So much has been happening in my life…and for once, most of it is good! I chose not to update these past few weeks because there wasn’t much going on really. I was going through the motions of treatment: weekly blood work. Weekly check ins. Treatment every three weeks. Rinse. Repeat.
I suppose it was after my second treatment of my study drug (it just got a name! Atezolizumab!) when I started to realize I was feeling different. I no longer wanted to just sit in bed in the dark. I actually had energy to burn! I wanted to get up and go out! I had no pain from my tumor area!! If you recall, the tumor site became so tender, I couldn’t even touch my abdominal area without tremendous pain. Did I burn that energy? Did I get up and go out??? NO, I did not. You see, I was still completely trapped by fear. I knew I felt better, but for how long? Did I want to go back into the world only to have to be hospitalized again? How much of myself could I invest in living only to have it taken away again. How long was I going to feel good? I needed confirmation that my trial drug was working before I had the confidence to “get back out there.”
Well, as most of you know by now, I got that confirmation just this week. My scan showed a reduction in not only my main tumor, but all of the nodules around it as well. Responding to this regiment was never a promise…only a hope. Now that hope has turned into reality. There was indeed a reason why I was feeling better…because I was actually improving from the inside out. What’s more: it seems that people who respond to this medicine tend to respond for quite a while. One man in the trial has been responding for three years! And he feels fantastic!
I’ve been gaining weight really quickly…I suppose that was another indicator of things going the right way. When I vacationed in Mexico for five days, I gained 8 pounds. How the hell did I do that?? Is that even possible? I guess it is. With all the food I’m eating and protein shakes I’m drinking, now seems like the perfect time to get back into the gym and tone up some. Looking like a cancer patient is SO last year.
I’m not really sure what to post is supposed to be about. I guess…hope. Hope is something I lost for a while. As my tumor continued to grow, it seemed to leech its nutrients from the hope I held onto. The pain increased…fatigue set in…emotions boiled over…hope diminished.
But now, thanks to advances in cancer treatments, namely immunotherapy, my hope has grown once more. My hope wakes me up every morning with a good attitude and a hunger for life (and anything/everything that looks tasty…mmmm, bagels!). I no longer am afraid of looking into the future and wondering if I’ll be around. I’ve decided I will be.
I’m not naive though. I fully realize that the drugs I’m on now may not work forever. But they should work longer than chemo…and that may get me to the next great advancement. I just hope that by being a part of this trial, I am helping pave the way for other survivors to continue living the life they want. A life free from the pain, frustration, and debilitating side effects chemo offers. A life full of love, family, and happiness for however long. Maybe I am just a little naive. But if being naive means feeling like I do now…then I’m more than happy.