Opening the door of an exam room, Dr. Lou, the oncologist, came in saying,” So it was stable. It was good news,” with a smile.
“ Yeah, I am glad that cancer was not growing, but I expected more shrinkage.” I replied.
“Well, all cancer found around the mediastinal area are gone. So it is really good news,” said the doctor.
“ Are they gone?” Being surprised, I looked at the report in a computer together with her.
She read aloud the first line of the report:“ No significant mediastinal and hilar adenopathy (=cancer).” I had thought that “the no significant” was the change of cancer. I had misunderstood it! I blamed the report that should have been written with the words, something more clearly understood like “ improved” or “ not seen”, but certainly I felt better as I noticed the mistake. Pulling out the old reports in 2010 before the metastasis, the doctor also explained that other nodules described on the report could be benign as they have been seen from the beginning, and haven’t changed their sizes.
“ At least the visible cancer is gone and you have no evidence of disease now,” said the doctor.
Yay! Taxol was still doing its job, instead of losing the effect!
New Drug Perjeta
I can’t expect any better than this news, but I have to continue the treatment because there must be still lots of invisible cancerous cells which have the stem cells that cause metastasis and relapse. I have to stay on this status of NO Evidence of Disease as long as possible.
At the beginning the doctor recommended that I should stay on the current cocktail at least for two more months, but I asked for the possibility of the new drug, Perjeta, which was approved by FDA in June this year for only newly diagnosed metastatic patients with the combination of Herceptin & Taxotere.
First she made clear that this condition would not be a problem for me because my insurance was provided from the same Kaiser system as the hospital, instead of the outside ones, as long as doctors can prove the usage is reasonable, safe, and effective. If cocktails are supported by clinical trials for their safeties and effectiveness, they are allowed to be used. As Perjeta is a new drug, the compatibility with other drugs is mostly unknown, but fortunately Taxol is one of a few drugs the clinical trial has shown the data.
“ It is the question of whether you want to use this card, Perjeta, now or later,” said the doctor.
I understand that all drugs are effective only for a limited time and eventually lose the power. If I use it now, I will not be able to use it in the future. Yet, I explained that I’d rather use it now and beat cancer as much as possible before it comes back, by switching it with Tykerb that failed to prevent the metastasis.
“You are aggressive, but I understand what you mean. Let’s check if the pharmacy has the drug or not, and if they have it now, let’s start it today,” saying so, the doctor left the room.
I appreciated her spending time, already more than an hour with me, showing great understanding.
After all, as the pharmacy didn’t have the medicine, the doctor decided to start giving me this new medicine, Perjeta in three weeks. Meanwhile I will clear Tykerb out from my body stopping it tonight. I will be finally relieved from diarrhea!
“Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His will.”—from Serenity Prayer by Rheinhold Niehuhr.
The Lord moved a big mountain and made a path for me. God is good all the time!