I admit, I have never wanted to be a mutant ... until now.
Here's the deal. The cancer that I have is currently being tested for something called a BRAF 6 mutation. I am not a doctor, so I will not try to explain what this is. I do not want to be yet another person spreading bad medical information on the interwebs, the world has enough of that (#BloggingResponsibly), but if you want to take your chances you can google it if you have a few minutes to spare.
Anyway, this is a good mutant. I want this mutant in my body. For real. Like I have never wanted anything else in my life.
Why? Thanks for asking, because I was going to answer this question anyway.
Basically, if I test positive for this mutation there is another treatment option that is available to me. As I understand it, this treatment basically stops the growth of the cancer for six months. My doctor described it as a "get out of jail free card." Sounds awesome.
While this is a good thing on its own, we learned today at my doctor's appointment just how important testing positive for BRAF 6 could be for me specifically. The reason for this is that the growth of the cancer in my liver is pretty extensive. My last blood tests showed my liver is functioning fine despite this damage, but obviously if the cancer keeps advancing that could change. In addition, the immunotherapy drugs used to treat melanoma are hard on the liver. For this reason, my doctor is concerned that I might not be able to do this kind of treatment right away. The treatment available if I have the BRAF 6 mutation, would likely provide enough of a break for my liver that after six months or so immunotherapy could be a safer option.
If I don't have the mutation, it does not necessarily mean I won't be able to do these kinds of treatments now, but there is a big question mark around that and things get a lot more complex.
The one big caveat to all of this is that my doctor was also clear that he wants a second opinion on whether or not my liver can take the immuotherapy. This is really in the wheel house of the melanoma specialist I will see at UCSF.
So, basically a lot of unknowns, which is never fun. The good news is that tomorrow we will know my mutant status and we may also get the results of another blood test to check my current liver function. A friend told me at the beginning of my diagnosis process to only focus on the facts before me, so I am trying not to get too far down the "what if I am not a mutant path" tonight.
If you are the praying kind, prayers that my liver stays strong and that I am, indeed, a mutant are appreciated!