I am just completing my second chemo cycle and receive my next chemo treatment tomorrow (Tuesday). The side-effects of my second treatment have been negligible (a rash across my shoulders which has retreated over the latter part of the cycle) – less than the mild effects of my first cycle. I continue to feel well, have higher energy levels than during my first cycle and the more painful symptoms of my metastases (right hand and both shoulders) have continued to abate to the point where they are now either non-existent or minor.
Part of my ‘wellness’ and progress could be due to the impact of the Ian Gawler Foundation 10 day residential cancer programme which Maureen and I have just completed (see separate post for my review of the programme).
While attending the programme I learned from my oncologist (Richard Sullivan, Director of Cancer & Blood, Auckland DHB) that the DNA testing of my biopsy material at the Peter MacCallum Institute in Melbourne recorded a positive result to the EGFR mutation. This means that at the end of my chemo treatment I will start receiving the drug Tarceva, effective as a targeted ‘cell’ therapy. While my cancer cells will mutate over time and eventually negate the effectiveness of the drug it, nevertheless, potentially pushes my prognosis out by “years rather than months” (to quote my oncologist).
This is great news!
Following the end of my third (or possibly fourth) cycle I will be scanned to assess the status of my tumours and metastases so that I can consider, with my oncologist, whether any change in my treatment might be warranted.
My continued (an even improved) feeling of well-being and positive ‘body signals’ suggest I am travelling well with the treatment.