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!