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Scanziety Builds Character

My CT was on August 30th but I needed to wait till today to get the results—from a new medical oncologist. He’s my kind of guy achieving undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering before going to med school. We talked a bit on how things have improved since the dark ages of my diagnosis. I told him of my rabid scanziety driven by a 12-day dwell from test to results. He told me I’d not receive the same treatment if I was diagnosed today. I told him I was happy I was not being diagnosed tod

Weight for it..., Weight

Speaking of side effects (at least I was in last week’s column, “Enough Already”) being a regular part of chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy; the big three non-surgical options for cancer patients, I am currently experiencing a new side effect which as it happens is a dream come true: weight loss. Which has enabled me to eat to my heart’s content without your typical consequences. Meaning, for now, I can be comfortable in whatever food I eat. As Curly Howard of The Three Stooges mi

Hopping and Hoping

As I approach my four-week anniversary of "the burning," I do so with cautious optimism that one day soon, I'll be walking upright once again and doing so without the assistance of my walker. No more leaning over at the waist to grab the walker's waist-high grab bars. No more pulling/pushing myself up as I try to gain leverage in order to balance my weight so as not to fall backwards or to the side. And finally, once standing, no more hopping on my right foot as I favor the left; the location wh

Bedridden in Burtonsville

It all started innocently enough: on Crystal Beach in Galveston, Texas while enjoying a family vacation. Due to 11 years of chemotherapy, I have neuropathy in both feet. As a result, I never walk barefoot, especially on a beach, unless of course, I go into the water. Which on the Saturday before last, I did. When I returned to my beach chair, with my feet all sandy and wet, I elected not to put my sneakers and socks on for the 50-yard walk back to our accommodations. Oh (literally), how I wish I

Time to Kill

(Again, not a cancer column. Given the title, it would be a pretty gruesome reference to my life in the cancer world if it were.) No. Not even close to a cancer column. But I am writing about a similar mind-numbing experience. However, this experience has nothing to do with disease/dying. Instead, it has to do with the effort, patience and excruciating lack of success in attempting to contact, meaning speaking to an actual person, at the Internal Revenue Service and/or at the Social Securit

I'm the Big Winner

(Not a cancer column.) For the past six months or so, I have been the email-recipient of $50 gift cards to numerous to count/tally. They have run the gamut from Ace Hardware to Zappos.com and everything in between like CVS, Kohls, Walmart; you name it. I have rarely clicked on any of these "giveaways" because the one time I did, the answers required on the site - to claim my winnings, seemed a bit intrusive, as in what they were asking was none of their business. If they truly want to incentiviz

And the "Scancer" Is ...

... stable, with a side of shrinkage, however modest. No jeopardy here, final or otherwise. Simply more of the same here, but hardly ho hum. A  status quo with which I am fond of writing: I can live. Promises and guarantees left the building on that fateful day in late February, 2009 when an oncologist who I had previously never met summarized my condition and identified it as stage IV, non small cell lung cancer. A "terminal" disease if there ever was one, and of course there are many. And alon

Long Term Lung Cancer Survivorship....It's Lonely Out Here!

Hello Everyone! I'm not new. In fact, my Adenocarcinoma (Pancoast) lung cancer journey began in October 2004. I was diagnoised at State IV. Mets to chest wall and liver. I was given 2-6 months with treatment and 1 to 2 years with treatment. I've had reocurrences. One time, I was told to get my affairs in order. Yes, I'm still here. Thank God. It started off crazy (as I would imagine, everyone else did too). But, what I am searching for are connections.  People like myself. Someone to relate

The Masks are Off ...

... and I suppose life is back on, especially for those of us who have been vaccinated. No more hiding your emotions and expressions behind your face-covering as you once again start interacting with the general public. They can see you and, of course, you can see them - and you can hear/understand them, too. Conversations will flow more evenly now that they won't be interrupted by an "Excuse me, I can't understand you," or a "Could you please repeat that?" Conversations that were previously aff

On Memorial Day

Could this be the day in America whose meaning has been forgotten? On this day, many in my neighborhood and small town knowing I'm a retired soldier will wish me "Happy Memorial Day!" While I appreciate the salutation; I'm befuddled by our collective loss of understanding and appreciation. Memorial Day is a day of remembrance and commemoration for those who died in the act of serving in our Armed Forces during war. There is a parallel of a lack of understanding and appreciation that ap

A False Sense of Security

As previously referred to in a recent column, even though I am hardly cancer-free; nonetheless, I am cancer interruptus for the next four weeks. That means I have no cancer-related activities: no lab work, no scans, no infusions, no injections, no appointments, no video visits, no interaction whatsoever. Other than taking my daily thyroid cancer pill (the side effects of which are marginal at worst), with which I ingest another 50-plus pills (supplements and so forth), I am, too quote my late fa

Wanna Take A Chance?

