I’ve got two treatments under my belt. I was afraid I’d forgotten how to do it, but its just like riding a bicycle, if indeed riding a bicycle makes you nauseous, fatigued and mean as a rattlesnake while you are hyped up on steroids!
The first treatment was a bit weird. I didn’t really know any of the people in the chemo room. Lots has changed in the last year since I’d been there regularly. For someone who might or might not have been voted “chemo queen” that was a bit hard to take.
But the second treatment brought wonderful conversations with two other patients. Including a woman just diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer who was very happy to hear that I was doing well over three and a half years later. I may have to dig out my crown and polish it back up!
Last week we got some really good news. I was able to get into a clinical trial that sent my tumor tissue away for complete testing. As some of you know, I’ve had some genetic testing done along the way. I’ve also come up negative each time. This time the doctor had positive news!
I am the proud (?) owner of the RET fusion mutation. Very rare, this mutation only occurs in 1-2% of lung cancer patients, mostly in young (ish) non-smokers with adenocarcinoma. I could hardly believe the news. This is so encouraging because this gives us a target. There are already phase 2 and phase 3 clinical trials where they are testing drugs to see if they are effective against this mutation and they are getting really promising results. One of the drugs is already approved for thyroid cancer which will make its journey to use in lung cancer even faster.
For now, we will not change anything. I’ll have one more treatment in a couple of weeks and then a scan to see how I’m doing. Whatever the outcome of the scan we will then make some plans to follow up on our next steps now that we have this new information. It gives us many more options and we are so very thankful.
A couple of Fridays ago I was at a yoga class with some friends. It was a healing class in a pretty small room. We were doing some gentle poses and moving from one to the next in mostly silence. I looked around at the faces of my friends and I thought, “I can’t remember ever being happier with my life.”
I know that sounds so crazy, but it is really true. My kids are good, my marriage is good. We are happy to be making plans to be with both of our extended families this summer because we really love being together. My work is satisfying and church is awesome. Our friends are the best around. Life is really good.
I wish I could stay in that moment forever. Because in that moment I realized that my happiness is not dependent on my circumstances and if I wait for my circumstances to make me happy I will miss out on so much. My goal is to be aware of that every single day.
I wish the same for each of you.