Update #5 – When Progression is not Progress


Progression. It sounds like it should be a good thing, but it’s not. I’m having bad flashbacks to an accounting class where the instructor kept insisting credits were bad and debits good. Huh?

I heard on the radio yesterday that a toy company is making dolls with better role models for girls; scientists and mathematicians and all that. Excellent. I’ll probably buy Dina one. But, the truth is that I ended up in law school because science and math stopped making sense to me at some point, not because the Barbies I’d played with a decade earlier only had formal and beach attire options and no lab coats. Stop freaking talking backwards about progressions that are really backslides, and maybe I’d have gotten a little further. Just saying.

Anyhow, as you have probably surmised, I have “progressed.” My last scan showed the nodules are growing and the “ground glass opacities” returning. This wasn’t a complete surprise. In fact, I had asked my doctor to accelerate my CT (originally scheduled for 9/11) because I’ve been coughing a lot again, complete with blood, and just feeling not so great.

Well, perhaps it’s my fault. My last couple scans had showed such minor progression that my doctor called it “almost stable.” As a result, we had all been waffling about when would be the appropriate time to switch from chemo over to the oral drug Xalkori, which targets my cancer’s ROS1 mutation. It’s a difficult decision because while chemo is no picnic, and Xalkori holds a lot of promise, it’s impossible to know if or how long the next thing will work, and the options post-Xalkori become a lot more murky. As much as I wanted to exit the chemo-train, I didn’t want to play the Xalkori card too soon. It sounds insane to say, but a small part of me had kinda hoped for a definitive sign of when to switch meds.

So there you go. Maybe God is listening. I just hope she’s tuning in to all my other requests as closely. May the next progression I learn of be a positive one; a cure for lung cancer, or at the very least, an excellent follow-on treatment after Xalkori. In the meantime, Cheers – the first Xalkori pill went down the hatch at 8pm on Thursday night.