For those of you who just found my blog and haven’t read back from the beginning, I strongly urge you to do so, of course. However, you would be unaware that I haved named my cancers, doesn’t everyone? I guess after six cancer diagnoses you get a little bored and need to spice things up a bit. So, Oscar refers to my Osteosarcoma and Mildred refers to Oscar’s daughter, the metastatic cancer in my lungs.
Okay, now that everyone is on the same page, I will reveal my latest setback.
Tuesday I received the results from my last CT scan. The tumours in my lungs are still growing. The biggest tumour is 2.4 cm. On the one hand this shouldn’t be overly shocking as Osteosarcoma itself doesn’t really respond to any treatment, and metastatic Osteosarcoma survival rates from the 1970s are pretty much identical to what they are today in 2016. Terrible then and terrible now. However, I was a little disappointed because I had started a new treatment, DCA (Dichloracetate), which although not approved as a conventional cancer treatment, showed promising results in certain cancers, including sarcomas.
My scans are currently being reviewed to come up with a new plan of action against these extremely stubborn tumours. The DCA may have to be done more frequently, combined with other therapies including hyperthermia, or taken out and replaced with various other alternatives. Once I receive the details on my new course of action, I will let you know. The only good thing to all of this is that although osteosarcoma is freakishly aggressive in most cases, mine has been slow growing over the last two years despite any conventional treatment. Yay me!
In the meantime, my oncologist has also suggested I begin a new drug, Denosumab. Technically this drug is for osteoporosis and bone metastases. I know, sounds weird. However, research from PMH spanning 20 years is showing promise in patients with osteosarcoma. This may be the new best thing in terms of novel therapies for osteosarcoma. Although there is currently not much evidence or research as the use of this drug for osteosarcoma is new, for a patient with advanced cancer like myself, I am willing to try and hope for the best. Like with all drugs, there are side effects, but minimal in comparison to chemotherapeutic agents, which I have had my fair share of. At this point, chemotherapy could kill me, which Mildred is already trying to do, so I don’t want to accelerate the process. My oncologist seems uncertain as to whether this drug can have any effect on Mildred, what we are hoping for essentially is stabilization of disease. That is the only thing that can keep me alive, if we can stop Mildred in her tracks before she takes over my lungs.
As for me, I am doing okay. I am not really symptomatic. I have a bit more pain than before, it usually now feels like a truck ran me over in the morning, or someone sat on my chest while I was asleep. I guess this is the pressure on my lungs. Either that or Garrett is getting creative while he sleeps. I have also had a couple of lung spasms which generally last for 20-30mins, the pain is excruciating and I cannot really breathe during this time. However, I find heat helps the pain subside. I have now increased my trampoline usage (I got lazy for a while) and will be doing more deep breathing and meditation to help strengthen my lungs and improve my overall inner peace. Other than this, I cannot complain.
In terms of my emotional stability, well we can’t ever know for certain if it was ever completely normal 🙂 I did have myself a good cry and the occasional breakdown which was cathartic I guess, and now it’s back down to business. I have to focus. I do have a lot on my plate to keep me busy, however when I need a break, I will remember to take one. My health must always come first.
The way I look at things is as long as there are options out there, I am good. I will leave you with a picture of me looking cool while receiving treatment.
Health, love, and options.