It looks like I got what I wanted.

Nearly six months of chemo has taken the tumour down from 3.9 cm to 2.2 cm. That was the original size when it was just an ‘object of interest’ before it started to grow. On Friday I have an appointment for radiotherapy staging (they scan, they locate, they tattoo the target). They told me it would take around two weeks to arrange the radio so in the meantime would I care for another round of chemo & cetux the day after (my normal day). How could I refuse? So here I am with chemo cycle 9 and cetux cycle 7 swilling around in me.

I think they wanted to carry on with chemo but I expressed the preference for radio. It won’t be radiofrequency ablation because the tumour is too large. It will be ‘traditional’ blasts of x-rays at the tumour. If I heard right, twelve consecutive days (more or less) with a quick-ish zap each day. These smaller doses are called fractions. The fraction either destroys the DNA directly in the affected cells or it creates charged particles called free radicals that damage the DNA. I like to think of these free radicals as my liberation army. Come on, you Sandinistas 🙂

They still won’t tick the Curative box. It’s still Palliative for them. Prolong my life, etc.

But if I stop the chemo now, in the same number of months this tumour will return to its original size. I do not under-estimate the aggressive and severe nature of this metastasis, and I need to fight back with a stronger weapon. Which is where the radio comes in.

Radio doesn’t hurt when it is administered. But afterwards, the burnt or destroyed tissue can hurt plenty. There is also the risk of collateral damage to healthy tissue nearby, and the location is a node on the tube/pipe that leads into the lung mass. It’s a thin and complicated structure with lots of  pulmonary veins and arteries.

If you’re interested, it’s #10 on this map diagram: http://www.radiologyassistant.nl/en/p4646f1278c26f/mediastinum-lymph-node-map.html

But I feel the risk is calculated and correct. As Sean O’Faolain once said about Daniel O’Connell: “He imagined the future and the road appeared”.

So profound. Fuck it, let’s have another song: