Yep – I’ve been incommunicado for a long time, so it’s high time to rectify that. I have a mixed bag of news, so I’ll get to it.
I guess I never posted after my 3-week course of radiation in August. That treatment was directly targeted at the main tumor in my upper chest, which was interfering with my heart and the arteries, veins, and airway that runs through that area. Well, as some of you may have heard from me, it worked really well. I felt better almost immediately after radiation, with better energy, less feeling of pain and congestion, and reduction of coughing and shortness of breath in the immediate aftermath. Jeanette and I had a great trip out to California to see my brother and his family, and returned feeling restored.
I had a scan this week that finally showed a good deal of shrinkage of that tumor, which just confirmed my overall better condition. I went over those scan results with my doc today. While the radiation was very effective, there were some new spots that concerned her, specifically some new “nodules” in my right lung, and on one of my adrenal glands. There is also some fluid buildup in the lining of my right lung, which has increased over the last couple of months and is likely responsible for the return of my cough lately. So, tomorrow I go in to have that fluid tapped and removed. They’ll test the fluid for cancer cells, but it’s pretty likely they’re there so that won’t be a big surprise to me. I really hope to leave that procedure feeling less cough-y and less of the achiness I feel in my right side.
We also talked about a new round of chemo which would begin in early January, using different drugs, in order to clamp down on these new growth spots. It’ll run approximately the same course as the chemo I had this summer, with three-week cycles and follow-up scans after every two cycles. I’m still absorbing the idea of starting chemo again. Of course, there’s a l-o-n-g list of possible side-effects, but I suspect the main ones will be largely the same as last time. It will help a lot that I’ve been through it once already and will be a lot better prepared for what to expect, and what I have to do to maintain my health through it. But the thought of the return of that taste/smell effect, and the nausea and all that, I do not relish. Oh well..
I knew this was hovering out there, and that I’d be in for more chemo at some point. I was very pleased with the effectiveness of the radiation, and I hope the new round of chemo will be effective too. It sounds like these new spots are small enough that they might be susceptible to the chemo, and I’m relatively healthy so I can take the side-effects, as much as they will be annoying. I guess the docs are both treating symptoms for my comfort and quality of life, and also treating the cancer directly to extend and improve my life as well, so I’m for all of it. I still feel pretty good, for the most part – I have my voice back and have been singing at shows as much as I can; I still have good energy even if I get a bit winded with activity; and I still look forward to every day, and to all the stuff I want to do in the future.
So, in good spirits, I will write soon to update this.