Go ahead and call me Pollyanna, but I have to focus on the upside of a scan that revealed three new tumors.
... In my lungs.
And that upside is that I buy myself a Coach bag (from an outlet store, and on clearance, so don't worry about me spending a fortune) for every tumor. (C is for Coach. C is also for cancer.) So... three new purses is something to celebrate. (No, actually, it isn't. I shook my head at my own bad sense of humor at that.)
When we first saw the scan, I was so happy to see that big, black, hole in the middle of my GIANT tumor. I had been so hopeful that the last chemo would work. I had been hopeful that it had been working, that the explanation for all of the pain - that the fiery, burning, sensation I had through the entire first round - was the cancer dying.
Well... the pain may well have been the tumor dying. But it's the opinion of the doctors that it was the tumor growing so fast that it couldn't maintain its own growth, and that's why the center of it died.
Yup. Necrosis. It's been my vocab word of the week.
It doesn't appear that the center of the tumor dying has slowed the growth down. (Or, if it has... thank heaven! Because it's still a beast, and I have a bump coming out of my left side that's made it all but impossible to find a pair of pants that doesn't make me want cry.)
Here's a side by side of this week's scan against the January scan.
My infamous rib-breaking tumor has grown from 7.3 x 3.9 cm to 11.2 x 8.4 cm. And like almost doubling in size isn't ominous enough, the SUV has jumped from 14.7 to 23.1. That's a 57% increase, kids. And it's scary as hell, because the SUV score indicates that this bad boy is active enough to have soaked up a whole lot of the contrast. It's white hot compared to January's yellow glow.
I hate it.
And speaking of things that I hate.... Here's a shot of one of my three new friends.
I'm going to name them Larry, Curly and Moe. (Because I've always hated The Three Stooges, and I hate these tumors, too.)
It's important to note that I don't have lung cancer. It's liposarcoma, metastasized to my lungs. In the words of my PET, "There are at least three new hypermetabolic parenchymal nodules." There's no need to biopsy them, as I'm already in treatment for cancer. I'll be starting another new regimen next week, and while I am hopeful... I am also scared out of my ever lovin' mind, because I'm going back on Doxyrubicin (aka: Adriamycin, aka: The Red Devil). The last two treatments that I've done have been brutal. They've made me take to my bed for days at a time, they've sucked all of my energy, they've taken my memory and my ability to put sentences together properly... they've been wicked. And they're still a walk in the park, compared to what I did last spring.
It will be a different blend. Last year, I did Doxyrubicin + Ifosfamide. The Ifos has kidney impact, which is why I was in the hospital for almost a week with every infusion last spring. This regimen will be Doxyrubicin + Dacarbazine (which was, ironically, the "hard" chemo in the mix I took in November and December... now it's going to be the easy chemo), every 21 days. To try and prevent the mucusitis/open sores throughout the entirety of my digestive tract issue that I had last time, they'll give me Palifermin as a pre-med and a post-med, 72 hours before and after chemo. It'll be a few more trips to MDA the week that I get chemo (Tuesday, Palifermin - Friday, chemo - Saturday, Neulasta - Monday, Palifermin), but I'm hopeful that the pre/post med will help my body withstand the chemo, and will lighten my side effects.
I'm still scared out of my mind about doing this drug again, but... I'm hopeful that a different blend, plus a different delivery method, plus the pre/post med will help my body do what I have to do, and that this blend of chemo will be effective.
Outside of getting some pretty not awesome news at the doctor on Wednesday, the trip to Houston was good. It was the first time Steve and I have ever gone out of town together. He was a trooper and a half, pushing my wheelchair all over the airport, and then all over MDA campus for all of my appointments. He made sure I was as comfortable as I could be, from physically holding me close to his chest on the shuttle ride to the hotel, because the bumps in the road were jostling me and the movement hurt my rib, to making sure I had enough pillows and a fluffy comforter in the room. When I couldn't swallow the eggs and sausage that he'd gotten me for breakfast, he ate them for me and then went to find me some cereal. And when my poor motor skills meant that I couldn't hold onto my bowl of cereal and I spilled it all over myself and the booth we were sitting in, he calmly moved me to another table and went and found me some more cereal. Traveling was hard on my body, but it was good for my soul to be so well taken care of (and to get to eat wings at the airport on our way back home)!