It was a one-stick chemo day yesterday, people. ONE stick! Thank you all for the prayers (Mama, I think your extra-sensitive medical technologist intercession was awesome)!! But I did come armed with a new trick. I knew I could not endure another 5-stick morning. So, as soon as I got to the infusion floor, I asked for two hot blankets. We folded them lengthwise and wrapped them around each of my arms, roped by surgical tape. Then I got out my trusty 8# hand weight which I had brought from home.
For the next 20 minutes, I did arm curls with the weight, alternating hands attached to these huge white snowman arms. I did not stop the entire time. When my nurse came in to get me started, she marveled at my veins! She said she even had a choice! UNBELIEVABLE! The good vein comment was verified when she went in and I splayed blood all over the back of my hand-----a great sign, she said. She got in that pumped up vein and we were good to go!!
The most astonishing news I got yesterday was that they tested my tissue for the newest mutation (ALK) for lung cancer patients who have non-small-cell variety, adenocarcinoma type. Only 3-5% of patients test positive. And I did!
This means two things. This gives me the cause of my cancer. ALK mutations (My little brother has always thought of me as a mutated mutant, so he will be delighted to hear this) mean that your #2 chromosome has fused itself together and developed an abnormality, which then replicates itself and causes cancer.
This also means that I can now go onto oral chemo which has shown to be effective for ALK mutations. That means no more infusions! The clinical trials have been very promising for shrinkage. The drug stops working at some point in everyone, and then Plan C needs to be thought through, but for now we will try this. I will have a PET scan later this month to determine a baseline from which to measure progress. I am guardedly optimistic, though I have read about some fairly bad side effects of this drug, and Dick and I have already decided that if the side effects are too bad, we will discontinue that regime and go back to infusion. I know I cannot cope with gastro-intestinal side effects which impede eating, and cause weight loss. For me, that would be lethal. There are lots of others, including rash on your whole body and diarrhea or vomiting and some heart and lung stuff. So, this will be a trial.
We are very interested in securing information from the original researchers who may know if this is hereditary. If it is, then Sam would need to get some genetic testing at intervals to see if he carries that abnormality. I pray not. Maybe they don't know if it is hereditary or not, but we intend to find out.
I am feeling a bit punky from chemo.....just low-grade nausea....but the 57-degree weather (I just took a long slow walk drinking in the warmth and sun, and we have 60 degrees coming tomorrow.....unheard of!) helps. I am laying low.
Thanks again for prayers and caring. Looks like we are entering the next phase of this cancer trip, and I continue to believe strongly that God is healing me.