Yesterday, I got the results from my latest scan (we do them every six months or so), and the metastases in my lungs continue to get smaller: two examples are a met dropping from 15x23mm to 13x21mm and another down to 23x17mm down from 27x20mm. The report also says my gallbladder is “present and unremarkable.” We should all want unremarkable gallbladders. (For the record, my bladder is also “unremarkable.”). That’s about all the relevant news in the report. The tumour marker in my blood has dropped again. The drugs are doing what they are supposed to do.
It’s worth remembering that the goal here is to manage a chronic illness. The shrinkage in the mets is great and unexpected news–our goal is simply to stop their growth. Remission is not the goal: it is extremely unlikely in my case, at least given the state of the medicine today. So the mets probably won’t disappear altogether, and I am not looking forward to a time when I will be done with the treatment. It’s possible something else will be invented at some point, or I will need to switch to a different drug, the goal here is maintenance, not cure.
Side effects are there, as always. Last week, after 4 days and something like 12 consecutive meals out in NYC last week my stomach totally gave out. It was like fireworks in the hotel bathroom. And I was exhausted to boot; recovery time last weekend was slow at best. But the visit to the AI Now Institute was otherwise great and I will be back.
Meanwhile, back on the ranch, I seem to have a rager of a cold. I’m not sure, but I feel like this might be the first illness of this sort on the drugs. I’ve been up the last two nights coughing: in addition to the sick person cough, I have the cough of a person with a paralyzed vocal cord, and the cough of a person taking a drug with “dry cough” listed as a side effect. It’s a lot of coughing.