October 28, 2015

Another Scan and Another Birthday

I got to celebrate another birthday since my diagnosis! I kept it quiet this year since I've never been one to make a big deal out of any of my birthdays... And the federal election was going on at the time (not quite the same level of drama as American politics but plenty enough for us Canadians!).  I am so much more grateful for each birthday and the opportunity to grow yet another year older. By the way, don't ever tell me you dread getting older because it's an opportunity that some of us may not get to have. Embrace your age! Be grateful for each day, each month, each year that passes you by. Much love and gratitude to my family and friends for all your birthday greetings, wishes, and thoughtful gifts. For future reference, I ask that instead of gifts (for any occasion), please consider donating to a lung cancer program/organization, a reputable cancer research foundation, or any charity of your choice. Thanks so much! 

I haven't given a health update in awhile so this is long overdue. I had my latest CT scan in early October. I get blood tests every 3 weeks before each round of chemo. I completed my 8th chemo treatment, which has been sans carboplatin after round 6, last week. I had a brain MRI around that time too.  CT reports indicate that I am still stable. I used to always want to see tumour shrinkage reported but I've come to understand that being stable is just as good especially if I am pain free and breathing (reasonably) well!  Brain MRI found nothing interesting in my head:). Blood test results continue to improve since I dropped the platinum drug (carboplatin). I still have to deal with nausea and malaise/fever a few days after chemo, and fatigue, which I would now term as chronic since it never actually seems to go away. But I can't complain... Overall, I feel well enough to make travel plans again ;). 

Also, to clarify a question which I have been frequently asked:  When am I done my chemo treatments? Unfortunately, as with the majority of stage IV cancer patients, I will likely be on some form of cancer treatment the rest of my life. That is, I am not done with this particular chemo until it fails--when the scans show progression of the tumours. If that happens, which I hope is not for a very long time, I have to find another line of treatment. There are stories of stage IV cancer survivors out there who manage to achieve complete remission, at least for some time. I hope to be among this group of outliers someday, despite what the odds or statistics say. But, realistically, I am already researching my tentative next line of treatment. Fortunately, a few new, effective treatments for lung cancer are on the horizon. As always, prepare for the worst but hope for the best!

Last but not least, Lung Cancer Awareness Month (LCAM) is here!!! One of my goals this year is to make sure everyone knows that ANYONE WITH LUNGS CAN GET LUNG CANCER. Awareness can save lives! Please start a conversation about lung cancer this month. I'll share some interesting lung cancer facts (aka conversation starters?) in my next blog post. 

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