A New Day, A New Treatment

Hi -- My name is Jennifer and I have been on the immunotherapy Opdivo for 3 years and 10 months. During this entire time, my tumors have remained stable. STABLE. My favorite word. But it wasn't meant to last. Due to side effects that decided to start, I will be ending my love affair with Opdivo. But what is next?

What comes next?

Truthfully -- we don't know. I am scheduled for my scans (CT of chest and abdomen plus a total Body Bone Scan) this week. My oncologist also sent a liquid blood biopsy to Guardant Health to see if since my diagnosis six years ago I have developed any mutations. Unfortunately, the answer to that question is still NO.

Living in treatment limbo

So now I feel like I am in that holding pattern we were all in during our diagnosis period. I know I have cancer. I know where it is. But we don't know exactly what medication to use to fight it. I continue to remain to have faith that my oncology team will find the best treatment available to me. It will be some type of chemotherapy, we are just not sure which combination.

We have discussed the possibility of going in for another biopsy of the tumor tissue but they are in difficult spots to get to. The reason for the Bone Scan is not because I have had any symptoms but because in a secret place in our hearts, my oncologist and I hope we can find a small bone area with metastasis and can biopsy that area easily. We must find a targeted therapy. Every night I say my prayers and hope that we do.

Grateful for my time on Opdivo

No matter how bad the side effects were from Opdivo, I will still miss it. A rash on your hands is a small price to pay to not have to go through chemotherapy -- nausea, vomiting, and losing my hair again. I can deal with all that. I feel the hardest part of going through chemotherapy is the lack of energy, fatigue, and the aches and pains. Before the rashes started with Opdivo, I would come home from treatment and sleep a day or two, then wake up refreshed and be fine until the next treatment. No nausea. No vomiting. Just hand rashes.

Immunotherapy and the future of lung cancer treatment

If you haven't figured out by now, I am a huge fan of immunotherapy and targeted therapy. So many lives have been saved for 10 years or more and still counting. If you are given a chance to try immunotherapy, go for it. It is so much easier.

Editor’s Note: We are extremely saddened to say that on January 28, 2020, Jennifer Toth passed away. Jennifer was a passionate advocate for the Lung Cancer community. She will be deeply missed.

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