If you’ve seen “Finding Nemo”, then you know that Dory is the lovable, happy, always positive Blue Tang fish who has the attention span of a gnat. Dory and I have some things in common. I started referring to myself as “Dory” when I was still teaching school. It wasn’t so much as an attention span thing as it was getting stuck mid sentence or searching for words, all of which I attributed to “chemo brain”. I remember telling my students, “Do what I mean, not what I say”. The funny thing is that they knew exactly what I was talking about and lovingly teased me about it when I experienced a “Dory” moment.
Dory’s famous line throughout the movie was “Just keep swimming”, “Just keep swimming” which is what I have been doing for 12 years now. Throughout this journey I’ve experienced many types of swimming ranging from easy swimming with the current and very hard swimming against the current. I’m going to have to start swimming harder soon.
I’ve have yet another progression of disease (I’ve actually lost count of how many) which involves the 4 tumors in my liver growing plus the appearance of a new one. The good news is that it hasn’t spread anywhere else. My lung cancer seems to like living in my liver. Fortunately, I have a lung cancer specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital handling my care and he called me the other day to discuss my options.
Unfortunately, the melanoma, (yes, on top of everything else, a suspicious spot I had on my arm turned out to be melanoma. It was successfully removed and clean margins were achieved) has excluded me from one clinical trial and I’m waiting to hear back if it’s going to exclude me from another. If so, I still have options, but either way, it’s time to enter into battle yet again and I’m not so sure I even want to. I haven’t had very good experiences with the new targeted therapies. For me, every “tinib” I’ve been on has proved too toxic and I’ve had to stop the treatments. The frustrating thing is that many of these treatments were working. It’s the same story with the immunotherapy drug I was on. I couldn’t tolerate the Opdivo after several months, yet it seemed to be effective to a degree.
So, I’m preparing to swim harder yet again, because when it’s all said and done, I want to live. I’m just too busy to die!! Plus, I’m very competitive and at this point I’m refusing to allow cancer to get the upper hand. Time to get my fins in shape and remember to “Just keep swimming”.