together. Then this past weekend, her and I headed to St. Louis to attend the wedding of some good local friends originally from that area. On the way down we stopped to visit some very dear friends that I hadn't seen in ages. A wine-soaked night of catching up ensued.

The wedding was positively wonderful. Everyone was impeccably dressed, though the groom's adoration outshone all else except for the bride's beauty. Rain drove the ceremony inside, but the punctuative nature of the storm was perfect throughout. Starting with the deluge only beginning just as the bride began to walk down the aisle. Apparently, the gods approved. Our table companions were friends and strangers and the conversation flowed easily. The DJ was great and most everyone got their dance on. Just a wonderful time and I was honored to be invited. Drove very close to the arch a couple of times, but otherwise had no time to visit the city proper. We did chat about making a future trip to do so though.

Health front wise: I started my third round of chemotherapy yesterday after getting some very positive results from my latest PET scan. It appears that the primary metastatic lung tumor has reduced uptake from 13.6 down to 7.0! I was hoping that it would be down to the single digits, but this was far more than my cautious optimism expected. If the chemo continues to have this strong of an effect then we may very well be looking at radiation and a treatment break in the fall. My oncologist took my case to the tumor group today and at my next appointment in two weeks we will discuss what they had to suggest. My optimism has been cautious lately, but these latest scan results and the continued work my doctor is doing has my hope outshining the caution again.

So yes, another round of chemo has begun. Still on pump for the first one, but feeling somewhat chipper still. Likely helps that I'm not too far up from an easy afternoon nap. No serious issues with these last few rounds. Long as this good toleration continues, I'm expecting a continued busy and wonderful spring.

I've noticed these last couple of blog posts that it is getting simpler and faster for me to write. I believe much of this has come from my truly being more open and honest about my journey through cancer and the rest of this life. I'm not trying to be entertaining or epiphanize, though that may occasionally accidentally happen. Perhaps if I had more epiphanies then I would be writing more often. Or if I sat still enough in one place. *smirk*  With that said, until the next time I sit my butt down, adios my dear ones.