Most of my fellow stage 4 lung cancer ninja friends get scanned every three months. It's standard. In the beginning, I did too. However, CT scans expose us to a lot of radiation and earlier this year I started wondering if maybe I should try to reduce my exposure. I spoke to my oncologist and negotiated getting scanned every four months. (I tried to get him to agree to every six months, but failed.) So, the last two rounds of CT scans I've had have been spaced out by four months.
You would think I'd be happy because I got what I wanted. (Well, herein lies the rub and why having cancer is so annoying...) Knowing that Xalkori won't work forever, I'm constantly wondering if NOW is the time that it has stopped. And...if it has stopped working, shouldn't I know that as soon as possible. I engage in grueling mental gymnastics trying to figure out if it's better to reduce my radiation exposure or know, sooner, that my cancer is growing again.
For now, I've been holding out, reducing my radiation exposure 25% by getting scanned every four months. I've realized, however, that the longer I'm on Xalkori, the more anxious I become that it has stopped working. I worry that my luck has run out. In my lung cancer community there are those that have been on Xalkori for many years, but there are also those who only got benefits from Xalkori for a couple of months. I just picked up my 21st month prescription. The uncertainty of how long Xalkori will work for me puts a damper on my enthusiasm that it is working for me now. This uncertainty is an unwelcomed burden. However...
...yesterday I had follow-up CT scans. My oncologist called today to tell me that everything continues to appear stable, meaning that Xalkori is still keeping my cancer in check. Yahoo!
This past summer I was driving east
on Dempster Street somewhere in Skokie, (IL). Stopped in slow traffic, I looked to my right and saw this tree smiling at me. I was in a rush to meet some people for lunch so I couldn't stop to take a picture of it. I made a point of driving home the same way and, luckily, was able to find it. This smiling tree makes me smile and is among the many simple reasons why I think living is fun.
Please join me in a smile...my scan report is GOOD!