cancer

Update on Treatment

 

Hello All,

I thought I would start things out with a puppy, because puppies are adorable and cute.  In addition I wanted to take a moment and update everyone on what has been going on.  I actually have been holding onto this information for a while as I hate being the bearer of bad news.  So I have been personally dealing with some stuff that I spent the past month or so debating even making public.  While I love being the center of attention, when it is in such a depressing light it is a bummer.  About a month and a half ago, after receiving a CT scan, Clover and I learned that the second line chemotherapy was not working and there has been some progression of the cancer.  As you can imagine this is a pretty shitty situation.  The 1st line of treatment lasted around 6 months before it started to lose its fighting ability and this only worked for a few months.  As lines of treatment fail, our options become more limited.  For what initially looked like a "non-aggressive" cancer, this bad boy seems to be having a field day with my organs. 

I have met with my medical team and they have outlined a new line of treatment.  It will consist of an oral pill that I will take that is believed to help stabilize the cancer, preventing further growth.  Sadly it is not thought to have much effect on decreasing or shrinking the cancer.  We are also looking into other drugs that while not specifically used for my type of cancer could possibly have an effect based on targeting certain mutations seen on a liquid biopsy that was taken a while back.  We are also looking into a procedure that injects chemotherapy to target the liver tumors that have particularly gotten bigger for more focused therapy (More information on that to come).  Other than that we are searching the country for any and all trials that I may be eligible for.

Womp Womp

Cancerversary

Yesterday was my cancerversary, for people that may not be familiar with the term, the event celebrated 1 year of me living with stage IV cancer.  It was something I for the most part had forgotten.  During the whole initial time of being diagnosed I was pretty much in a blur of emotion and depression.  That in addition that I am absolutely horrible with dates made me completely unaware of what was about to happen.  My friend Courtney actually brought it to my attention, asking if I had anything planned.  The way I best handle having this disease is 90% of the time pretending I don’t have it.  It is what allows me to attempt to live my life as normal as possible.

Little did I know that my friends were planning an event to celebrate the occasion and I unknowingly found every possible way to make it as difficult as possible.  With a mix of wanting to work out, stay and work late, go to a work event dinner, and just head home and do nothing I made it difficult for our friends to sway me to come out.  Clover met me at work in an attempt to get me to leave and I then tell people at my job that we would stay for dinner (because free food).  Clover cleverly pulled the wife card stating that she wanted to do something just the two of us since she has been working so much.  A reason I will never argue.  She then mentioned that she accidentally left her stethoscope at The Long Hall (a bar nearby).  We walk in and I quickly mentioned to her about making this quick as my company starts trivia here in a bit and I didn’t want to be around for it.  Then I see a collection of my friends, leaving me confuse.  Maybe they really wanted to win Game of Thrones Trivia and didn’t tell me.  Then I saw lots more faces and realized i had been tricked.  Screams of happy cancerversary were shouted and I was greeted with a cookie shaped like a butt, which was absolutely delicious.  Every day I find myself so thankful for the friends I have in my life that are able to find any reason to celebrate.  This has without question been the longest year of my life and I really cannot fathom what is to come but I hope it involves more butt shipped cookies.

Love you all

Funny side story: I am friends with the owner and the bar staff as this is one of our more popular trivia bars and a lovely place to grab a pint after work.  The waitress came up at the end of the night and congratulated me on my anniversary.  I corrected her by saying cancerversary and then went into a short detail as to what the celebration was really for.  The time it took for her face to drop was priceless.  I followed up by saying my friends have unique ways of finding the best out of the worst.

Finally our friends only came in 2nd at Game of Thrones Trivia. WOMP WOMP

Brave New World

I haven't updated the blog in a little while.  Luckily I have been preoccupied with some amazing events in my life.  I recently tricked Clover into marrying me and enjoyed a fantastic honeymoon in Rome and Athens.  While there will be plenty of time for me to go into details about that, this blog post has more of a solemn tone. 

Prior to the wedding, during my routine doctor visit, they noticed my markers hadjumped up. These markers are used to track how effective the treatment has been at shrinking the cancer cells.  So essentially, the numbers jumping up scared the shit out of us.  We went for a CT scan, and the results showed no tumor growth, however no real shrinking either.  They also noticed a few nodules in the lung about a mm in size, however they were not able to say exactly what it can be, just that it will be watched closely.  The doctors made it seem like everything was okay and going smoothly.  We now know they were being overly optimistic to avoid putting a damper on the upcoming wedding. 

After returning from our honeymoon, I went to see my doctor to get back on track fighting this disease. The tone was more somber as the doctor explained that they decided to take me off chemo temporarily as they prepare me for a second line of treatment. This basically means that I will be receiving another type of chemotherapy infusion in hopes of attacking and continuing to shrink the tumor cells.  I will also be getting a procedure called a liquid biopsy next week in hopes of finding something in the cancer cells that could qualify me for specialized treatments or trial runs. 

This is an extremely scary moment in my life as we return essentially to square one.  We have no idea how effective this new line of treatment will be or if it will even work.  We also have no idea how my body will react to it.  I have been extremely lucky so far having minimal side effects, however a good thing can only last so long. 

I lasted an exceptionally long time on 1st line treatment with almost no side effects.  It gave me a confidence that almost made me feel superhuman.  Cancer was nothing but a minor roadblock in my life, and I was kicking its ass at a speedy rate.  This recent news has taken that away from me.  It has been a gut check of reality that I am dealing with a life-threatening disease that is slowly trying to kill me.  Perhaps it is this perspective that is needed to keep grounded and focused on the fight. 

It is hard to put into words the type of effect this has on a person mentally.  I lived my life always with the glass always half full.  Now, I hit bouts of depression that make me sympathize greatly with the people who suffer from it on a regular basis.  I will try to see the silver lining and say it aloud in hopes that I will believe all that I say but there is a harsh reality that is hard to avoid.  It is hard to see progress or failure in a disease you cannot physically see.  I feel fine for the most part, however every pin and needle, every cramp, every acute pain whether it is real or manifested from my imagination, is thought to be cancer slowly running a destructive train on my organs.  It acts as a constant reminder that there is a problem the world has yet to solve that exists in my body, and my goal is to live long enough to allow someone to find the answer. 

I created this blog to update friends and family of my progress, and the road ahead is sure to have ups and downs, but I know I can beat this.  I hope that these posts can serve as an inspiration for others that may be going through the same thing, that it is okay to have these feelings and fears, but that it is most important to never give up. 

Until next time.