I'm sort of invoking Southwest Airlines here, but not exactly. What I am invoking are the incredible number of television and radio commercials for legal gambling sites and for car insurance. Both offer rewards while requiring payment upfront. In anecdotal fact, if it wasn't for these two entities advertising on television especially, and on radio to a lesser degree, the airwaves would be a lot less redundant. I'm so used to seeing Flo from Progrssive, LiMu Emu and Doug from Liberty Mutual and a

The Roscopal Effect

I’m telling this story so that others who find themselves in a similar situation, ask this question, “What about the “Roscopal effect?”   When diagnosed with NSCLC-mucinous adenocarcinoma, in the summer of 2017, I believed that my medical team had all the answers when it came to my treatment. However, after a lower left lobe lobectomy in September 2017 (with an 8.3 cm mass), I started to ask more questions and gather more information. My thoracic surgeon and I decided together that the

The Roscopal Effect

I’m telling this story so that others who find themselves in a similar situation, ask this question, “What about the “Roscopal effect?”   When diagnosed with NSCLC-mucinous adenocarcinoma, in the summer of 2017, I believed that my medical team had all the answers when it came to my treatment. However, after a lower left lobe lobectomy in September 2017 (with an 8.3 cm mass), I started to ask more questions and gather more information. My thoracic surgeon and I decided together that the

Hitting The Nail on the Head

What are all these "Toe Nail Clipper" emails I receive nearly every day? And how do these senders know that I'm actually the perfect recipient. Toe nail clippers and cuticle trimmers have been the bane of my existence going back as far as I can remember. And as recently as I care to mention, these two accessories have been front and center on my bedside table, in a drawer in my living room coffee table, in my car's console/glove box and in any suitcase/overnight bag I take with me out of town. T

LUNG CANCER, COVID AND GRIEF – IT’S COMPLICATED

Being part of the lung cancer community for almost 5 years now, I am often in awe of the fiercely close, supportive and loving connections that are made between its members. We learn together, advocate together, and celebrate life together. And, when someone in our community dies – which unfortunately happens often – we mourn together. For many, it is a deep grief we feel – for the person we lose, their loved ones, and ourselves. Yet during the COVID-19 pandemic, many survivors have had add

A Shot in the Arm

Literally and figuratively. After a year or so living the pandemic life - staying at home/quarantining, wearing a mask, social distancing, washing my hands and watching the death toll from covid-19 top 500,000 in the United States alone - I recently became of the lucky ones to have been injected with a vaccine. I have to wait another two weeks to get my second shot. No worries. I have some protection now, but according to Dr. Fauci, the second/follow-up shot increases one's protection "tenfold."

Cancerversary

I realize I'm cancer-centric, especially in these columns, but for some reason that centricity didn't acknowledge my February 27th cancer anniversary. That date, in 2009, is when I was originally diagnosed with stage IV, non-small cell lung cancer, the "terminal" kind. I remember it well. It was a Thursday. It was the initial Team Lourie meeting with my soon-to-be new best friend: my oncologist. A week or so prior, I had received the first indication - from my primary care physician, that my lif

Back to Abnormal

Well, those last two weeks were kind of fun (comparatively speaking) to the dozen or so previous weeks. 'Fun', when you're a cancer patient experiencing side effects from treatment, is a moderation, absence even of said effects. My recent two-week break from taking my thyroid cancer medication was due to those side effects. Mentioned in a previous column, I was having balance and dizziness issues. In short, I couldn't walk or drive - for that matter, in a straight line. After consulting with my

Lung Cancer and Worry

After a Lung Cancer diagnosis, it is normal and expected for even habitually calm people to worry about their futures. But what happens when those worries begin to “take over”, interfering with your ability to enjoy your life? Most of us are familiar with the quote by Barbara Cameron, “Worry about tomorrow steals the joy from today”. However, as cancer patients, our relationships with worry are usually more complicated than that.     Worry, like any uncomfortable feeling, is often a signal t

Not That I Don't Understand But...

...So this is what the process is like trying to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination. If you're lucky though, you receive an email reminder - since you've pre-registered, advising you that the time to strike is now. You click on the link, and as I'm witnessing, you wait your turn. The site says there's "High Traffic," and they'll be with you momentarily. There's no calling. There's barely any responding. There's simply sitting and staring - and waiting. There's no indication of how long you'll be wa

FDA APPROVES LIBTAYO® (CEMIPLIMAB-RWLC) MONOTHERAPY FOR PATIENTS WITH FIRST-LINE ADVANCED NON-SMALL CELL LUNG CANCER WITH PD-L1 EXPRESSION OF ≥50%

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. and PARIS, Feb. 22, 2021  Libtayo was superior in extending overall survival compared to chemotherapy in a pivotal trial that allowed for certain disease characteristics frequently underrepresented in advanced NSCLC trials This is the third approval for Libtayo in the U.S. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: REGN) and Sanofi today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the PD-1 inhibitor Libtayo® (cemiplimab-rwlc) for the first

5 Years!

Today marks 5 years since my diagnosis. It seems like just yesterday but also a lifetime ago - at the same time. It brought me to the club I never wanted to join but introduced me to so many wonderful people. I am thankful for my medical team and all of the research and advancements that got me to this point.  Looking forward to marking next year's cancerversary with all of you.
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