T790, be prepared to meet your maker! The AZD9291 troops are swarming the beach head - starting NOW!
Yes, Zero Hour has finally arrived, and not a minute too soon. Six weeks with many near-sleepless nights and four trips to San Diego later, treatment has finally begun. Since the latest CT scan showed some cancer growth in just five weeks and breathing has been harder, the timing is definitely right. Whew.
Although the treatment itself involves just popping a pill, the production around it is major. Genevieve and I arrived at 7 AM and didn't leave the hospital until after 5:30, just in time to catch our plane back to Portland. In the meantime, we had an eight-hour EKG mini-marathon, along with collecting 17 vials of blood, four questionnaires, two urine samples, and taking my vitals five times. How am I ever going to be a man of mystery if I don't have any secrets left???
All of this makes light of what a big occasion this really is. One of my oncologists was talking to us today about the effort to turn lung cancer from a death sentence into a chronic disease. Sure, there are those who become cancer-free, and that's the goal. In fact, that included me for five whole years, before it returned in 2011. But for most of us, the latest efforts are for treatments like AZD9291, which is the third generation of the Tarceva-like drugs that keep buying us more time.
The strategy is to attack the mutation, and when the mutation learns (mutates) to get around the drug, to use the next drug to attack the new mutant. Each time it mutates they need to have a new drug. It's like an arms war with each side escalating a little more each time.
I have now been through six different kinds of treatment, or seven if you count chemo on two separate occasions. Three of those treatments didn't exist the first time that I had treatment. This latest treatment wasn't even in clinical trial in this country until three months ago. I have often felt like a frog, jumping from lily pad to lily pad just before the one I was on sinks.
It looks like I have a few more hops left in me.