Sitting here in Las Vegas enjoying the reprieve of subarctic temperatures in central Illinois.
Just realized today that I have been out of treatment for my stage 4 bladder cancer for 3 months now. No experimental pills, no Keytruda nothing. Not really sure if my lung tumors are shrinking or growing. Wondering what, or if, I will find another treatment for my cancer or not.
Well I’m due for a CT scan to measure the growth or reduction of my lung tumors. While I have had countless scans this time I am experiencing a little more anxiety than normal. This scan will tell me if my lung tumors are growing or reducing in size from my last scan in November of 2018 Only this time I haven’t had any treatments since the last scan. Anyway it will be what it will be, I’m still a little concerned. I told myself that it was too cold in ‘Bloomington/Normal to return for the scan and I would wait for the weather to improve before scheduling a trip.
This afternoon my phone rang and it was Lydia, a research assistant from my original drug trial at MD Anderson in Texas. Lydia’s research team guided me through my initial targeted dna therapy. After a couple of pleasantries I told Lydia that all traces of the bladder cancer had disappeared extending into the tubes that drain from the kidneys. We also discussed that while the Keytruda had reduced some of the lung tumors, my body then rejected that drug after about seven months, the same timeline as the original experimental pills they had provided. I asked Lydia if they had any other targeted therapy experiments going on. After she said they had several, she mentioned that a few others in my test group also found great success with a second targeted therapy after the initial treatments failed. We decided it would be a good idea to consider a return to MD Anderson for scans and the such to measure everything since the beginning of my journey into this game called cancerland.
This call might be my lifeline, it seems like another door keeps opening at the end of each hallway I’m walking down. Feeling like our Heavenly father has my back. At least I’m praying for that.
Some of my anxiety is coming from watching friends die from this same type of cancer. Not sure why some of us slip by our judgement day while others are taken somewhat quickly. I am glad that I got a little warning of my impending death. Better than going quick in an auto accident or heart attack since I have a little time to tell loved one’s exactly how I feel. Certainly anxious as I approach, what I hope will be, the pearly gates.
I thought of everything I should be grateful for today:
- Waking up this morning feeling better than yesterday.
- My bladder cancer disappeared from my bladder! (grateful everyday)
- Planning a spring trip to Amsterdam for a few weeks in a canal house.
- I can walk and wear shoes again!
- Enjoyed a great visit from my best departed friend Jack Martin’s daughter Amanda and her husband Mark this past weekend.
- Hopefully the negative side-effects of Keytruda therapy, as did Elvis, are themselves “leaving the building.”
- Today’s phone call from the research lab at MD Anderson. (They call every six months to see if you’re expired (dead) yet.) This could be another door opening as the last Keytruda door closed.
Anyway this update brings me up to date. Happy to be able to continue giving a hand-up to those who need it the most.
I’ll be sure to have a great day, week, life with my best friend and wife. I do think she is happy that she no longer has to change the dressing on my feet twice a day as she has for the last couple of months. Here is a picture I snapped on our balcony in Santorini near sunset. I thought she looked angelic, but I might be partial.