Thursday, May 12, 2016

Minneapolis, MN - Here I Come

Between my trip last week to the LUNGevity Hope Summit, then my scare from my scans, I've kept quiet about another opportunity that I have been given. has graciously invited me to another Lung Cancer Conference.  It will be June 24th and June 25th in Minneapolis, MN.  And, just like the last conference, I will be staying in Minneapolis for 4 days after the conference.  My brother, Alberto, and his beautiful wife, Stacy, live near there so this is a great opportunity to visit with them.

FreeToBreathe is a partnership of lung cancer survivors, advocates, researchers, healthcare professionals and industry leaders. And we are united in the belief that every person with lung cancer deserves a cure.

The agenda for the 2 days can be found by clicking here.  It sounds incredible.

Oncologist Appointment

First and foremost, let me thank everyone for all the love and support I have received the last few days.  I have been a nervous wreck as you can imagine.

This morning, my son Gregory and I met with my primary Oncologist.  We reviewed the report and he showed us the images for the various lymph nodes and the tumor in my right lung.

While he is concerned there is growth, he feels since I am tolerating the Opdivo extremely well, that we will continue on this course.  I will have scans again in a few months but he doesn't think we should change our plan or panic unless we see large amount of growth.  It is very typical for the first few scans when on Opdivo, that the malignant areas get larger.  That is what Opdivo does in the beginning.

Many of you already messaged or called me and told me not to panic on Monday when I found out they got bigger - you knew it was pseudo-progression - I should have listened more closely and the last few days may have not be as nerve wracking as it was - THANK YOU!!!

God Bless all of you who follow my journey and include me in your prayers - it's working.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

May 9, 2016 CT Scan

Yesterday was my first scan since starting Opdivo Immunotherapy in January.  The hope was that all would stay the same size.

I have an appointment with my Oncologist this Thursday to get the results, however, he called me last night.  He said he is very concerned because:
  • The tumor in my right lung got smaller (YAY)
  • The two lymph nodes that were malignant got bigger
  • Four additional lymph nodes have gotten larger as well (NOT SO YAY)
He said he wanted me to know and we will talk more in depth on Thursday.  He said he is very concerned and is leaning towards another biopsy.  He wants to review my scan images with other oncologists to come up with the best plan.

I will post again on Thursday....please keep me in your prayers.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

LUNGevity Hope Summit 2016

Last weekend, April 29 - May 1, 2016, I was lucky enough to attend the LUNGevity Hope Summit held in Washington, DC.  Expense paid by LUNGevity.  I cannot even begin to express how inspirational, educational, loving and supportive those 3 days were.

Each day we were lucky enough to have physicians and survivors from all over the world come in and speak to us.  Some of the topics were:
  • Nutrition
  • Palliative Care
  • Research and Development
  • Survivorship
  • Immunotherapy
  • And many more
As a cancer patient, we depend upon our family for support, love and encouragement.  But, to be honest, sitting in a room with 200 other Lung Cancer Patients has given me more than I could ever give back to them.  It is truly amazing to sit at a table with 10 other people who TRULY know what is going on with you physically and emotionally.  As a example, as a lung cancer survivor we cough.  There are different types of coughs.  Sometimes we need a drink of water.  Sometimes we need a tissue.  Sometimes we need someone to tap our back.  The most amazing thing to me was sitting there and the person to my right or left, everytime, knew exactly what I needed.  It was so uplifting to sit next to a Stage 4 survivor who was diagnosed 14 years ago.
10 or MORE years survival
Look at how many new drugs were FDA approved in 2015

My special friends I made - too many to get photos with all of them

I truly am a believer that we cannot go through this journey without other survivors to help each other.  Just talking to others can lift for spirits to a level you never knew existed since being diagnosed.  As a result, I am dedicating myself to helping others.

To all my brothers and sisters from LUNGevity Hope Summit 2016 - I love you all.  To my fellow cancer survivors, WE CAN DO THIS TOGETHER!!