On Friday, I went to see my oncologist and changed Taxol to Xeloda.
The doctor said that the size change of 9mm to 11mm was too small to change the regimen because the criteria of the progression of disease means 50% increase of the size, but with Dr. Slamon’s recommendation, who was concerned with my progressed side effect, the peripheral neuropathy, she allowed the new regimen.
I got curious how long this enlarged nodule has been observed. So I looked back at the past CT reports and found a statement about the same nodule, which increased the size from 7 to 9mm in May 2012, when I was told that cancer spread into lymph nodes around the sternum and the lungs.
Yet, she told me that this same nodule was already found and informed on the first CT report in May 2010, even before the treatment started.
The nodule was not growing or growing so slow that it was not identified as cancer. My first diagnosis was stage ll b out of four stages, but actually cancer had already spread into the lung, stage lV, from the very beginning.
It was a kind of shocking.
The two year remission I thought cancer was gone was the period that cancer was there just in small sizes.
Normal cells repeat the cycle of cell division to death, but cancer cells never die and keep cell divisions and growing. Despite the intense five-year treatment, cancer hasn’t disappeared and grown back. I realized the stunning resilience of cancer and the extremely daunting challenge.