Let me get the easy good stuff out of the way first and then you don't have read any further if you don't want to.
My meeting with my oncologist on Monday was less than 8 minutes. The suspected tumour has actually shrunk. Not disappeared but gotten smaller. His suspicion is that the nodule is inflammation and not a cancer tumour. So another three month reprieve. My next scan is at the end of January.
The T790M biopsy was "indeterminate." There are not enough cancer cells circulating in my blood to determine if the mutation is present. This was a blood biopsy to see if I have the mutation that will lead to my next treatment. He explained that "indeterminate" is a good thing. It means that the drug is continuing to its work in conjunction with my immune system.
That this scan seemed different was an understatement. I already knew I had a nodule. And I mentally convinced myself the news was going to be bad. I expected it to be an inflection point - the place where the curve of a line changes direction. I had two rough days, barely able to function. Habits, so the walks, the meals, the zoom meetings happened but not much else. But it is a reprieve. Here lies the paradox. I know that inflection point is coming but it isn't here yet.
And now to catch up. I have had so many people complement me on the beautiful pink tutu that I thought I had written a blog post about it. Apparently not. It was just a Facebook post. So let me tell you about running in my first race.
Running has been one of my delights in the pandemic. I began in June to follow an eight week training program geared to running 5K. I wrote about the process in an earlier post. So the end result was a 5K run in Serpentine Hills Park.
In August my goal became running in the CIBC Run for the Cure. A 5K race that is run in many communities across the country. This year it was celebrated as a virtual event. My fundraising efforts pale beside some of the participants but I'm glad for the support you folks showed. This was my Facebook post after the event:
The 5K run happened. Things I learned:
- People love a guy running in a tutu. Lots of laughs, waves, and "you can do this."
- At the end of 6K it is really hard to not step in dog shit. People pick up after your damm dog!
- I can do it. The mask was a pain so I compromised and only wore it when I was around people.
- It felt lonely. There were several other groups of pink shirts but I was the only solo runner that I saw. But then I thought of all my supporters cheering me on. And then it wasn't so lonely.
- People are amazing. I figured a couple hundred bucks. But we raised over $750! Thank you!
And I know some of you are asking why he ran 6K. I will just say that there was a discrepancy between the route that I had mapped out as 5K and what actually happened.
When the race was over, I ran the training plan maintenance program for a week or two. Then realized that I really was starting to think of myself as a runner. That was different from being someone who ran. I started in on the next level of training prep for 10K. Now I need to find a race to motivate me.
As the weather changes, I've slowly been trying to figure out running gear for the rain and cold. A generous gift from Mediforce gave me a great high vis jacket that is wonderful, warm, and waterproof. At first I was worried someone might mistake me for RCMP (very similar style.) It has proven not to be the case and people in the neighbourhood are learning to recognize me. The friendly smiles through masks are amazingly encouraging.
The first puddle that my runners went into I thought I would be squelching for the next three kilometers. But modern design seems to take that into account and they dry really easily and quickly. I have breathable long underwear that I will shift to when it gets colder. I have learned that keeping my hands warm is important too. Wool gloves take care of that quite nicely.
There are a few other things going on in my life.
On the 9th of November I presented the results of research that I have been collaborating on with Lung Cancer Canada . It examines the effects of anxiety on lung cancer patients resulting from covid-19. The study is ongoing and was recently fielded again. There is some descriptive information emerging already. Patients are slightly anxious about the impact of covid-19. But the interesting part of it is when we examined the feelings of anxiety they seemed to be dominated by two. Isolation and vulnerability. For those of us who are patients this resonated with us.
We examined the impacts of covid-19 on patients lives. The largest impact we saw was in the ability to participate in life events with those they love. Life events are things like weddings, funerals, graduations, and milestone birthday celebrations. While that is a common impact for many others, it is particularly poignant for lung cancer patients as they may not have many left. The loss of this ability seems to raise anxiety levels dramatically.
A final aspect of the survey looked at supports. Again the clear consensus of the data was the importance of clear communication from the healthcare team. Second was communication from lung cancer support organizations about the effects of covid-19.
NaNoWriMo has turned into a real challenge. An surprising story is emerging like a butterfly from her chrysalis. The writing is still going forward, just not at the pace it needs. Between scanxiety and other distractions, I'm only at about 15,000 words. I should be closing in on 30,000 for my goal of 50,000 on Nov 30th. Still without a goal I wouldn't be writing at all. And all I can say is that Maria wants to know who killed her lover in the industrial accident. I have my suspicions but a bit like Clue I'm going to have to write it out and see.
Recently I watched David Attenborough's documentary "A Life on Our Planet." Described as looking back on his life and sharing a way forward, it affected me profoundly. The image of a lone orangutan swinging in a single tree brought me to tears and I couldn't finish the movie. I'm glad I went back the next day. The simple presentation of a way forward was elegant. It brought a sense of hope for our world that I haven't experienced in a long time.
As I reflected on Psalm 8 in "The Message" this morning, I glimpsed some of that hope and I remember who is in charge (and it isn't me.)
I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous,
your handmade sky-jewelry,
Moon and stars mounted in their settings.
Then I look at my micro-self and wonder,
Why do you bother with us?
Why take a second look our way?
Yet we’ve so narrowly missed being gods,
bright with Eden’s dawn light.
You put us in charge of your handcrafted world,
repeated to us your Genesis-charge,
Made us lords of sheep and cattle,
even animals out in the wild,
Birds flying and fish swimming,
whales singing in the ocean deeps.
God, brilliant Lord,
your name echoes around the world.
As always thanks for your continued prayers and support. In this time of disconnection, many of us are rediscovering the simple joys of phone conversations and written emails. To those of you who drop me a line now and then, know that it is deeply appreciated.