|A patient's perspective...I'm going in...|
Oral contrast uses a barium sulfate suspension to allow more detailed imaging of the stomach and intestinal tract. My oncologist wants me to have CT scans with an oral contrast every-once-in-a-while to get a better look. Every-once-in-a-while is good because the prep for this isn't fun. Two hours before the scan, I had to drink, what felt like, a gallon of thick, white, chalky-ish barium sulfate suspension. Mine was supposed to be berry-flavored. In actuality, it was probably the amount of a Starbucks Grande drink. It was really filling and I had trouble downing it all at one time. Then, an hour later, I had to try to down another one.
My oncologist called me tonight to let me know that my CT scans continue to indicate that my cancer is stable, which means that Xalkori is still working for me. So for now, I stay the course on my miracle medication.
On another note...
My relief today was tempered by the sad news that Dr. Paul Kalanithi passed away yesterday of metastatic lung cancer. He was a neurosurgeon at Stanford University Medical Center. He was 37 years old. He had what I have. He, too, never smoked. He was well known among my lung cancer community because last year, a few months after he was diagnosed in 2013, he wrote a poignant NY Times article entitled "How Long Have I Got Left?
Each time I learn of another lung cancer patient's death, two thoughts race through my mind. I am instantly reminded that I, too, will die of lung cancer. Then I wobble through a wave of survivor's guilt. Today I wondered why Dr. Kalanithi died less than two years from the time he was diagnosed and I'm still here 27 months later. My heart breaks for his young wife and infant daughter. I got to live nearly 20 years longer before being strapped with lung cancer. Dr. Kalanithi did not get to see his daughter grow to adulthood as I have with my children. I cannot escape the reality of my diagnosis, even though my scans were good today.
Rest in Peace, Dr. Kalanithi.