Happy: A Quest for Life After Death

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Chemo Holiday

Mat's latest scan results show that his cancer has started to "grow through the Sutent," meaning the medication Mat has been taking is no longer shrinking the tumors in his liver and lymph nodes. Mat did get three months out of Sutent -- better than a bunt single -- but even Dr. Ryan wouldn't call that a home run. I'm thinking it was a double.

$#?&@*%!

(Rest assured that $#?&@*%! does not mean anything that can't be said over the radio. If it did, I would have to pay my co-worker $1. In an effort to clean up my language, I've asked him to collect money every time I use certain ... vocabulary. He's saving it for a contribution to Heifer International at the end of the year. I'm hoping for the sake of my mouth to have only enough for a flock of ducks ($20), and not enough for a whole cow ($500). But to be honest, if things don't turn around soon, I may have enough for two whole cows ($1,000).)

The upside is that Mat gets a "chemo holiday" -- a break from taking any kind of medication -- for the next month.

Although there's no obvious next strategy to take, there is a tentative plan: wait for a clinical trial of an mTOR inhibitor (translation: drug that interferes with cell growth) called Rad001 that should start in mid-July. We should find out in a few days whether Mat is likely to qualify.

Let's hope he does qualify, and that it's not a hook shot from center court.

Blessings Blessings Everywhere

I've been impressed recently by how blessed Mat and I are. I was taking a walk a few weeks ago, thinking about what would really get us through this cancer experience in one piece -- more money? a great therapist? a fabulous doctor? Almost immediately I had this thought: "You have everything you need."

It's true. To start with, Mat has a great job that he loves, where he's surrounded by people who really care about him. It's an incredibly supportive environment that comes with the huge bonus of generous benefits that give us a lot of peace of mind.

Next in a long line is that we live in Boston and Mat does have a fabulous doctor (also now a movie star!) at one of the best hospitals in the world. It's not just a good hospital, but a generous one, where patients whose insurance won't cover their cancer meds still get treatment.

In general, we feel surrounded by good, kind people who care about us -- in our neighborhood, at our jobs, in our community, and our church.

On top of all of that, we have each other, our children, our families, and our faith.

This isn't a trip I would recommend that anyone take, but since we're on it, we're happy to have all the right things in our luggage.