A Stable Lung Cancer Is Possible
How will you react when you had been told that the overall survival of your targeted therapy treatment could give you 35 months to live? Right at that moment, I realized my life is hanging on a thread. How would I spend the given time I have left? What would life be? Could I survive months or years? Would I have stable lung cancer or have a progression? Could I have one TKI or more?
My cancer specialists
My family physician was the first one to say you have fluid in your lungs. Next, the emergency doctors confirmed I got a right lung tumor. Third, a thoracic surgeon tested and diagnosed my stage 4 ALK-positive adenocarcinoma lung cancer. Fourth, the radiology oncologist discussed my asymptomatic brain Mets. Last but not the least, my medical oncologist has planned for my targeted therapy treatment. His goal is to prolong my life. I am grateful and happy it is happening.
My CT scans
I am one of those cancer patients who reacts to CT contrast dye. There are two types of brands my cancer agency has been using. After trials, one type of dye gives me no reaction at all. However, my cancer doctor still has to prescribe a pre-medication to lessen sensitivity to the contrast dye. After a year from diagnosis, my scan results have shown my lung tumor has some shrinking and not growing. Hence, I have stable scans.
My brain mets
Aside from my lung cancer, a new tumor appeared in my brain, commonly called brain metastasis or brain Mets. That means my cancer has spread to another part of the body. In my case, the tumor is in my brain. Two months after my targeted therapy treatment, my brain Mets was shrinking. One year into my cancer journey, my brain Mets were gone. Thus, no more showing in my brain MRIs.
My blood tests
Right after my first diagnosis, my baseline markers were set up and recorded so they could readily see the changes and effects of my targeted therapy treatment. After nine months of taking the TKI, my blood tests discovered my Type 2 Diabetes and Anemia. My cancer doctor did a lower dose to minimize these side effects. On my part, I look after my daily diet and body movement. There are more nature exposures during the spring and summer seasons.
My TKI dose
I thank God my TKI has been working very well. Much more my body has a good response to my treatment. My disease has not progressed but instead has been controlled by my TKI. At first, when my cancer doctor decided to lower the dose to reduce side effects, I was kind of worried about the effect on my lung tumor or brain Mets. Recent scan results show a favorable response to the treatment.
Targeted therapies are pill-form drugs that target cancer growth and spread. With their introductions, cancer doctors can commonly describe conditions like progression-free or stable lung cancer disease. Keeping the cancer in check allows patients like me to have longer survival, not months but years. Stable disease is reassuring despite having advanced-stage cancer.
Do you find that staying zen through your lung cancer diagnosis has helped you in your journey?