After four years of the same chemotherapy treatment it appears to have finally stopped working as well as it did at first. I have a CT scan booked for Monday, February 6, to confirm this suspicion. Over the last few months the amount of CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen) in my blood has continued to rise and I have been feeling increased pressure in my lower back. It is now time to begin a second-line treatment.
I mentioned a new drug trial in a previous post and am now in the process of being enrolled. A lot of these types of trials are done in Toronto but this particular one is actually taking place at my local hospital in Cambridge. The trial is specifically for second-line stage 4 colorectal patients which exactly describes my situation.
My oncologist described this trial as intensive–not that the treatment itself is harder to endure, it just involves a greater number of appointments for me. I will be undergoing a barrage of tests before and during the trial. Sounds like I will be at the hospital even more than I currently am.
There are two arms of the trial, the standard care group and the experimental group. I may or may not be selected for the experimental group, however even the standard care group still provides better treatment than the typical second-line treatment I would receive if I did not participate in the trial.
If I am selected for the experimental group it will mean spending two full days at the hospital every two weeks instead of my usual single day. Unfortunately this means my standard Friday chemotherapy day will need to change. Currently it sounds like my treatment days may be Wednesday and Thursday. If I am in the control group I will only need to spend one day at the hospital every two weeks for treatment.
Besides hopefully postponing my death a bit longer, the new drugs are not as likely to cause diarrhea or a rash. The base treatment drugs are similar to what my mother went through last year and she, unlike myself on my current regimen, did not need to rest for two days post-treatment. This makes me hopeful that I won’t need as much downtime after my treatment, especially since it will be in the middle of the week.
I am well aware that I have surpassed my initial one- to two-year life expectancy. I still get quite the surprised reactions from doctors when they learn I have been on the same treatment for four years. Whenever highly educated people are surprised I think that is a pretty clear sign that God is working. I thank God constantly that I am still alive and get to enjoy my family.
These could be my last days here on earth. I hope not, but they could be. God has seen me through four years of constant poisoning, surgeries, and countless hours on the toilet. I pray that He will give me at least another four years. I will not give up. I have four little motivations at home to keep on fighting.
Please pray for my healing, whether it be through this new treatment or preferably just a nice miracle. Whatever happens, may God’s will be done and may He be glorified.