Wednesday, December 19, 2018

California Dreamin’

Jason and I got married in a perfect, tiny ceremony on the beach in San Clemente, California, then honeymooned in nearby San Diego. On each anniversary, we show our kids the wedding video, and every year they ask if they could see where we got married.

Our little crew has never been on a family vacation. Yes, we road trip to Minnesota every summer to see my parents, and while I find that wonderfully relaxing, it’s not really a family vacation.

There is an improv festival coming up in San Diego, and the League of Pointless Improvisers (the Pointless cast) got accepted to perform in it. you see where I am going with this?

These past few months have been rough. Frankly, these past 5.5 years have been hard, but the last few months have been particularly challenging. And the road forward remains unclear.

So we decided, come hell or high water, we are going to California!

Jason pointed out to me that Disneyland and LEGOLAND are in California, too. I’m well aware what a challenging time this has been for Jason and I, but I’d be a fool if I didn’t recognize how hard this has been on the kiddos, too. They deserve some fun.

I spent today anxiously waiting for my MRI results, the first MRI after 6 weeks on my fancy new TKI drug, Lorlatinib. It is my third TKI, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t getting nervous that I’m on #3 of the 4 that have been developed for ROS1 (and #4 is only up to phase 1 in clinical trials). I called the cancer center and left a message, saying I was waiting for results. They said they would call me back when my doctor was available.

So 2 hours later I called again (I am bad at waiting), and they said they know I called, and they will call me back.

An hour later I just about jumped out of my skin when my phone rang. It was a nurse saying that my doctor would call me tonight, after he finished in clinic. That sounded terribly ominous, and I was shaking so much I felt like I could barely stand.

Finally, tonight, my doctor called.

Frustratingly, we are back in the vague land of “slight enhancements”. My doctor feels (and I agree) that it is too soon to make a call whether or not this drug is working for me, especially with such vague results, so I am staying on the drug and we are rescanning in 4 weeks. Back on the emotional rollercoaster. This is exhausting.

But we are going to California, dammit! A week to forget about all of this and just be together! Fun, family memories, and adventures await!

Sunday, December 09, 2018


I am now 9 weeks post brain surgery on my cerebellum.
And 1.5 weeks post targeted radiation to my cerebellum.
And 4 weeks post-entry into my second clinical trial, the EAP for Lorlatinib, which we hope will control (dare we say shrink?) the metastases in my brain.

Right now, we are in a very pleasant phase I am calling ...

The Pause.

I don’t have another doctor’s appointment until my MRI on December 17, so until that time I am going to assume that all of these treatments have done what they were supposed to do, that my new clinical trial med Lorlatinib is holding my cancer at bay, and all I have to deal with are some pesky side effects.

I’ll take it.

In the mean time, I am enjoying trying to get back to some basic level of fitness (brain surgery followed by radiation really knocked me down, and I find myself huffing and puffing just from walking fast). And enjoying movie nights with my kiddos, planning for the holidays, soaking up laughs at Pointless, complaining about my new diet*, and appreciating feeling relatively well. I’m sure hoping for a lot of boring news from the scan and lots of boring months to follow. These past two months have been the hardest two of the whole 5.5 years (and counting!) that I’ve been in treatment for metastatic lung cancer. Boring sounds really good to me!

*one of the side effects of the new drug is that it makes your cholesterol and triglycerides go astronomically high. I am currently on a low-carb diet to see if I can get them to come down. I never knew I loved carbs so much. Or not having to think about what I can and cannot eat.