Fight! Never Give Up
This is going to be a little long. I have GERD (acid reflux) so I would have stomach pain quite a bit. But in December 2018, I was having pain that wasn't going away. I decided to go to the Dr and see if I could get some stronger medicine.
Since it had been a couple of years since I had bloodwork done, he referred me to a gastro doctor and sent me to the lab for bloodwork. This was done on New Year's Eve. On the 3rd of Jan 2019, I received a phone call from his office telling me that they had set up an appointment for me to get an ultrasound on my liver because my numbers on the blood test were elevated.
Doctors and scans
Two days later, I went in to get my ultrasound and had then gotten an appointment with a gastro and lung doctor since I had been a smoker (had been quit for a year at that point) and I just wanted to be tested for COPD.
The next day I got a call from my doctor, not his nurse, him. He said that my ultrasound was in and he wanted me to come to his office the next morning, at 8am. I told him I had an appointment with the lung doctor and he said that his office would call him and tell him I might be late. He said as soon as I was done there, I needed to be at the hospital by 10:30am for a CAT scan that his office had set up.
It was at this point, that I knew something bad was going on. My husband took off work and went with me to my doctor, who told me I had numerous "lesions" in my liver and I needed a CAT scan to see what was going on. I asked him if they were tumors and he said they could be. I went to the lung doctor, he said I didn't have COPD but he had seen my ultrasound and it was very important for me to get the CAT scan. All this was on Jan 9th.
Stage IV NSCLC metastasized to my liver
That afternoon at 4:30, I got the call from my doctor. He had the CAT scan results and it was cancer. In about 10 minutes, I got a call from the lung doctor who had set up an appointment for a liver biopsy and I needed to be at the hospital two days later. I had the biopsy, went back to the lung doctor the next afternoon and was told it was Stage 4 non-small cell squamous lung cancer, metastasized into my liver.
The next week, I had an appointment with the oncologist. I knew I was in the right place when I asked him how much time I had left. He said, we don't do that... we talk about how we are going to fight and what our goals are.
Treatment decisions and goals
His goal was to shrink my tumors until they were so small I could get targeted radiation. Two days later I had a port installed and the next week I started chemo with Keytrudaimmunotherapy. They did genetic testing and I was a candidate for Keytruda.
I started chemo/Keytruda in February and finished chemo in June. It wasn't something I would want to go through again but I really didn't have a rough time. I threw up ONE time, and that's because I missed a dose of one of my nausea meds.
No evidence of disease
I had a CAT scan in April, and was having great success, all my tumors had shrunk by 50% and several small ones were gone. After chemo, I had a PET scan in July 2019. My PA at the oncologist's office called me, and she was crying. She had gotten my results......NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE. Complete response to treatment!
I have had another PET scan in October 2019, CAT scans in Feb and May 2020 and all have remained clear. I stopped the chemo, but stayed on the Keytruda and have been on it since Feb 2019. My next infusion is a week from Monday :)
I'm so grateful and I thank God for his grace and guidance of my team.
There is hope
I just wanted to share my journey and to let everyone know that there is always hope. The advancements in medicine are helping more and more people live with this horrible disease. I will always have a strong possibility that it will come back, I'll never be considered "cured" but on that day 1/9/19, I really didn't think that I would be here today. Sure didn't think that I would be without any pain, doing well, and making plans for the future!
My prayers are with everyone going through their journey and it is my prayer that every single one of you has the same result that I have had.
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