The good news came in response to a non-urgent medical question.
“Good news,” Loren’s oncologist wrote. “I looked at your PET scan results. Everything looks a lot better. Some of the lung nodules have completely resolved, and there is no sign of abnormal radioactivity in the mediastinal and hilar lymph nodes, adrenal gland, and bones.”
In other words, there’s still cancer in Loren’s body, but all the tumors are shrinking. All the indicators are heading in the right direction.
“I’m very happy for you!” the oncologist added.
We’re very happy, too.
Six rounds of chemotherapy did the trick – they attacked all the fast-growing cells in Loren’s body and knocked her cancer down. Six rounds of chemotherapy also knocked Loren down. She lost all of her hair and most of her taste buds. And she slowed down considerably, with barely enough energy to make it through some days.
But if life with cancer were a boxing match, the judges just gave this round to Loren. Most of the large tumors have shrunk by more than half, the oncologist explained on the phone, later that day, and many of the small tumors have disappeared altogether. The tumors will shrink even more, she said, as immunotherapy targets her disease.
There is no cure for cancer, at least not yet. So we all know how this fight will end. The question is: How many rounds will we get, and how hard will cancer punch later in the fight?
Loren’s oncologist tells us that before immunotherapy, Loren might have lived a year, maybe two. But now, she has patients who live on Herceptin and Perjeta for years, ever since this combination of drugs became the standard of care for Loren’s type of cancer back in 2012.
“Nobody knows,” she said.
We certainly don’t.
And we are doing our best not to care. Because our life with cancer is like every other life – sometimes better, sometimes worse – and, at least for now, it’s good. It’s life. With cancer.
And we hope it stays that way for a long time to come.
Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.
#cancer #breastcancer #chemotherapy #immunotherapy