My CO-1686: A Reset and a What?!

I take my responsibility to share information as seriously as I take my responsibility to provide sound whenever silence exists. This post is a shout-out for my durable comrades in the CO-1686 non-trial and a special howdy for my friends and the lurkers who warm my heart.

Beginning in May of this year, my fasting glucose rose gradually again from the normal of below 100. By August, it was 167.  There was even a 193 reading, a disconcerting number to diabetes managers, but  Dr In-and-Out did not seem concerned.  He kept reassuring me, Labs are good, despite written report warnings High! Pre-diabetic!  I wondered what readings would excite the Good Doctor.

Being a Google University (GU) scholar, I tried to lower the blood sugar numbers on my own.  As an engineer, that’s what I do – solve problems.

I took Metformin religiously, even doubled the dosage. Nothing happened.  I eliminated sugar from my diet. No effect. I examined my stress level. Zero. I’m not the stress kind of gal. In short, I failed to yank the numbers down. Then one day, the light bulb over my head flashed. The perfect solution to my blood sugar problem descended upon me! I stopped drawing blood from my pinkie and gave up reading my fasting glucose numbers altogether. What I didn’t know didn’t bother me any more.  What a concept!

At the same time that my glucose numbers were rising, Charley Horse returned to my life. It seemed like every time I moved, a cramp threatened to happen. My toes would lock in awkward positions. Fortunately, I sensed the menace’s arrival.  I stood up, paced the room wherever I was and the would-be cramp went away. When a cramp threatened me in the swimming pool, I quickly dogpaddled to the deck.  I followed religiously my Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate mantra but the cramp scares kept on coming. All the hydration motions did was award me more frantic trips to the potty.  The heck with it.  I chalked it up to human aging.

Then came my CO-1686 43rd cycle Onc appointment, which I had not considered when I took a grief break. The appointment date left me without the Pills for five days. In other words, I inadvertently took a drug holiday, which consequently brought dumb luck. I became cramp-threat free and my fasting glucose reading mysteriously returned to normal. Jubilation! My body had done a reset.  Feisty Heifer did a happy dance.

Two days later I had my umpteenth CTscan.  For the first time in my nearly five-year cancer journey, its result was posted on my Patient’s Portal. I had been so used to seeing the same Stable, Stable, Stable that I read the report with great relish.  And then it hit me: The discussion was about mild progression!  What?! Has the beast risen from the scarred tissues? I read and re-read until the report convinced me it was indeed different from all the others of the past. On the bright side, there was no pleural (lung) nor pericardial (heart) effusion and all else – bone, liver, kidney, guts, lymphatic path –  were awesome.

I was expecting that afternoon a call from my twenty-something trial coordinator because she had promised to phone me and we’d make plans to case my new digs for a possible future party leading to a Pacific Ocean beach. Sure enough she phoned but only to tell me Dr Brevity wanted to see me the following week.

I had issues with the CTscan report coming to me directly when I never asked for it. In my five years as cancer patient and having gone through four university hospitals, the radiology report had always gone to the referring oncologist, who in turn reviewed the result with me as we analyzed the  images together. To deal with this upsetting report, I prepared  talking points for a serious presentation aimed at discarding that report.  I’d insist on a favorable report.  Yeppers.  Count me in as the type of candidate who’d receive only eight votes out of thousands and demand a recount.

At the consult, the Trial Coordinator and the RN stood at attention as Dr Brevity assured me the increase in size of my main nodule, the dormant flying saucer at the bottom of my left lung, is very tiny and does not meet the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) for progression. He admitted he only wanted to hear my thoughts about what to do with it. Are you done talking? I asked. He said he was done talking.

I stepped up on my soapbox: I have issues with that report.  It must have gone to my Patient’s Portal by mistake.  It was probably intended for a reviewer. And I ranted on and on about how the report left much to be desired.  Everybody was so quiet, you could hear a pin drop.  As it turned out, what had gotten inadvertently into my Patient’s Portal was part of a very incomplete report. All my ardent speech rehearsal in skinny girl jeans and stilleto heels in front of a full-length mirror was for naught!

Dr Brevity stated that if in fact the beast had risen from the dead, he’d want to know the mechanism of the progression, as in, Did it mutate and if it did, what is the cancer mutation now? A biopsy would answer that question.  He followed up with another suggestion.  How about surgically removing that questionable mass of the lung?

Then came my turn to toss my two cents in.  I said, We went through this before. A radiologist, the one who I thought suspected me of having too much fun, had declared my main tumor “progressed.” We disagreed, challenged him, and took our case to the Supreme Court of Radiologists.  The radiologist who ends all radiologists consequently took our side, which obviously was right.  We have been stable since. Why don’t we ask the Grand Poobah again?

The trial coordinator answered swiftly:  You are no longer in a clinical trial.  Aaaah. Decisions had been made without my input.  It happens when awesomeness is all that one’s got.

So everybody momentarily backtracked from the not-so-sure problem.  It was resolved that I’d continue taking Poksceva.  At the next scheduled CTscan, we’ll eyeball dimensional changes, if any, of the one nodule that the Supreme Court of Radiologists had once proclaimed, It went stable a long time ago!

Meanwhile, I’ll mosey on down to my new kicks: the Laughter Yoga Club.  It’s good workout for the lungs of non-laughers and laughers like me who live alone and don’t get their quota. Yes, such an assembly exists and no one tells jokes there either.  Check it out.  Here’s one link:,d.cGc