Daily Archives: March 29, 2011

Hope: one of life’s staples

Last Tuesday was my day to drive to Boston for appointments. It had snowed several inches the night before, (spring, what spring?), but the main thoroughfares were clear. Dr. Shaw was on a well deserved vacation last week, so I met with her nurse practitioner, Stephanie. When I went to infusion to pick up my paper bag full of crizotinib, I was led to a bed rather than a chair, which meant I would have a brief acupuncture session with Irene. She always inquires as to what sort of treatment I would like, and this time I asked her to expound upon the possibilities. When Irene mentioned euphoria, I told her that was exactly what I was looking for. Six needles later, and I was feeling blissed out. Count me in as a believer.

At the conclusion of my appointments that day, I had a date with my friend Ginger. She was diagnosed with lung cancer twenty six years ago, and despite an initially poor prognosis, Ginger’s still enjoying life. I also have a neighbor down the hill, Nancy, who twelve years after a diagnosis of advanced lung cancer, has been told by her oncologist that she doesn’t need to see him again.

Linnea and Ginger

I view Ginger’s and Nancy’s continued survival as the sort of encouraging news that can keep me going even on a bleak day.

True confession:  I’ve been dealing with a little bit of personal malaise. Some of it is distinctly seasonal. As David aptly noted the other day, winter has really worn out its welcome. Today’s temperature is barely above freezing, the wind is howling, and our yard yet resembles a glacier. Peter was sick over the weekend and I’ve become unwilling host to the virus as well. “I’m sorry I’m such a vector”, he said yesterday.

And then I received an email from my dear friend Guillermo which contains bad news. He gave me his permission to reprint it:

Look for clinical trials for guys running out of options.
Remember to mention Letting go from The New Yorker
You can include this email or part of it in your blog.
I will say Hola to my amor Beryl and Honey too.
I am taking dexamethasone steroids and feel great in a real greater sunny day.
I have stumbling news that you can see in email copy to Diana and Laura:

Soon we are going to be free to enjoy vacations, for Beryl and I my first choice is a cruise on rivers of Spain and or Portugal.
Maybe in summer also we can go the four of us in 7-10 days rivers cruise to our roots , maybe our last trip together paid by me.
Laura and Diana can reconnect sharing a cabin. We all can share dinner tables and port side trips. Opportunity calls.

Chemo with Alimta, my last hope, was suspended with poor results on X-ray 23 Feb comparison with prior 7 February 2011:

” Bilateral pulmonary parenchymal modular opacities are more numerous and larger than before.

A predominantly loculated right pleural effusion with opacification of the lower right lung is unchanged.

IMPRESSION: Progresive metastatic disease; lymphangitis carcinomatosis of the right lung.”

Note: in 2005 the NSCLC diagnosis was for 15% survival at 5 years, today over 5 years latter and knowing my original symptoms and analysis of similar tumours gives me 8+ years with my lung cancer. Abuelos lived over 90+ years with poor support in Argentina.
I expect to enjoy more life that the average patient. Don’t worry but participate and support me.

I envy Placido Domingo voice and lungs. A vacation in his and abuelos country  is appealing.
He just did a free concert in Buenos Aires, 9 de Julio avenue, 150,000 people attended.
Here a few tangos with him

Abrazos y besos Dad

I was really, really hoping that the Alimta would do the trick for Guillermo. However, I continue to admire (and adore) his spirit. I am reminded of something I read in a book compiled by Philip Harnden:  Journeys of Simplicity, Traveling Light. In this particular passage he wrote about the poet Raymond Carver, who was diagnosed with terminal  lung cancer at the age of fifty. After his death, an errand list was found in one of his pockets:

peanut butter
hot choc



Hope. The expectation of warmer days and further options; longer lists and continued adventures.