07 February 2011

my glass of newz is half full

finding joy in the snow
Yes, I know, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted an update. I have been remiss in my blogging duties and probably deserve a good caning. But before you go cut a switch, let me ‘splain.

It’s just no fun for me to pass along bad news.

Now before you get all panicky, let me assure you I’m ok. The news is not good, but it could be much much worse.

I had a CT-scan on January 24. If you remember, they did a baseline scan when I first went to Dana-Farber and then I get another one after every two treatments. My baseline scan showed a tumor in some of my lymph nodes on the right side of my pelvis. After my first two treatments, the tumor was 36% smaller than the baseline. Now it is only 26% smaller than the baseline, which means it got 10% bigger. But it is important to note that it is still smaller than before I started the clinical trial, and we are talking about a tumor that only measures 1.5 cm. Very small as these things go.

my "bladder involvement"
The scan also showed “bladder involvement” which is the main bad thing. There are nodes (nodular thickening for you medical types) around my bladder, and an area of concern between my cervix and my bladder. I saw the images of this - and I’m not ashamed to say it kinda grossed me out - and again, it’s a very small mass. The problem is that all this “bladder involvement” is new. New in October 2010 and increased since December 2010. And anything new means that 1.) my cancer has spread, and 2.) I can’t be in the clinical trial anymore.

Now you may think that this is horrible news, but it really isn’t. Horrible news would have been that it had spread to my lungs or that I would have to have a big nasty ugly surgery (called a Pelvic Exteneration, and I’m gonna let you google that one yourself.  Let me make it quite clear that I will NOT be having this. Ever.) So, bad news? Yes. Worst news? Not even close.

The real question is: Where do I go from here?
The answer is more complicated than it looks. There are several chemo drugs out there that address metastatic cervical cancer. Dr C recommends a new chemo regimen but for the life of me I can’t remember the name of the drug, just that it reminded me of the word “olympics” (and believe me, I’ve been all over the internet looking for it). If that one doesn’t work, there's a myriad of others out there that I can try. I have many available options where chemo is concerned.

The next consideration is do I stay at Dana-Farber for treatment or do I go somewhere else? I like my Dana-Farber team, I like the facility, they’ve been good to me there. But it is - if you don’t mind my saying - just such a bitch of a drive to get there. In January 2011 alone - just that one month - I drove about 1000 miles going back and forth to Boston, and spent more than 20 hours doing so. It has begun to wear on me. So I have made the decision to go to a different cancer center, one that will be a mere 15 minute drive, only 10 miles from my home. What’s the catch? It means I’m moving to Virginia! I am going to be treated at the Massey Cancer Center in Richmond, Virginia! And why am I so excited to be moving to Virginia?

Because I'll be living with the Tall Man in Virginia! And really, what could be a better treatment for metastatic f-&%-ng cervical cancer than a great big smile and a daily dose of the Tall Man?

So there you have it.
Bad news begets good news. 
There is always something to be thankful for. 
Every cloud has a silver lining.

At least that’s how I choose to see it