Our cat Lucy's favourite spot (apart from inexplicably sleeping in a big plant pot next to the radiator) is on the doorstep of the kitchen. Preferably on a spring morning when it's just warm enough to leave the back door open into the garden. Lucy will plant herself at a very exact spot to observe both the inner and outer world. Perfect for scanning for threats (other cats) or treats (someone with Dreamies). It's outside yet it isn't at the same time, but not inside either. She neither exists in one space or the other, but both.
This is how i'm choosing to frame in my head where we are with my cancer situation at the start of 2018. I met with my consultant yesterday morning. The official report from my CT scan shows no disease in my lungs or heart. If you didn't have my AFP tumour marker numbers to hand another oncologist would declare I'm cancer free. Except i'm not. Like Erwin Schrodinger's famous thought experiment it's possible for something to exist and also not exist at the same time.
My tumour markers have begun to rise again, to 106. Something somewhere is causing that to happen, but according to the scans it's undetectable. So for the time being I'm taking a break from Chemo. It nearly killed me having 8 months of poison last year and my body needs to recover. As there is no detectable site for the radiologists or my surgical team to work on, that's been ruled out too.
So in a couple of weeks I'm going to be starting a new drug called Sirolimus. It's an immunosuppressant which is originally designed to stop organ rejection in kidney allograft patients. It does a lot of other things too and will hopefully keep a cap on my tumour markers from rising, and there's about a 20 percent chance of them actually coming down. I take a daily tablet at home and get monitored in hospital every two weeks.
What this all means is we're basically kicking the can(cer) down the road. It's being put in the great big aircraft holding pattern in the sky. I'll be scanned again in a few months to see if anything in my lungs has mestasised - in which I can then switch to radiotherapy. I feel uneasy about not actively attacking my disease, but I can see the logic of my consultant. There's a ghost in my machine, and it's really hard to catch a ghost.
In the meantime I can enjoy having my hair again, and getting some strength back. My mind is starting to clear of chemo fog, like de-misting a car windscreen, which is also nice. I'm starting a few writing projects and some other fun stuff which I will talk about soon. Hopefully not being on chemo means I'll be writing more on this blog too.
Right now though I'm off to sit on my kitchen doorstep with Lucy.
NEXT TIME!: Adventures in Art Therapy - can art help with cancer? I go to galleries and investigate. Find out all next week!