Hello, friends who enjoy reading about colon cancer.
Well, after 29 combined months, it looks like my days of Folfox-related hell have come to an end. This particular chemo is no longer working for me. 3+ years. We had a good run, Folfox.
My scan showed no tumor shrinkage, and, in a few spots, some slight growth. (We're talking 2.5cm spots, at the largest. Not huge. But, still. The wrong direction.)
Dr. K called me last night to deliver the news. It was 7pm. My son was in the middle of performing a concert for us entitled, "All things Blue". It involved maracas, a tambourine, and math problems on a white board. I was feeling enamored by his efforts, and trying not to snort out loud when the phone rang. ACK! Dr. K calling to foretell my fate. Impossibly jarring. Adrenaline going from 0-150mph in .75 seconds.
I took the call in our driveway, safely out of kids' earshot. I held the phone with a quivering hand while he dropped the latest bomb and explained what will happen next. We'll stop the current chemo, try out a new protocol. He has two in mind, one of which is a drug not even typically used for colon cancer. It's for melanoma, sarcoma, and lymphoma, but the results of my genetic testing from a few months back show that this drug may work well on me. (The world of cancer treatment is evolving so much right now. Using genetic profiles, for instance.) Option B is a drug just released last year, and it features an unpronounceable name and potentially severe liver side effects. Regaforamibib, or some such thing. Like the bad guy in a sci-fi film.
We hung up, and Neil and I stared at each other for a while, eyes darting around, half developed questions on the tips of our tongues. There's a sour feeling of impotency that accompanies the arrival of bad scan news. It makes me want to run 20 miles, to move, to DO something.
We piled the kids in the car and drove to our nearby beach. They whooped with the excitement that comes with ignoring an impending bedtime. With the windows down, the warm summer breeze blew through the car, and the radio played "Against the Wind", by Bob Seger. I listened to the words:
"And I remember what she said to me / How she swore that it never would end
I remember how she held me oh so tight / Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then
Against the wind /We were runnin' against the wind
We were young and strong, we were runnin' Against the wind"
I shook my head and chuckled quietly, having never identified with Bob Seger lyrics until now. At the beach, the kids hollered and ran and dug in the sand. Neil and I sipped beers, stared at the water, and had a talk. And in that hour or so, we found our resolve.
So here's the deal, here's how I feel: I am strong. I can take these punches. I am going to continue to attack this thing with everything I have. And I have a lot of options left. This thing cannot break my spirit.
When we got home, we overheard the kids chatting happily in the shower: "We had a great day, didn't we?" "Yes! This was an awesome day!" Sigh. God bless 'em.