May 20, 2015

Second Line Treatment

It's been a harrowing past couple of months. Despite all that we've been through, the roller coaster nature of cancer continues to teach me more lessons. Surrender to uncertainty. Accept what is, forget what could have been. Adversity will not break me but make me stronger. 

Before I say which treatment is next. Let me tell you about the ups and downs of clinical trials. When I was offered a spot on the Phase 1 trial in March, they told me I needed another biopsy--ugh. A few weeks later, after we got hold of the consent forms and read the criteria, we realized they could use archived tissue for testing which meant no need for a re-biopsy-- yay! Again, we waited for results. When it came, we were told there wasn't enough tumour tissue in the sample to properly test for the c-Met mutation, which meant they had to rebiopsy after all-- argh!!! Standing my ground, I reasoned that the mutation was not required since it was a phase 1 trial so why put me through another risky procedure? After a "global discussion", they agreed with me! Yayyy! So I said good bye to my daily Iressa and hoped that I wasn't one of those who would flare up after discontinuing the drug. At first I needed to be off 2 weeks (eek!) then they said 10 days and moved my prescreening tests up a week earlier. When the time finally came (after 2 months of waiting!), I underwent detailed CT scans, gave up a good volume of my blood, and signed forms. That afternoon, all but 3 enzyme tests came back, and all was good so far! They began the detailed symptoms, medication, etc history and told me to return early morning for my first dose! Exciting!!! 4pm, I get another call. One test came back abnormal (oh no!) but they were given permission to retest it the next day (phew). Next morning, the drug company changed their mind and they called me in to break the news. After all the ups and downs we had to endure, to get so close and not be allowed to enrol based on a likely erroneous test, we were devastated. That day, I learned to fully surrender to uncertainty and to the will of the Universe. That belief got me through the trauma and drama of the circumstances, and I actually felt liberated and relieved to know I can move on with chemo.

My oncologist and nurse were very helpful in getting me scheduled for chemo within a week of our call. This was always the plan so we were all prepared to move fast. After friendly bantering, and a lengthy discussion and negotiation on which chemo drugs I should be given, I am set to begin chemo tomorrow (carboplatin and pemetrexed). We spent the weekend enjoying the wonderful weather while gathering supplies and preparing myself and our home for my second line treatment. Thank you to our friends and family for your company, distractions, and support over the past couple of months. It's been quite a ride! But I am ready... Chemo, here I come! 

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