September 15, 2014

9 Month Health Update

It's been 9 months since my diagnosis and 8 months that I have been on targeted drug therapy for lung cancer. The latest results show that the old nodules remain stable, and my blood work is still awesome. Here's the bad news: the two new nodules they found 2 months ago have grown :(. So we are now at an impasse. These nodules are still too small to detect on a PET scan and too small yet to biopsy successfully. Dr. B. says we should just continue on Iressa and watch and wait. Not liking the idea of watching and waiting, I spoke to my naturopath about my "unconventional" options. After little contemplation, I agreed to start hyperthermia treatments. My first session starts at the end of the month. To keep it simple, the treatment involves a one hour nap on a heated waterbed while radiowaves target and heat up cancer cells to hopefully destroy them. Healthy cells are largely left unaffected.  I will undergo 2-3 treatments per week for a total of 12 treatments. This, of course, is a private service so we pay out of pocket. Hyperthermia treatment for cancer is actually well established in Germany. Some clinical trials have proven this treatment to be quite effective in shrinking tumours while others have found no significant difference in overall survival.  That's likely why it is not readily available in North America. It is almost always done alongside conventional treatments, like chemo or radiation and even targeted drug therapy.  The way I see things, what do I have to lose? Best case scenario, it shrinks the tumours. Worst case scenario, it does nothing (or I get a sunburn) and I lose some vacation money. At least I am forced to take a nice long, warm nap several days a week :). Wish me luck!

By the way, I am happy to report that I ran the entire 5km at the annual Terry Fox Run yesterday. A lady came up to me afterward and asked how I could be breathing so calmly after a run. Well, it was obviously my newly discovered breathing technique! ...Not sure if she knew I had lung cancer. She never did introduce herself. Our Terry Fox group which meets yearly for lunch after participating in this event were super supportive and ran for little old ME.  Thanks guys!!! Totally feeling the love and support :). 

Update October 15, 2014:

This is what the hyperthermia treatment bed looks like. The water pad you see on the arm to the left is placed snugly on my chest (over my lungs). That's how I nap while getting "cooked" by electromagnetic radiation. In addition to hyperthermia, I also opted for simultaneous megadose intravenous vitamin C (50-70 grams per infusion).  Doing both vitamin C and hyperthermia together is thought to be more effective at killing cancer cells. The mechanism of action of both these treatments is based on the differences in cellular function between cancer vs healthy cells. I have now had 6 treatments with no real side effects other than a transient hot or tender spot on my skin and negligible bruising from the i.v.  Symptoms-wise, I feel more energetic, have stopped coughing and can breathe a little easier :). So far so good! 

September 12, 2014

Summer and Snow!... WTF

Wow, it's been awhile. My apologies for the long absence. I was just out enjoying life! 

Summer seems to have come and gone overnight, seriously. We have been dealing with SNOW for the past 3 days here!  Oh the hazards of living near the mountains. On the fun side, Zoey had her first experience with snow and, although reluctant to leave the house at first, she actually was ecstatic to play in it. She was hilarious to watch! On the not-so-fun side, we awoke yesterday to fallen trees and branches strewn along streets and yards throughout the city! The heavy, wet snow was apparently too much for the summer trees. Unfortunately, our backyard was not spared the devastation. Looks like it's Snowtember clean up this weekend:(.

Anyway, back to those distant summer memories in August. We had a fun and eventful August. First was our annual trip to Victoria, BC relaxing and strolling with friends, followed by a week of adventures with visiting family, and I finished the month in Steinbach, Manitoba with my best friend from highschool, living off of her parent's garden (thank you Manitoba mom and dad!). 

Then it was already time for my next set of CT scans! ...And the scanxiety that followed. I thought I was totally fine waiting this time because I still feel well, I added a naturopath (specializing in oncology) and energy healer to my recovery team, and, frankly, I was tired of worrying. Nope, I was just in denial. I was still nervous the day of our follow up visit with Dr. B... That was today. The result in a nutshell: good and bad with a little uncertainty. I know many of you have been wondering about my health since I haven't written in awhile. Sorry, you have to wait one more day for the details. I am meeting with my naturopath tomorrow to discuss some complementary treatment options, after which I will piece together a full report. But know that I am still alive and well ;). 

Wishing you all a healthy, memorable and snow-free last couple of weeks of summer.  Thank you as always for your support, emails, messages, thoughts and prayers. I think of you all often with much love and gratitude.