Below is a photo taken a couple of days ago of Steven Adams, a seven-foot tall ex-rugby player turned NBA center, kissing the court after he was just kicked in the gonads.
I know how Mr. Adams feels. After a declining CEA cancer marker two weeks ago brought calls for celebration, today Lee and I met with Dr. P to go over yesterday’s PET/CT scan. Apparently my lung tumors have been having a party. They are fat and happy and continuing to grow. We also discovered that the high temperature that inspired another trip to the ER about 10 days ago, with an ongoing low grade fever, is most likely caused by those same frisky lung tumors. So after just four sessions of the second line chemo drugs, we say bye bye and thanks for nothing. Fortunately, my liver is still behaving itself with no significant changes. What a nice liver I have. I’ll treat it to something very tasty to process this evening.
So no chemo for me today, as Dr. P needs to get approval from the insurance company before proceeding to the third line of chemo treatment. The next drug is TAS-102 (Lonsurf). It was just approved by the FDA for colon cancer last year, but only for those not responding to the other array of drugs. So it’s still all sparkly, new, and VERY expensive. Dr. P told us that the FDA approval of TAS-102 was unusually fast. Interestingly, since the guy in charge of these approvals lost his wife to ovarian cancer a year ago, there has been a much speedier process at the FDA. Maybe he has a better understanding of how life and death and time work. Also, President Obama and VP Biden have been pushing agencies and drug companies to cooperate to move the ball forward faster. For Stage IV cancer patients, time is not our friend. I’m glad to see some progress and cooperation to speed things along.
Lee has decided to rename this drug the Tasmanian Devil as it whirls around my lungs and liver chewing up tumors!
There is a big plus with the TAS-102 regimen, NO infusions. That means I won’t be spending the better part of a day in the chemo suite every other week. All Jimmy has to do is take a pill Monday thru Friday for two weeks, then nothing for the next two weeeks! Maybe I can catch up on my paintings. Of course there are the usual array of side effects with TAS-102. The big one is a hard hit on the immune system, transfusions are not uncommon with TAS-102. So it’s lining up to be the battle of the Giants. My super “Go Ducks” immune system vs. the TAS-102 collateral damage assault.
For those who are wondering what comes next if the Tasmanian devil drug is ineffective, the situation is as follows: I will either participate in a clinical trial or go on hospice. There is no viable fourth line treatment for me. Yup, that’s the low blow I was talking about. There is no sugar-coating the fact the clock is ticking, but as usual, we take it one day at a time around here and enjoy life as much as we can.
I have been catching up a bit on my paintings, but still lots to do.