Yesterday, I wrote about the oncology clinic and how much I dislike it. In addition to my anxiety and dislike of the clinic, they are now doing construction to the parking lots and building a parking garage. This meant that I (and Chris who drove separately) had to park really far from the clinic and walk (although there were shuttles). It just added to my dislike of the entire experience.
Chris’ scans show that the cancer is stable. This is a good thing. The cancer isn’t growing – although it isn’t shrinking, but we don’t really expect it to at this time. The blood marker that they have been watching (if you’ll remember the marker was rising and after doing more detailed scans in June, they discovered that the cancer cells in the pleura were not being held in check by the clinical trial drug, so they did radiation and got things back under control.) has been going steadily down since Chris’ radiation finished in early June. This is also a good thing.
The clinical trial drug that Chris has been taking for 14 months (my previous estimates were off), has been approved by the FDA (you can read an article about it here Pfizer Lung Cancer Drug). Chris’ doctor believes that as long as he continues taking the drug (and doesn’t go off for a different treatment – like he did when he went off for radiation) he will continue to get the drug for free as part of the clinical trial. However, if he does go off the drug, then we will have to pay for the drug if he goes back on it. It is expensive – $9,600 per month without insurance (thank goodness for insurance).
The doctor said that there are new “second generation” ALK-targeting drugs in the works and if Chris goes off the Pfizer drug for a targeted treatment for an area that has mutated and isn’t reacting to the drug, it is possible that they can get him in a clinical trial for one of the new drugs. I guess we will just have to wait and see what the cancer decides to do and go from there.
David asked me about what the doctor said when he walked in the door yesterday. I told him. He replied, “Well, I guess that this is as close to remission as we are going to get.” Stable is good. It isn’t remission. The cancer is still living in Chris’ lung. But the drugs are holding it in check so it can’t grow. At some point we know that the drugs will stop working and the cancer will start growing (or appear in other places). But David is right, this is as good as it is going to get.
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