CT Results + More: Feeling Blue and Seeing Red

Friends and Family,

We have another trip to San Diego this past week. The results of my latest CT scan are, incredibly, unchanged. I have beat the odds… again! So much has gone right:

  • There was a 50/50 chance that I had the right mutation to get on AZD9291 (now Tagrisso), and I won that lottery.

  • This treatment is effective for 70% of the people. Guess which group I fall into? J

  • AZD9291 is usually effective for about 13 months. I reached 13 months in November, and I’m still doing great!

  • UCSD will participate in the clinical trial for the next generation treatment (yesssss!!!!!), and will hopefully have the trial before I need it.

I have every reason to be deliriously happy at this point. So why am I feeling so blue, and seeing so much red? I even yelled at someone the other day, and had to restrain myself from doing the same with a second person. Of course, it wasn’t called for in either situation. Put those two colorful moods together, and I have turned into one, big, purple, bruise.

It feels so wrong to have everything go so right, and yet still be feel this bad.  There’s no reasoning with feelings, however. Trying to change your feelings is very much like trying to change your spouse: It ain’t happening! Everything works out so much better if you just listen. (No, I’m not sucking up to the women who read this.)

Okay, I’m listening. Number one, I had my third annual torn-disk-in-my-back event. I can’t reach below my knees in the morning before I’ve iced my back and had a pain killer or two. Saint Genevieve has been putting on my socks and shoes every day for more than a month.

At least this time, I know how I did it. I’m sure it looked like I slipped on a banana peel when I fell flat on my back. Ah, but this time I thought I had the problem licked. Since I have my pain management doctor on speed dial, I got a cortisone shot  in the pesky disk within a lightning-fast two weeks. But after a little progress, things started getting worse again. I’m scheduled to repeat the procedure this Friday.

I have been discouraged. It will pass, but in the meantime I’m cranky! I have to remind myself that moods feel permanent while you’re in them, but they pass. This situation is not permanent. An old friend of mine used to say, “I can put up with anything, as long as I know it’s not permanent.” Good reminder, Richard. Thank you!

Enough whining about back pain. It’s not the big issue. The bigger one: When Genevieve and I went to San Diego last week, we visited my friend Craig. Craig started on AZD9291/Tagrisso a few months before I did, but treatment ceased being effective for him, so his only treatment is for pain management. Breathing difficulties and pain meds made it difficult for him to communicate with us. My sadness for him completely overwhelmed the joy at getting my own good CT scan results.

Even that feels a little better, however. Craig’s daughter guest-blogged for him today (https://craigblower.wordpress.com/), and his terrific attitude and heart showed through. This has done more for my mood than a (successful) cortisone shot!.

There’s always a lesson in there, isn’t there? The lesson for me is that, although I can’t change my feelings, I can change my attitude. And when that happens, my mood will follow.

Now that I’m listening, and my attitude is improving, and this big purple bruise is beginning to fade.

Thanks for listening!



*** A Special Request - UPDATED ***

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I will be attending the LUNGevity Foundation's National HOPE Summit in Washington, DC, in May - it's a special conference just for lung cancer survivors like me. Since I was able to raise $1000 or more in donations, LUNGevity will cover my travel expenses, including US round-trip transportation and hotel accommodations. However, I have raised the bar, and I am trying to raise as much as I can for LUNGevity. AND NOW THERE IS AN ADDED INCENTIVE.

THIS IS THE NEW PART: The amazing partners at the real estate brokerage where I work, Macadam Forbes, are offering a MATCHING GRANT. THEY WILL MATCH ANY NEW DONATION, DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR, UP TO $500. If you give $10, you will be raising $20 for LUNGevity. If you give $100, you will be raising $200.

Proceeds from this fundraiser will benefit LUNGevity Foundation, the leading private provider of research funding for lung cancer. LUNGevity Foundation is firmly committed to making an immediate impact on increasing quality of life and survivorship of people with lung cancer by accelerating research into early detection and more effective treatments, as well as providing community, support, and education for all those affected by the disease.