It has been four months now. Some people don’t even get four months after a Stage 4 diagnosis. But I am here. And my cancer is responding.
Last October I wouldn’t let myself think about Spring. Or Summer. Or a three year renewal on a magazine. I’d wonder if I would outlive the expiration date on the can of food I’d put in my grocery cart. I renewed my son’s USTA membership for 10 years and hoped fervently it would be my job to renew it in a decade, not Clarke’s. I wondered if I’d see out the rest of my car lease. I just didn’t know what to expect.
In some ways I still don’t. My future is unknown. But that is good, I’m coming to think.
When I go to an appointment with my oncologist and he isn’t changing anything, telling me it’s time to try a different treatment, or handing me a piece of paper with a list of scans, I am happy.
On Thursday I had my usual 2 week appointment with my local oncologist. My tumor markers were down 7 points, erasing the blips up I’ve had lately. The tests are not precise. 7 points doesn’t correlate to a particular reduction, but it’s good news. It means I can continue with my current chemo. I did increase my dose this round and will repeat that again this time. We are hoping to find the “sweet spot” where I get therapeutic efficacy but still have manageable side effects. That’s the goal.
My oncologist talked about another goal for me today. We both know for now these two week intervals are needed. But one goal he would love to achieve is even more stability with my body’s response so that I can have longer stretches of time between appointments. Having bloodwork, checkups and my monthly bone drug (Xgeva) all at once would be grand.
When he told me my results I said, “that’s a two week reprieve.” He said he wants me to be able to think in longer increments. I’d love that too. I’m thinking about seasons now.
Let’s go for it. Let’s make plans. Let’s see what happens. Together.