Super Tuesday is coming. Given my political background you may be thinking I am referring to the day voters in 11 states will go to the polls and determine the fate of the ever-captivating field of presidential candidates. Actually, I have my own Super Tuesday. On Tuesday, March 1, I will have new scans and we will have the first concrete update on the progression (or not) of this disease in my body. It will be a big day for the country, and for me.
As you can imagine I am very anxious for this day. This is compounded in part by the mixed information we have at the moment about my health. On one hand I am feeling pretty decent. My labs have been improving. I have been gaining weight. Nausea managed. A few aches and pains. Mostly just a lot of fatigue. Overall, not bad compared to the horror stories you hear about chemo. All signs of good things.
On the other hand, two weeks ago we learned that I have some new tumors in my breasts, which means that the cancer has spread at least in that one place. After ruling out the possibility that I had breast cancer on top of melanoma, my doctor was quick to point out that these tumors are not in a vital organ and not something to worry too much about. I, of course, worry anyway.
In addition, last Thursday both my red and white blood cell counts were really low as a result of the treatment. This meant I couldn't do my last round of chemo and instead I had to have a blood transfusion. I was pretty bummed. My doctor said that since I have scans next week anyway, we'd skip the last chemo treatment altogether and agree on a plan going forward, based on whatever we see in the scans.
Also on Thursday, I thought that the next possible treatment was more clear as my doctor got me signed up for another clinical trial. Unfortunately, by the end of the same day we learned that, likely, I will not be eligible for this clinical trial until the beginning of April due to the washout period required for one of the drugs I have been given in the past. This isn't a huge issue except for the fact that if the chemo isn't working, continuing chemo in the interim won't be in the cards. The other options they could try involve the drug with the long washout period, which means if we were to pursue the other treatments, the clinical trial my doctor is considering would be off the table for the foreseeable future. So, assuming the chemo isn't working, this means it might be a choice to go without treatment for what will be 6-7 weeks when it's all said and done. If the chemo is working the path becomes more clear as I would do another three weeks of chemo, wait a couple of weeks, and then start this trial. We hope this last option is actually an option.
All of this uncertainty has me a bit on edge and perhaps even a little depressed. I think partly this is because the effects of six months of fighting this disease without much good news are starting to wear on me (and Erick). My very first oncologist (the OG oncologist) told us back in August that we had a long, hard road ahead of us. Six months later, I can say with confidence that those words could not be more true. This is by far the hardest thing I have ever gone through. The emotional stress, physical toll and mental gymnastics are compounding and that is making it harder and harder to remain positive and hopeful.
Your prayers during this season, especially between now and "Super Tuesday", are needed. Thank you all for your love and support through this insane detour in my life.