It’s been awhile in providing an update in my situation because it’s been awhile in figuring out what should happen. After I saw my regular oncologist after the fluid tap, she suggested a couple of chemotherapy options. But she also brought out the results from my latest CT scan and blood tests. And the scan showed that the target tumors (the ones they use for measurement) were stable, and in one case smaller. And my tumor marker was lower than it was when I started the trial drug. So it wasn’t clear that the drug wasn’t working, or that it was. On one hand, things were relatively stable. On the other, I had the fluid build-up which indicates the cancer is still active.
I asked her what I should do. I was completely ready to start chemo until I received the conflicting news. She said she honestly didn’t know how to advise me. Then she went to the 18th floor and talked to my clinical trials oncologist who was equally uncertain of what I should do. The decision was completely mine to make. It’s ironic, given that I just wanted to put the decision-making in someone else’s hand.
I met with my clinical trial oncologist and ultimately decided to stay on the trial, but monitor my tumor markers through blood tests more frequently so that if those numbers start rising, we can change treatment sooner. I spent a week and a half off treatment and spent the long weekend at a cottage with Catherine, Danz, and Brandon, drinking sangria and beer (basically verboten now that I’m back on the trial), swimming, playing ping-pong, and sitting by the bonfire. A weekend of relative normalcy.
I’m also taking the next five weeks as short-term disability weeks. It’ll give me a chance to just rest and deal with treatment side effects without having to focus on work. I’m booked to have another drain done at the end of September (if the fluid starts to build up again and it’s necessary — this is basically how it will be handled for the time-being, with me getting tapped on a semi-regular basis). I’ve started the trial drugs again and the low-level nausea and fatigue is settling in as expected. I don’t mind though. I’d rather stay on this treatment for longer, to get more information to work with to determine if it is actually working, and to what extent.
Nothing is ever simple.