Information Overload

September 7, 2016

OK then, here is what the latest round of test results has revealed: Negative for EGFR, ALK, KRAS, ROS-1, and MET gene mutations. There was not enough biopsy tissue available to determine RET or BRAF mutations or any others for that matter. Confusing that I do have an EGFR mutation but the alteration is not common or targetable to lung cancer. What is all the angst surrounding gene mutations you might ask? Check out the American Cancer Society website on Lung Cancer (Non-Small Cell) Targeted Therapies. The advances in this type of treatment is very exciting, unfortunately, I am not a candidate at this time.

Dr. Narayanan, my oncologist who calls me ‘Mrs. Dennis’, has suggested 3 possible courses of treatment. I’ve got to get on a first name basis with Dr. Vignesh Narayanan, aka whiz-kid-super ninja-most wonderful oncologist, however I’m old enough to be his mother and this level of familiarity might take some time. Anyhow, Vignesh has suggested 3 possible courses of treatment:

1: Standard of Care chemotherapy which is a combination of 2 drugs, Carboplatin and Alimta. The suggested protocol is 2 cycles followed by a scan to see if it is working. If yes, then 2 more cycles and another scan. If this scan shows that my disease is stable, then I would have maintenance treatment of Alimta every 3 weeks. This goes on indefinitely if I remain stable but if there is progression, we would re-biopsy and move to next generation sequencing and FoundationOne testing.

2: There is a clinical trial being offered at Kaiser that is a randomized trial involving two regimens. The first being a cocktail of Carboplatin, Taxol and Avastin, and the other being Carboplatin, Taxol and immunotherapy. The downside would be that I would not know which of these cocktails I would be getting, plus a possible second biopsy and waiting to see if I get accepted into the trial all of which would add at least another 5-6 weeks before starting treatment.

3:) Get a core tumor biopsy and start the process of more in-depth genetic testing. Again, 4-6 week wait time.

When I asked what he would suggest if I were his Mom, he said #1 – Standard of Care. He’s not keen on waiting any longer to start treatment as the upper chest pain has returned. Will there be side effects for any of these treatments?   Yes.

Will I be incorporating complementary treatments such as acupuncture and supplements that support my body while doing treatment? Yes.

Will I be looking into CBD research that is shown to diminish symptoms and possibly enhance cancer cell destruction? Yes (thank goodness we live in Colorado).

Will I lose my hair? No…thank goodness for small favors.

Next Wednesday, I have an appointment scheduled with Dr. Camidge at UCHealth for a second opinion and then Thursday back to Kaiser to let them know what direction I have decided on. 

I’ve spent the past 2 weeks doing endless research and have decided that staying the course is my best line of defense. I will continue to keep to a healthy diet rich in vegetables and fruits while eliminating all processed sugar and gluten. I am incorporating some yoga type breathing exercises, walk for 1 hour every day and weight training work-outs 2X per week. 

Am I seriously considering chemotherapy treatment? Yes, I am. I have always said, one never know’s 100% what you would do in this scenario unless actually faced with making this choice. I keep coming back to the fact that I truly believed that I was already doing the right things to keep my body healthy and dis-ease free. There are unknowns that play a roll in our health and well-being that we cannot always account for. In the face of this, I must go with my gut and believe that I am divinely guided every step of the way, which of course, I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Thank you for your prayers, calls, emails, good wishes, lunches, play dates, healing sessions and positive thoughts. Your concern and support is honored and appreciated more than I can say. Those of you who know me well are aware that I look at this challenge as a spiritual journey even more so than a physical one. Every day I am struck with how spirit moves and guides us to become aware of the perfection in every moment. My motto borrowed from Anita Moorjani – ‘Live Your Life Fearlessly’. Sending my love…

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