Monday, January 11, 2016

Not A Great Start To The New Year

As I sit here and begin to type, I am truly at a loss for words.  Me - the big mouth and the writer.

On Thursday, 1/7/16 I met with my oncologist to discuss the results of my repeat CT Scan which I had 1/4/16.  Not good news.

The spot on my right lung has gotten larger.  There are also 3 lymph nodes that now are larger.  Cancer has spread to all 4 spots.  He told me my only option at this point is to start on the new immunotherapy drug, OPDIVO, and hope that it slows down the growth.

I am not a candidate for surgery because I only have one lung left.  I cannot have radiation as it is in the same place as my radiation last year.  And, I've already had chemotherapy 4 different times.

Opdivo, is the first immunotherapy drug to be approved to treat lung cancer. It was approved by the FDA early 2015.  It works by blocking a protein called PD-1 on certain immune cells. This protein helps cancer cells avoid being found and destroyed by the body’s immune system. Blocking the PD-1 protein can help the immune system recognize the cancer cells and attack them.  The new approval is based on a study that was stopped early after showing the drug helped people live longer.  Opdivo is administered once every two weeks during a 2-3 hour infusion.  Opdivo is not a cure but a drug to help lung cancer patients without other options, live longer.

I asked my oncologist, on average, what does live longer mean?  His response was, "statistically speaking 6 months longer than without it."  I did NOT ask where I am at now - meaning how long.  I do not want to know.  I may change my mind later but for now - no information is good information.
In a clinical trial of 582 patients whose advanced non-squamous NSCLC had spread or grown after treatment with platinum-based chemotherapy, 292 were treated with OPDIVO, 290 were treated with chemotherapy (docetaxel). OPDIVO was shown to reduce the risk of dying by 27% compared to chemotherapy (docetaxel). Half of the patients on OPDIVO were still alive at 12.2 months, compared to 9.4 months with chemotherapy (docetaxel). Additionally, OPDIVO was shown to partially or completely shrink tumors in 19% of patients, compared to 12% with chemotherapy (docetaxel).
After 4 doses (8 weeks), I will have another CT Scan to see if it is working.  If the spots have stayed the same size (or smaller), we will continue.  If any get larger, my only option is to try another traditional chemotherapy but a much stronger dose.  Again, the goal is to keep it under control as long as possible.


  1. Sorry to hear it has gotten worse. I have you in my prayers always. Hang in there.

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  3. I am at a loss for words as, I feel like nothing I could say would be appropriate or make you feel any better about your situation. With that being said, know that I pray for you and will continue to pray for your healing. On my mind...

  4. You've always been very strong.
    God bless you.❤️

  5. Please have your oncoligist be aware that sometimes after only 4 treatments of Opdivo, there is psuedoprogression.Normally, they will continue treatments another 4 rounds to see if there is true progression or if tge drug is working. I only know this because my husband was on it for 5 months in trial. He had to go off due to side effects & lung inflammation due to drug. But, he has been stable with no other treatments since August.