I am writing this on the evening of what is surely the BEST DAY EVER! Today, July 27th, I was able to hear the four words that I have been waiting to hear since I was diagnosed with Stage IV Lung Cancer on April 21, 2015.
I have NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE!!!!!
I still feel as though I am in shock or disbelief! Today has sort of felt like a blur and almost as though I am floating above what is happening and just trying to take it all in.
When I was first diagnosed, the volume of cancer was terrifying. There were tumours in my right lung which had spread to my lymph nodes in my chest. One tumour in my chest was so large it had wrapped around my trachea causing the airway to constrict. My Dr. now calls them the “peek and shriek” scans (Of course he never said this at the time!). I have waited until now to share this scan with all of you – mostly because of just how terrifying it was and how I refuse to believe that lung cancer will beat me. I wanted to share this image in particular with you all to show you that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE! This is an image of just one of the tumours from May 2015. If I can go from this to NED… then I truly believe anything can happen. There is always hope.
Unforunately Dr. Scott Laurie, my oncologist, was away on holiday so he was not there to be able to deliver the AMAZING news himself after working so hard over the past 15 months. I know I must have said it a thousand times already but he really is THE BEST! I know that I am alive today because of him. I am alive (AND N.E.D!!) because he treated me “outside of the standard of care” and did not look at me as a statistic.
In addition, Dr. Sudhir Sundaresan truly is a gifted surgeon!! We all knew going into surgery that it wouldn’t be easy (and quite possible that he may not be able to remove it all) but he DID! I am so grateful that he and Dr. Farid Shamji chose to operate on me!
Fortunately today, Dr. Wheatley-Price (a wonderful oncologist and the new President of Lung Cancer Canada) was there today to deliver the news along with my amazing research co-ordinators, Kendra & Michelle. After shedding quite a few tears of joy, we looked over my CT reports and simply took in the moment.
Despite the fact that I now have no evidence of disease, that does not mean that there may not be some cancer cells left that we are unable to see. Because of this, I will be continuing on with the clinical trial to assure that it either A) kills the remaining cells (if any) or B) continues to suppress them. The plan is to continue with the clinical trial for the foreseeable future and enjoy life and all of the amazing things that it has to offer! I will continue to have regular scans and be monitored to assure that nothing sneaks up on us. If anything pops up in the future, we still have a few treatment options that we have not tried yet.
On the other hand, there is the very slight possibility that I could just continue to have NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE for the rest of my (VERY LONG) life! Who knows?
Anything is possible.
Miracles do happen.
Always remember to just breathe.
(I really like the sound of that)
A few lung cancer facts:
Lung cancer is rarely detected early on.