It has been a long time since I’ve written about how things are going with my battle with lung cancer. I had mentioned before that I would let you all know about a “new and revised game-plan”. That was my cool, calm and collected way of saying that I had some bad news… but I waited to post because I don’t like ending on a bad note!
The bad news was that there had been some cancer progression. When we received this news, I’m not going to lie, I was pretty terrified. 1) Terrified that it had spread to my brain as well (Xalkori does not cross the blood brain barrier – meaning it can’t protect me in there) and 2) The unknown – What treatment would be next? Would it work? What if it didn’t? etc. [Good news, it’s not in my brain! Woo!]
Well, once I got over the initial shock, we went right back into fight mode! I can’t stress enough just how fortunate I am to have the most AMAZING support team (you all know who you are!) who continually remind me to “just breathe” and “it’s going to be okay”.
We knew that one day this pill (Xalkori) would stop being effective against my cancer but we had hoped that it wouldn’t be this soon. Fortunately my oncologist is always planning for the next step. I was offered to be part of a clinical trial at the Ottawa Cancer Centre for a new drug called Lorlatinib. This drug is a new targeted therapy that is currently in trial. You cannot purchase it as it is not yet FDA approved therefore I was extremely lucky to have this opportunity. To say that I was over the moon excited and grateful to have yet ANOTHER chance to kick this cancer is an understatement. Another chance to fight, another chance at life. I am SO grateful for science, for doctors, for researchers and for the AMAZING team that is helping me kick cancer. RESEARCH ROCKS!
….now with the good news! After the first initial scan, we saw that the cancer was stable and there might even have been marginal shrinkage in certain areas! YAY!!! I will have another scan in about 6 weeks from now and am hoping and praying for some serious shrinkage. I have many more scans and tests in the coming weeks but for now this is the new and revised game-plan.
I still can’t thank you all enough for continuing to show your support for lung cancer research and for all of the financial contributions that have been made towards the cause thus far. There have been some pretty amazing breakthroughs in the world of “lung cancer” over the past 5 or so years (here’s an example from this month) and I know that I am alive and thriving today because of it. It still amazes me that lung cancer has the lowest survival rate of cancers and continues to have such disproportionate funding. I can’t tell you the number of young men and women I’ve connected with since being diagnosed who are currently fighting their own battles with lung cancer. Thankfully there are targeted treatments, like the one I’m currently on, that are helping to save and prolong the lives of these young adults. Although targeted therapies aren’t a cure, I am certainly hopeful that as awareness and funding continues to grow, lung cancer will be, if not curable, a chronic disease.
The following couple of months remain busy for us with lots of tests, appointments and scans but all for that one goal – being N.E.D. Xalkori will always be my wonder drug but here’s hoping that Lorlatinib may be my miracle drug.
P.S. I celebrated my 27th birthday this month!! Thank you Research.