I have dreamed of writing this post for so long that I don’t even quite know what to say. You would think I would have put more thought into this, but I didn’t want to get too far ahead of myself. I was worried if I mentally wrote it, I’d jinx myself. Hope is a cautious bird.
It’s been, to put it mildly, a hellacious 15 months. Cabo is amazing, but it’s grueling. I can’t even really put into words just how much this medication is taking a toll on me. The side effects which require more medications. The nausea. The headaches. The endless stomach pains and digestion issues and fatigue and brain fog and white hair and Casper skin and……and……and…….
In June, a year since my surgery – you know, the one that left me uno kidney, uno adrenal gland, an insane scar and terrible circulation resulting in fat legs…to be honest, I’m probably the most upset about the fat legs because who wants to lose almost 50 pounds to wind up with Doughboy legs? – I got amazing scan results but I needed an MRI to confirm that the persistent headaches I was getting was unrelated to a brain metastasis. It was indeed unrelated with no tumors showing in my brain.
This last scan, y’all, last week….
No tumors left.
None. Zilch. Zero.
I’m elated. I’m overjoyed. I’m…..in shock.
You would think I’d be dancing on rooftops. And in a way, I am. I have officially no evidence of disease (NED), which means the doctors don’t see any cancer left. They don’t really say “remission” anymore. And even if they do, I have to endure 5 years of continuously clear CT scans every 3 months before they’ll even consider it. So, that’s not really part of my cancer vocabulary. But, y’all….
I went from having tumors metastasize to my liver, my lungs and numerous lymph nodes throughout my chest this time last year………
To no tumors at all.
Over 50 percent of stage four kidney cancer patients do not make it one year past diagnosis. Those who do hardly ever make it to NED. Stable disease is considered good. Shrinkage is considered great. NED? Not very common.
Statistically, the odds were not in my favor. That is putting it nicely.
But, here I stand.
So, what changes?
Truthfully, not much. I remain in the clinical trial for the foreseeable future. I remain on Cabo for the foreseeable future. Cabo has applied the brakes, if you will, so we need to keep the brakes applied. I continue having scans every 3 months for a few more years. We keep going ahead, careful to enjoy each day and not worry too much about what lies ahead.
Hail, Cabo. Long may it reign!
“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.” – 2 Corinthians 4:8-10