May 24, 2011 - 8:58 pm
Today, I saw my dr. for post chemo consultation. When he walked in and asked me how I was doing, I said "the rapture did not take place as predicted last Saturday, but I feel like I am facing my judgment day today". He said, well, your CT/PET scan is completely clean!
I did not expect this. I went in there bracing myself for a discussion regarding further treatment options. My diagnosis was the most advanced kind (UPSC 4B), and my surgery outcome was sub optimal in that a 5.3x3.6 cm tumor was deemed inoperable and left behind among other sub 1 cm smaller cancer nodules. This tumor did not shrink on the scan I took at a half way point during chemo. Furthermore, my cancer, at the time of diagnosis was extensively metastatic: spread all over the abdominal & pelvic area.
Given all this, I knew odds were not in my favor that I would go into remission after a standard 6 cycles (18 weeks) of front line chemo therapy.
So, this combined with the fact that I breezed through 18 weekly chemo infusion sessions without any side effects (other than the neutrophilis tanking and hair falling out) tells me that I am already beating the odds big time.
I know the odds for recurrence within a few years are near 100% for my diagnosis, but I hope I can beat these too - or at least stay in long remission at a time.
I told my doc "you never looked so handsome as you do today!", and he had a big laugh (this guy never smiles or laughs, so this is a major accomplishment on my part!) - in reality, he actually looks like a grumpy frog. But, he is a very competent doctor.
Meanwhile, I checked the results of my blood work done last week. It looks like my bone marrow is recovering nicely also: 2 and half weeks after the last chemo infusion, my neutrophilis is back to normal (low end of the normal though - I hope it continues to go up a bit more).
Next step: I will contact a couple of places where they are conducting vaccine trial for women who recently went into remission.
By the way, I don't know what allowed me to beat the odds up to this point. However, here are few things I did. Whether they helped in achieving remission or not is impossible to tell (it's not a controlled experiment after all), but I do believe it kept my body healthy, so to the degree that it strengthened my body over all, it probably helped to a certain extent.
*** diet: I became rather fanatic about good nutrition. No meat. Fish occasionally. Organic egg whites for protein. 12 servings of fruits and vegetables all known for their cancer fighting attributes. No diary product. No animal fat. No bleached white floor or white rice. Black rice every day. Flax seed oil, fish oil, curin daily. Lot's of garlic and ginger. Minimal sugar (maybe a table spoon of ice cream a day).
*** exercise: on the average daily 75 minutes of aerobics
*** psychology: right from the beginning, I almost instinctively went into the mode of opening up my social circle. Started to write essays about my "journey" and shared with close friends and relatives. This has been enormously therapeutic for me. I was very optimistic about my odds from the beginning in spite of grim published statistics. I felt that I could turn cancer into a net positive experience for me, and it turned out to be exactly that. All in all, I gained more than I lost.
So, time will tell how I will be doing going forward, but I intend to keep up all I have done so far as described above. Who knows, I may recurr in a short while. Well, if it happens, I will deal with it with the same resolve and positive outlook I had when I first got DX'ed with the worst possible diagnosis I could imagine.