We just got the latest CT scan results and learned that the cancer has grown a tiny bit again (1mm, the thickness of a credit card) in one of the spots in my lungs, a change so small that many oncologists consider that within the margin of error. Except this time lymph nodes near my abdomen and clavicle grew ten times that much, and the cancer in the rib in my back is now involving surrounding soft tissue and more of the bone. In short, it’s time to do something. It may be that I stay on the Tagrisso, since it still seems to be doing a lot of good, and add a second med.
The next step is to get a biopsy of the lymph nodes to see how the cancer has mutated, because if the cancer is growing again, there’s a new mutation. They will have me lie down in a CT scan machine, insert a needle, scan me again, adjust the needle and push it in a little more, then rinse and repeat until they hit the target and get the sample. I’m told I won’t even need sedation for this one, so it’s a pretty minor procedure.
I’ve also asked for a liquid biopsy, which is when they take a blood sample and look for the cancer’s DNA circulating in the bloodstream. That way we will know if there is any new mutation elsewhere that isn’t showing up in the lymph nodes. We want no surprises!
We’re hoping to get this done next week. It will take 2 to 3 more weeks to get the results. At that point we will see what approved medications or clinical trials are promising for my mutation(s). Meanwhile, one oncologist is urging me to get radiation treatment for the cancerous rib, while the other is suggesting I wait until I can’t manage the pain with Tylenol. The hope is that in time, the new medication will attack the cancer in my rib. Since I’ve been golfing and doing some pretty physical yardwork with no significant pain, I’m going to avoid radiation as long as possible.
Genevieve and I have made one other decision. We’re going to take it one step at a time, and not worry about what might or might not work until we get to that point. No need to worry about the future until we get there, is there?
This post originally appeared on Dann’s Cancer Chronicles on July 7, 2021. It is republished with permission.