Thursday, October 01, 2015

Keeping on keeping on

With another CT scan under the bridge, I got the results from Dr. Whoosh on Monday. If you've been following this blog for a while, you'll remember that he took me off of my cancer drugs at the end of July. I've gone two months with no medication. It's scary to go cold turkey when you're dealing with a disease that's eventually going to kill you. Sort of like saying, "Okay, I'm dropping all my defenses, take your best shot!"

I expected to hear that the tumor in my lung had grown dramatically, but the news was not quite that bad. Yes, it's still growing, but it's only "slightly" larger than it was at the end of July. In my opinion, the term "slightly" is debatable, it's grown about a centimeter in diameter. I'm on a new oral medication starting this morning, something called Inlyta.  Inlyta...does that mean I'm being enlightened?  Like the previous drug, Inlyta doesn't cure the cancer, it only slows down it's growth. What I've been able to dig up on the Internet about it indicates that it retards the progress for about ten months on average. Also, like the previous drug, the side effects sound relatively mild...I get to keep my hair for the time being. Hoarseness, elevated blood pressure and possible development of calluses on my hands and feet appear to be the most common fallout.

I gathered the results of all my CT scans over the last year and plotted a graph of the tumor size over time and it looks like the previous medicine pooped out after about four months. The graph shows a steady growth rate since January of this year, even through the period of no medication at all. I'm hoping that this new medicine will put a plateau on that line.

I didn't qualify for the clinical trial of the intravenous drug that Dr. Whoosh mentioned on my last visit, something to do with my kidney functions being slightly out of range. I was a little concerned about that anyway. It's a two and a half hour drive to the capital city and winter is on it's way. I was not looking forward to driving in ice and snow every two weeks, so the new oral medication might work out for the better in the long run. With all of my other medical problems driving in bad weather conditions is a potential disaster.

In other news, things since my last update have been rather rough. A sixteen year old girl with a new driver's license pulled out in front of me a couple of weeks ago. Thankfully no one was injured but both vehicles were totaled. After a week of hitching rides and borrowing vehicles to get to various appointments, I now have a new set of wheels. Well, not "new" new, it's a used vehicle but six years newer than the previous one, another Chevy Impala. I had just spent about $200 in repairs on Vlad [heavy sigh]. My wife has decided to name the new one "Ivan."

I suffered some atrial fibrillation which resulted in four days in the hospital. Adjustments to my medications seem to have calmed that down for the most part. My brother-in-law spent about the same amount of time in the hospital for a urinary tract infection, but not concurrently. It was, however, during the period of time when we were without a vehicle. That constituted something of a scheduling nightmare.

We've also been going through some other family drama that I won't go into detail about except to say that it's been a bumpy ride for the last month or so.

I guess that's about it for now, more updates to come as they happen. Keep praying!