Had my last chemo on Aug. 3 and C. T. scans of chest, abdomen, and pelvis toward the end of August. The 3 tumors in my lungs had shrunk and still no spread of the cancer seen anywhere else. Have recovered from chemo side effects and just been enjoying not having to think about or battle the cancer for a while. Don't seem to have any long term effects from the radiation. Had a short bout of more coughing and shortness of breath right after last chemo. But from what I've read this could have been the result of the chemo or the radiation or both. A short course of steroids took care of that and have had no trouble since then. Will be having P. E. T. scan in early Dec. So far, have been happy with my treatment. I believe it was the best I could have been given in the circumstances.
In March of this year I was diagnosed with stage IV NSCLC, Adenocarcinoma, as the result of a case of pneumonia. Already under the care of a Medical Oncologist as the result of having been treated for another type of cancer the previous year. That treatment went well, NED. On my first consultation he explained the standard treatment options for stage IV. What I was hearing ( and said to him), was, "So the bottom line is I'm dead." I have to admit that I taped the consult and was a bit ashamed of myself when I listened later. I actually like my Med. Oncologist but was very aggressive. Finally, he said, "Okay, you're young ( not really), and healthy and respond well to treatment, so let's go for a cure." He had done a study with some other doctors on treating Oligometestatic lung cancer with a curative intent. Oligometestatic means, in my case, that I had a nodule in my left lung and 2 in my right lung, but P.E.T. showed no spread outside my lungs. C.T.'s done since then still do not. Talked with my family and we decided within 24 hours to go with his plan. His plan was to give me S.B.R.T radiation on all 3 tumors followed by chemo. Then hit a snag with Radiology Oncologist. He didn't want to do rhis. His concerns were that it wasn't standard of care ( it has since come into standard of care) and that I'd had 33 standard radiation treatments to my right breast the year before, so he was considering possible toxicity issues. I persisted, my Med. Oncologist persisted, and by God's grave a new doctor had just come on board at my hospital about the time I was diagnosed with extensive experience in S.B.R.T. So, I got my treatment. I had 5 fractions of 1000-1500 centigrays of radiation for a total of 4500-5000 centigrays over a 2 1/2 week period. It was done twice a week. Normally S.B.R.T. is done daily or every other day. I'm thinking my Rad. Oncologist chose to do it this way because of his concern about toxicity. The physicist assured me when I ask that the fractions were too high for the cancer to develop resistance in that length of time. They treated all 3 tumors each time. This took about 1 1/2 hours and I was required to lay totally still the entire time. That was the only difficult part. Had no adverse reactions to the radiation at the time and have not had any to date. Next scheduled for 4 chemo treatments of Cisplatin/Alimta spaced 3 weeks apart. Am one week out from my second treatment. Can't say I've had no side effects from this. You guys know exactly what I mean. Lol. The only scans I've had were brain M.R.I. and 2 abdomen/pelvic C.T.'s since diagnosis. Both were clear. Med. Oncologist plans to scan lungs at the end of chemo as of now. So we will see what we will see. Hoping this works out for me and will also help someone else down the road. Many thanks to Tom Galli for suggesting I do this blog, all his support, and hanging in there with me until I could figure out how to get it done.