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Doing the stage 3a/3b dance


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Radiologist answered a heck of a lot more than the onc did. Both he and the pulmonologist said 3b-the onc said 3a. That’s because there is a big bad lymph but he said will zap him. No surgery because the tumor is very near the pulmonary artery-it MUST be shrunk!  So even the biomarker test wouldn’t serve a purpose at this point but it can be done later. 

I did read all this stuff in the reports but never ever did it sink in what I was reading. Guess I was in such a mental state that nothing was sinking in. 

Tomorrow is port day, Monday is radiologist to do the markings-he wanted the port to be in for some reason-and then following Monday should start this process. Finally-5 weeks it took. Well that went quick so this 6 weeks should fly by. Bring it on, I am oh so ready to fight this. 

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I'm a real believer in radiation, especially precision radiation and that is what it sounds like you are getting.  I had a reluctant tumor that resisted 12 infusions of chemotherapy but after 3 15-minute SBRT sessions, the tumor was fried!  Also, there is a well know secondary effect from precision radiation called the abscopal effect. Here is a rather easily understood paper about it. Basically, when the radiation fries the cancer cells, the fried cells are cleaned up by the immune system and the immune system then starts to recognize the cancer as a disease and attacks it throughout the body.

So to assist in your mental preparation, just imagine the millions of cancer cells that will be screaming as they are burned up by the radiation apparatus. I do love precision radiation!

Bring it on indeed.  Lock and load and proceed deliberately to the radiation chamber and eviscerate that tumor!  

Stay the course.


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Yes sir, I did ask if it was precision and he said yes. I’m laughing at the visual I have of the cells burning in a hell like place. 

Thanks for all your wisdom. 

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They couldn't decide whether my cancer was Ia or Ib.  The pathologist believed (after taking an inordinately long time to study the tissue removed) that the tumor had invaded the pleura.  My surgeon insisted that HE knows what HE found, and how he cut, and he was positive there was no invasion of the pleura.  Bottom line, they duked it out at the tumor board, and the pathologist won the day (with my surgeon still dissenting).

It really isn't always as exact an answer as we'd like.  If I'd been Ia, there would definitely be no chemo recommended.  With Ib, it's the only stage where it's virtually a toss-up whether chemo will do more good than harm.  Given how close a call it was (and my faith in my surgeon's judgment) I opted for no chemo.

More important than the technical staging, I think, is that they have a good treatment plan in place, and it sounds like you've got one.

Don't forget to bring ear plugs to drown out the screams!  :) 

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Sounds familiar- my fellow ALK pal had a similar reaction to Stage 3 & got differing opinions.  Actually you’re moving along pretty quickly with the treatment (even though it doesn’t feel like it) 

Don’t worry about the leaky brain syndrome.  Nothing stuck for the first two months of my treatment.  I’m just now re-reading some stuff & it’s finally making sense.  

Your job now is to figure out how to create a very inhospitable environment for the little buggers.  

Practical advice- ask about putting an ice pack on the site when you get home.  The bruising was terrible for me.

Go get ‘em. Jersey Strong! 


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