Following the initial imaging studies, (CTs, MRIs, bone scan), what we needed was a piece of tumor to confirm that I had adenocarcinoma of the lung, which had spread. So a couple of days after going to the ER, I was back at the hospital for a liver biopsy. Apparently, getting a piece of liver is easier, safer and less painful than a lung or bone biopsy. I have to say that in the big picture of life, the biopsy was pretty easy. Waiting for the results was much harder. First I had to wait to confirm that I have adenocarcinoma before we could send it to a specialty cancer genetics lab in California for tumor mutation analysis. By Wednesday, December 19th, my cells were headed to sunny California. These results would take about a week and would direct treatment – either the pill, or traditional chemotherapy.
In the mean time, my well-connected brother-in-law, Bob, was able to make important contacts for me. By the end of the first week of my new odyssey, he had arranged for me to have second opinion appointments with clinical research oncologists at Northwestern University Medical Center and at the University of Chicago Medical Center. These two experts specialize in non-small cell adenocarcinoma and have large cohorts of patients just like me. I met with both and am so relieved that they both agree with my local oncologist’s care and plan. Both have worked in collaboration with my oncologist or with someone in his practice in the past and are happy to co-manage my care. For me, one of the important reasons to get hooked into a large cancer care center is because in the future if I need a clinical trial or research medication, I would only be able to do that through such a center.
So being that I am a regular exerciser, I am told that for now, I can do low impact activities. After I get another infusion for strengthening my bones, I should be able to go back to my regular activities.